Skipped game 4, because I got back too late for the draft, but I didn’t miss much. Quantic’s final draft was straight up horrible. I trying, but I can’t find anything more to add to that.
If it has sounded throughout this series that I’m taking everything from Quantic’s point-of-view, it’s because Rattlesnake never had to make anything happen. They stuck to a very straightforward draft/ban strategy. From that they just played their own game and gave Quantic the rope to hang themselves. So let’s break down how Rattlesnake broke down Quantic.
1. Do not let Quantic have Outworld Devourer, Treant Protector, or Gyrocopter
If you look at the the hero history for Quantic’s players over 6.78, these heroes stick out like a sore thumb. Funzii is 9-5 with OD, Silent is 10-4 with Gyrocopter, and Goblak is 10-2 with Treant. Rattlesnake repeatedly targeted these heroes for bans, or in the case of Gyrocopter drafting him twice to keep him out of Silent’s hands.
2. Run more cores than Quantic is willing to run.
I define core as a character with decent to strong item or ability scaling that generally demands a lane to farm in. So let’s look at the cores for each team in each of the games:
Game 1 – Rattlesnake wins
Rattlesnake: 3 cores (Dragon Knight, Shadow Fiend, and Weaver)
Quantic: 1 core (Clinkz)
Game 2 – Quantic wins
Rattlesnake: 1 core (Gyrocopter)
Quantic: 3 cores (Chaos Knight, Puck, Nature’s Prophet)
Game 3 – Rattlesnake wins
Rattlesnake: 2 cores (Chaos Knight, Gyrocopter)
Quantic: 1 core (Sven)
Game 4 – Rattlesnake wins
Rattlesnake: 3 cores (Chaos Knight, Storm Spirit, and Weaver)
Quantic: 2 soft cores with no actual carry threat (Queen of Pain, Nature’s Prophet) and a black hole of farm that takes as long as Anti-Mage to become remotely relevant for maybe a third of the benefit (Tinker)
In the three games that they won, Rattlesnake spread out their farm profile in the laning phase while receiving absolutely no punishment from Quantic. In two of those games, Quantic only had 1 serious carry threat which Rattlesnake effectively neutralized through itemization choices and a Beastmaster pick in game 3.
This is honestly a weakness of Quantic that I noted back in their Western Qualifiers run. They do really well when they’re the ones running the tri-core strategy with aggressive lanes, and they falter when they draft too conservatively early and pick up a bunch of “safe” utility heroes with their first picks. Look at their openings
Game 1: Batrider + Dark Seer
Game 2: Wisp + Chaos Knight (the exception)
Game 3: Wisp + Dark Seer
Game 4: Visage + Nature’s Prophet
3. As unpredictable as Quantic is, they’re actually pretty predictable.
Why do teams let Quantic have Batrider so much? Part of it is the threat that Treant poses, but the other reason is that Quantic just doesn’t do anything to make you fear it. You just don’t see the potential in them to take Batrider mid and a flavor-of-the-month carry like Lifestealer and straight up outplay you. They need to be clever to win, and if you recognize the patterns of their cleverness you can jam them.
Think of the carries you see in a classic 4 protect 1 (or more recently, 2 protect 1 with an aggressive mid like Puck and QoP and an carry threat offlaner like Nature’s Prophet, Lone Druid, or Weaver). Lifestealer? 17.8% of teams ran Lifestealer in 6.78. Quantic only runs him 4.2% of the time. Alchemist? 15% of teams. Quantic: 2.1%. Anti-Mage? 6.7% compared to 2.1%. Even Dragon Knight, a hero I feel teams draft for more perceived safety than he offers, gets run 15.25% of the time. Quantic: 0%.
Quantic is so invested in quirky line-ups that their opponents do not need to respect standard lineups, and this is a huge problem because Quantic’s clever lineups tend to be hugely dependent on some specific hero interaction that can be banned out. We often talk about how Quantic’s Treant play gives them an opportunity to get otherwise banned pickups like Batrider, but Quantic’s inability to scare anyone with Batrider means that teams can feel completely comfortable just never giving you Treant.
Rattlesnake might have run a smaller set of strategies, but those strategies were much more flexible and therefore resilient against the bans. Quantic scouted out Rattlesnake’s proclivity for Lifestealer and Nature’s Prophet and banned them in game 1? Rattlesnake just responded by picking up Shadow Fiend and Weaver, and weren’t much worse for the wear.
For all the credit that Goblak, in my opinion deservedly, gets as a clever strategist, I think he faltered hard in this series when it came down to being an actual drafter. But what’s really to blame here is that you can’t get away with clever strategy if your opponents a) know what to expect and b) don’t have any reason to respect anything else. What Quantic needs to do in the, shall we say…offseason, is work on their fundamentals and practice winning with just some straightforward drafts. Being able to win with a vanilla flavor-of-the-month draft will open up their options to get away with clever drafts without their pieces being banned, and it will also make them all the more threatening when something like a Treant Protector ban gives them their choice of otherwise banned flavor-of-the-month heroes.