Welcome! It’s been a great week or so for me, as my two favorite esports, Valorant and Dota, have been added to the Draftkings lobby. Dota is the game that got me into esports, and will always be my favorite. It’s definitely going to take a bit of getting used to, even for those who are well versed in league, but it’s a fantastic spectator esport.
I had given up hope of Draftkings ever adding Dota after we went through the entire shutdown in 2020 without it, but here it is. DK picked a great time for it too, as the 2nd major of 2021 kicks off on Wednesday June 2nd. I’ll have a post up on Tuesday June 1st specific to the slate, but for now I wanted to give an intro to the DFS and talk some general strategy compared to LoL.
If you’re interested in a more complete breakdown of how the game of Dota itself compares to LoL, check out this post I wrote last year comparing the two games. I’ll be focused just on DFS similarities and differences for the rest of this article.
To start, let’s take a look at the scoring. Here is the scoring for players for both Dota and LoL:
|10+ K/A Bonus||2||N/A|
|20+ K/A Bonus||N/A||2|
|W Under 25 min||N/A||15|
Scoring is pretty damn similar. If you’re coming over from LoL, you’re probably wondering what a “deny” is. Basically, when your own team’s creep (minion) get’s below half HP, you can teamkill it. If you get the last hit on your own creep, it’s considered a “deny” and the enemy only gets 50% XP. While denies are important in the actual game, they’ll be mostly irrelevant in DFS, as rarely do you see someone get over 20 denies in a game.
You’ll also notice that the threshold to get a bonus went from 10+ kills or assists to 20+ kills or assists. This makes sense as Dota games typically have far more fighting than LoL. For Wednesday’s slate, players hit the 20+ kills or assists (it was almost always assists) just under 25% of the time in wins. Of course, 20 assists will net you 40 points, so the extra 2 is only a 5% bonus.
The one “big” change was that the fast win bonus was A) moved up from under 30 minutes to under 25, and more importantly, B) was moved from the team slot to the player slot. I like this as it helps to offset the penalty from your players winning “too fast”. In the data I pulled for Wednesday’s slate, players actually average effectively the same points in wins under 25 minutes as they did in wins over 25 minutes. Granted, there were only 4 wins under 25 minutes and one of them was a 35 kill performance in 24 minutes and 30 seconds, but it should still help with the problem overall.
GNP has also been bumped by 10, which makes sense given the overall increase in scoring, although this won’t matter for the initial DFS slates since they are Bo2’s (group stage round robin).
Let’s quickly take a look at the team slot scoring:
|Win Under 30||2||N/A|
Scoring is basically the same, except the for the Win Under 30 change that we already discussed. There are also no dragon equivalents in Dota, so that scoring is gone. Instead, there are points for killing barracks. Barracks are the equivalent of inhibitors except there are 2 in each lane and they don’t respawn. Overall, team scoring should be about the same for Dota as it is in LoL. Of course, with player scoring even higher in Dota, this means that team scoring will be worth less relatively and should therefore be an even lower priority than it is in LoL.
Interestingly, DK has chosen to go with a much more open lineup construction in Dota than in LoL. Instead of 1 of each position + a captain, you get to play 3 “cores”, 2 “supports”, plus a captain. Team slot is of course the same. This was probably done because there’s a lot more fluidity of position in Dota than in LoL. It’s not super uncommon to see players lane swap to get better matchups or even slightly role swap depending on the heroes selected.
It’s important to keep in mind that in Dota you don’t have an ADC/Support vs ADC/Support and Top vs Top lane matchup. Instead you see the Radiant (bottom left side) Carry (ADC equivalent)/Support vs Dire (top right side) Offlane (Top equivalent)/Position 4 (Roamer, closest thing to jungler) in the bottom lane and the mirror matchup in the top lane. There is almost never a dedicated “Jungler” in Dota. Instead the Pos 4 typically roams around the map ganking and looking for kills after the first few minutes of laning. You’ll also frequently see the positions referred to as numbers 1-5, kind of like basketball. The positions are:
1 – Carry
2 – Mid
3 – Offlane
4 – Roamer
5 – Support
I’ll use that nomenclature fairly frequently going forward.
Let’s take a look at how each position scores in wins. I compiled the data for the teams on Wednesday’s slate, looking at their last 10 map wins each, here were the numbers:
Again, this data is from wins only. Let’s look at the story it tells. As we can see, Pos 2 (mid) is the highest scoring position on average. There are a couple of reasons for this. Of these 6 teams in particular, at least 3 have a “star” mid player. I say at least because there’s a couple I haven’t been able to watch that much lately. But beyond that, mid players are typically looking to gank early and often, and are involved in most of the early to mid game fights, making space for the carry to farm. Eventually, the carry turns up to the fight with a ton of farm and takes over the heavy lifting within the fights, which is why you can see that Pos 1 easily outscores Pos 3 and Pos 4 even though the latter two both have higher kill participation percentages. The position 5 often times will be somewhat of a babysitter for the Pos 1 early on in the game, plus in late game fights it’s often the job of the position 5 to sit way in the back and not die so they can get off 1 or 2 crucial spells that can win the teamfight. The gap between Pos 4 and Pos 5 is actually a bit bigger than it appears here for most teams. There is one team on Wednesday’s slate (Secret) that the Pos 5 has actually been outscoring the Pos 4 recently, plus there is a stand-in Pos 5 playing that has really high stats from his lower division team. If you take his stats out the average for Pos 5 drops to about 41 and the gap to Pos 4 is about 5 points.
In LoL, 4-2 (not counting team slot) is the consensus best lineup construction. The question to me is with the additional flexibility, will that still be the case in Dota or will is shift towards a 3/3? My honest answer is I don’t really have enough data to say one way or the other, but I think 3/3 should be more viable. A 1-2-4 + 1-2-4 stack seems like it should be viable. Although a 1-2-4-5 + 1-2 also sounds pretty damn strong. I think the most important thing will be to play close attention to how each team tends to play. There are a couple teams where Pos 3 scores about the same as Pos 1, even higher in some cases, and a few where the Pos 3 scores way less than the Pos 1 and 2. This is generally because of style differences within the teams, not because of skill reasons per se. For example, Zai of Team Secret is rightfully considered one of the best offlaners in the world, but because of the way Secret tends to play he scores very poorly compared to his Pos 1 and 2 teammates. We’ll dive into this for individual teams in the slate specific breakdowns.
Hopefully this intro has provided some useful tidbits as we prepare for the 1st Dota DFS slate, a slate specific write-up will be out for Wednesday’s slate on Tuesday.