Midgame Moves: How to Recover from a Lost Team Fight
It’s Midgame Moves week for Heroes of the Storm! It’s time to continue the educational content series that kicked off 2018 featuring some of the smartest personalities in the scene, now focusing on the meaty middle portion of a competitive game. On day one we explored map pressure and mercenary camp timings, while yesterday we emphasized boss control. Today, we learn about safe rotations and trade pushing!
You’ve just lost a team fight and things are looking bleak; something needs to change to turn the tides. Team Dignitas’ Vilhelm “POILK” Flennmark is on hand to help you navigate to victory from the backfoot.
Attitude is Everything
“You should focus on what you can do, instead of what has happened,” said POILK. “You can’t change what has happened and what set you back, but you can look for things to do that will help you get back into the game.”
Do your best to be a part of the solution when it comes to mounting a comeback. “Instead of having that little argument in chat, talk about what you can do instead,” he added.
Playing Safe is the Only Option
Soaking experience is of paramount importance—it’s the only way you’ll return to even footing. To ensure that you aren’t staggering more deaths in the process, watch your pathing between lanes. “If you know where the enemy is then there is no problem taking the aggressive path between lanes,” POILK said. “It's when you don't know where they are that you should fear doing aggressive rotations because they could very likely be hiding in that bush between the lanes.”
It’s common for teams to set up with the intention of pouncing on any enemy Hero that walks by. “If you're leading on Cursed Hollow, you can take the aggressive rotation from middle to bottom where you pass the bush. I would recommend checking bushes with spells. If you’re behind, you can dodge the bush completely by taking a less direct route.”
Stop the Bleeding, Start the Trade Push
Before course-correcting a game gone sideways, you must stop the bleeding. “If something goes wrong and the fight starts badly, you just want to back off and avoid losing more people,” POILK said. “You always want to gain something in exchange for losing the objective, even if it's just catching some soak from waves.”
Enter ‘trade pushing’. A trade push is essentially giving up the objective on purpose in exchange for making progress elsewhere on the map. “Trade pushing during an objective you can't contest is a key part of returning to even footing,” POILK said.
To understand trade push, you must first comprehend the cardinal rule. “Soaking experience is the most important part of Heroes of the Storm, especially in the early and midgame,” POILK said. “If your opponent commits five people to do the middle Shrine but you get soak and structures on both top and bottom, that is a lot of experience gained. After level 20, soak is not that important.”
Keep in mind that structures on some maps are more important than others. “Structures are less important on Battlefield of Eternity. Even though it can feel like it might be a map that snowballs, it's actually quite difficult to close a game out there. Having two Keeps down on BoE doesn’t mean much, because it's difficult to soak experience off minion waves that are pushed into the enemy base. If you can't close it out, and you lose one late-game Immortal even when you're two Keeps ahead, you will probably still lose the game.”
Only one team is destined to destroy the Core, but there will be several small windows in which your team can safely soak and siege without fear. “The objectives don't really get super-strong until the late game,” POILK said. “The second Punisher on Infernal Shrines usually just gets a fort. With a coordinated team you could easily get a fort on your own with the amount of time the enemy team spends doing the objective.”
We covered the Hail Mary Boss play yesterday, but there is a dire play to be made in every situation. “A desperation play you'll see on Dragon Shire is where the team that is hopelessly behind will take the Siege Giants and bottom Knights to mount one last rage push. That’s what Team Dignitas calls it. You're hoping for a lucky pick and some structure damage to get back into the game that way. Sometimes just brute forcing is the best chance you'll have to get back in the game. Those circumstances are rare though.”
Fighting for the objective is often the most straightforward path to victory, but when you’re trying to come from behind you want to minimize your exposure to the enemy team. "On Infernal Shrines, it is very common for the experience levels to be 13-12 when the second Shrine spawns,” POILK said. “For whatever reason the losing team always makes the mistake of forcing a fight during this. If the second Shrine spawns top, you want to hide from the map before pushing bottom lane with your minion wave. This forces the enemy team to choose between pushing with the Punisher and defending, which usually gives you enough time to catch up in levels.”
Never Give Up; Never Surrender!
POILK recently played a pretty major role in a great example of running back a game that looked all but over. “Our shot calling is very good—we are always looking for a way back into any game we might be losing,” he said.
In their match against Gen.G Esports on Towers of Doom, Team Dignitas did just that—patiently waiting for their Storm Tier Talents to even the playing field before wiping their Korean rivals. “I don't really remember what the coms were, but I know we weren't totally sure we could end. I said I could take bottom Fort, Wubby said he could do the Sappers, Zaelia said he could take mid Fort and Snitch was already on his way to top lane. It was like, everyone saw a thing they could do on their own. Everyone just knew exactly what they needed to do.”
While you shouldn’t expect to have the same coordination as one of the best teams in the world, that’s inspiring nonetheless—and acts as a great segue into tomorrow’s Midgame Moves article on pushing your advantage to the max, featuring Francisco "Goku" Avalos from North America’s Team Octalysis!