Mask of Madness is win.

Mask of Madness is win.

Mask of Madness is win.

Comments 📅23 February 2015, 16:20

The DotA Asian Championships have just ended, and boy did that make me excited for TI5.

I wasn’t planning to watch TI5. Well, maybe a little. But I wasn’t going to REALLY watch it. Perhaps a summary of all the TIs will let you see my reasoning.

TI1 – No one knows how to play this game except Na’vi. Not much of a competition.

TI2 – Tinker/Morph/AM/Bear/Prophet farms for 60 minutes.

TI3 – Admittedly, this TI was pretty good. This is TI2, except with Wisp, Batrider, and Roshan buyouts, so teams only farm for 50 minutes instead of 60.

TI4 – Either Naga farms for 2 hours, or a teams form a slow deathball from 10 minutes.



The dominant strategy seems to be: pick someone who cannot die, farm for an hour. This is horribly boring to watch. Great things do happen in the early game, but they are mostly useless, because all those farmers have a million ways to gain gazillions of gold later on. In fact, they’re usually full slotted by 45 minutes, but farm another 15 minutes for their 13 buyouts and Refresher Dagon-5 courier. 5-man deathball strats may be horribly boring to watch, but at least the game ends quickly. When the Naga spends more time with a full item build than without, watching the game literally induces sleep. That’s not hyperbole – I actually watched some TI games over the years to bore myself to sleep.


The way that DotA was progressing, I had feared that TI5 would feature both teams farm their jungles, one lane, and occasionally Roshan, for 30 minutes, before they decided to unlock PvP. Like they were both playing MMORPGs. Fortunately, DAC has allayed my fears. Because Mask of Madness is win. And there were many Masks of Madness this tournament.

Allow me to bore you with the technical details. You buy Mask of Madness to kill enemies faster. Sometimes it farms the jungle, but after that you use it to kill more enemies. Then you get more items, and Mask of Madness kills even more enemies. With more Masks of Madness, players farm ENEMY HEROES rather than neutral creeps. If I wanted to see PvE action I’d play WoW. If I wanted to see PvP action I’d also go play WoW. But I don’t want to play WoW.

Use Mask, kill enemies.

Now for everything else that made DAC full of win.

Much less Naga. Oh yes. This it worth celebrating. Naga dodges enemy heroes to farm creeps, instead of farming off enemy heroes. More Naga = less fun. Less Naga = more fun. They call that INVERSELY PROPORTIONAL.

BLINKING AXE. Axe farms an early Blink, then proceeds to do TONS OF DAMAGE. He kills lots of enemy heroes. Fun.

Divine rapiers. Many were purchased. They were all necessary. More damage, more kills. Great fun.

Shadow Fiend and Storm Spirit. Mostly lots of Shadow Fiend, because he got buffed by art. The art-rework-buff is truly amazing. Shadow Fiend either runs in and dies or runs in and kills everything. Sometimes he dies and kills everything. There were only like, 2 Storm Spirit players, but they were so amazing and they ran around EVERYWHERE killing enemy heroes. You don’t need to kill creeps as storm.

And also, Sniper. Sniper will kill you unless you kill him, so something will definitely die. There’s something good about heroes starting with S. Sven incoming?

RAVE did pretty damn well. It is rather poetic that the last bastion of South-East Asian hope lies with the Pinoys. They’ve waited more than a decade for this day to come, and boy am I glad that SEA has a team that plays in true SEA style – completely inconsistent, unpredictable, disorganized, but apparently with the ability to win.

Mostly, DAC was full of win because teams decided to farm enemy heroes instead of farming jungle camps.

More heroes that start with S. Bringing the action.


BUT NOW IT’S TIME TO WHINE about the horrible things.

Casters are time and again amazed at how fast Batrider can farm a dagger by interacting with nothing but jungle creeps. In fact, the most well-farmed Batriders are those who just go to the jungle as early as possible, and forego the lane. And these are the ones that amaze the casters. That’s like being amazed that someone is eating a steak. The steak doesn’t really fight back. At most it’ll choke you. Perhaps the bigger problem is that the optimal strategy for many champions is to abandon interaction with the enemy, and just farm neutral creeps. That’s not very fun. That’s like finding out that the best way to win in football was to have your goalkeeper hold the ball for 89 minutes, and then punt the ball for that 0.01% chance it lands in the enemy goal. Luckily, we have referees to stop that from happening. Maybe Roshan should wander around the jungle to force players to actually interact with each other.

Buying out makes games longer.  The only reason to push nowadays seems to be “to bait out a buyout”. Then the enemy buys out, and you wait for the next Roshan, at which point the enemy hero has buyout again. Buyout prolongs the game too damn much.

There are 10 players and 100,000 spectators. ENTERTAIN US!

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Adrian “La_DottA” Lai

Adrian "La_DottA" Lai has been involved in the Dota community since he became an administrator for Garena Malaysia in 2006. After two years, he ventured into the world of eSports journalism by becoming a rookie writer for now-defunct website Meet Your Makers. Following a year-long stint, he was invited to writer at various eSports news sites, most notable GosuGamers and joinDOTA. He currently works as a journalist for Malaysian national newspaper New Straits Times, where he writes political news on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter @LaiAdrian and Facebook: