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Dota 101: Teamfighting Part 2 – Clash

A teamfights climax can be chaotic and confusing, so today we will attempt to bring some order to this primordial soup as we explain what to do during the clash phase of a teamfight.

Order in the chaos

Last week we talked about how we can divide a typical teamfight into three different parts.

  • Initiation
  • Clash
  • Chase

We also gave a good overview of what the Initiation means and how you can execute this part to perfection. Logically, this week we will be looking at the Clash. The Clash is the moment in the teamfight when heroes have closed in on each other and are able to fire off their spells. This is where the nukes come out, right mouse buttons are clicked and damage is dealt. While this phase might look incredibly chaotic there is some order to discover.

Think back to how your teenage room looked like an unsolvable mess to your parents whenever they visited your place of peace. You knew exactly where everything was, Books under the pile of empty red bull cans, that cute skirt your mom wouldn’t allow you to have because it was “too short” and a secret bong in the back of your wardrobe. Similarly, a seasoned Dota veteran looks right through the chaos of a teamfight to identify what is and isn’t important to them. One of the first things this veteran would identify is teamfight ultimates.

Danger sense

It is a familiar experience to many of us. You think you are about to win the teamfight when suddenly an Enigma blinks in the middle of your team. A golden glow blinds your eyes and before you can properly refocus them your virtual representation in the video game is being sucked into a death spiral together with your teammates. To avoid this soul-crushing event, it is important that during every dota game you make a quick assessment of what teamfight abilities your opponents have, and how you can play around them.

Enigma in the game? Make sure there is always somebody who can stun the enigma away from the rest of the team. Earthshaker? Don’t stand in creep waves with your buddies so you don’t get slammed. Silencer? Save that bkb or manta for after the Global silence comes out.

When a draft is done and you see the combinations of heroes that are bound to clash, you can already start identifying the biggest dangers in this clash, and how you will play around them. Doing this will allow you to overtime develop an amazing danger sense, side stepping black holes, ravages and echo slams everywhere you go.

Win conditions

While identifying teamfight ultimates is something that can already take away some of the most chaotic nexus events from the teamfight timeline, we can go one level deeper to create even more order. Getting familiar with the many different heroes the game of Dota 2 harbors means that suddenly it becomes clear what each of these heroes seek to achieve in a teamfight.

An Oracle is always going to sit behind their carry to save and heal them, a Pangolier will always look for a good spot to play pinball and Terrorblade is always going to a massive siege tower of death. According to these behaviors one could then simulate how a team will approach their teamfight, making all coming clashes quite predictable.

Identify your opponents and your own teams’ win conditions during teamfights ahead of time, so that when the clash comes, less surprises will be coming your way. Especially when you involve yourself into this simulation, you can identify what your job should be during the clash. You might be that Dazzle that needs to stay out of sight so they can grave the terrorblade when he gets low, or the Dragon Knight who is supposed to jump in first to provide vision, frontline and disable for your team of glass cannons. Whatever you are, knowing your role ahead of time gives you a massive advantage.

Do your homework

In essence, the clash phase of a teamfight is like a school exam. As long as you have done the homework in identifying win conditions and dangers your studies should pay off with an understandable test and a good grade for a reward. But if you don’t do the homework and walk into the exam blind, you will have no idea what is going on.

So do your homework and study for your tests, because a good clash decides what side you end up in the last phase of a teamfight. As my former English teacher Mr. Edmundson said, “To be the one chasing or not to be, that’s the question.”

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