New patch came with an overhauled map and while the heroes are still being changed and balanced, we don’t believe we are going to see any more map changes until the next big patch. A week later, with some professional teams already getting a chance to test the map in a competitive environment, it is the best time to look at how the changes to the map have influenced warding, pulling and team positioning.
Current map have several defined areas for each side. Many now think it feels less natural and more formulaic and we certainly agree—there is now a “farming triangle” for each side, a highground for every Tier 2 tower and a slightly less secure low ground with neutral camps in each primary jungle.
Interestingly, despite there now being clearly defined highgrounds, hence clearly defined areas for maximum efficiency warding, dewarding is now a lot harder. There are many places to put an observer down, providing good vision, so your guessing game has to be on point.
As always, you can use the “eye”-points to cover the maximum area, but if the enemy is good at dewarding or you want to be a little bit less obvious with your wards, here are some placements that might not be ideal, but get the job done and will more likely survive for the full duration:
An interesting ward on the Dire Primary Jungle Highground. This position between trees always gives vision on two ramps leading to the highground, and depending on what you want from it can either provide vision over an extra neutral camp or the shrine.
A similar ward for Radiant Primary Jungle Highground. Can’t provide the vision over the shrine, unless you do some heavy tree-cutting, but covers three entrances to the highground as well as vision of tower.
At this point this ward is more or less a staple, but it is still incredibly good. Do keep in mind that it will most likely get dewarded, once and if you lose control over the area.
A good alternative ward in Radiant Secondary Jungle that gives vision of both Shrine and behind the enemy Tier 1. Essential if your wards on the “eye”-hill get dewarded.
These are only a few examples of non-basic wards you can place. With so many highground areas warding can be as creative or as obvious as you want and you will still get a decent amount of vision for a respectable amount of time.
Pulling and stacking has been mostly standardized, with the absolute majority of camps now best stacked if you draw aggro at X:54-X:55. There are several notable exceptions on the dire side of the map—two of their triangle camps closest to the river should be stacked a little bit earlier, since the terrain is forcing neutrals to turn when leaving their camp. It is especially important with the ancient stacks, since Thunderhide likes to cast his frenzy before starting to move.
If you are not particularly interested in creating multiple stacks and will only do stacks if you are passing through and it doesn’t interfere with your map presence, as a rule of thumb you want to stackl at the X:54-X:55 mark for most camps and at X:53-X:54 for Ancients and small camps.
When it comes to pulling, both small camps are easily pulled at X:15 or X:45, while sidelane offlane (bottom for Dire and top for Radiant) pull is achieved by pulling at X:18 or X:48. Sidelane safelane pull (top for Dire and bottom for Radiant) should start one second earlier, at X:17 or X:47.
There are several trees that can be cut to make the whole process a lot more consistent (red circles). For Dire, if you want to “close” the pull or pull-through you can cut the tree to the top-left of the bounty rune. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it is advised—otherwise the pull-through can be very inconsistent and you will need to follow the neutrals to keep vision. As always, pull-through is not exact science, but aiming to draw aggro when the neutral camp has roughly 400 total HP left should yield decent results.
For Radiant, cutting the forest in the “back” of the medium camp for sidelane pulls will allow you to pull not to the river, but directly into your lane, which is a massive advantage, since this pull is much harder to disrupt. Shave off another second, aiming to draw aggro at X:16-X:17 if you do cut those trees and try to always keep your own vision on the neutral creeps or the lane creeps quickly lose interest and start returning back to the lane.
The Tier 2 Highgrounds or the Shrine Highgrounds are probably some of the most important areas of the map—controlling it means controlling the fights in the area. Initially many assumed it would help teams protect their Tier 2 towers, having extra safety from both superior vision, no uphill misses and potential Shrine usage. So far, we’ve actually seen it going both ways.
Whoever controls the Shrine Highground controls the Tier 2 on the lane—it is as simple as that. If your team wasn’t already in position before the push started, defending your objectives becomes much harder—the enemy will have several angles of attack and superior vision.
When you know the enemy is already in position, but you still want to keep your Tier 2 tower or at least try to defend it and get some return kills, most of the time the best course of action is to smoke-rotate several members of your team all the way around the mid entrance to the Shrine highground (green arrows).
This move is generally the most likely to succeed, as it will create a lot of space between you and the enemy pushing hero (typically carry), even if the enemy team reveals the smoke and initiates on you as you are going up the stairs. This decision has to be made fast and the team should be coordinated enough for it to work consistently, but we believe it is the best course of action for reclaiming your territory.
On top of it, you can always teleport your farming carry to the shrine for cleanup, hence they don’t have to be with the team at the very start and can keep farming while your team is assessing the battlefield.
The new map certainly feels a lot more like a map from a video game—gone are naturally-looking winding paths and weird forest trails and instead we now have a 5-entrance secondary jungle highground with shrine, a 6-entrance main jungle highground with shrine, two camps on low ground for each side and low ground bounty runes with the Dire Top bounty being the only exclusion from the rules of symmetry.
It is easy to argue that perhaps it does make the map feel less unique and takes away from the beauty of the game, but we do believe it will result in huge changes to the Dire/Radiant balance in terms of competitive win rate. Once we have more pro-Dota data to work with we will definitely return to this discussion.