“…the skilful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field ”
In the first edition of ‘The Vainglorious War’ we will examine what Team Secret (TS) does that makes them have one of the best early game phase in the Evil 8, and how they transfer that pressure into late game team fighting.
| Source video: Team Secret vs. SNOW Tsunami.
*I suggest that you watch the source video and read the attached comments before reading this article.
What do they do well?
TS is effective in positioning in the enemy’s mustache bush, which they then transfer into pressure in both the lane and the jungle. However, they will prioritise one area of the map over the other. This aggressive positioning affords TS a myriad of key tactics:
- helps KValafar to shop at the jungle shop,
- hassles the enemy laner and their turret or pressures the enemy’s jungle,
- sets up an easy capture of the enemy’s middle medic camp and shop camp,
- separates the enemy jungler from their laner and roamer,
- and prevents the enemy from frequently shopping at the jungle shop, which forces them to port home to shop.
If you watch TS VODs over the last three weeks of the Evil 8 you will notice that they will almost always take up this positioning. With the benefits of such an aggressive stance, they would be crazy not to. In the source video, pay attention to how they do not look for the kill in the area of the map they do not prioritise applying pressure in. For example, in their first match against Tsunami they wanted to apply pressure in the jungle onto lookatme’s WP Kestrel. They would do this by consistently positioning in SNOW’s mustache bush, poke at PTLam on the Celeste, not actually looking for the kill. They would then rotate into lookatme’s jungle. When TS secured a camp or two, they would retreat back to lane or to the jungle shop, even if a team fight broke out.
| Secret Tip: as I was analysing TS, I found an interesting secret. Do you want to know what area of the map TS will apply pressure the most? The answer lies in Palmatoro’s first t1 defensive item. More often than not, if Palmatoro has an early light shield TS will apply pressure wherever the CP carry is, and it also applies to when he has a light armor. If there is same damage carries on the enemy team or it is not that obvious, then compare the lane and jungle match-ups. TS will apply pressure in the area they feel needs it more. For example, in match 2 of Team Secret vs. SNOW Avalanche TS’s Lyra and Kestrel pick could effectively deal with SNOW’s Phinn and Taka pick. With a lane Reim it was clear they would apply pressure in the lane as KValafar would need that extra push to play aggressive against a ranged carry. Nonethless, they repeated their tactic of positioning in the enemy’s mustache bush.
A game of cat and mouse:
I have analysed both NA and EU Evil 8 matches. What stood out for me during the late game is that team fights were greatly decided on either which team could out-play the best or who got caught out. As a direct result of this, because TS setup a more controllable late game with their early game pressure it forces their enemy to either catch them out or to out-play them. If a team cannot do that against TS during the late game after a typical early game, it is GG for TS.
How to kill a giant?
TS can be stopped. You must stop them in their tracks in the early game. Prevent them from positioning in the mustache bush, in fact do the same to them. Catch out their rotation or look for frequent early game team fights. Look at how mousesports in split 1 of the Evil 8 during the semi-finals managed to do exactly that. However, be warned, TS are one of the most adaptable teams, Mowglie understood why they didn’t do as well as they would have liked during the first week of split 1. TS has been unstoppable since then.
There are many styles in the Vainglorious War and this slow methodical style from TS is most likely only one of the strategies they have up their sleeves. Nonetheless, this strategy is very effective in creating opportunities all over the fold in the early game which sets up a smoother ride in the late game. This slow building methodical tactic applies more to the EU Evil 8. Compared to the NA Evil 8, which starts off with a team fight for breakfast, a brawl for lunch and a haymaker for dinner. So if you’re an EU challenger team looking to break into the Evil 8 work on setting up this type of objective heavy pressure.