Nahaz: 'I would much rather have a double elimination Major announced months in advance'

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Thumbnail image courtesy of StarLadder

In the second part of our interview with Alan "Nahaz" Bester, the Dota statistician and university economics professor discusses the single elimination format for the Majors, which teams are the most promising in Dota right now and his future career as an analyst.

Related: Nahaz on Kiev Major predictions

Speaking of Valve's decision making, the single elimination format is returning for Kiev. What do you think about it?

Obviously I would be happier in a double elimination, statistically. When you look at the steepness of the Major prize pools... First of all, I feel like most Dota prize pools are too steep to begin with in terms of the amount of money going to first and second place teams vis-a-vis the rest of the field. But when you look at the fact that, statistically, single elimination is still pretty meaningful for the top two, top four teams, you still get plenty of information there, but the rankings of the teams five and below is very noisy compared to double elimination. When you're talking about the amounts of money that are riding on the line, and when you're talking about the number, location and accessibility of LAN tournaments in Dota, it's hit or miss.

Sometimes you get a number of high quality LANs. Relatively speaking, we had a decent number of high quality LANs between Boston and now to base our decisions. We had relatively few LANs, almost none, between TI and Boston. For me, you want that information. When you talk about Wings not finishing in the Top 8, okay, they lost their opening series against EG and they're gone. Does that give you any information about Wings? That's the thing about invites. If you're going to talk about excluding a TI champion, if Wings had done what they did at Manila and absolutely flamed out and finished bottom four in a double elimination format... hmm, then you think about it. But if you're talking about losing a single elimination best-of-three series to EG, a Top 4 team, how much does that really tell you?

Do you think they'll bring back double elimination for TI7?

Absolutely. 100 percent. Single elimination, they wanted a couple of things. Number one, they the Majors to have a softer footprint in the rest of the schedule. Again, Valve being Valve, Valve doesn't want to announce their schedule of events six to eight months ahead of time. There were a number of tournaments that were severely affected because the Majors were announced three to four months out. If you look at the schedules for a double elimination Major, that's a two week commitment for most teams. When you talk about bootcamping, qualifiers, with a double elimination Major as you had last year, that's a full month out of the schedule, when they were saying, "Hey, we don't want to be competing in other tournaments." And there was a lot of uncertainty regarding when that month was going to be. When ESL is booking stadiums for their tournaments, they have to do it six to eight months or more ahead of time.

Most tournament organizers aren't Valve. Valve can just pour a pot of money on the problem and say, "Okay, we're willing to pay for whatever rate we need to because we want this particular venue and we're Valve." Most organizers can't do that and still make money on their tournaments. The single elimination format was an attempt to decrease the footprint of the Major within the overall schedule, especially for top teams. I don't like it, I would much rather have a double elimination Major announced months in advance. But again, Valve being Valve, they like to take their time and make decisions with as much information as possible. So much of how Valve runs Dota has been about how Valve has been successful as a company. As much as you wish it may be different in some respects, you can't ask the leopard to change its spots.

Is there any particular team that excites you right now in Dota?

B)ears. In terms of a team that is not counted among the very top right now, I am very excited about B)ears. I've told a number of people that I see the kind of upside in them as I see in 5Jungz and (monkey) Business, eventually would become Liquid and OG, I see that same kind of chemistry.

I think that if they continue to improve and stay together, I think Team Onyx could be very, very good. I've looked at that team a bit, and they're not where they want to be quite yet and I'm not sure that they can make the adjustments before the Kiev Qualifiers. B)ears has a chance to be, if they can come through that absolutely brutal EU qualifier, they have a chance to be good right away. If Onyx sticks together and keep improving through Ti, could be a Top 8 team at TI.

Really? Top 8 at TI?

Abed is really good. Jimmy has grown up a lot. A lot of people still give Jimmy shit, there's a reason for that, he's earned some of it, but he's a smart guy and a pretty good player. And he did not captain a team to the Top 8 last TI by accident. And I still, I've said this and I've continued to say this, you ask me who the smartest guy in Dota, who would I bet on in any kind of theory crafting or drafting contest, it's gonna be BuLba everytime. Everytime. It doesn't always necessarily translate to success in game, but in broad Dota IQ, I'm telling you BuLba is.

I would say that he is a very talented drafter. I kind of wish that his time on Liquid went better. I think Liquid are fine with GH right now.

The other part about BuLba is that he's a strong personality. He's a strong and very unique personality and he needs the right team environment. And that Liquid roster, when he was a part of that team, they needed someone who was a little more low-key.

It's been awhile since you've attended a LAN event as an analyst. Should we expect to see you at more in the future?

I hope so. That's not up to me my friend, that is not up to me. Look, everybody right now, all the tournaments want the same top teams, and all the tournaments want the same top talent. For better or for worse, getting invited to TI is the kind of, you're in. Not getting invited to TI is, "Hey what's going on here?" So it goes in cycles. I have plenty to do, I'm going to be devoting more of my time in the next couple of years to doing esports related projects. I'm still going to be teaching of course, I still love what I do. I would love for some of that work to include LAN appearances, but that's not up to me. That's up to the community and the people that plan the events.

Have you ever had to turn down a LAN event because of your job as a professor?

Yes. I have had to turn LAN events down. I should have probably... I go back to last fall, or the year before last at Frankfurt, I got sick and I had to leave the desk. That was a long time coming, I was pushing myself too hard then, trying to teach a full schedule of classes and do multiple weekend LANs in the same term. The fall tends to be a very busy, very stressful period because you try to do as much of the course prep as you can for the year towards the beginning. By the spring I generally have most of the material for the classes set anyway, so the schedule is less crazy.

Have you found a better balance now?

For sure. It's unfortunate. I think if I had to do it over again, I probably could sustain that schedule. Honestly, for a number of these events I came in over-prepared. I was kind of riding the wave, I was really excited to be doing this, I was very passionate about it. And I would have all this stuff ready, and I would catch myself at these analyst desks, like, just trying to put all of that out there. And it's the classic mistake.

It's ironic because, when you teach PhD students, the first thing you teach them is not every regression you ran, every analysis you did. Your paper is the one that is relevant to the point that you are trying to make. I myself fell into that trap with a lot of these Dota events. I had so much that I would lose the train sometimes, and I feel like that's part of why it's nice having these videos and having some other outlets where I take a lot of the analytical problems that I want to work on, have an outlet for those. And when I do events concentrate more on the now and the super relevant stats that tell the story of where these teams are right now, rather than making these longer points at a desk that just don't fit.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

8 quick tips for Pudge

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Pudge is one of the most recognizable and iconic heroes in Dota, thanks in part to his high pick rate in pubs. While he's usually played in the midlane, he's a surprisingly versatile hero that can play any role effectively.

Regardless of your role, it's important to know the basics and some advanced tips for this portly hero.

RELATED: A guide to Pudge

  1. You can deny yourself with Rot. It's common knowledge, but worth reiterating.
  2. Use Rot when last-hitting. The ability has no casting animation, so you can activate it at any time and it will not cancel your attack animation. The extra damage can mean the difference between getting a last hit or not.
  3. Hitting Meat Hook can be a mental game, so learn to bait out a juke by cancelling the animation. This is also useful even if you don't intend on throwing out a hook. It can function as a scare tactic or a harassment tool.
  4. If you have a Blink Dagger, in some situations it's better to initiate with an aggressive blink and open with Dismember, rather than taking the chance on a Meat Hook.
  5. Meat Hook can hit targets affected by Cyclone, pulling the target but not damaging them. This applies to the Cyclone effect of Eul's Scepter of Divinity, Invoker's Tornado and Brewmaster's Storm spirit from Primal Split.
  6. Meat Hook completely ignores ancient creeps. Keep this in mind for catching a jungling hero off guard, or fishing for a hook in Roshan's Pit.
  7. Learn the hitbox size for Meat Hook and the hitbox size for heroes versus creeps. The hero hitbox is significantly bigger than a creep's hitbox and you can surprise people who think they're safe hiding behind a ranged creep.
  8. Pay attention to the creep waves. Often you can time a hook based on a hero going for a last hit, this is much more predictable against melee heroes.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

A guide to Pudge

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Pudge is one of the most iconic heroes in Dota 2 and is consistently the most played hero on public servers by a wide margin.

His pick rate in competitive is not nearly as high, but when he was picked by Dendi and Natus Vincere for his Fountain Hook shenanigans during The International 3, it was the stuff of legends.

RELATED: 8 quick tips for Pudge

The Fountain Hook exploit has since been removed from the game. More recently, Pudge has been picked in competitive as a roaming, Position 4 support.

Here's a quick guide to one of the most divisive heroes in the game, Pudge, the Butcher.

Playstyle

Few things in Dota 2 can instill a sense of dread and despair like getting hit with a long-range Meat Hook. But it's a two-way street, and nailing someone with a well-timed hook can give you an instant shot of adrenaline.

You live and die by your Meat Hooks and picking off a hero "for free" often means a team fight won, if not a game won. Likewise, if you're off point with your hooks, your impact on the game is sorely minimized. This high risk, high reward playstyle is what makes Pudge so attractive and few heroes can affect a game's landscape like he can.

While Pudge is defined by his hooks, what gives him that option is rotations. It's extremely rare that you'll find a hook on a hero you're directly laning against, they'll play too cautiously and never give you that opportunity. Rotations are what allow a Pudge to catch the enemy off guard and helps ensure a hook more than threading a needle through a group of creeps.

A Pudge missing from the map means he can be anywhere and the risk of an unseen Meat Hook completely changes how your opponents position themselves. A roaming support Pudge instills a similar chill, but with a lot less risks, which is why that playstyle is more favored in competitive play.

Skill Build

In 99 percent of your games you can take Rot at Level 1, max Meat Hook first, taking Dismember whenever you can, while ignoring Flesh Heap until Meat Hook and Rot are maxed. In rare cases Level 1 Meat Hook can be used in a cheeky early game gank, but Rot is almost always better overall.

The reason for skipping Flesh Heap is because the Strength bonus stacks apply retroactively once the skill is leveled. It also provides a fixed magic resistance buff, but this alone is not nearly as useful early on.

It cannot be understated how useful Meat Hook and Dismember can be on targets with magic immunity. You don't necessarily want to aim for those targets, but Meat Hook's displacement and Dismember's three-second-stun are still invaluable in situations where you will want to control an "uncontrollable" target.

Itemization

Early itemization for Pudge is pretty static, but there's quite a bit of variation towards the mid and late game. Your general philosophy is improving movement and maximizing the potential of your Meat Hooks, so that means a Wind Lace and Aether Lens early on and working towards items like Blink Dagger and Aghanim's Scepter.

The item builds also assume that Wards and Sentries will be taken care of by your Position 5 support, but if you're somehow stuck with getting your own wards, take that into account regarding your progression.

Starting and Early Game

Two of the more prolific Pudge pickers in competitive are Team Liquid's gh and Team Faceless' Black^, though the latter normally plays a core position for Faceless, he transitions to a roaming support when he plays Pudge. They will largely be the basis for this guide.

The starting items for gh and Black^ are different, but follow a similar philosophy, early movement.

gh: Boots of Speed, Tango, Clarity Potion, Smoke of Deceit

Black^: Wind Lace, Tango, 2xClarity Potion, Iron Branch

gh's build up is much more aggressive with an early Smoke and probably best reserved if you're paired with a coordinated team. While Black^'s is a better general option and also leaves room for a Courier purchase, if your team really needs it.

From here the builds converge. They both build into Tranquil Boots. This seems odd at first because normally when you're building towards an Aether Lens you'd want Arcane Boots. However, because the bonus movement speed from Tranquils is much greater than Arcanes (+85 vs. +50), it's a better choice for early rotations and allows you to quickly reposition for Meat Hook.

As a side note, Faceless allow Black^ to farm two creep waves for a 3-minute Tranquils, instead of normal 7-minute Tranquils. It's definitely a nice bonus to make your rotations that much faster, but it's really not necessary and it will probably piss off your pub teammates.

Mid Game

The builds diverge again in the mid game as gh prefers to keep a casual Magic Stick and build his Aether Lens, meanwhile Black^ builds the upgraded Magic Wand and a Soul Ring, which leads into a Hand of Midas.

gh's build is much leaner and will get you your early game core item (Aether Lens) faster, while Black^'s build has a smoother build up. Overall, both are pretty greedy for different reasons, but Black^'s build is probably a safer route in delaying the Aether Lens until the mid/late game.

The item's extra 220 cast range is definitely useful, but considering Meat Hook's cast range is already 1300 units, it's not a crucial pick up early on.

At this point both players prioritize a Blink Dagger, which is one of the most important items on Pudge. It allows him to instantly change positions, which can open up a surprise angle for a Meat Hook and can allow you to simply initiate with Dismember and followup with a point-blank Meat Hook.

Black^ finally builds his Aether Lens after a Blink and the options for both builds open up towards the late game.

Late Game

Eul's Scepter of Divinity is a solid choice. It's a natural build up for the Wind Lace purchased early on, assuming you still have it, and the active is a no-brainer setup for a Meat Hook. The mana regen is also nice for when you eventually build Aghanim's Scepter.

Aghanim's Scepter gives some significant bonuses to Meat Hook. It adds an additional 90 damage and reduces the cooldown to four seconds, down from 11 seconds at Level 4. Your damage potential increases a lot when you can open with a Meat Hook, Dismember, then finish with another Meat Hook. Your primary limitation will be your mana pool, but that's where a Eul's or other mana regen items can come in handy.

Pipe of Insight is a common pick up for core Pudges and would be a solid late game item. It's also worth considering casual pieces earlier in the build, such as a Cloak or a Hood of Defiance, since the extra magic resistance reduces Rot self-damage and pairs well with your massive health from Flesh Heap. And speaking of effective HP, Shiva's Guard is a good pickup to increase effective HP against physical damage.

Force Staff is another solid extension to increase your movement options and can be used offensively and defensively.

Skill Tree

Level 10 Level 15 Level 20 Level 25
+2 Mana Regen +15 Movement Speed -40s Respawn +120 Rot DPS
+8 STR +5 Armor +150 GPM +1.75 Flesh Heap Stack STR

Pudge's Level 10 talent branch offers some solid choices. The extra mana regen works to sustain your Meat Hook since its mana cost is hefty and Pudge doesn't have a deep mana pool. The strength bonus is also nice, though you're not necessarily lacking in STR. gh bounces between both options, while Black^ prefers the STR bonus.

Considering Pudge's item build favors mobility, the +15 movement speed talent at Level 15 would make sense, however the movement bonuses specifically from the talent trees are generally inefficient. For comparison, a Wind Lace gives +20 movement speed and costs just 250 gold. Meanwhile the +5 armor bonus is equivalent to a Chainmail which costs 550 gold. gh always picks the armor bonus while Black^ switches between the two.

Level 20 is a no-brainer, you should almost always pick the +150 GPM option. Not only are the respawn time reduction talents generally bad, but it's the highest GPM bonus at Level 20, tied with Jakiro's. Both gh and Black^ always pick the GPM bonus.

Level 25 is another no-brainer. The Rot bonus sounds nice as it effectively doubles the Rot DPS, from 120 DPS at Level 4 to 240 DPS, however it also doubles the self-damage. At Level 25 you will have a good amount of extra magic resistance and the extra self-DPS may actually be helpful if you're trying to deny yourself, but the +1.75 STR Flesh Heap bonus is still much better.

With 15 Flesh Heap stacks, which is a pretty moderate number at 40 minutes, the talent alone will give you an extra 26.25 STR. That's more than a Reaver, which costs 3000.

Neither gh or Black^ have reached Level 25 in their pro Pudge games, but in their public matches they almost always pick the Flesh Heap bonus.

Laning

7.02 introduced a change which dampened a support Pudge's impact during the early stages by making it so Meat Hook temporarily makes a neutral target not draw aggro. What this means is that pulling mid with Meat Hook is no longer an option and same goes for easy chain pulling. Regardless, his ability to roam and contest the midlane remain.

Generally speaking you're better off contesting the midlane early on, while everyone is on even ground at Level 1, just take care not to soak too much of your mid's experience.

Rot is a great tool to contest the midlane because it doesn't require you to actually attack the enemy hero in order for it to do damage, which means if the enemy creeps already have aggro on your ally creeps, they won't aggro to you when just using Rot.

Your roams should take into account all aspects of the map and you should take advantage of your fluid positioning. This means avoiding enemy vision with Smoke or by taking the scenic route, and likewise taking advantage of the reduced vision during night time.

Effective roaming also includes contesting runes whenever they spawn and stacking camps whenever you can. Tanking a stacked camp for your midlaner nearby a shrine is a strong boost for both of you early on.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

Nahaz on predicting all 8 Kiev Major invites: 'I tried to follow the chain of logic that I think Valve has used in the past'

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Helena Kristiansson / ESL

Alan "Nahaz" Bester is a Dota 2 statistician, analyst and economics professor. Though he hasn't appeared at a LAN in some time, he correctly predicted all eight invites to the upcoming Kiev Major.

Shortly after the Kiev Major invites were announced, Nahaz spoke to theScore esports about predicting the Major and the upcoming Kiev regional qualifiers.

First off, congratulations for predicting all eight invites for the Kiev Major.

Thanks. It was bound to happen one of these days right? The irony is that I swore myself to never try and predict Valve invites again. But this time around, you know, you take a shot and every so often you hit.

How long did it take you to prepare for the invite predictions? How much research went into them?

A couple of hours of work. I sort of have all of this stuff floating around in my head and it's just a matter of organizing it and putting it down. At this point, for Dota, it's a lot like writing a lecture for a class. I've taught a lot of different things at this point in my career, I sort of have it all running around up in my head and it's just a matter of getting it all down and organizing a set of slides. That's kind of the same thing when I'm making these little Dota shows.

I know that for your final invite, you weren't really sure if it would be Team VG.J. You also thought it could be Faceless or TNC. Were you surprised by the lack of an SEA invite?

No. So that was kind of, when I put the predictions together, I tried to follow the chain of logic that I think Valve has used in the past. Valve is very much... if we invite this team we feel that we have to invite that team. And that's what exactly led to the 12 invite to Manila. The way I looked at it, Icefrog has always given a lot of respect to Chinese rosters with a lot of star power. VG.J, they did look very good at StarLadder, they passed the sort of eye test in getting by a lot of good teams. And if you're going to invite Wings, who obviously are the reigning TI champions, but really haven't achieved a level we expected since TI, I thought they would feel that they would have to invite a team from the same region that has the same level of talent and star power but has been red hot recently.

As for SEA, you look at Fnatic and the MVP Phoenix rosters that finished in the top of several consecutive Major's. And it's not just that those players aren't on those teams anymore, most of those players aren't even in the region anymore. I believe that the five players that competed for Fnatic and MVP Phoenix, I would say over half of them are competing in other regions. I do think SEA will be back, it's a natural part of the region's evolution. I compared it in the video to things like Chinese basketball and Japanese and Korean baseball, coming over and competing in American leagues. I do think that eventually you'll see some of those players come back, there'll be some more resources flowing into the region, but right now the region is pretty naturally down because they've had all their top talent culled.

We could see QO coming back to a SEA team since WanteD disbanded. I imagine if Team Secret continues to perform as they are, that roster could part ways.

The two teams that I think are on a lot of people's minds right now, and I got a lot of, justifiably, a lot of flak for not mentioning in the video were Secret and Virtus.pro. Secret, I mean, nobody quite knows what's going on with them right now and when you look at their replays, it's not just their problems gelling together. Team Liquid had problems gelling together at first, and that's natural. But Secret hasn't shown the kind of steady improvement. A hallmark of Puppey teams is that you know how he is going to beat you. It's not necessarily the same, with all of the different rosters, but within a given roster, Puppey always has a paradigm. He always has a philosophy, he always has a way that his team is going to win. And I don't see that with Secret right now, I don't see the answer to the question, "How are they going to beat people?"

And similarly with VP, they had a sequence of unfortunate events where they struggled a bit at ESL One Genting. And then I believed they were DDOSed in their appearance in the DAC qualifiers, ended up have to forfeit the match against Funnik's and Scandal's LQ team and that's a huge blow to them. Because VP is a team that has, in the past, shown flashes of brilliance but hasn't really been able to sustain that momentum and consistency. I've actually talked to Solo about this a couple of times. They feel like they've got the talent and they feel like they've got the mastery of the meta, but for whatever reason, the team really struggles to find consistency.

Do you agree with Valve's format with the qualifiers with two spots for China and SEA and one spot for everything else?

Given that you are going to have eight direct invites in a 16-team field, I don't know how else you're going to do it. That's the problem. There are a lot of very easy criticisms. Probably the biggest valid criticism is the one bid going to EU, which even after you take OG, Liquid and Ad Finem off the top, is still going to be an incredibly strong and incredibly competitive region. But, give me another solution. I don't think you cut down SEA or China down to one. Those regions didn't get touched, didn't get divided, and you have the same number of teams competing at they've had in the past there. So again, if there were a way to have done it, I would have like to have seen six direct invites so that you could keep, EU especially, at two qualification spots. The more I kicked it around in my head, in making the video, if I were doing it I would have invited seven teams. VG.J would have not gotten the direct invite, and I would have cut it off after Newbee. I would have had 2-2-2, for SEA,China and EU, and one spot for the other three. But as I was making the video I thought that there was no way Valve would have really done it, so I didn't mention it.

I think if you look at the quality of tournaments in the past, all of the data that we have about the Majors, you want fewer automatic spots and more qualified teams. If you look at the record of qualified teams and doing well and winning at these events. On the other hand, Valve doesn't have a format for a reason. They don't say there will be X number of bids, and if you finish in the top Y you automatically get a bid.

They don't do that, and they don't do that for a reason. They put a lot of stock in their own subjective stock in the valuation of teams and they value the ability to say, "We really want to invite Wings and Ad Finem even though they haven't been the most dominant teams between Boston and now. But if we invite those teams, who do we invite based on more recent results?" They're a big fan of that kind of organic reason, and if you look at the material that they've put out for their employees that's public, what little of it there is, you get that vibe out of Valve. You get that they value organic, iterative, decision making.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

A basic guide to warding in Dota 2

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Dota 2 is a complex game that takes years of practice to understand, let alone master. And if there's any topic that confuses newcomers more than anything else, it's warding.

Wards are items that provide vision to a wide area, allowing you and your team to keep watch over areas of the map and spy on the enemy team. They come in two flavors, Observer Wards and Sentry Wards, each providing their own advantages. They're simple to use, but difficult to properly utilize.

Warding is an integral part to winning in Dota 2. Knowing where to place your wards and de-warding the enemies' wards are common tactics that players, particularly those that play support, should know. That does not mean that wards are relegated solely to the support role, as mid and offlaners should themselves use wards to set up ambushes and to block enemy jungle camps.

Observer and Sentry Wards

Observer Wards are items purchased at the Main Shop that create an invisible ward that provides a large sight range. Unlike Sentry Wards, Observer Wards do not provide True Sight, meaning invisible enemies can travel right under their path undetected. Two Observer Wards are purchasable at the start of the game, with more becoming slowly available as time goes on.

Sentry Wards are items purchasable at the Main Shop that create an invisible ward that only provides temporary natural vision, but are capable of detecting enemy units with True Sight. Their primary use, however, is to detect enemy wards so that they can be destroyed, making them pivotal items in your efforts to de-ward the enemy.

Ward Hills

In an effort to help new players learn how to properly ward, Valve introduced Ward Hills to the game. These hills are scattered throughout the Radiant and Dire jungle and are primarily identified by the eye symbol located on top. They existed before 7.00, but their positions have shifted with the new update, changing what they provide vision of as well.

If you're new to warding, ward hills are a solid marker that can be used to maximize the effect of wards. That said, they are also the most common locations for opponents to de-ward, so try not to rely on them too much.

Radiant

The first ward hill, located in the secondary radiant jungle, provides vision of the Radiant's Secret Shop, the new shrine, as well as the lane near the offlane T1 tower.

Located just to the south of the offlane T2 tower, this ward hill provides vision of the left most Radiant camp, the nearby rune spot and the jungle next to the T2 mid tower.

Moving to the Radiant's primary jungle, the left most ward hill continues to grant vision to the two camps on the left along with the camp to the right of the ward hill.

Moving east, the newest ward hill for Radiant provides vision over the southern rune spot and the new shrine.

Moving back to the secondary jungle, the Radiant's last ward hill grants vision over both neutral camps, the two rune spots and the entrance to Roshan's pit.

Dire

Starting in the Dire's secondary jungle, the ward hill close to the offlane T1 tower grants vision of the Secret Shop, the new shrine and the neutral camp.

The second ward hill in the secondary jungle, located near the offlane T2 tower, provides vision of the nearby neutral camp as well as some of the jungle. None of the secondary jungle ward hills for Dire grant vision of that jungle's rune spot.

In the Dire primary jungle, the ward hill closest to the Roshan pit only provides some vision of the pit itself, but provides much better coverage of the stairs north of the pit, the northern river rune and two neutral camps to the north.

The final Dire ward hill is unchanged from pre-7.00, providing vision of the neutral camp to the south in addition of much of the Dire jungle.

Welcome to the Jungle - Basic Tips for Warding

While ward hills are great for newcomers, they are not the be-all-end-all of warding. Wards can be placed anywhere on the map, resulting in a huge number of ward spots to keep track of and utilize.

But before you place a ward, there are a few questions that you should keep in mind:

  • Is there anything blocking the ward's vision?
  • How much vision does this ward provide?
  • Does the ward's vision cover important objectives, such as Shrines, runes or camps?
  • Is the ward in an obvious location for enemies to de-ward?

Of course, not every ward needs to cover an objective in order for it to be useful. Take the ward placed below, which covers the river entrance near the Radiant's offlane T1 tower.

While this ward does not cover an objective, it does provide extensive vision of the river, allowing you to see roaming supports and other heroes looking to enter the lane. For the Dire, it is easy to place without being detected, and serves as a valuable location in defending against early game aggression.

But warding should also not be used solely as a defense mechanism. In the image below, the Dire observer ward is placed deep in the Radiant primary jungle, where it oversees two neutral camps.

In this location, the ward will allow your team to keep track of any hero that is attempting to take the two camps for farm. As a late game ward, it will also keep track of any heroes that attempt to skirt around the mid lane to fight in the jungle.

Warding Roshan

With new map changes comes a new Roshan spot, and with a new Roshan spot comes new ways to ward it. Two ward hills, one in the Radiant jungle and the other in the Dire jungle, provide adequate vision of Roshan's pit, but there are other spots that provide better vision that are not located in as obvious positions.

While the nearby Radiant Ward Hill does provide vision of the river rune, placing a ward in this location provides a much better view of the entrance to the pit itself, allowing you to see the enemy approaching it from a fair distance away.

A much better location to ward Roshan is on the Dire side, just behind the pillar north of the stairs near Roshan. It has clear views of the pit and the rune spawn, and is not a place that is normally checked when the enemy team de-wards around the pit.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.

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