Monday, November 2, 2015

No, you are not helping.

This is an entry about how risky it is to commit to a spell on impulse.  Whatever the initial value it might have offered, it just ends up sucking.  I will explore four different scenarios:

Support Mirana taking leap to avoid being firstblooded
This can happen at times when Mirana is choosing to go uphill to ward before creeps spawn, or just getting randomly gone on by 5 peopled that smoked into your jungle.  Whatever the scenario is, it will often catch the Mirana offguard, and the player may choose to skill up leap and attempt to get away.

The trouble here is that when Mirana is chosen to be played as a support, her strength lies in offmap presence and stacking.  But now she can no longer effectively abuse this playstyle, and even if she hits lvl2 from pulls, that's a lot of valuable time wasted, and absence of pressure she would apply otherwise to applicable lanes.

In a more competitive setting, this can be detrimental because your entire early game to mid game transition may be based on the presence of arrow.  The first 3 waves are incredibly important in mid matchups, and Mirana's offmap presence might be everything in deciding the fate of your mid.  If that was the game plan all along, and it was stopped by a split second panic decision, then "it was either that or give them fb dude" is not good enough.  Sometimes, you have no good options, just an option that is better than the other.  And that might have been choosing to die instead of leveling leap.  It's just one death, instead of your entire early game.

Enigma to take midnight pulse for level 1 clash
Depending on the outcome of the level 1 clash, it can be very damaging or not.  You have to consider why Enigma was picked.  Is it because this hero can hit lvl6 in 5min in the jungle, or do we feel that even without that asset of the hero, it would still accomplish its job?  Opposing team might feel that with Enigma on the other side, the runes are no contest.  And maybe you want to surprise them.  Either way, the choice to level up midnight pulse or not at lvl1 is a very deliberate one, and you should be clear as to why you are doing this.

If you want to avoid variance, you could just not do it.  In the least, that won't hurt the team.

Earthshaker to enchant totem for courier snipe 
Context matters here a lot, but the later the courier snipe is, the more damaging this becomes because that would mean Earthshaker lvl1 with little to no experience at 2min.  He will struggle to find lvl2 and that also means he'll be missing stack timings.  Yes, the courier snipe gives more gold, but stacks give more experience.  And experience matter a lot in the early-mid game.  It's not that bad as long as you get fissure ASAP, but it can definitely turn out less than optimal in a lot of cases.

Skywrath to take slow for firstblood
In my opinion, much of Skywrath's strength comes from his powerful laning presence through spammable nuke, fast movement speed and 600 range right clicks.  Blinded by firstblood, one may choose to skill up slow over nuke, and find himself in a tough spot during laning phase, struggling to keep their offlaner in check.

Obviously, at the cost of firstblood, slow over nuke may not be the biggest deal, and might end up in a weird place where both sides are decently happy with the outcome.  The lesson here is that it's not so simple as securing firstblood, that depending on the context of the game, a tighter grip on safelane may be more meaningful.

This one is tougher because your allies may be super discontent with "missing" the firstblood, and they may cancer up.  But then your lane partner will be annoyed that you lost all your lane competitiveness had you taken the firstblood, and not willing to reason.  Don't pick Sky is the answer I think, GG!

In closing..
A lot of these choices do not have end up bad, especially in a competitive setting where you have more control over your environment.  As long as the players are incredibly self-aware of the situation, they can make recoveries through proper channels (eg. funneling solo exp to Mirana so that she may get her arrow ASAP).  At which point, the damage can be minimal and in turn, amplifies the reward that was achieved earlier.

Still, usually, these rewards are often not worth the hassle most of the time.  DON'T DO IT GUYS!!