Team Liquid already had a rough go of things at ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational Singapore, but Evil Geniuses added insult to injury.
In its final game of the group stage, the North American squad closed things out by picking Techies. The hero is reviled in public matchmaking games because of his ability to draw things out for an indefinite length of time, but is rarely used in pro games due to the hero generally being ineffectual.
That made Evil Geniuses picking the hero a bit of a shock. The fact EG actually won using the hero makes this game stand as a bit of an indictment when it comes to Team Liquid’s Dota 2 squad.
Evil Geniuses’ Techies pick for support players Andreas Franck “Cr1t-” Nielsen came as a shock to the commentators with Toby “TobiWan” Dawson stating that the hero is “total dogshit” after the recent removal of the XP boost talent.
“Without the XP talent, there’s no progression for this hero,” TobiWan said. “On the bright side, Team Liquid have horrendous heroes against Techies. Absolutely horrendous. He hates playing against heroes like Juggernaut or Lifestealer, anyone that can just walk through the mines.”
It seems as though this was EG’s plan all along, as they opened the draft with bans of Lone Druid, Broodmother, and Lycan, who can keep Techies from completely taking over a lane with proximity mines by running controlled units around. That said, Liquid had the opportunity to draft heroes to combat this. EG picked Techies third, with Liquid enjoying three more picks after them. Though they could have snagged a hero like Nature’s Prophet or Chen, but they seemingly thought Techies was no issue and made no real effort to counter him.
Whether that plan was wise is up for debate, but Evil Geniuses was positioned for a win regardless of how things went with Cr1t- on Techies. Artour “Arteezy” Babaev ran wild in the bottom lane on Tiny and amassed a considerable gold lead early. Liquid attempted multiple rotations to try and slow him down, but Evil Geniuses answered each time and scored kills in return.
This allowed EG to snowball early and take the win at the 32-minute mark.
It is unlikely that Evil Geniuses’ Techies pick is indicative of any kind of dramatic meta shift that will make the hero viable in professional play. The game between Liquid and EG was largely inconsequential, with EG looking good for an upper bracket spot at ONE Esports Singapore and Liquid already handed a group stage elimination.
Despite that, there is some possible usefulness for the hero in pro games now. The removal of mobile flying vision from Batrider and Beastmaster makes it significantly more difficult to clear out mines. Alongside this, the addition of outposts and several narrow staircases around the map gave Techies numerous areas that they can effectively lock down. Finally, neutral items like the Mango Tree, Essence Ring, and Philosopher’s Stone are huge boons to Techies.
Once again, this doesn’t necessarily suggest that Techies is a legitimate option in pro games. It just helps the erstwhile hero.
So how did Cr1t- play Techies against Team Liquid? He played alongside Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev’s Enigma in the Radiant-side offlane. He frequently left lane to stack the medium and large camps in the nearby jungle. This initially resulted in him falling far behind in terms of levels, but RAMZES666 benefitted from the solo XP while Cr1t- was able to catch back up after farming those stacks.
He hopped between the top lane and jungle throughout the early game, but by the 10-minute mark he was at level six with a Soul Ring and Arcane Boots. While Techies players in pub games will typically split off from their team and attempt to shut down a lane using Proximity Mines, he instead roamed with his team in order to push towers and set up ganks. Whether this was because EG got so far ahead or whether Techies is best used in the mid game as a pusher is unclear.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see if Techies ends up being a viable option as the season progresses.