Team Nigma and Vikin.gg are playing Dota 2 on a whole new level, and not necessarily in a good way.
While one might think that playing at a new level refers to crafty counters, well-executed rotations, or creative use of trees, the two European squads went in a very different direction. Fishing for a favorable matchup for their cores in the side lanes, both teams opted to run a double-jungle setup for the opening minutes of their decisive showdown in the BEYOND Epic tournament.
For Nigma, Ivan Borislavov “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov and Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi ran around the Dire’s top jungle as Ember Spirit and Queen of Pain, respectively. For Vikin.gg, Indji “Shad” Lub and Tobias “Tobi” Buchner did the same in the Radiant’s bottom jungle. The two sides did this for four minutes, giving the mid laners and all four supports on the map solo lanes for an extended length of time with the four cores falling behind as a result.
Miracle- was the first man to blink, eventually taking his normal spot in the top lane.
Nigma ultimately won the game in a 63-minute marathon, giving the team the 2-1 series victory.
6 buybacks, devastating die backs, and @TeamNigma secures this final game
— Beyond the Summit (@BeyondTheSummit) June 18, 2020
The fact that two prominent teams in a large tournament sent two cores each into the jungle might lead some to the conclusion that jungling is once again viable at a high level in Dota 2. The reality is that, no, it isn’t. So stop trying to make it work in your pubs.
The reason that Nigma and Vikin.gg sent their cores into the jungle wasn’t to farm XP and gold. Rather, it was a means of trying to force a favorable matchup for their respective heroes. Vikin.gg was hoping to have Shad’s Bloodseeker lane against Miracle-’s Ember Spirit due to Bloodseeker’s ability to bully around opposing melee heroes and its current vulnerability to Queen of Pain.
After four minutes of jungling the cores were sitting at just level two, compared to the supports being level four. Not only that, but it took two heroes to be able to effectively clear camps that early in the game.
The removal of Stout Shield and Iron Talon from the shop, combined with the opening camp spawn being moved from 0:30 to 1:00, prevents players from being able to efficiently kill neutrals in the earliest stages of the game. Even if they could, the XP and gold bounties for killing neutrals simply don’t match those of lane creeps.
The jungle is enjoying greater significance in today’s Dota 2 meta thanks to the introduction of neutral items and marginally improved bounties compared to those of 2017 through 2019. But jungling from level one still isn’t feasible under any circumstances in 2020.
You’ll just have to stay in lane, even if you’ve got a tough matchup to deal with.