For years on end, Techies has been a meme character in Dota 2. The demolitionist hero has been a tool for frustrating both enemy and ally in public matchmaking, but little else.
Over the last few months, pro players have started taking him in tournament games, as was seen with Evil Geniuses’ Andreas Franck “Cr1t-” Nielsen taking him during the ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational Singapore. And in the last month in particular, pro players have been picking him much more frequently.
Spearheading this movement is Virtus.pro’s Bakyt “Zayac” Emilzhanov. This past month, the Russian support player has been playing Techies frequently, locking the hero in five times and taking the W in all of those games.
While fans traditionally think of Techies as a dedicated pusher or a defensive specialist, Zayac has found a unique spin on the hero.
In low-MMR play, Techies is used to roam around, lock down areas with mines, and set up defenses around towers. A step up from there, Techies is used as an aggressive pusher that falls back on his defensive tools if the game goes sideways. For Zayac, Techies is a potent magical nuker that can set up kills both in lane and in team fights with Blast Off.
One of the biggest things when it comes to Virtus.pro and Zayac is that they don’t pick Techies without the proper synergy. Zayac locks him in, but lane partner Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok always picks a hero that sets up the use of Blast Off.
The go-to for Resolut1ion is Axe. By blinking in and using Berserker’s Call, he can hold one or more units in place to set up a high-damage spell combo.
Games generally progress the same way. Zayac uses Blast Off to deal heavy damage to enemies in lane, but remains flexible in terms of how he levels. Depending on when teams start grouping, he will max either Proximity Mines or Blast Off first. Regardless, he avoids leveling Stasis Mine until after level six.
In the mid game, he coordinates with Resolut1on and other teammates to score kills. When the two teams aren’t skirmishing around the map, he swaps between lanes and jungle, finding farm for himself.
In terms of itemization, pub game techies will generally focus on picking up items that come with strong mana regeneration potential, such as Eul’s Scepter. Zayac instead heads in a different direction, going for an early Soul Ring into a Mekansm. While that does cut into his mana regeneration and can leave him starved after planting mines, he supplements this with a steady stream of Clarity potions. With Mekansm and Clarities, he has the ability to farm and respond to team fights more efficiently than he would be with just a strong mana regeneration item.
Every longtime Dota 2 player will reflexively think of Techies as a hero focused on dragging games late. Zayac has the ability to do that on Techies, but with the right composition and sufficient teamwork, he’s capable of closing games out quickly with the hero as well.