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30 Votes

How to be a Great DotA Team Captain

July 3, 2014 by NinjaMovesPro
Comments: 16    |    Views: 77242    |   


by Jack.Infinity and NinjaMovesPro

"The leaders who work most effectively, never say 'I.'
And thats not because they have trained themselves not to say 'I.'
They dont think 'I.' They think 'we'; they think 'team.'
They understand their job to be to make the team function.
They accept responsibility and dont sidestep it, but 'we' gets the credit.
This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done."

~ Peter Drucker

Team captains serve a very important role in DotA. The game often depend on the team captain's knowledge. Captains have 3 roles:
  1. Picking Heroes. Most of the games today depends on hero picks. Getting outpicked will make it harder for the team to kill, to push and to win the game.
  2. Motivating the Team. If the captain is trembling in fear, would he motivate his team? captains should possess the right attitude and give his team mates what they need, specially confidence.
  3. Giving Commands. The team should know what to do next and captains are responsible for them to know this. If not, they will act without coordination and make the opponents take advantage of this.

To be a great team captain or leader, you don't have to be an elected official, or a CEO. A leader is someone that others consistently want to follow for new trends and ideas. A fancy title can make that happen temporarily, at least, but a true leader inspires steadfast loyalty with the steps below!

Chapter 1: Be a Hero Drafting King

Having a better leader ranked 2nd to the most important essentials in winning DotA games. Leaders are responsible for their team's motivation and strategies. Hero drafting greatly lies on the hands of a DotA Team Captain. Team mates may suggest but leaders should have the larger vision on how the game would flow. They should be able to pick heroes that will give the team great advantage over the opponents.

How can we do this? How can we be trusted leaders when it comes to Captain's mode DotA games? How can we be a Hero Drafting King to lead our team in having the easiest route to victory?

I'd like to start with this simple quote from Einstein, "Imagination is more important than Knowledge."

We all know that Earthshaker has Fissure, enchant, aftershock, echo slam, but it's our imagination that made us decide to buy Kelen's Dagger of Escape. We imagined that in a clash, a surprise attack from Earthshaker have great chances on wiping out the entire opposing team.

This applies greatly in hero picking. You need to have a good imagination. Some good captains played DotA for centuries just to be a good drafter. But, what if you don't? We play DotA for fun. We are not having BS DotA as our course so we don't really have that much time to experience all the Heroes Line up and decide what works best. The shortcut to being a good Drafter is your imagination.

The 5 things you need to imagine

1. Potentials of Heroes

You need to imagine the things heroes can do to give trouble to a team. You need to conceptualize what they are capable of. Pugna, for example, can push undefended towers quickly because of his Blast. Alchemist, when farmed up, can turn into a very painful and hard to kill beast. You need to know what heroes are capable of because this is where you'll have to imagine the next number - Hero Counters.

2. Hero Counters

Now that you have imagined how those heroes will give you trouble, you should start thinking of what counters you're going to have. You may think of countering Pugna with a Jakiro to defend towers. You may try slardar to reduce Alchemist's armor late game. You may try anything you think would counter certain heroes. Some may be effective, some will fail. What's important is you fail forward because you learned from that error and you're ready to have new plans. I can't teach you how to be an instant Professional DotA Captain, but I'll surely give you the vision how to skip experiencing tons of lost DotA games just to improve.

3. Laning

Laning is very essential. You also need to use your imagination to determine how you're going to win your lanes. In most cases, you need to know how to dominate a lane but sometimes you just need to know how you're going to survive. May it be solo lanes or trilanes, you need to imagine the abilities of your opponent's heroes and take advantage of their weaknesses.

4. How to Kill Early Game

Why are supports essential in the team? Yes, it's map control and early game dominance. Supports are important because they would give the team more kills early game. They have painful skills at lower levels like disables and nukes. Now, you need to imagine how you're going to kill. You should not just pick 2 supports without thinking how good their combo is.

Here's an example of a good pair of supports:

Crystal Maiden + Sven - The slow of CM gives Sven more hits on the opponent. Storm bolt and frostbite adds more.

Here's an example of a bad pair of supports:

Earthshaker + Chen - In ganks, Fissure can block Chen's creeps at times making the prey flee safely. There are other heroes that have better chemistry with Earthshaker or Chen. I'm not telling though that they shouldn't be picked. I saw Chen and Earthshaker picked at the same time by pro players. They didn't rely on ganks. They focused on team fights and were successful.

You need to conceptualize how you're going to kill your preys at early level. If you visualize that it'll be harder to kill with your planned line up, think of a new one. Never just pick randomly. Good opponents would take advantage of your weakness at drafting and they're going to use that against you.

5. The Team Fights

Imagine what you're going to do at team fights. Are your heroes capable of wiping out the entire team? or after 3 kills, all your killing mechanisms are gone? That's why there are combination of nukers and hitters in the team. Nukers alone won't kill all the opponents. Hitters alone would consume more time to kill everyone. But, the most important part, know how your opponents will fight. What are the things they are capable of at team fights? At drafting itself, you need to be prepared for the strategies they're going to execute with their heroes.

And that's the most important thing which a team captain should possess in drafting, a good imagination. Learn more about drafting by browsing updated, in-depth guides about them by the other authors just out there.

Chapter 2: Building Your Team with Confidence

A Great leader doesn't aim to be popular; he aims to make his team mates better to have a better team. He understands that he cannot win championships alone. To make his team mates improve their DotA games, he needs to make them build their confidence first.

Leading a DotA team is fun but it's not easy. It is different from being just a captain. Leaders need to consider having good conceptualization, sufficient knowledge on the game as well as on team mates and they need to be mentally tough. Here are some tips on how to help your team mates build confidence:

Power Talk
    Before the start of the game, start by giving them a phrase they can run into their minds that gives them confidence. For example, "We are a complete team, we have good carries, supports and we got good team chemistry" or "We practiced for enough time already, we should just execute it again today." Those phrases will be stuck on their minds before playing rather than negative thoughts that would make them nervous.

State their Advantages
    Once the game starts, tell them what are their advantages against the opponents. On their lanes, for example, tell them that they have stronger combo than the opponents (if it's true) or you can tell them that they can easily survive opponent's attacks but they should have enough mana. Tell other things if these things arent related but ever lie to your team mates. They would lose their trust on you and your words won't have any effect on them anymore if you do.

Compliment their good actions
    Praise them when they do well. You can say a simple "good job" or you can tweak it to make it more personal. For example: "That was a perfect timing." Complimenting isn't bad if it's true. Most players though they appear to be confident enough already still need affirmations.

Thank them
    Be humble to thank them if they saved you. Thanking them doesn't make them feel like robots made for destruction. Once they saved you and you said "good job", it's like saying "it's your role, you've done it well robot." Know when to praise and know when to show gratitude.

Reward their efforts
    When they come to gank your lane, do your best not to waste their ganks. When they are trying to dominate their lanes and you see they're about to lose, teleport and help to make sure they win. Don't let them feel that they're efforts are useless because they would be lazy or afraid to do those things again.

Find the remedy for their faults
    They would normally commit mistakes because they are only human, just like you. Once they made errors, think of the best way to minimize the disadvantage for the team and don't whine on them. Once, our main carry had a crucial death being ganked, I know they can destroy middle lane though we defend 4v5 so I told them to give the middle lane. I, then, destroyed their top lane. This is one of the best strategy to defend a push. You have to make them choose to push or defend other lanes. When one of them teleport top, I'd teleport back to our base and we would fight 4v4 with them.

Make them have fun
    One way to remove their anxieties is to let them enjoy. I often talk to the heroes on my monitor commenting on my opponents moves and making it funny. They would see me so relax and they would be too. I've tried this so many times and it's really effective. Once your team mates are relaxed, their minds will be clear enough to think properly.

Use the "try" magic
    The word 'try' is useful when your team mates arent that experienced enough. These words lessen the pressure on your team mate. They wouldn't be so afraid of failing. You can use it mostly in ganking where perfect timing is really important. Once they start doing it often, they would be used into it and you don't need to type the word try. It would now be "G".

Chapter 3: Radiating Your Team with Positive Energy

Blaming, whining and complaining are some the things players usually do when losing a DotA game. This negative energy makes the team doesn't want to fully fight anymore. Once they lost their passion and trust to win the game, it became more difficult to win the game.

I have played a lot of games where we lost early game but end up having a turning point. This is the result of our determination to wait for their one wrong move that will result to their downfall. This is because I take the initiative to dispel all my team mate's negative thoughts by explaining to them the reason why I still believe that we can win. These are the guidelines in radiating positive energy for your team:

Don't find faults, find remedies
    You have to understand that your team mates are humans. They would really commit errors. Don't shout at them pointing out how bad their move was. Instead, be the technician of that action. An example was when my team mate who was our key to winning a clash was ganged and killed. Because of that death, the enemies are ready to push our mid lane. I told them to give the tower while I destroyed the opponent's TOP tower and barracks.

Compliment their good actions
    A simple "gj" (good job) means a lot for a player. They know that their good deeds are appreciated inspiring them to do more good things in the game. The main reason for this is that you're giving them confidence and we all know that confidence is a very important factor in any sport.

Say "G" before fighting
    WTF? Yes, say "g" before fighting. This makes them feel that you are confident that you can win the fight. This is one magical technique in boosting your team's power. This is like the battle cry of prehistoric wars. These battle cries aren't made for nothing. Not only that it is a confidence booster but it also informs the whole team that everyone will now be fighting. Thus, they won't hesitate joining the war because of this.

Don't show any fear
    Scared captain? What more do you expect from your team? Being a captain, you are the one they should be looking up to. You're the role model. Once you accept that you're scared at the other team, you are not trusting yourself as well as your team mates.

Always play your A game
    Once your team mates see how well you're doing in the game, they will be inspired to do well too. Also think of the best ways to make the game easier for the team. Pick good heroes, roam if needed to help other lanes, dominate your lane, farm your items quickly, etc.

Radiating positive energy to your team is more important that training for months without motivating them.

Chapter 4: Taking Your Team with Care

A Ship Captain has his ship; A DotA Captain has his team.

As DotA Captains, you should know the right way of leading your team to victory as a ship Captain would do with his ship.

What can you really learn from a ship Captain? These are the things they would say in every situations.

"The ship is broken? Let's fix it as soon as possible."
    Since the team is your ship, you can learn to care more about your team. If fights among your team mates occur, take the initiative to fix it. If there are weaknesses on your team, work hard to turn them into strengths. You should find a way to always have a healthy team and aim to have the best team.

"I am nothing without my ship."
    Captains know this from the bottom of their hearts. Their pride comes from the ship first before them. Even how young and unpopular their ships are, Captains are proud of them. This is the same thing with DotA Captains. Good leaders are proud of his team no matter how low others look at them. They also don't aim to be popular by himself; he aims for the pride of his team. A good team corresponds to good leadership of a captain.

"We will go south by 15 miles, west by 20 miles and make a turn around the island."
    Great Captains, having the most knowledge on water, direct the best path for their ships. They clearly tell their plans to provide smooth journey for the ship. A Great DotA Captain should also be clear with his plans and be transparent to his team, no secrets or laziness to explain. DotA Captains are the ones responsible for the strategy of the team and he shouldn't be a lazy type Captain at this point. Smooth flow of strategy comes firstly from the clarity of the plan to the whole team then execution and practice are next.

"Pirates? Prepare for Battle!"
    Ship Captains would do everything to defend their ships, may it be from natural calamities or external opponents like pirates. Great DotA Captains wouldn't let anyone beat his team without fighting and defending. They may win or lose but the Captain won't be hiding like a chicken in a cage. He would be all around the ship giving instructions based on his professional knowledge and strategic wit. He would be there to fight.

"Abandon ship? Go, but I will stay..."
    Great Ship Captains, who fought so hard for their ships then end up losing and people are evacuating from them, preferred to be with their ships and die. Some will think this is foolish but looking deeper, you cannot blame them. They loved their ships so much and they cannot afford looking at it sink from a lifeboat. This is a sign of his high respect for the ship he commanded.

    A Great DotA Captain won't leave his team no matter what happens. He will be with his team through thick and thin. He will do anything to make his team the best team ever and won't abandon them to have an easy life through joining other teams.

Chapter 5: Making Your Own DotA Team

I started my own DotA team when I heard about a tournament in one computer shop near our University. The team I made was composed of friends from high school. I was only an average player being taught by my DotA Teacher, Mark Bernardo. He exposed me to his DotA friends who happened to be the best team back then, the insane. I observed how good their team play was. Individually, they may experience defeat but when it's time to play as a team, it's quite impossible to defeat them. How did they develop that kind of team? I asked myself. I didn't stop studying how to have a solid team. I had a notebook of strategies I've formulated myself. I didn't want to be copy cat because I know if I'm going to copy their strategy, there would be no chance to defeat them. We had joined several tournaments to improve our team. I asked Mark if we could get a chance to fight against his team and I'm willing to pay for their PC rental. We had fail a lot of times. We would have talks after every defeat we experience. One thing I love about my team is that they never lost their trust in me. Though we always fail, they always follow my plans and never complain. It was after a year, when we reached the top. We managed to defeat the team we admired a lot, the insane. Thus, we end up winning every game. Now, I already retired from this game and I just play when I have time, I want to share some things I have learned in developing your own DotA Team. This is a DotA lesson on creating and improving your own team in DotA Allstars.

Be Open Minded
    The key to improvement understands. Seek first to understand the factors what made a strategy effective or ineffective. You should also learn to accept facts. Accept that you and your team mates can make several errors in the game. Don't whine on them and show immaturity. Instead, praise the things they've done well. Discuss generally the errors made in every game. You should use your mind and learn from the game, not your heart to feel frustrated for weeks. It is alright to lose games. Better strategy and execution really would win. It's not that you're dumb. They can tell you you're dumb but you are not. It's just that you need more experience and you have to know the game better.

Know Each Player's Potential
    After several games played together, you as a leader should know what the things your players do best are. Study their game and decide which role you can ask them to have. You only have 4 team mates; it's not that difficult to detect what they do best. You'd see if a player who already know how to farm, let him improve so in that field. Players who are sneaky can play gankers or setters. Players who are already a team player can play support role who can be the savior of the team. Experiment on the effectiveness of the team after giving their roles, playing games against different level of teams. Again if you fail, decide what adjustments are needed to be done. Maybe the player just needs more practice. Don't change his role at once or remove him from the team.

Lead, don't Manage
    If you want your team to stick together until the end, lead. Don't manage them, they are not things. Leading is different from managing. Leading is making your team want to follow you, managing is forcing your team to follow you. You can lead by telling them what your plan is and how will it be effective. Example: "I'm planning to try pushing early so that we can have more gold." They would want that. Who doesn't want more gold, right? They would obey you whenever you say push because they want it too. In managing, you are the only one who knows what your plan is and you just tell them to obey you. Once you fail with your plan, they'd lost their trust to your command. Leading inspires them to contribute more ways on how to attain the goal. It's way better than simply following commands. The ability to play as a team depends on the leader. One of the best ways is to lead by example. If you play carry, show them how to play carry effectively. Whatever the outcome of the game would be, always play at your best. Do not show any sign of lost hope for they would do the same.

Never be afraid to try Something New
    I remember one time; we were all used into having 3 farmers and 2 supports. Then, I was curious as to what if we would only have 1 main farmer and 4 heroes would be moving around the map to kill opponents making our carry farm more gold than usual. Then my team mates agreed and didn't mind if we will lose. After the game, we did lost, but they found it exciting. We practiced that kind of strategy for about a week. Then, it came to be our solid strategy that can knock off any team. We usually use it as surprise tactics in tournaments. I shared this because I want you all to try different things and never regret doing it. Experiments often start with failures. From those failures, look at how great our technology now - same thing with DotA. Don't simply go with the flow. There are a lot of heroes and a lot of strategies to counter every play styles.

Watch Professional Replays
    Learn from other team's error. You cannot make all the errors in the world. In watching replays watch their play style and acquire the skills needed for the improvement of your team. Hero picks are not to be copied totally. You should start with having your own formulated play style. It is essential for leaders to plan original play style for the team because most players today are already watching Professional Replays. Plan strategies that would push your team's full potential. I usually watch professional replays and I, honestly, imitate some strategies made by a team but not all of them. I usually make it a hybrid my own. Doing so, you'll be unpredictable to other teams.

Be Flexible
    You have to be flexible to make the necessary adjustments from games lost. To improve is to change. Thus, changing is not easy for majority of people. If changing is necessary to have an effective team, then change. I was trained to be a carry hero player but when I realized how bored my team mates are in supporting, I switched to being our main support in our team. I make some adjustments to make the team more effective. I find it obvious most of the time what are the things that wont work or fit in the game plan, then I tell my team mates what game plan adjustments I'm going to make so that they would know what to do.

Be Patient
    This is somewhat implied in the other statements I made. But I just want to emphasize this more. Be patient. Never lose hope. Never think that you cannot beat the best team in the world. May it be Ehome or LGD, you can be better if you work for what you desire. "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying." -Michael Jordan.

Watch Your Games
    The best way to improve your team is watching your games. You have the ability to clearly see the errors made or how the opponent managed to defeat your strategy. If you totally understand the things that lead to your defeat, you wont do that same thing again. Eliminating errors made by your team is another way of saying that your team is really improving.

Chapter 6: Preparing for a DotA Tournament

The World DotA Championship logo

DotA Tournaments are thrilling because the game itself is quite balanced specially now that Ice Frog has made several modifications. This is a battle of decision making and skills. These 2 important things as well as the following are the things you should improve to win most of your DotA games and tournaments.

Learn your effective play style
    In DotA Tournament games, you don't have time to be thinking of what play style you should have. There's no time for trial and error. You should know in your practices what works and what suits your team. If you go out there and play differently from your practice games, the only chance of winning is luck. You have to trust your practices and yourself. Yes, you are facing a stronger opponent but don't be intimidated. Stick to your developed game style and just perform with your A-game.

Lead if you are the leader; Trust if you are a member
    Leaders have the greatest role in tournaments. They are the one who would decide what will be the team's strategy and they are the one who would generate plans in most situations. Members can suggest but leaders should be the one to decide whether to accept or reject given suggestions. The main reason for this is to have a united attack. If members would decide what to do on their own, the team would fall against an opposing team who are fighting as a team. In team games/sports, winning is decided by two things: better leader and better trust from members.

Prepare enough strategy
    In most tournaments, your games can be watched by your next opponents. Having only 1 strategy means you're already countered as soon as you played your first game. Your opponents can wait for you in your favorite ganking areas, your opponents can simply ban your bread and butter heroes, and worst your opponents can even use your strategy against you. If you're joining a DotA Tournament, it is a must to be unpredictable. This adds to their fear against you. How can they defend if they don't know how you will attack?

Be ready to counter as many DotA strategies as possible
    Once you have a clue what your opponent's game plan will be, you should be wise enough to be prepared for that plan a week before and execute your counters. Practice against better teams because it is through them that you're going to know what strategies will surprise and beat you. Then formulate plans to win against those strategies and know which will work. When tournament day comes, you're more confident because you learned a lot and you are ready to face a lot of strategies other teams may be planning.

Be comfortable in serious games
    I had a problem back then. When I'm playing games with money on the line, my game suddenly change from great to worse than noob. I learned to be comfortable when one time, I was asked to play a game against an unknown team. We defeated that team and after the game I found out that it was also a bet game, only this time I was unaware. Then, I realized that if I treat serious games not too seriously, my game is way better. It was the beginning of me winning bet games. I don't know with you because factors may be different with you. You might be more comfortable when you are serious but the idea here is find out how you'll become comfortable playing.

Chapter 7: Using your Failures for Improvement

... button

You failed? That's great! You're one step away from improvement. Failing is normal; being afraid to fight is not. Not having the guts to fight means you already lost. No matter how strong your opponents are, fight. Feeling frustrated after losing a fight is alright but don't dwell on it for a long time. We all want to win but in order to do that we should first learn the game. If you lost, it just means that you still have more room for improvement. Though other Pro players played this game for more than 5 years already, they still do commit mistakes. Don't rush into winning at once. There are a lot to consider and to analyze in this game and the only way to make this possible is to be brave enough to take the risk of failing.

Great people failed too
    Michael Jordan was cut of from high school varsity team but proved to be the best ever to play basketball. Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he lacked imagination and had no original ideas, but look at how every Disney films are loved and patronized by people of all ages until now. Bill Gates failed in his businesses before getting into Microsoft and became a billionaire. Even the best people on every field failed. Don't be afraid to fail. In fact, when someone would ask me how to have the best team in the world, I'd give a prescription of failing 3 times a day. You may experience a lot of trash talks and stuff, but so what? They can't hurt you without your consent. It's up to you if you would accept those words. You just have to believe in yourself no matter what. Have your goal on your mind and use your experience in reaching it.

Analyze Every Failures
    Don't analyze how bitter the feeling of the failure was; analyze all the factors that lead to failing. Failing alone wont make you improve. Don't just fail and drink after because your failure would be useless. There are a lot to analyze why you lost. Lane controls, ganking, hero picks, team fights, map control. It is better to save your replays and watch it to see the errors clearly. Whenever I lose a game, I try to think of the best move I could have make instead of committing the certain error. I also watch enemy's point of view to know their strategy, so that we wont lose to same strategy again. If you don't have any coach to give you DotA guides and strategies, you can rely on Mr. experience. He is the best coach you'll ever have.

Have a Conclusion
    After analyzing your failures, decide what adjustments youre going to make. Stick to this plan. Do your adjustments in your next games. Don't make the same errors and execute your new strategy. Chances are your games will improve. If ever you fail again, detect the errors and make the necessary adjustments again. After tons of failures and adjustments, I bet you are already one scary DotA beast. You will improve in anything not just in DotA if you always try new things and know if what works best.

Learn From Failures of Other Players
    A lot of Professional DotA Replays are uploaded every day. Watch it very carefully and analyze every aspects of the game. Conclude on what should and not be done based from the replays you've watched. Don't just watch to get yourself entertained like what most people do. A lot of people are complaining after watching a replay that it was boring because the team turtled or played safe. What they do not understand is that the teams are just being careful because in DotA, you can lost in one wrong move.

    DotA guides and strategies like this one are good to give you advice on how to improve your DotA games but nothing can ever beat experience. Fail, stand up and fight better. Don't ever give up. Giving up means end of everyone's career. If I gave up when I was still a noob, I'm sure there would be no
iGK DotA website right now. I would just be another failure out there who didn't have the courage to fight.

Chapter 8: The 10 Great Things You can Learn from MYM|Maelk

Jacob 'Maelk' Toft-Andersen is my very first inspiration in being a leader of a DotA team. I was so inspired on how his plans would always be successful. He would always be interviewed every tournaments because of his indispensable wit. Teams would often fear his team, MYM, because of his deadly strategies and his ability to counter every opponent's plan. His games would often be superb carrying the team to victories. After watching his games, reading his posts, watching his interviews and hearing the comments of his team mates on him, I learned a lot of DotA guides and lessons on how to somehow be a 'Maelk' of our team.

1. Think of the easiest route to victory
    Winning was so difficult for us back then. We were panicking and praying that our carry would get farmed up to carry us to victory. But, when I read Maelk's comments on games, he pointed out that in every hero line up, there's a hole. You should find out what's that hole and beat the team using that hole. It is taking advantage of your opponents' weaknesses. Maelk was so good in detecting and countering opposing team's plans and strategies. I tried to study every hero line ups for quite some time and realized that we could really have won easily the games we played before if we played focusing on opposing team's weaknesses. Hero picking contributes a big part of winning. Before the game is played, you'll see how Maelk already beat the opposing team seeing the hero picks. Combined with the team's great talent, he became a well known deadly strategist.

2. Play any roles
    From being arguably the best Queen of Pain player before, he switched to playing support roles and still own. His Chen is the only type of Chen I can't imitate. His level of aggressiveness is simply incredible that he can be safe in every ganks but would still contribute a lot. His versatility lead his team to having fun games and a lot of wins.

3. Inspire your team mates
    One thing I observe on how the MYM became successful is Maelk's great Charisma. The team appreciates him for having great wit and leadership skills. Maelk would show the team how to execute the game plays. He would show the level of play style for them to reach. Inspiring your team makes them want to play more with you and will have an urge to improve.

    In an interview, MYM|Mania said: "Of course I think he(Maelk) is the best captain, else I wouldn't play with him through all these years. His strength is his way to think outside the box in a lot of situations in the game, hes good at taking the quick decisions that occurs through a game, and many times we win because of these tactical moves."

4. Be a good listener
    Maelk is a captain who is open for suggestions. He respects the opinions of his team mates. He weighs things up first before making decision. This is the difference between leading and managing. Leading is making your team mates want to do your plans while managing is forcing your team mates to do your plans. It became a lot of fun for all of us when I started switching from managing to leading. I believe that a team is stronger if they all desire a single goal.

5. Be active in DotA forums
    Yes, DotA forums are not made for nothing. These are made for discussions towards improvement. Maelk would always read then you'd see him post comments to clarify and enlighten people's minds. Seek help. It's good to be independent but you will find useful things on forums because there would be experienced people who may already have solved problems or queries like what you have now. It is best to learn from others errors for you don't have to undergo the same bitter experience to improve.

6. Analyze every game critically
    It is from Maelk that I realize that there is more to farming, ganking, pushing and winning. There are tons of points to analyze and critically understand. Without him, I'd treat DotA like tetris and I wouldn't be here blogging stuffs about DotA. Every answer from his interview was all new to me and I tried to treat DotA the same way he treated it. One great ability of a leader is being able to solve mysteries for the team. Your team mates may not understand why in the world you have lost. A good leader will find it out and clarify everything to his team mates. Maelk is definitely that kind of leader.

7. Be Original
    He was the one who formulated MYM's strategy. He analyzes every hero and concluded on what may be the best play style to win games. He is like a hero line up scientist. His strategies are from his own ideas. He was never afraid to try something new. Whenever he feels like a strategy would be successful, he goes for it. Examples are: pudge omniknight lane. This was even used in an important tournament. I remember him saying that he used this strategy because it would be great to try having a free radiance in early game. He also introduces Bradwarden in DotA scene. He also formulated the triple push strategy. Where they defeated an AOE focused team by pushing 3 lanes at the same time. This trapped the opponents at their base having hard time to defend. It is one of the best games I ever watched.

8. Have firm CONFIDENCE in yourself
    Most people who hated him for being cocky didn't realize that MYM's strength relies greatly on Maelk's confidence. His confidence made his team mates more at ease in the game. Leading a DotA team is a big responsibility. You should have the right amount of confidence because no one will trust you if you, yourself, is in doubt of your skills. Honestly, in the first DotA tournaments we participated at, I was so nervous. I feel like vomiting out of fear. I was the captain and I know top teams are included. I was so afraid to let my team mates down. They were nervous too. So, I was a useless leader because I should be the one making them calm. Good thing I became a follower of Maelk. I changed a lot and lead my team mates to being better players and win a lot of tournaments.

9. Make quick but good decisions
    In games where plans have great chance of failing, you should know how to make quick adjustments to still have the game running on your side. This is one trait of Maelk that even his team mates can prove. His judgments are simply so perfect every time, making him decide the best things for the team to do. Teams with leaders like him are so lucky because there will be less confusion and they can act at once. In this game, time is just too precious to be wasted on thinking what to do next. Situations change quickly. Opportunities passes by in a blink of an eye.

10. Be a Doer not just a Dreamer
    We were all dreaming of becoming a great DotA team but we never thought it would be possible. Dreaming is good but if you take no action it is a total waste of time. Pursue your dreams. If you want to reach the moon, go. If you fail, you'd still end up reaching the stars. Maelk didn't directly say this but you'll realize it after seeing his hard work in analyzing each and every heroes to formulate strategies. He worked hard practicing with his team mates that made MYM one of the most successful teams in DotA.

I might have been quite nostalgic about the history of MYM and myself but these 10 things I learned from Maelk had inspired me a lot to become a better player and leader. Right attitude is important in DotA and he can inspire you a lot too to have these winning traits. There may be a lot of other good teams right now you can learn from but I think there is no one who shares a lot of insights like Maelk.


Professional DotA Replays are everywhere. There are a lot of websites giving you these but copying their play styles won't give you any chance of beating them. To understand the game thoroughly and to have original game styles are the factors that will make you have a successful team.

On the other hand, there are other things you can think of in motivating your team. Just always remember that your team mates, no matter how poor their performance was, also wanted to win. Never put them down because of wrong moves. Just help them learn from their errors because you are his captain.

And last but not least, Have Fun. You may win or lose tournaments but if you had fun, you never lose at all! So good-luck and have fun!

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