The Goblin Techies Trio of Squee, Spleen, and Spoon spent well over a year in a dark corner. Not allowed in Captain’s Mode with the rest of the Dota 2 cast, Techies received few changes besides the addition of Blast Off!, and it seemed Icefrog had just tossed the hero to the side for good.

However, he was added to Captain’s Mode just before the start of Epicenter XL, one of the last majors of the DPC season. Some like kpii said “I don’t like the addition of techies, as it changes the way Dota is played too much”. However, he didn’t elaborate any further.

There’s Something about Techies

What is it about Techies that changes how the game is played? Let’s start with a big one- his ability to nullify splitpush. Some teams like to play a very split style of dota, farming many heroes at once spread across the map. Liquid during their TI7 run is a very good example of this, as they frequently had Mindcontrol on one side of the map and Matumbaman or Miracle on the other. They would constantly farm creeps and push in waves, not allowing the other team to act without the risk of losing towers.

Enter Techies. Techies has a variety of ways to stop splitpush. Firstly, he can just plant proximity mines in each lane- 3-4, maybe even more. Each level 3+ prox mine kills an entire creepwave, excluding the catapult. In 36 seconds, you can plant 4 proximity mines in a lane, which will stop the next 4 creepwaves from touching your tower, which is 2 minutes of creep spawn time. Passive lane pressure is out of the question against Techies. If a hero wants to show up in a lane to push the tower physically, Techies can have remote mines. Consider this: what is the kind of hero that shows up to push a tower, and what kind of hero is likely to have the sentries to scout for remote mines? Supports are carrying the sentries, they’re the ones with the slots for it. But they’re not the ones pushing towers-the ones pushing towers are cores, who have no space for 2-3 sentries to check if mines are even there. Techies completely nullifies that aspect of the game, unless you have an illusion based hero.

Techies can secure a lane and restrict map movement like no other hero in the game can, and that’s what’s so different about him. His presence reduces the efficiency of the other team, because they can’t get to all the creeps without the risk of dying. As he tends to lengthen games, your team is more efficient as theirs is less. This is the power of Goblin Techies.

Why He Sucked at Epicenter
Dota Techies Scoreboard

So what happened here? 4 losses for Techies in 4 games, 2 of them in 20 minutes. Why?

Techies requires a lot to work in a draft. The hero in a lane only has blast off to contribute-which while formidable burst damage, he has no stun or hero harassment to speak of, as his base damage is so low. Techies is also ran as a support. The support role in most teams generally has some form of stun, or control. A hero that can make kills happen on the map by setting them up. Techies cannot do that, and so another hero on the team has to fill this role, a core.

Col vs FlyToMoon
compLexity Gaming vs FlyToMoon

Techies is good at stalling games, this much is true. However, the hero needs time to come online. Time to get levels, time to get gold to have mana regen items, and time to set bombs up in the first place. If you play really fast and aggressive against Techies, he can’t do anything. And that is why picking Techies into FlyToMoon is the worst thing anyone could have done. FlyToMoon played some of the fastest kill heavy aggressive Dota at Epicenter, and Techies is no hero to pick into them-you might as well pick Spectre. In any case, FTM did what they always did-they picked a lot of aggressive heroes and they ran at Complexity Gaming, ending the game in 21 minutes. Techies did what he could this game-he helped SK win the offlane. But FTM’s dual aggro lane of Beastmaster Io absolutely crushed col’s safelane, and TA destroyed QoP mid. With 2 lanes lost, col didn’t stand a chance.

Na’vi vs Team Secret
Natus Vincere Na'Vi Team Secret

I maintain that Techies is a very specialist hero-you need to have someone who knows what they’re doing. And man when I saw this draft from Team Secret, I questioned it. Team Secret picked a defensive trilane of Wraith King support, Techies, and Slark. They then followed it up with a offlane Doom, and a mid OD. There is nothing Team Secret has to make this game actually happen for them. They have a total of 1 stun in Wraithfire Blast, and it lasts 2 seconds. Doom has infernal blade ministun, and maybe a stomp if he eats a Centaur. It is a pitiful amount of control, and as a result Na’vi steamrolls them, once again with Beastmaster+Io being utilized, crushing Team Secret in 22 minutes.

Newbee vs OG
Newbie OG Example

OG gets points for being the closest to understanding how to use Techies in a draft. They have Jakiro, Sand King, Dragon Knight, and PL. DK, SK, and Jakiro are a decent amount of control, although I’m not a huge fan of Jakiro+Techies as a support duo, it’s a little weak. At 10 minutes, newbee starts setting the pace with Gyrocopter, and that’s the difference between OG and Newbee this game. OG could have been the tempo setters in this game-that’s what Techies thrives on. However, Sand King didn’t quite have his blink dagger yet, and that’s what OG really needed. Newbee struck before the blink for Sand King was acquired, and as a result Newbee picked up several kills and a 2k gold lead by the time SK gets his blink. However, due to the Jakiro, it’s still not enough for OG to be active in this game. Techies needs his team to be active, and the other team to be reacting to his own teams aggression. If the other team is free to do as they plaese, Techies will never get to set up bombs, he’ll never control the waves, and he’ll never restrict the map. OG manage to drag it out for 40 or so minutes, but they still lose.

Col vs PSG.LGD
compLexity col PSG.LGD

Another instance of Techies with a weak draft. Jakiro, Pudge, Lina, Void. Pudge roaming is heavily nerfed, and doesn’t acquire his incredibly disruptable stun until level 6. Jakiro has a stun, but it has an incredibly long cast time and a short duration. Lina has a stun, but it isn’t reliable and she needs a Euls before it works every time. Void’s Chrono is technically a stun, but it’s on a huge ultimate cooldown. Once again, there are no heroes to help Complexity get off the ground and still be active around the map.

In Summary

Of all the teams at Epicenter XL, the only team to have displayed a useful understanding of Techies was OG. If they continue to practice and learn with the hero, and figure out how he can fit into a game, they will become a formidable team indeed when the EU TI qualifiers begin in late June. Techies has great potential-but to offset his great potential, he requires an insane amount of set up from his team to make sure they don’t fall flat on their faces. The team who figures this out first is set to succeed.