Despite many expecting Unknown-O to take home the championship, they were overwhelmed by Invincible Armada in the quarterfinals. Everything Armada did was focused around winning the early game, carrying that into a severely mismatched mid-game, and closing out the match before the late game. This seemed to catch Team Unknown by surprise and the relentless aggression by Armada didn’t give them a chance to retaliate.
Here’s some of the key advantages and strategies that Armada leveraged to achieve their success:
Both games Armada ran the same team composition: Ringo in the lane, Taka in the jungle, and Adagio on support. So why this team comp? Simply put: this is one of the strongest early game lineups they could’ve picked; there’s tons of level one base damage on these heroes, allowing them to win fights in the first minute of the game and snowball until the end.
We haven’t seen Ringo in the competitive North American meta since around the release of Vox, so having him as the team carry for Invincible Armada may have been quite a surprise to the typical player. While Vox’s late game potential is fantastic, Ringo’s early game strength can really dominate Vox; and, as we’ve talked about, the early game seemed to be the focus of Armada’s strategy. Their pick of Ringo allowed them to close out the game before Vox could become relevant.
By maxing Achilles Shot and rushing a Tension Bow, Sangho on Ringo was able to punish heroes both in the jungle and in the very early team fights.
Taka’s heroic perk and Kaiten give him enough base damage at level one to make him quite a monster. If he keeps his Ki stacks up, he can eliminate an enemy carry fairly quickly. As he went into the mid-game, he picked up Tension Bow (like Ringo). As Armada’s only melee hero, Taka then began to build defense, relying on the high base damages of his abilities and the Tension Bow proc to get kills.
This last patch really has been an amazing time for Adagio fans. The buffs given to him finally make him a relevant support.
Armada’s Adagio went a route that many consider a bit atypical: he maxed his B ability – Agent of Wrath – instead of his heal. Why? Agent of Wrath and Ringo’s Twirling Silver have an amazing synergy, bringing the team’s burst damage to overwhelming levels.
Lastly, Adagio’s Verse of Judgment made it very difficult for Unknown to engage on or dive Armada. Here’s a direct link to an example of this in action.
Armada invaded Unknown’s jungle early and often. Their superior early damage left Unknown running away while Armada collected extra kills and jungle monsters. In the first match, the minute one invade is what set the course of the entire game. The early game became a rotation of farming on their side and then, as a team, moving right into Unknown’s side. By the time either team reached the mid-game, the match was long decided and would’ve taken a giant throw from Armada to change it.
As much as we here at Broken Myth love to crusade against Tension Bow, we simply cannot deny the impact of this item. Burst damage was the focus for Invincible Armada and this item was the core of that burst. Coupled with innate burst from Taka’s ability and Adagio’s buff, it created a menacing combo. Because of this burst damage, Unknown knew that they could be executed even while standing under their turret, forcing them to retreat when they would otherwise like to stay and defend.
It should also be noted that Unknown’s attempted counter build—an Atlas Pauldron—was useless against all of Armada’s burst. Tension Bow will proc every 6 seconds regardless of whether or not Atlas Pauldron gets used. In fact, the effects of Atlas Pauldron only last for 5 seconds. A Fountain would’ve been a better choice against the burst damage, or Crucible to prevent the devastation of Adagio’s Verse of Judgment.
One of the most interesting things about how Invincible Armada played is how they popping Infusions at the five minute mark, particularly Ringo. The kind of advantage that those infusions provided Armada cannot be underestimated. If you do the math, the stats that infusions provide are so potent that it is worth constantly buying them if you are within ten minutes of ending the game. However, Armada was seen buying them even earlier to really secure their dominance.
We all know that vision wins matches, but the vision achieved by Armada is quite interesting. Each time they invaded they added some Scout Traps deeper into Unknown’s jungle. They started with the tri-bush and slowly moved to the camps. Eventually you start seeing mines deep into Unknown’s jungle, back behind the minion miner. This vision allowed Armada full control of the map—they almost always knew where Unknown was. Because of this, Ringo was able to confidently walk right into Unknown’s jungle without the slightest hesitation or fear.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of Armada’s strategy: as soon as they grabbed their advantage, they dropped the typical solo laner and dual farming scheme and began roaming the map as a three-man kill squad. It should be carefully noted that while they were behind—or roughly equal—they farmed pretty normally sending Sangho up to farm the lane while Ruin and Wine duo-jungled. As soon as they pulled ahead though they trio’d up.
With this strategy, the Invincible Armada was more than a name, it was a status. With their flawless execution, everything came together to establish a dominant choke-hold in the game’s first minute, which they never released. This was a well-designed strategy that showed its strength in our first view of the world stage. With these specially-crafted early-game tactics, Ringo emerges as the best early-game lane bully and jungle invade candidate.
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