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Opening Moves: The 5v5 Mid Strategy

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Simon "scHwimpi" Svensson from Method explains why teams adopt the 5v5 mid strategy at the beginning of a game.

Opening Moves is a series aimed to educate the player base on the variety of different ways to start a competitive match.

Previous Installments

5v5 Mid Strategy

  • In competitive, teams have a good reason to go 5v5 mid. It's to get a head start for stacking Heroes such as Chromie (Sand BlastSand Blast) or Gul'dan (Pursuit of FlamePursuit of Flame, Echoed CorruptionEchoed Corruption, Chaotic EnergyChaotic Energy). Heroes that have baseline quests or level 1 quest talents need to land a certain amount of spells on enemies before they hit a power spike.
  • If you're looking for stacks and the other team cannot contest as 5, going 5 mid will likely work out. It depends on team compositions. If team A has a strong push and team B has split their resources between all lanes, they will get demolished in mid.
  • The strategy has the most value on Tomb of the Spider Queen. 
  • One team will obviously emerge victorious from the 5v5 fight. if you aren't going to win it, you should be doing something else.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

We've covered the 4-1 Splitthe level 1 fight, and how to properly cheese a tower so far in #OpeningMoves week—now we answer the age-old question: why does everyone run to the middle at the start of the game?!

Legendary flex player Simon “scHwimpi” Svensson, formerly of Fnatic fame, has found his place on Method for the upcoming 2018 season. When asked why people run mid at the start of Hero League games, the Swedish veteran gave as honest an answer as he could:

“I don’t understand why people go five mid. I hate it.”

Stack, Stack, Stack

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So, why do teams run mid at the beginning of a game? It really is unclear. There are professional teams that will begin games like this, but often for a good reason—namely to get a solid head start for stacking Heroes such as Chromie or Gul’Dan.

“I think it all started when people were committing three heroes to mid regularly when it was unknown where the enemy team would show on the map,” scHwimpi said. “If they show in a side lane, you can push mid, if they don’t match mid you can get a kill, etc. In competitive I think the five-man mid strategy spawned out of necessity to counter this, although I’m not sure if there has ever been a real thought process behind it with the exception of getting level 1 stacks on big maps.”

With Heroes that have baseline quest or level 1 quest talent, sometimes you have to land a certain number of spells on enemy Heroes before you hit a power spike. This seems to be the only logical reason that our three-time BlizzCon competitor can name for brawling in mid right off the bat.

“If you’re looking for stacks and the other team can’t contest as five, then going five mid at the start will likely work out,” scHwimpi said. “It’s very dependent on team compositions. If one team has a strong push and the other team has split their resources between all lanes, then they will likely get demolished in mid.”

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Although he may detest this strategy, scHwimpi is as guilty as the rest of the grandmasters in European Hero League. “I do run mid in Hero League just so I can help my teammates not mess up. If I have a strong 1v1 hero, I will likely trap a rotation to a sideline, meaning that I’ll stand in a bush or something between mid and bottom or top and wait for one of their heroes to rotate to the vacant lane for soak. When they walk by, I will either kill them or chunk them.”

Does this make more sense on any one Battleground in comparison to the rest of the pool?

“There are other options, but on Tomb of the Spider Queen this strategy likely has the most value,” scHwimpi said. “However, one team will always lose the level 1 fight. If there is any doubt of whether or not your team will win the level 1 fight, you should not run mid at the start. If you aren’t going to win the fight, you should obviously do something else.”

Check back tomorrow right here at playheroes.com/esports for the fifth and final installment of Opening Moves when we explore the history of the fabled Chinese Bush Meta and how the element of surprise can turn the tides of battle. 

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10 hours ago, Stan said:

“I don’t understand why people go five mid. I hate it.”

Yep. I'm with him there. It has become the general strategy for every match, either Quick Match or Ranked. However, I love it when I need to complete those annoying "Hit Heroes X times" quest talents. One dude will always get a bird in the face as soon the match start if there is a Tyrande in the opposing team.

10 hours ago, Stan said:

So, why do teams run mid at the beginning of a game? It really is unclear. (...) “I think it all started when people were committing three heroes to mid regularly when it was unknown where the enemy team would show on the map,”

I believe it is part of the human nature to look for balance, and by logic, going mid makes easier for players to swap to either top or bottom lanes. At least that is how I see it.

Depending on the map and Hero I'm using, I tend to solo top (if I'm using Sonya, for example) to clear the fort ASAP when my team needs to capture a boss; Blackheart's Bay is my personal favorite to do so since mid and top are so close to each other.

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5 hours ago, Valhalen said:

I believe it is part of the human nature to look for balance, and by logic, going mid makes easier for players to swap to either top or bottom lanes. At least that is how I see it.

Agreed. I reckon that unless your entire team have coordinated a game plan BEFORE the game starts, or you're sure everyone has a clear understanding of what your opponents' strategy may be, all-mid is probably the least risky(not saying it's best) starting move. You can either split or group rotate faily quick, or stand off against 5 opponents. If you send out solo laners, it's a great risk your team might be caught in an out-numbered fight. In uncoordinated games, imho, most players would rather take less risk than to "gamble" for advantage, when it's even at least. 

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On 26/01/2018 at 11:07 AM, Valhalen said:

Yep. I'm with him there. It has become the general strategy for every match, either Quick Match or Ranked. However, I love it when I need to complete those annoying "Hit Heroes X times" quest talents. One dude will always get a bird in the face as soon the match start if there is a Tyrande in the opposing team.

As Kel'Thuzad, the mid-fight is a dream. You can complete your quest so fast, you start to snowball so quickly.

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