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Playing the Experience Game

Playing the Experience Game

18 Nov 2015

The importance of soaking XP as opposed to Takedowns or fighting over Objectives.

5 comments

How many people do you send to an objective, and how important is lane XP during objective call-to-arms? It can't be said enough that clearing minion waves is essential, but there's also the objectives. A closer look at the decision making processes.

Speedy wave clear

Oftentimes, the possibility of clearing 1 more minion wave is the speed with which you can clear it. Johanna routinely picks up Level 1: Knight Takes Pawn (W) over strong survivability talents like Reinforce and Regeneration Master, and Rexxar often takes Level 7: Bird of Prey (Q) over attack range with Throwing Axes or Misha's additional stuns. The XP and push power gained from PvE talents turns out to be essential. Clearing waves quickly also helps for your own safety, and hastens you to the objectives. Fast clears get you to objectives quicker, and with more of an XP lead. Both can help you win Team Fights very decisively.

That's why on my stream you'll often see me stay in a lane longer to get XP, because I know how important it is to get it. If my allies have good poke and good sense, they'll delay the objective for some seconds while I join the objective a bit later - with our team having a nice XP lead. That's what I love about Heroes like Leoric, Johanna, Tassadar, and Malfurion with good waveclear.

The value of minion wave XP

Clearing fast helps to get XP, but how much? A whole minion wave is actually worth a lot of XP, especially in the early game. To put it in perspective: not only is a minion wave of 7 minions is worth more than a Fort Tower, but did you know that it is even worth more than killing an enemy Hero?

At level 3 vs level 3, you'll get 417 XP for killing an enemy Hero. You'll get 108 XP for killing a footman minion. So just 5 minions are worth more than a takedown! Note: the exception is that while getting a kill you're also denying enemy minion XP soak because you're killing a solo lane dude. Otherwise, you don't want to miss too many minions for Takedowns. As a general rule, soaking with at least a Hero per lane until level 10 is going to be very sound strategy.

Let's compare two extremes.

  • General rule A: always have minimum 1 Hero per lane until level 10, no exceptions. Ignore all objectives. No exceptions. 3 man push enemy towers/forts while the opponents do the objectives. After level 10, free play.
  • General rule B: always have minimum 1 Hero per lane until level 10, 5 man every objective until it's been decided. After level 10, free play.

General rule A is going to win you more games, even if you give away every immortal, tribute or skull until that time. You'll be far ahead in XP, leading in talent, reaching level 10 quicker, and this will give you most of the future objectives when they get more powerful.

Luckily, we don't have to be so extreme. While early wave clearing is very important, there are exceptions. These exceptions often rely on how quickly you can clear them. Slow clearing by heroes like Uther, Muradin, Li Li and Tyrande often means you'll rely on getting more Takedowns to make up for it. It means showing up earlier to objectives, trying to force cap to get some early kills, while the enemy great wave clearers like Leoric and Tassadar show up 5s later but will try to be on time to contest the objective. Even if you get 7 to 2 Takedowns, you may be at equal XP due to different sources of XP (Takedowns vs minions). That's why kills aren't everything.

Good waveclear heroes clear, poke and delay. Meanwhile, good pickoff Heroes rely on the takedowns during laning and at objectives fights.

  • This means that the stun-train comps rely on the kills! Don't give them what they want, avoid their kill attempts by giving them respect in team fights, use disengage tools, and win the game through the map and XP advantage. They are under pressure to make something happen.
  • The wave clear comps rely on XP advantage and winning through the map. You cannot beat them at the push game, so you must get kills like clockwork without getting overconfident. A few early takedowns means you're keeping up, not winning. Keep making it happen.

See what kind of team you are in QM or after the HL draft, and play accordingly. Share your experiences with Grubby via Twitter on @followgrubby.

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