Mechanically, I have to relearn how to position my screen and be in a good position for team fights. As a carry, I would always have the camera centered on my hero and I’d always be in the middle of fights. Now as a 5 position I’m very, very squishy. Most of the time the camera isn't even on my hero and I’m just extending on the outskirts of the fights so it’s a lot harder to play teamfights than it was before.
To be honest, I knew it was going to be really hard to make this transition. I didn’t expect playing the 5 position would be a super easy role to get into. I always thought there are a lot of small things that people overlook while playing the hard support. I have to learn a new skillset, how to position and what items to buy. As a 5 role, most of these games I only get to buy one item so I have to choose it very carefully.
One surprising benefit of playing support has been for my arm pain. It helps because right now, a lot of the time I spend on Dota doesn’t have to be playing. I can research opponents, watch replays and stuff like that where I don’t have to click around as much. I don’t necessarily have to play as much in this position because while individual skill is important, it’s not going to be as crucial as it is for a core player who has a lot more items, a lot more timings, and a lot deeper of a hero pool.
Of course, I still have a lot to learn as I’ve only been playing the role for about two months. The more we play in scrims and tournaments the more comfortable I become. As of now, I’m happy with my progression and I know there are going to be new heroes that I’m going to need to learn every single patch. For now, I’m just trying to learn to play as many of the hard supports as I can because there are a lot of heroes that I’ve never played professionally. One of my goals is to have played every single hero in a professional game, to have a feeling of ‘completion’.
Yet what does it mean, to achieve ‘completion’? The goal I really have in mind is just to just play as a 5 position and win tournaments. Winning TI is obviously the ultimate goal, as the summit of Dota just keeps getting higher and higher. At the moment, I’m just looking at winning majors, winning minors and just being a dominant team. I want to be one of the top two best teams of this year, that would be ideal for me — or a Top-3 finish at TI this year would be okay.
Moving forward, the way it works is every year, you commit for one year until TI and then whatever happens during that year will determine what happens the following year. For someone like me, who’s already on the verge of retirement, I’ll make the decision after TI. I’ll be able to ask myself, “Do I want to step down or do I need to keep playing?” This is a question I can’t really answer right now without knowing how I’ll feel at the end of the year but more than likely I probably won’t be playing next year. There is always a possibility I keep playing but it depends on too many factors for me to know now.
Maybe the pain in my arm comes back. Maybe the pain of losing spurs me on. Or, maybe, I realize that the next mountain I must climb lies elsewhere. For now, the pain of missing the view from the top keeps me carrying on — or, I guess that should be “supporting on.”