After Team Spirit’s dream run at TI10, many fans collectively agreed that offlaner Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov is team MVP after his stellar run on Magnus throughout the event.

He nailed so many game winning Skewers during TI10 that teams started to ban the hero when playing against him.

When not banned, some teams would pick up the Magnus themselves but it would never quite match up to how Collapse handled the hero. What were Team Spirit doing with Magnus at TI10 that other teams were not?

Dota 2 hero Magnus Counters dominating at The International 10 (TI10)
Credit: valve

Magnus’s flexibility is unmatched

A little more item dependent than your average hero, the payoff for drafting Magnus is that you open up options for your team. Team Spirit made the most of every single one.

Magnus can easily farm both the lane and the jungle thanks to Shockwave and Empower. He’s a tough lane opponent who punishes supports who aren’t careful with their positioning. If his lane is too tough, he can easily flash farm any jungle stacks set up by his supports.

Additionally, Empower is a fantastic enabling tool as it helps cores dish out more damage in team fights and farm faster. Some carries only become viable choices if a Magnus is on the team, for example, Phantom Assassin.

Teams that draft Magnus also have the option to decide between utility or damage since he isn’t limited to a single build, and his skills allow for this flexibility.

He can build damage items and Empower himself to pump out big numbers or pick up a quick Blink Dagger and an Aghanims Shard to scoop up easy kills.

Team Spirit's Collapse, Miposhka, and Mira at The International 10's (TI10) main event playoffs
Credit: Valve

How Team Spirit sets Collapse up for success using vision

Every player caught by a Horn Toss into Skewer combo during TI10 was instantly slain. To make those godly catches happen, Team Spirit needed to make sure they could see their victims, so providing vision was a key component to Collapse’s success.

Aggressively placed wards were important for the Toss Skewer combo to land before a team fight. Team Spirit were diligent in making sure they could see their opponents around crucial areas, such as the Roshan Pit or the jungle, with well placed wards.

Another way Team Spirit were able to give Collapse additional vision was through other heroes. Ember Spirit, Spectre, and Luna all have abilities that provide some kind of vision.

Ember being can move deep into the backlines with Remnants, while Spectre’s Haunt illusions latches on to the entire enemy team. Even Luna’s passive gives her superior night vision to spot unsuspecting heroes.

At times, when vision simply isn’t available, Collapse would sometimes go in blindly hoping to fish a hero out. Of course, he wasn’t always successful, but when it was, opponents were forced to retreat and stand much farther back.

Dota 2, Winter Wyvern
Credit: Valve

No combo was left behind

Team Spirit intentionally built around Magnus by drafting heroes who would benefit from Collapse’s initiations.

Some heroes that synergized incredibly well with Magnus included Puck, Dark Willow, Disruptor, and Winter Wyvern.

All these heroes had AoE spells that could follow up with Reverse Polarity. Then you’d also have micro plays where Skewer force breaks Puck’s Dream Coil, or drags the enemy into a pre-casted Bramble Maze.

Team Spirit's Collapse, TORONTOTOKYO, and Yatoro at The International 10 (TI10) main event day 6
Credit: Valve

Magnus perfectly suited Team Spirit’s playstyle

The biggest reason Magnus was so successful in the hands of Team Spirit was their overall aggressive playstyle during TI10. They loved good team fight, and often drafted lineups with short to moderate cooldowns that could fight back-to-back-to-back.

Collapse played a more utility based Magnus that focused on setting up kills. His role on the team was to get crucial picks while at the same time, threaten their opponents with the potential of a Reverse Polarity.

However, the team didn’t limit themselves. Neither were they overly reliant. They instead took advantage of the short cooldown of the Toss and Skewer combo and the Empower buff, which was usually casted on carry player Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk.

Credit: Valve

The inevitable post-TI nerf

Fans questioned whether it was a case of Magnus being too strong or if Team Spirit and Collapse had a next level understanding of the hero.

In the eyes of IceFrog, lead developer for Dota 2, the Magnoceros was too strong, and received significant nerfs following TI10.

Horn Toss’ stun was converted to a 100% slow whilst Skewer and its corresponding talent lost some range. With the combination of these two nerfs, Magnus’s Toss into Skewer combo would no longer guarantee pick offs, as there is now a small window of time to react during Horn Toss’s animation.

Is Magnus back to being a niche pick in competitive play after these two changes in the latest patch? He still retained his other benefits, including Empower’s bonus and the threat of Reverse Polarity, but we’ll only know for sure once pros start up the competitive season again.

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