With StarLadder in the books, it is time to look at what we learned from the event. Eight of the best teams in the world arrived in China with the hopes of winning StarLadder Season 3. With so many amazing plays, there was a lot to take from the event. Before we get into what we learned, let’s take a look at the final placings.

StarLadder Final Placings

Place $ USD Team
1st $135,000 Team Liquid Team Liquid
2nd $60,000 Vici Gaming/Team VG.J Team VG.J
3rd-4th $30,000 TNC Pro Team TNC Pro Team
OG OG
place 5 to 8
5th-6th $15,000 Team Secret Team Secret
Wings Gaming Wings Gaming
7th-8th $7,500 Invictus Gaming/iG Vitality iG Vitality
Digital Chaos Digital Chaos

Table courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2/StarLadder/i-League_StarSeries/Season_3

What we learned from StarLadder

Are Liquid back?

Courtesy of Twitter.com/TeamLiquid

This was Liquid’s first LAN event since late 2016. Heading into the event they were undefeated in their last 12 games. Many people were predicting a high finish from the squad. However, not many will have expected the level of dominance that liquid was able to exert over the competition. In total, they played four matches, and finished with a record of 9-2. Only dropping maps to VG.J in the two games they played against each other.

Having three players with over 9k MMR can be both a blessing and a curse. The expectations on the team are high, considering that on paper they are one of the best sides in the world. However, Dota is not played on paper, and as TNC showed at TI, anything can happen in a game of Dota. Liquid looked to be on a different level to the majority of other teams in the tournament. With DAC at the end of March, Liquid will surely be among the favorites to take that event. Their strong performance will have likely secured them a direct invite to the Kiev Major. The future is bright for Team Liquid. The question is, can they translate one good tournament into consistent results?

GH is a God

Now many people may have already known this, but Liquid’s new four position showed this weekend that he is one of the best players in the game. With decision making that is nearly unmatched and a complete understanding of the game, GH made Liquid fans say, “Jerax who?”

GH demonstrated that you do not have to be a mid player to make flashy plays. His Wisp play really showcased how good of a player he is. When it comes to MVP’s, GH is definitely a name that should be discussed. Liquid fans will be hoping that the impressive performances can continue into DAC and beyond.

TNC show that they can compete

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Having taken the crown at WESG, a tournament that many people have discredited, TNC struggled to qualify for major events. Normally playing second fiddle to Faceless, this event was a chance for TNC to show that they can compete on the international stage. Being in the easier Group A definitely helped them as they easily swept aside IG.V before a hard fought victory against Team Secret. TNC hopes that a solid 3rd-4th finish will earn them a direct invite to the Kiev Major. TNC still need to achieve consistent results in big tournaments, and a direct invite to Kiev may help them achieve this.

DC continue to struggle

Image courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2

Winning ESL One Genting may have been the worst thing that has happened to DC in a long time. Since winning ESL One, they have finished bottom two in both LAN events they have attended. They have also failed to qualify for DAC. However, this should not have an impact on them receiving a direct invite.

If they do receive a direct invite to Kiev, DC should thank their lucky stars as on current form they may fail to qualify for the event. Right now DC should be hoping they have secured an invite to Kiev, and then taking a step away to try and regroup themselves. Whether it is the patch or just a rough period, DC have issues they need to address. Having time as a team to reestablish the top tier communication that saw them win ESL will be important for the team moving forward.

VG.J Turn up when it matters

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

StarLadder was the LAN debut of VG.J, and the newly created God-squad did not disappoint. Finishing second in your debut event can only be a good thing. Considering they only lost against Liquid shows that VG.J are a team to be feared. With this dominant performance, they have given themselves an outside chance of securing an invite to the Kiev Major.

Having one of the best four positions to ever play the game in the shape of Fy, means that VG.J have the ability to pull off very flashy plays. The team plays well around Chinese pubstar Freeze, who had a hit and miss event. Should he build the consistency required to compete at the top level, VG.J could be in for a good performance at Kiev.

Lyrical has a way with words

Having heard very little of Gabriel “Lyrical” Cruz, it may have been a surprise to some when he was announced as a caster for the event. StarLadder was the first significant offline event that Lyrical has casted, and it seemed as if it was his 100th. Working with BTS, you can hear echoes of KotlGuy and LD mesh together into Lyrical’s excellent casting throughout the event.

Check out a highlight from Liquid vs. VG.J to hear his excellent casting:

Hopefully we will see more of Lyrical at upcoming events, and maybe even at the Kiev Major.

StarLadder Final Thoughts

StarLadder showed a few things, the most important being that Liquid looked amazing throughout the event. They never once looked like they would lose a series and had the composure of champions. VG.J gave an excellent account of themselves and shocked many by defeating OG on their way to the finals.

StarLadder was a great event, and with DAC and the Kiev Major qualifiers coming up, March looks to be an excellent month for competitive Dota 2 action.

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