The last stop on the road to Kiev is the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017. Hosted in the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center, DAC will take place March 27th – April 4th. With 9/12 teams competing at the end of April in the Kiev Major, this is a perfect opportunity for teams to get in some practice. With the event set to take place over nine days, let’s check out the DAC Group Stages.
DAC Prize Pool
The prize pool for DAC was set at $500,000 USD, but with crowdfunding, this has risen to $564,261 USD, split as follows:
|place 5 to 12|
Courtesy of teamliquid.net/Dota_2_Asia_Championships
DAC Group Stage Format
The DAC Group Stages will take part March 27 – 29th and will consist of 12 teams split into two groups. The DAC Groups will have a Bo2 round-robin format with the top two teams from each group advancing to the winners bracket. The bottom four teams from each group will have to progress through the grueling losers bracket.
DAC Group A
Wings Gaming – Direct Invite
Position 1 (Carry) – Shadow
Position 2 (Mid) – Blink
Position 3 (Offlane) – Faith_bian
Position 4 (Support) – y’
Position 5 (Support) – iceice
Wings currently have two things going for them. One, they are Chinese. Two, they won TI6. If not for these two things they would not have received an invite to DAC. Since November, they have only had two top three finishes.
In this event, Wings will be fighting to remain relevant. They are currently falling behind other Chinese teams, as shown in the Manila Masters Qualifier where they failed to qualify. Wings will be hoping to rediscover that spark that made them so threatening for a part of 2016.
Prediction – 4th in Group A
OG – Direct Invite
Position 1 (Carry) – Notail
Position 2 (Mid) – Ana
Position 3 (Offlane) – s4
Position 4 (Support) – JerAx
Position 5 (Support) – Fly
OG head into DAC with their eyes on capturing their fourth Major crown. After falling short in the last two major tournaments, OG hope to regain their impressive form.
OG have been matched up against newly formed VG.J, who beat them at StarLadder. OG will have their sights set on revenge. They are widely considered as one of the top three teams in the world. They didn’t make it to the top by accident. This iteration of OG is measured less by flashy plays, and more by death by starvation. Where other teams may falter, OG will hold fast and use their experience to grind out victories.
Prediction – 1st in Group A
Team VG.J – China Qualifier
Position 1 (Carry) – Agressif
Position 2 (Mid) – Freeze
Position 3 (Offlane) – rOtk
Position 4 (Support) – fy
Position 5 (Support) – Fenrir
VG.J had a point to prove going into StarLadder. Were they able to compete on an international stage? The answer, yes. VG.J looked dominant throughout the event but could not overcome the powerhouse that is Liquid.
VG.J are one of the hottest teams in China and hope to continue this into DAC. The one question that still remains is whether Liu “Freeze” Chang can make the transition for pub-star to top tier player. At points during StarLadder, Freeze was guilty of making some reckless plays which cost his team several maps. He will be looking to turn it around heading into DAC.
Prediction – 2nd in Group A
LGD.Forever Young – China Qualifier
Position 1 (Carry) – Monet
Position 2 (Mid) – Super
Position 3 (Offlane) – Jixing
Position 4 (Support) – White
Position 5 (Support) – lpc
Let’s be honest here, LGD.FY are only at this tournament because there were four qualifier spots available for Chinese teams. Domestically, LGD.FY have looked uninspiring. Internationally, they have not been seen since the Boston Major.
LGD.FY will have to hope that they can catch a few teams unaware. Four teams in their group are going to have one eye on Kiev. This may be enough for LGD.FY to take a map. This is going to be a baptism of fire for the new look LGD.FY.
Prediction – 6th in Group A
Team Faceless – SEA Qualifier
Position 1 (Carry) – Black^
Position 2 (Mid) – Jabz
Position 3 (Offlane) –iceiceice
Position 4 (Support) – xy-
Position 5 (Supprot) – NutZ
2017 has been the year of Faceless, at least in Southeast Asia. The SEA powerhouses have placed first in the last three domestic qualifier events. They also placed third at DotaPit, the only international event they have attended in 2017.
Faceless have shown they should be feared on the international stage, but they have a tough task ahead of them. With two of the best teams in the world in their group, this will be excellent practice for Faceless before Kiev. Faceless should expect to make it late in the tournament, but they will require a good losers bracket run.
Prediction – 3rd in Group A
Team Empire – CIS Qualifier
Position 1 (Carry) – Chappie
Position 2 (Mid) – fn
Position 3 (Offlane) – Ghostik
Position 4 (Support) – Miposhka
Position 5 (Supprot) – KingR
Team Empire are another team that is not attending Kiev. With this in mind, they will be looking to make a major statement at DAC. Can they do it? Sure. Will they do it? Probably not.
Team Empire will be up against the best competition in the world, and at this point, they should not expect anything amazing. On the other hand, Empire possesses some decent pocket picks and have been known to pick Meepo should the chance arise. Empire will hope that they can give a good showing of themselves and not suffer too much throughout the event.
Prediction – 5th in Group A
DAC Group B
Newbee – Direct Invite
Position 1 (Carry) – Uuu9
Position 2 (Mid) – Sccc
Position 3 (Offlane) – Kpii
Position 4 (Support) – Faith
Position 5 (Support) – Kaka
Newbee started the year as the Chinese team to fear, as they finished second at ESL One Genting. Since then, however, they have been missing from the competitive scene.
With just seven competitive games since January, Newbee is coming into DAC without much competitive experience. They are currently performing well domestically and will be hoping to regain the form of early 2017.
Prediction – 4th in Group B
Evil Geniuses – Direct Invite
Position 1 (Carry) – Arteezy
Position 2 (Mid) – SumaiL
Position 3 (Offlane) – UNiVeRsE
Position 4 (Support) – Zai
Position 5 (Support) – Cr1t-
EG are coming into this event with very little game time since their win at DotaPit in January. However, with a team full of superstars, a lack of games should not have that great of an impact. This will be the first time that the new-look EG have faced off against the new-look Team Liquid. In a clash for the title of best team in the world, EG hope that experience will carry them through.
What EG have that most other teams don’t is star power. They possess quality at each position. There is no weak link in the EG armor. They will be hoping that they can battle through a tough group and progress to the Winners Bracket.
Prediction – 1st in Group B
Invictus Gaming – Chinese Qualifier
Position 1 (Carry) – BurNing
Position 2 (Mid) – Op
Position 3 (Offlane) – Xxs
Position 4 (Support) – BoboKa
Position 5 (Support) – Q
Heading into DotaPit, many people were unsure of how IG would perform. They shocked many by finishing in the top four in a strong field. Since then they have qualified for the Kiev Major and the Manila Masters. IG are heading into DAC Group Stages with a lot of confidence. They hope to build a solid foundation for the upcoming Kiev Major. They are in the stronger of the two groups, so this will be a good test of their ability.
IG hope that veteran Xu “BurNing” Zhelei will be able to carry them to a decent group position. Unfortunately, being in a group with Newbee, EG and Team Liquid means that qualification into the Winners Bracket looks slim. The main worry for IG is the dreaded Losers’ Round One, in which all the games are best of one. Should IG prevail, they look to go late into the tournament.
Prediction – 3rd in Group B
Position 1 (Carry) – Paparazi
Position 2 (Mid) – Sakata
Position 3 (Offlane) – InJuly
Position 4 (Support) – Super
Position 5 (Support) – dogf1ghts
IG’s younger brother has not been able to find a similar form to that of their older sibling. Domestically they have been very hit and miss. Qualifying for one tournament, but missing out on the next. Their only recent international tournament was StarLadder, in which they finished a disappointing 7-8th. IG.V have not been helped by the fact they are in a strong group, with four teams all fighting for the top two spots. This will be the advantage that IG.V have. They are looking to fly in under the radar.
IG.V is a team that is built around strong team play, rather than overly flashy plays. They hope that they can use this this to their advantage and take a few maps off the stronger teams in the group. In a similar vein to IG, if they can make it out of the best of ones, they can look forward to a deep run in the tournament.
Prediction – 5th in Group B
Team Liquid – European Qualifier
Position 1 (Carry) – MATUMBAMAN
Position 2 (Mid) – Miracle-
Position 3 (Offlane) – MinD_ContRoL
Position 4 (Support) – GH
Position 5 (Support) – KuroKy
Team Liquid in 2017 can be summed up in one word, “Dominant.” The new look Liquid have taken 2017 by storm, finishing first place in every event they have competed in, including qualifiers. At StarLadder, they swept aside everyone in their path to victory. They did not at any point look to be in any trouble. Liquid are currently 16 matches without a loss. They look set to continue this run as they are one of the favourites to win the event.
The addition of Maroun “GH” Merhej to the roster has propelled Liquid to the top of many people’s power rankings. This will, however, be Liquid’s first opportunity to test themselves against a top contender in EG. In what will likely be one of the best series of the group stages, the winner of EG and Liquid will likely take the top spot in Group B.
Prediction – 2nd in Group B
Team NP – Americas Qualifiers
Position 1 (Carry) – Aui_2000
Position 2 (Mid) – Eternal Envy
Position 3 (Offlane) – MSS
Position 4 (Support) – SVG
Position 5 (Support) – Rose aka 1437
Team NP are heading into this event in a slump. They had high hopes heading into the Kiev Major qualifiers. However, they failed to advance as they were knocked out by Team Onyx. In what could be the team’s last event together, they hope that they can regain their form and put in an impressive performance. It has been announced that veteran Theeban “Rose” Siva, will be handling the drafting during the tournament. This may be the change that reignites Team NP.
The failure of the Kiev Major qualifiers was a bitter pill to swallow, but NP will have their eyes firmly on the DAC crown. With crowd favourite Jacky “EternalEnVy” Mao, NP will have a strong backing in China. EE is famous for his enigmatic plays, and NP hope that he can carry them to victory, rather than destruction. The road for NP will be difficult, but a good performance at this event may keep the roster together.
Prediction – 6th in Group B
DAC Group Stages Final Thoughts
The DAC Group Stages are filled with strong teams. With nine teams preparing for the Kiev Major, the DAC Group Stages will give an indication of what we can expect to see at Kiev. Group B is surely the stronger of the two groups, and the winner will likely come from this group. The DAC Group Stages kick off March 27th, and fans should be excited for what is in store.
Who do you think is going to finish as first in each group? Let us know in the comments below.
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