Dota 2 Power Rankings

Dota 2 Power Rankings May 2017

Back in March, we released our Top 10 Dota 2 teams in the world. This was before both the Kiev Major and the Dota 2 Asia Championships (DAC). Obviously, a lot has happened since then so let’s take a look at our current power rankings.

[DISCLAIMER – I am getting this in early. You may not agree with these rankings, actually I’m 100% sure you won’t. These are my personal opinion, so take them with a pinch of salt. Let me know your top 10 in the comments.]

Right, now that we have the pleasantries out of the way let’s get into the list. As we mentioned last time, the criteria for the list are as follows:

  • Must have an active five player roster.

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 10 – Team NP

Dota 2 Power Rankings Team NP

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

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Eternal Envy

Position 2 (Mid) – Fata

Position 3 (Offlane) – MSS

Position 4 (Support) – Aui_2000

Position 5 (Support) – PieLieDie

Previous Placing – New Entry

Last rankings we copped a lot of flack from the NP and EE fanboys. However, since then they have had some disappointing placings. They finished third in the Kiev qualifiers and joint last place at DAC. This was not good enough for the high standards set by Jacky ‘EternalEnvy’ Mao. As a result, the fan favorites have a new roster.

Bringing in Adrian “Fata” Trinks and Johan “PieLieDie” Astrom has improved the squad enough to push them into the top 10 of our Dota 2 power rankings. The solidity offered from Fata and Pie may be enough to make up for the craziness of Envy. In fact, you could say the new additions will be the Ying to Envy’s Yang.

Since forming the new squad, they have only lost one game and look strong. They look on track to qualify for the Summit 7 and narrowly missed out on a place at Epicenter. The dark days of Kiev and DAC seem to have cleared. This new squad could fulfill the anime prophecy by taking NP to their first LAN title.

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 9 – Team Faceless

Dota 2 Power Rankings Faceless

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Black^

Position 2 (Mid) – Jabz

Position 3 (Offlane) –iceiceice

Position 4 (Support) – xy-

Position 5 (Support) – NutZ

Previous Placing – Number 8 (-1)

Faceless are an interesting team. They consistently perform domestically, winning the majority of SEA based tournaments. However, as soon as they compete in an international event they disappoint. Let’s take a look at Kiev and DAC.

In the group stages at DAC, Faceless went 0-2-3 meaning that they did not win a single best of two. Then they come out to the main event and beat Liquid to secure top eight. Faceless showed sparks of brilliance in the best of one against Liquid, but they would fall in the next series against EG. Kiev was pretty much a carbon copy of DAC. They ended group stages with a 1-3 record. The only series win was against underdogs SG esports. Luckily for Faceless, they got a great draw in the first round of bracket play, as they were paired off against SEA rivals TNC. As Faceless have done time and time again they would defeat TNC to secure top eight. They then would lose again to eventual winners OG.

Faceless are a very confusing team. They attend the majority of international tournaments and always look in form heading into the event. The event roles around and they somehow stumble into the top eight. In fact, since forming in September 2016 they have only finished outside of the top 8 at one event. Faceless would be higher on this list if they could push on in major tournaments.

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 8 – TNC Pro Team

Dota 2 Power Rankings TNC

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Raven

Position 2 (Mid) – Kuku

Position 3 (Offlane) – Sam_H

Position 4 (Support) – Tims

Position 5 (Support) – ryOyr

Previous Placing – New Entry

Last time we made this list, a lot of fans were unhappy that we left TNC out. Well, you can all be very happy as they have done enough in the past 2 months to rise to number eight in our rankings.

After winning WESG some fans were unsure how valuable the win was, myself included, as there was no tier one competition at the event. Well, TNC proved the doubters wrong at both StarLadder and Kiev. In DAC, TNC showed a certain resilience after being placed in a difficult group. Facing off against OG, Secret and hometown favourites IG.V the squad had its work cut out. In an interesting turn of events, TNC would end up finishing second in the group, losing only to OG. This was an interesting turn of events for TNC as they had then guaranteed themselves top four. They would eventually fall to winners Liquid but they proved a point.

Moving into Kiev, the team had just failed to qualify for the Summit 7, so spirits may have been down. They did not show any sign of this in the group stages at Kiev. TNC came out in the first series and swept EG 2-0 in dominant fashion. They would carry this on and finish groups with a 3-1 record, only losing to VP. Then came the dreaded match with Faceless, who seem to be TNC’s kryptonite. I truly believe that if TNC would have finish groups with a 2-2 record they probably would have made a deeper run in the tournament.

TNC are higher on the list than Faceless based off of potential to win international events.

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 7 – Team Liquid

Dota 2 Power Rankings Team Liquid

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – MATUMBAMAN

Position 2 (Mid) – Miracle-

Position 3 (Offlane) – MinD_ContRoL

Position 4 (Support) – GH

Position 5 (Support) – KuroKy

Previous Placing – Number 3 (-4)

Liquid is also a very confusing team. After picking up Maroun ‘GH’ Merhej, things looked good for Liquid. In their first event as a team, they would capture the crown at Dream League Season 6. This was the start of a strong couple months for Liquid that ended at StarLadder.

February was a month to remember for Liquid as they would finish first in two qualification events and also at StarLadder. At StarLadder Liquid looked to be at the top of the pile. They would finish the event dropping only two maps throughout the event. They managed to also snag a direct invite to The Kiev Major off the back of these strong performances.

If February was a month to remember, then April was a month to forget. Liquid was considering one of the favorites for DAC but they never lived up to the hype. In fact, they looked out of place at the event. After a disappointing group stage that would see them finish third. They would eventually fall in the losers bracket round one and finish joint last. Kiev was no better as Liquid would finish a disappointing 5th – 8th.

Liquid make this list because they have five of the best players in the world and are just trying to put it all together. So far in the weeks following Kiev, they are undefeated and look like they are on the road to recovery. The jury is still out on this Liquid squad and they will need to improve in the coming months.

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 6 – Team Secret

Dota 2 Power Rankings Team Secret

Image courtesy of teamsecret.gg

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – MP

Position 2 (Mid) – MidOne

Position 3 (Offlane) – Khezu

Position 4 (Support) – Yapzor

Position 5 (Support) – Puppey

Previous Placing – Number 9 (+3)

Team Secret are the first team on this list to have moved up in the rankings. Since March, they have enjoyed a good run of form that unfortunately did end in disappointment at Kiev. In their last 24 series, Secret have only lost two matches, a loss to Alliance and a loss to SG esports.

Secret looked to be back to old ways in the build up to Kiev as they stomped the qualification tournament. They would only drop one map throughout the whole event. Which was a 1-0 loss to Alliance early in the group stages. Secret looked to be on another level to the rest of the competition and would win the tournament with relative ease. At The Kiev Major, Secret looked very strong. They finished groups with a 3-0 record and did not drop a single map. That was until they came up against SG.

The series against SG was interesting, to say the least. SG had not won a single game during the group stages and finished with a 0-3 record. Secret were blown away by the strength of SG and in a back and forth would eventually fall to SG. This is where the best of one format has an issue. Secret were slow starting out at the main event and would, therefore, finish joint last. If instead, they had been playing a double elimination bracket, Secret may well have finished in the top four.

Secret has a new roster and a new hope based on recent performances. Puppey has been searching for the perfect roster since TI3, he may now have found it.

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 5 – Newbee

Dota 2 Power rankings Newbee

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

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Uuu9

Position 2 (Mid) – Sccc

Position 3 (Offlane) – Kpii

Position 4 (Support) – Faith

Position 5 (Support) – Kaka

Previous Placing – Number 4 (-1)

In the last power rankings, we said that Newbee is one of the best teams in China. This is still the case two months later. Newbee continue to be consistent without setting the world alight. In Song “Sccc” Chun, Newbee has one of the best mid-laners in China. The issue that the side seems to face is that they cannot handle the pressure in the big moments.

Until the last few weeks, Newbee has been one of the strongest teams in the Chinese scene for nearly a year. Internationally they have also been performing well. At the start of the year, Newbee would make the final of ESL One Genting where they would narrowly be defeated by DC. DAC was another stand out tournament for Newbee. They performed well in a strong group and would eventually finish second taking them to the upper bracket.

Newbee showed signs of brilliance throughout DAC including defeating EG 2-1 in the lower bracket to guarantee top three. They would, however, fall to eventual winners IG. As a team Newbee have five of the most consistent players in China. Aside from Sccc none of the players will set the world alight, however, they play with a ruthless efficiency. Newbee are consistent performers and will continue to perform in 2017.

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 4 – Evil Geniuses

Dota 2 Power Rankings Evil Geniuses

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Arteezy

Position 2 (Mid) – SumaiL

Position 3 (Offlane) – UNiVeRsE

Position 4 (Support) – Zai

Position 5 (Support) – Cr1t-

Previous Placing – Number 2 (-2)

EG fall to fourth in our Dota 2 Power rankings. This is more to do with the performances of the teams around them than anything the team has done. At Dota Pit in January, EG made things look easy. Since then however, things increasingly more difficult.

EG are a team famed for slow starts. No matter who is on the team this seems to have become a consistency. This style nearly cost them at DAC as they finished second to last in the group and set themselves a tough best of one against Wings Gaming. The match against Wings Gaming would be a 61 minute slug fest that EG would eventually win. They continued to take games until they would eventually lose a close series to Newbee.

Moving forward into Kiev, EG again made the group stages look difficult as they would finish with a  2-2 record and set up a knockout game against NA rivals Thunderbirds. EG showed serious resilience to take the series over Thunderbirds 2-0. They then came up against Brazilian whirlwind SG. In a back and forth series with some insane moments, EG would eventually take the series 2-1. Going against OG would prove too much for EG and they would lose 2-0.

The EG side are one of the most consistent sides in the world. Since winning TI5 they have had a few roster changes but have managed to stay at the top of the pile for most of the events. EG have a busy couple of months coming up with the Manilla Masters and Epicenter on the horizon. They will be hoping to secure a direct invite to TI7 as they seek to regain the Aegis of Champions.

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 3 – Virtus Pro

Dota 2 Power Rankings Virtus Pro

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Ramzes666

Position 2 (Mid) – No[o]ne

Position 3 (Offlane) – 9Pashaebashu

Position 4 (Support) – Lil

Position 5 (Support) – Solo

Previous Placing – Number 10 (+7)

Virtus Pro are one of the biggest climbers on this list as they jump up an impressive seven spaces. Rewind back to the beginning of March and things weren’t look great for VP. They had just failed to qualify for DAC due to connection issues and things were looking tough. In the last rankings article, we touched on what could happen if VP failed to qualify for Kiev. Turns out their was nothing to worry about. VP would qualify for Kiev with ease.

At Kiev, VP were considered one of the favorites and for good reason. They stormed through group stages finishing with a 3-0 record and only dropped 1 map during groups. VP looked to be finally living up to expectations. During the main event they would travel via China to reach the final, as they would come up against three Chinese teams. VP then faced off against OG in the final, in what turned out to be one of the best grand finals since TI3. Unfortunately they would fall to OG 3-2.

VP have shot back to the top three in the rankings following Kiev. They finally lived up to the expectations they have had since TI6. The future is looking bright for VP as with the strong performance at Kiev, they will likely have secured an invite to TI7 and several other events in the coming months. If they can continue to string together performances like that at Kiev, they have the ability to win several events, including TI7. VP are a team to be feared in the coming months.

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 2 – Invictus Gaming

Dota 2 Power Rankings Invictus Gaming

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – BurNing

Position 2 (Mid) – Op

Position 3 (Offlane) – Xxs

Position 4 (Support) – BoboKa

Position 5 (Support) – Q

Previous Placing – New Entry

IG are the highest new entry on the list as the jump straight up to second place. IG have had a crazy couple of months since March culminating with victory at DAC. At the moment, IG are probably the best team in China and are beginning to reach a consistent level internationally as well.

DAC was somewhat of a breakout tournament for IG as they would perform well in groups and the main event. However, they did not flex their muscles until the grand finals. They came into the series as underdogs. The series looked the exact opposite as IG rolled over OG with relative ease.

A lot of this thanks to the Riki of Ye “BoBoKa” Zhibiao. In games one and two of the series BoBoKa would frustrate the supports of OG rendering them useless in the early game. BoBoKa showed during DAC that he was one of the best four positions in the game. IG caught teams offguard at DAC as they displayed the typical Chinese efficiency.

IG would again perform well at Kiev, even with teams focussing on banning out BoBoKa’s best heroes. This would not stop IG as they would finish groups with a strong 3-1 record. This form continued into the main event as they would take series after series until they eventually fell to VP in the semi-finals.

IG have burst onto the scene in the last few months off the back of BoBoKa and Chinese legend Xu “BurNing” Zhilei. They are riding a wave that may well take them to victory at TI7.

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 1 – OG

Dota 2 Power Rankings OG

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Notail

Position 2 (Mid) – Ana

Position 3 (Offlane) – s4

Position 4 (Support) – JerAx

Position 5 (Support) – Fly

Previous Placing – Number 1

I’m sure you are all really surprised by this right? In the previous ranking, we said that choosing between OG and EG was difficult. This time around, the decision could not have been easier. OG are now four-time major champions, meaning they have won all but one major so far.

DAC was a blip on the radar for OG. They dominated the event, even beating IG in the run to the finals. The grand finals loss was a surprise to most and may have been as a result of OG taking IG lightly. They did not make this mistake twice. At Kiev OG displayed the same consistency fans will have become used to. A lot of credit should go to Tal “Fly” Aizik, who has managed to take two teams and make them world-class. It’s crazy to think that OG are often looked over heading into events, probably because the roster is not filled with stars. In fact, this plays to OG’s advantage. The four players around Fly seem to have faith in every decision that he makes.

There is really not much else that needs to be said about OG and why they are the best team in the world. All of the other rankings on the list are open for debate apart from this one. The consistency that OG have shown at the top level is astounding. All that is left is to take the ultimate crown, something which seems inevitable.

Agree or Disagree with my rankings? Let us know in the comments below.

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What we learned from The Kiev Major

The 16 best teams in the world fought it out over a week to take home the Mystic Staff from what will be widely considered the best major so far. With The Kiev Major in the books, it’s time to look at what we learned from the event.

The Kiev Major Final Placings

Place $ USD Percent Team
1st $1,000,000  33.33% OG OG
2nd $500,000  16.67% Virtus.pro/Virtus.pro Virtus.pro
3rd-4th $250,000  8.33% Invictus Gaming/Invictus Gaming Invictus Gaming
Evil Geniuses Evil Geniuses
5th-8th $125,000  4.17% Team Liquid Team Liquid
Team Faceless Team Faceless
Vici Gaming/Team VGJ Team VGJ
SG e-sports SG e-sports
9th-16th $62,500  2.08% Mousesports mousesports
Newbee/Newbee Newbee
Digital Chaos Digital Chaos
Invictus Gaming/iG Vitality iG Vitality
TNC Pro Team TNC Pro Team
Team Random Team Random
Thunderbirds Thunderbirds
Team Secret Team Secret

Table courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2/Kiev_Major/2017

OG prove once again they are the best in the world

Heading into Kiev, OG looked shaky. They were stomped by IG at DAC and had not won an event since The Boston Major. They were still a top four team, but many questioned whether they could take the Kiev crown. This fear was confirmed when they dropped their first game of group stages against underdogs SG esports.

Groups were worth forgetting for OG. Yes, they finished with a 3-1 record, but they did not look confident and also suffered again at the hands of IG.

OG The Kiev Major

Image courtesy of https://twitter.com/saadsarwar

Bracket play also started shakily as they eeked out 2-1 victories over Team Randon and Team Faceless. OG did, however, come into their own on the final day. They took a close 2-0 against EG, with both games going over 50 minutes. The grand finals proved to be one of the best series in recent Dota history. OG showed determination to come back from 2-1 down to take the series 3-2.

OG showed once again that you can have the biggest names in the scene, but if you cannot get them to work as a unit they will never win. EG finished top four at another major but couldn’t overcome the teamwork of OG. The star-studded Liquid roster failed again at a major event, raising more questions for the roster. The one consistency in the scene is OG. They have finished in the top four in the last nine events they have competed in. Of those nine, they have finished first in four of them and second in four. The consistency OG has shown has not been seen since Ehome during the Dota 1 era.

However, the only Valve trophy to add to the trophy cabinet is the Aegis of Champions, which OG will be looking to capture at The International 2017.

Let’s talk about Liquid

 

Team Liquid The Kiev Major

Image courtesy of reddit.com

Let’s rewind back to the end of February. Liquid had just won StarLadder and everything looked on the up for the roster. Many people, myself included, had Liquid ranked as one of the top five teams in the world. However, after a joint last place finish at DAC and a top eight finish at The Kiev Major, things look rough for the roster heading into The International.

During group stages, the team seemed to be falling apart. With constant role swaps between Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi and Maroun “GH” Merhej, things look rough for the squad. They could only secure victories against SG esports and Team Faceless, two of the weaker teams in the tournament. The two games that Liquid lost during groups were against Thunderbirds and DC, both teams Liquid should be defeating.

When the heat was on, Liquid evaporated out of the tournament and severely damaged their chances of receiving a direct invite to The International. Liquid need to take the time from Kiev to July to fix the obvious issues on the roster. Liquid is a team known for persevering with a roster, so a change seems unlikely. Fans will have faith that Liquid can sort the issues out and bounce back at the next event.

Brazillian DOTO best doto

SG esports at The Kiev Major

Image courtesy of br.ign.com

Heading into Kiev, I was unsure about what SG was going to provide to the event. I can happily say that I may have underestimated them a bit. They showed during the main event that they can hang with the best of them. In fact, they did hang with the best coming out of groups, Team Secret. Heading into the series, the majority of fans were predicting an easy victory for Team Secret. Instead, SG showed an amazing heart and managed to defeat Secret and take on EG for a spot in the top four.

The series against EG was one of the best, if not the best, series of the whole event. All of the games in the series went over 50 minutes and were back and forth battles. Even in defeat, SG fought to the last moments and was within inches of placing top four at the event.

The next couple of months will be important for SG as they need to build on the momentum gained from Kiev. In the same way that TNC did at TI6 and Ad Finem did at The Boston Major, SG captured the hearts and minds of fans and the community will be hoping that SG shows up to some more events.

Virtus pro put it all together-ish

Virtus Pro VP The Kiev Major

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Different major, same story. Virtus Pro came into Kiev as a favourite for the event, in the same way as they were heading into Boston. Boston didn’t exactly work out, however, on their home turf, something was different. VP stormed through the swiss format winning all three of their games only dropping one game. VP played a high tempo game with the team fight and skill that they are famed for.

Bracket play was very similar to groups as VP amassed a 6-1 record on their way to the finals. Along the way, VP even took down DAC winners and favourites IG in a 2-0 sweep. The finals against OG was one of the best series in major history as they would eventually fall 3-2 to OG. VP came within inches of lifting the trophy and finally winning an elusive major title. VP showed that they are the real deal and the favourite tag they often receive was warranted.

With this strong performance at Kiev, VP will have likely secured an invite to The International where they can compete for The Aegis of Champions.

The Kiev Major Final Thoughts

This event was arguably the best major that has taken place so far. From the panel to the production, everything was top notch. The event had some of the best content of any so far, including this amazing gem.

Team Slacks Kiev Major

This is why Slacks shouldn’t be allowed near the production equipment.

The games were some of the closest in recent history, with 10 of the 15 main event matches going to three or more games. In terms of series to check out, the EG v SG quarter-final was absolutely amazing. All three games were back and forth with some amazing plays including a five-man dream coil. The Kiev Major has set the bar so high and fans should be excited for the next future of Dota 2 esports.


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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Kiev Major Group Stage

The Kiev Major Group Stage Preview

The first Major of the 2017 season is upon us and it looks as though it will be amazing. The Kiev Major will take place from April 24th – April 30th. The event will be split into Group Stages followed by a single-elimination main event bracket. Let’s take a look at the Kiev Major Group Stage.

The Kiev Major Prize Pool

The prize pool of the tournament is $3,000,000 USD.

Place $ USD Percent Team
1st $1,000,000  33.33% TBD
2nd $500,000  16.67% TBD
3rd-4th $250,000  8.33% TBD
TBD
place 5 to 16
5th-8th $125,000  4.17% TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD
9th-16th $62,500  2.08% TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD

Courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2/Kiev_Major/2017

Kiev Major Group Stage Format

For the first time at a Dota 2 event, Kiev will use the Swiss-system format. A format commonly seen at CS:GO events, it will be interesting to see if it creates better seeding heading into the main event.

  • 16 teams are placed in a single group where they play in a Swiss-system format.
    • Four rounds of matches.
    • All matches are played in a Bo3.
    • Opponents will always have the same Win/Loss record.
    • Teams will never play an opponent twice.
  • Round 1
    • Initial eight matches are seeded.
  • Round 2
    • Divided into two groups:
      • Winners of Round 1 (“high”)
      • Losers of Round 1 (“low”)
    • Teams will be drawn an opponent from their group.
  • Round 3
    • Divided into three groups:
      • Teams with a record of 2-0 (“high”)
      • Teams with a record of 1-1 (“mid”)
      • Lastly, teams with a record of 0-2 (“low”)
    • All teams will be drawn an opponent they have not played yet from their group.
    • Winners of the high group are the highest seed for the playoffs.
    • Losers of the low group are the lowest seed for the playoffs.
  • Round 4
    • Divided into two groups:
      • Teams with a record of 2-1 (“high”)
      • Teams with a record of 1-2 (“low”)
    • All teams will be drawn an opponent they have not yet played from their group.
    • Winners of the high group are the 2nd highest seed for the playoffs.
    • Losers of the low group are the 2nd lowest seed for the playoffs.

Courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2/Kiev_Major/2017/Group_Stage

The Kiev Major Group Stage – Round 1 Thoughts and Predictions

The Kiev Major Group Stage Round 1 Matches

Image courtesy of https://twitter.com/wykrhm

Team Secret v VG.J

In the first game of the first round, Team Secret will face off against VG.J. Both of these teams will likely finish in the middle of the pack somewhere. VG.J on paper are the stronger squad. However, outside of the second place at StarLadder, they have yet to live up to the hype.

Both Team Secret and VG.J have a point to prove at Kiev, this will be one of the closest series of the group stages. When the dust settles, I think Team Secret will take the series 2-1. Mainly because VG.J have been inconsistent in recent times. This is also Team Secret’s return to the Major’s after missing out on a place in Boston. Team Secret will be the sharper team heading into round one and should take a close series.

Team Secret Kiev Major Group Stage

Image courtesy of teamsecret.gg

Invictus Gaming (IG) v Mousesports

No series on the road to a Major trophy is easy. However, Mousesports will be feeling unlucky with their round one match-up. Going up against one of the favorites and DAC winner, IG will be a huge challenge for the Greeks. This series will be the first that the former Ad Finem roster has played since the second place finish at the Boston Major. Since then they have changed orgs, failed to attend a single LAN and we have had a series of game changing patches. On the other hand, IG comes into this event in the form of a lifetime. A strong showing at DAC, which would eventually see them take home the crown, has catapulted them into a spot as favorites. IG and Mousesports are at opposite ends of the spectrum and IG should sweep the Greeks 2-0.

IG Kiev Major Group Stages

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Team Random v IG.Vitality

In the only all domestic match-up, Team Random will take on IG.V. This series looks to be another close match-up with both teams experiencing mixed form. Team Random, formerly Team Wings, are searching to recover the form they had leading up to TI6. IG.V are looking to establish themselves as a top team. Team Random have the stronger set of players but seem to out mind game themselves in most games. Team Random showed flashes of genius during DAC, but normally it was too little too late. IG.V, on the other hand, showed promise during DAC finishing in fourth place. At DAC IG.V started slowly and for this reason I am backing Team Random to take the series 2-1.

Team Randon Team Wings Kiev Major Group Stages

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

OG v SG esports

Favorites for the event OG take on newcomers SG in their first group stage game. For SG this series will be the hardest best of three they have most likely ever played. The current OG team are the most consistent team heading into the event. Since November, the lowest placing they have had is 3rd – 4th. Not bad for a team that everyone always rules out. SG will have to pull out a miracle to take the series from OG, think TNC at TI6. OG will come into the series full of confidence and will take it 2-0.

OG Kiev Major Group Stage

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Liquid v Thunderbirds

This series is my one to watch heading into the first round. Two teams who have championship pedigree but are currently having some issues. Liquid are more up and down than a yo-yo. They place first at StarLadder and then finish 9th – 12th at DAC. Liquid are another team that on paper should be challenging for every title. However, for whatever reason, they are struggling to convert talent into ability in-game. Thunderbirds, formerly DC, have struggled since winning ESL One Genting in January. The team has been struggling in-game and out of it. With the team now leaving DC, it is possible that they will make a return to winning ways. Similarly to Secret v VG.J, both these teams will likely finish in the middle of the pack. This is a difficult series to call, but I have Liquid edging it 2-1.

Liquid Kiev Major Group Stage

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Faceless v Virtus Pro (VP)

Kiev will be the first LAN that VP have attended since January. Starting off with a series against Faceless will be a tough test for VP. Faceless come into the event the same as always, dominant in SEA, disappointing internationally. VP come into Kiev with strong domestic form in the last few months. This is series will set the tone for both teams heading further into the event. Will VP choke again, will it be same old Faceless? Faceless are on the cusp of a strong performance. However, VP are the team in form at the moment and I have them taking the series 2-1.

VP Kiev Major Group Stage

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Digital Chaos (DC) v Newbee

In their first series as DC, the former Team Onyx squad will face off against Newbee. Newbee are one of the more consistent teams heading into the event with a first, second and third place finish in the three events they have attended in 2017. On the other hand, this will be DC’s first LAN event as a team. The nerves will be high for the new squad, especially with the controversy surrounding their move to the DC banner. Newbee are looking to go into the later rounds of the tournament and a strong performance in round one will set the tone. I have Newbee taking the series 2-0

Newbee Kiev Major Group Stage

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

Evil Geniuses (EG) v TNC Pro Team

EG v TNC on paper should be a relatively easy matchup for the North American powerhouse. However, if one thing is certain in Dota it’s that EG always start slow. EG come into the event with questions hanging over the roster. The performance at DAC raised more questions on whether the roster is strong enough to be consistently at the top. On paper EG has one of the strongest rosters in the world, they just can’t seem to click consistently.

TNC come into Kiev in the same spot they always are, underdogs. TNC have had an up and down 2017, which has included winning WESG. Furthermore, TNC have been hit and miss domestically, which is concerning considering the lack of tier one times in SEA. I have EG taking the series but it will be a close 2-1.

EG Kiev Major Group Stage

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Kiev Major Group Stage – Final Thoughts

Every event since Boston has been building up to the Kiev Major. The first Major of 2017 will be hotly contested with at least five teams strong favorites to take the event. Near the top should be the likes of OG, IG, VP and EG. Teams like Secret, Liquid and Thunderbirds have questions to answer moving into the build up to TI7. At the other end, SG esports are looking to capture the hearts of fans as TNC and Ad Finem have done before them.

The new group stage format will provide more consistent seeding heading into the single-elimination main event. Teams that start slow will have the chance to repair things and get a decent seed for bracket play.

For more in-depth coverage of each region check out my Regional Roulette series:

South East Asia

The Americas

Europe and CIS

China

What are your thoughts on the round one matchups? Let me know in the comments below.

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The Kiev Major Regional Roulette – China

Welcome to the fourth and final day of the Kiev Major regional roulette. Today it’s time to look at China.

China – The Teams

With China receiving five total spots at the event, the odds of a strong showing from Chinese teams seems likely. DAC reminded the rest of the world that the Chinese teams are to be feared. Let’s take a look at who will be representing China at Kiev:

Team Random (Formerly Wings Gaming) – Direct Invite

Team Randon Team Wings China Kiev Major

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Shadow

Position 2 (Mid) – Blink

Position 3 (Offlane) – Faith_bian

Position 4 (Support) – y’

Position 5 (Support) – iceice

It seems as if teams and organizations parting way is the flavor of the month heading into Kiev. For the former Wings roster, the reasons are still unclear, but they will be heading into Kiev as Team Random.

The TI6 winners have been without an event win since November 2016. For a team the strength of Team Random, this is not good enough. From watching them play, it seems as if Team Random got too focused on being … random. Team Random will need to returning to winning ways or they may return to the cut-throat world of the Chinese qualifiers.

In the last few events, Team Random have been unlucky with draws and have faced strong opposition early in the tournament. They will be hoping that the swiss format will alleviate some of the issues they have faced in previous events. Team Random have one more event, TI7 in which they are guaranteed a direct invite. They need to find the answer to their recent issues and find it fast.

Newbee – Direct Invite

Newbee DAC

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Uuu9

Position 2 (Mid) – Sccc

Position 3 (Offlane) – Kpii

Position 4 (Support) – Faith

Position 5 (Support) – Kaka

Newbee come into Kiev in a great run of form. In the month before Kiev, they have finished third at DAC and first at DPL Season 3. They have also racked up a victory against Chinese favorites IG.

Newbee had a long time without a LAN event but they have arrived back with a bang. They have a strong base of play and are consistent. Newbee are looking to become the first organization to win two TI’s and the first step is a victory at Kiev.

Newbee come into the event as one of the top four teams likely to win it all. The Newbee twitter team are already preparing the memes, let’s hope they are top quality as always.

Team VG.J – Direct Invite

VG.J DAC

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Agressif

Position 2 (Mid) – Freeze

Position 3 (Offlane) – rOtk

Position 4 (Support) – fy

Position 5 (Support) – Fenrir

VG.J have yet to reach the heights expected of them. The reason for this is hard to pinpoint. On paper, this is a TI winning team. However, for whatever reason, they cannot put it together in-game. One potential reason could be their inexperienced mid-laner Liu “Freeze” Chang. VG.J is the first top quality roster Freeze has been a part of and it shows. He often makes solo plays that are confusing and leave his team in compromising positions.

The rest of the roster is solid, they have bags of experience and the skills to boot. It is up to the four veterans to carry Freeze to the promised land of a major win. Without it, they risk falling onto the mountain of failed Chinese God-Squads.

Invictus Gaming – Qualifier

IG DAC

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – BurNing

Position 2 (Mid) – Op

Position 3 (Offlane) – Xxs

Position 4 (Support) – BoboKa

Position 5 (Support) – Q

IG head into the event as joint favorites with OG, due to a dominant victory at DAC. In recent times, IG is the first team to make OG look average. In an amazing final, they sweep the three-time major champions 3-0.

IG came into DAC slightly under the radar and they took advantage of that fact. Ye “BoBoKa” Zhibiao was the star of the show at DAC, especially in the finals. BoBoKa’s performance on out of favor hero Riki in game one of the finals was something to marvel at. He crippled the OG support duo with intelligent rotations among other things. Check out some highlights of the finals here for a better idea.

IG come into the event in a place they have never been before. They are one of the favorites and the are the hope of China. How will this affect the squad? Let’s wait and see when Kiev is over.

iG Vitality – Qualifier

iG.V DAC

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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. IG.V come into the event as one of the weaker Chinese teams, meaning they will probably do quite well.

IG.V is a team that is built around strong team play, rather than overly flashy plays. They hope that they can use this to their advantage during the swiss format. IG.V will need to address some of the drafting issues they have with their relatively limited hero pool.

China – Summary

It is no surprise that of the five Chinese teams attending Kiev, they were all at DAC. China is a region returning to power. China was the original Dota 2 superpower and history is beginning to repeat itself. With a winner likely to come from China or Europe, the pressure is on for the first event in recent history. Newbee and IG are the most likely teams to take home the crown. VG.J is hoping they will not become another failed god-squad. Team Random are hoping to achieve a strong placing heading into TI7. IG.V will be looking to step out of the shadow of IG and make a name for themselves.

China v. Europe will be the biggest regional battle at the event. The future is bright, but is the future China?

Where do you think the Chinese teams will place when it’s all said and done? Let me know in the comments below.

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The Kiev Major Regional Roulette – Europe and CIS

Welcome to day three of the Kiev Major regional roulette. Today it’s time to look at arguably the strongest region heading into the event, Europe and CIS

Europe and CIS – The Teams

When Valve announced the direct invites to Kiev, there were some fans who were unhappy. The inclusion of Mousesports, then Ad Finem, raised a few questions. Valve also announced that Europe and CIS regions would each be having their own qualifier. In total there will be four European and one CIS team attending Kiev. Let’s take a look at who is aiming to win it all:

OG – Direct Invite

OG DAC Group

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Notail

Position 2 (Mid) – Ana

Position 3 (Offlane) – s4

Position 4 (Support) – JerAx

Position 5 (Support) – Fly

Heading into Kiev, OG should be one of the favorites. They have won 75% of the majors since they were introduced in 2015. OG are a team synonymous with consistency when it comes to the majors. They come into the event in good form with only a few slip-ups in recent events.

The newest iteration of OG is arguably the best. Yes, they lack the flair of some previous players, but the current roster is more than that. The current OG is more a sum of its parts rather than the strength of the individuals. OG look to take a game over and rarely let go of that control.

On the flipside, one of the main concerns in recent times is closing out tournaments. Let’s take a look at DAC for example. OG dominated the event, all the way until the Grand-Finals. They would face IG in a rematch of the winners final, which OG won 2-1. IG made OG look confused, it was a complete domination. IG would take the series 3-0 and OG would leave the event wondering what if?

OG are a strong team who should bounce back from the disappointment of DAC. They are surely favorites to take the event and could net you a pretty penny in your compendium predictions.

Mousesports (Formerly Ad Finem) – Direct Invite

Mousesports Dota 2 Kiev Major Europe and CIS

Image courtesy of Teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Madara

Position 2 (Mid) – ThuG

Position 3 (Offlane) – SkyLark

Position 4 (Support) – Maybe Next Time

Position 5 (Support) – SsaSpartan

Shortly after the announcement that the then Ad Finem roster would be receiving a direct invite to Kiev, the team parted ways with the organization. It was then announced that Mousesports would be returning to Dota 2 and picking up the roster.

Heading into Kiev, the Greeks are an unknown quantity, to say the least. Having only played in three qualification events since the second place finish at Boston, there is not much information on the squad. It has obviously been a difficult time for the roster, and Kiev may be just what the team needs to bounce back.

The Greeks are famed for a “can’t stop won’t stop” playstyle. They look to roll over their opposition, focusing more on team fights rather than out farming their opposition. However, since the high points in Boston, the meta has changed. The name of the game seems to be farming and using superior resources to win. It will be interesting to see how Mousesports can cope with this change and what effect it will have on them throughout the event.

Mousesports captured the hearts and minds of fans at Boston. They will be looking to do this again at Kiev.

Team Liquid – Direct Invite

Team Liquid DAC

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – MATUMBAMAN

Position 2 (Mid) – Miracle-

Position 3 (Offlane) – MinD_ContRoL

Position 4 (Support) – GH

Position 5 (Support) – KuroKy

Heading into DAC, many people had Liquid finishing in the top three. Instead, Liquid finished 8th – 12th, being knocked out in a best of one against Faceless. This came as a shock seeing as Liquid had won StarLadder a few weeks earlier. With this in mind, Liquid head into the event with a lot of questions hanging over the squad. Was StarLadder a one off? Is Liquid choking again?

On paper, this Liquid roster is a top five team in the world, without a doubt. However, in-game they seem to be on separate pages. As a fan, it always makes me worried when players swap around positions depending on the hero. This happened a few times at DAC with Miracle and GH swapping roles when Naga Siren was picked up. If you think back, this happened before Liquid made roster changes when Matumbaman and Kuro would swap roles when Drow Ranger was picked up.

Liquid comes into Kiev looking to capture the elusive major crown. They have the tools to win it all, whether they will is a separate discussion. Liquid is known for sticking with a roster, but time is running out for Liquid to prove they are one of the best teams in the world.

Team Secret – European Qualifier

Secret StarLadder

Image courtesy of teamsecret.gg

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – MP

Position 2 (Mid) – MidOne

Position 3 (Offlane) – Khezu

Position 4 (Support) – Puppey

Position 5 (Support) – pieliedie

Secret are a roster chasing their own shadow. The days of Secret being a tier one team seem to be behind them. They are now on the periphery, a strong performance at Kiev may well shoot them back to the top tier.

Secret have attended two LAN events this year and have placed a mediocre 5th – 6th at both. They had decent performances at both events but seemed a step behind the top teams. Heading into the event, Secret have been out of the spotlight for a couple months. The controversy with former players seems to be behind them. The stage seems set for Secret to place well at the event. It’s time for in-game actions to take precedent over the controversies of former rosters.

Virtus Pro (VP) – CIS Qualifier

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

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Ramzes666

Position 2 (Mid) – No[o]ne

Position 3 (Offlane) – 9Pashaebashu

Position 4 (Support) – Lil

Position 5 (Support) – Solo

Kiev will be the first LAN event that VP has attended since January. They were on the end of some unfortunate connection issues which would rule them out of DAC. Even with a lack of LAN games, they still come into Kiev as a potential favorite.

VP are always a favorite, but have yet to convert that into an event win. They came into Boston as a favorite, and failed. They came into ESL One Genting as a favorite, and failed. Do you see the theme? With this in mind, they are likely still a favorite.

They have a strong playstyle, which is a combination of typical CIS “can’t stop won’t stop” and the typical Chinese control. In many ways, VP are the best of both worlds. Their roster is filled with talent, although none of them are world-beaters alone, they are as a squad. VP are going into the event with strong performances in the CIS region, how much this counts for remains to be seen.

Will the VP boys fail again? Only time will tell.

Europe and CIS – Summary

Europe and CIS come into the event with three teams capable of winning. With a winner likely to come from this region of China, the pressure is on to perform. As always, all eyes will be on the Europe and CIS teams, meaning anything short of victory will be considered by many as a failure.

OG have the power to secure their fourth major and set themselves up for a strong 2017. Mousesports are trying to find the form of Boston. Liquid is trying not to choke. Secret are chasing the form of previous iterations, without much success, and VP are trying to not fail once more.

The title may well be held in Kiev, but it will not be easy for the Europe and CIS teams to win their home major.

Where do you think the European and CIS teams will place when it’s all said and done? Let me know in the comments below.

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The Kiev Major Regional Roulette – The Americas

Welcome to day two of the Kiev Major regional roulette. Today we are looking at the land of the meme, home of the flame, the Americas.

The Americas – The Teams

It came as no surprise when Valve announced that EG and Thunderbirds, formerly DC, would be receiving direct invites to the Major. What may have come as a surprise, however, was the decision to split the Americas qualifiers into North and South America. In total, there are three North American teams and one South American team attending. Let’s take a look at who will be heading to Kiev.

Evil Geniuses – Direct Invite

DAC EG

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Arteezy

Position 2 (Mid) – SumaiL

Position 3 (Offlane) – UNiVeRsE

Position 4 (Support) – Zai

Position 5 (Support) – Cr1t-

Heading into DAC, EG felt confident. Yes they hadn’t played in a competitive LAN since January, yes they were up drawn in the tougher group. However, EG should have been top four at DAC. Instead, they looked out of touch and behind the meta as they scrapped to a top six finish. When this roster was first announced, there were questions around whether Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen could transition into a captain. It seemed at first things were going to be fine for the new roster. However, at DAC, cracks began to show.

DAC gave the EG team a good idea of what improvements they need to make heading into Kiev. At DAC, EG started slow in the group stages. At Kiev, EG cannot afford to make this mistake again. With the introduction of the Swiss format, and also the single-elimination bracket, seeding will be very important to an extended run in the tournament.

One thing that is on EG’s side is history. Irrelevant of the players, in the last six Valve events, EG have finished top four at five of them. EG are a championship team that show up when they need to. Cr1t- and the boys will be hoping to add another trophy to the cabinet. They have the skill, all they need to do is apply it.

Thunderbirds (Formerly Digital Chaos) – Direct Invite

Thunderbirds Dota 2 The Americas Kiev Major

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Resolution

Position 2 (Mid) – w33

Position 3 (Offlane) – MoonMeander

Position 4 (Support) – MiSeRy

Position 5 (Support) – Saksa

If you have been living under a rock in the last week, the above picture will confuse you. Digital Chaos parted ways with the roster that came second at TI6 and won ESL One Genting. Rasmus “MiSeRy” Filipsen and the team have renamed themselves Thunderbirds, and are still going to compete at Kiev. They have retained the services of coach William “Blitz” Lee, and have also added fan favourite, Jacky “EternalEnvy” Mao, to the staff for the event. Blitz and EE bring a wealth of experience to the table and may be able to help Thunderbirds improve on some disappointing recent performances.

Thunderbirds started the year off with a victory at ESL One Genting. Since then, however, they have finished 7th – 8th at both events they have attended. Arguably, if they had not received a direct invite, they may not be at the event. Thunderbirds are starting a new chapter and should be coming into the event hungry for a win. They have a point to prove, both to their old organisation and any future organisations that are looking at a Dota 2 team. Rumors have been circulating with a few names being mentioned. One thing is for sure, all eyes will be on the Thunderbirds squad throughout Kiev.

Digital Chaos (Formerly Team Onyx) – North American Qualifier

DC StarLadder

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – mason

Position 2 (Mid) – Abed

Position 3 (Offlane) – Bulba

Position 4 (Support) – DeMoN

Position 5 (Support) – DuBu

As mentioned above, Team Onyx have now been picked up by Digital Chaos after they dropped their previous team. The reasons behind this decision are still unclear, but this has happened now. With that in mind, the new DC squad will be under immense pressure. They have been thrust into the spotlight at the most inopportune of times.

DC are a pretty new team, and this is the first LAN the five of them have attended together. One thing they have going for them is an experienced core group of players. In Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho and Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale, they have two players who understand what it takes to win when no-one expects it. This is what DC will have to do if they are going to achieve a decent placing at Kiev. The field at Kiev is stacked from top to bottom with several teams capable of winning it all.

DC’s first step at Kiev will be to get a decent seeding out of the Swiss stage. Step two will be to finish above the former roster, putting any questions about the decision to bed. The former Team Onyx players were hoping to come into Kiev under the radar. Instead, they have a big flashing light hovering over them. It will be one of the more interesting story-lines to follow during the event.

SG esports – South American Qualifier

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – hFn

Position 2 (Mid) – 4dr

Position 3 (Offlane) – Tavo

Position 4 (Support) – KINGRD

Position 5 (Support) – c4t

SG are going into Kiev with zero pressure. Of the 16 teams attending, they are most likely the weakest. They are expected to lose every game, and this could be where they pull off an upset. The South American scene is normally only referred to in memes. However, Valve are obviously attempting to help the scene grow by giving them a qualifier spot at Kiev. Beyond that, there is not really much else to say about SG. They will come in as underdogs, and no matter what happens, they should be immensely proud of attending the event.

The Americas – Summary

Of all the regions, the Americas have the most interesting story-lines heading into Kiev. Firstly, it will be old DC vs. new DC. In what seems like an odd decision by the DC organization, it may transpire to be a good decision in the long run. Old DC, now Thunderbirds, hope to increase their own value by finishing well at the event. With Immortals reportedly in the market for a team, Thunderbirds could find themselves with a new home by the end of the month.

Secondly, EG come into the event with questions about the current roster. This does seem weird considering they won Dota Pit in January. However, fans may find it hard to look past the issues shown at DAC. EG are still one of the best teams in the world and should be confident about adding a Major to the trophy cabinet.

Where do you think the American teams will place when it’s all said and done? Let me know in the comments below.

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A step in the right direction: Esports to be a medal event at 2022 Asian Games

Esports at 2022 Asian Games

Image courtesy of gamenationsa.com

In a recent announcement, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) have began a partnership with Alisports, the sports arm of Chinese online retail giant Alibaba. The partnership will see esports be featured as a demonstration event at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, before becoming an official medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games. The Asian Games is the world’s second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics. This represents a major development in the expansion of esports and may eventually see esports featured at the Olympics.

In a statement OCA president Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah said “The OCA has always been committed to the inheritance, development, and improvement of Asian sports,” He went on to say “We look forward to the forward-thinking concepts of sports by Alisports, who will be helping us with their strength and experience in esports.”

The 2018 and 2022 Asian Games will be the testing ground for esports inclusion in major sporting events. Further to this, esports will also be introduced at this year’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG). Several games will be featured including, Fifa 17.

The future is here, the future is esports?

Audi partners with esports team Astralis

Image courtesy of wwg.com

This announcement is the latest in a long line of advancements for esports in the wider world of sports. With games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive(CS:GO), League of Legends and Dota 2 attracting hundreds of thousands of viewers, it is no surprise that major companies are starting to invest in esports. Recently it was announced that German car manufacturer Audi will be sponsoring high flying CS:GO team Astralis. This was a big step for the CS:GO scene and has furthered back the opinion that it is time for esports to be considered on a similar level to traditional sports. In recent months, there has also been an uptake of professional sports teams picking up various different esports teams. For example, the Philadelphia 76ers acquired long standing Team Dignitas. Whilst Dignitas continue to operate under Dignitas branding, it still evidences a major shift in the opinion of esports.

In a major move for the validity of esports, the University of Utah have also announced that it will begin awarding scholarships to players who make the school’s varsity esports team. It is said that this will be the first scholarship program for competitive gaming for a school in one of the NCAA’s five major conferences. AJ Dimick, the school’s director of operations of esports, told the Associated Press “Esports is growing exponentially in the world and it is, too, on the college scene.” He went on to say “Part of our motivation for doing this is we wanted to help other Power 5 schools and other bigger schools, kind of, see themselves doing it. We hope that us jumping over and getting into this will encourage some of those schools to follow suit. And we think they will.”

The Next steps

As esports becomes more and more excepted by mainstream sports, it may be time to refer to each competitive game in its own merit. Whilst it makes sense when explaining it to people and when grouping together the genre. Things may become difficult as more and more esports appear in general sporting events. For example, back in 2014 Call of Duty(COD) made its first appearance at the X Games. Whilst this was important for the esports genre, it was also important for Call of Duty as a whole. It may be that esports because a category of sports event, in the same way you can have track and field events.

Optic Gaming Esports organisation

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Esports has a long way to go to catch-up with traditional sports, not only externally but also internally. Let’s take a look at fan bases. In terms of traditional sports people generally align themselves with a local team which they will then follow. Often in the esports scene, fans will support a player rather than a team. This is something that needs to be changed as esports grows. One good example of this would be Optic Gaming, who have created a team that people have allegiances to.

Esports is still developing and it take time until it reaches the same level of validity as general sports. One thing that can be guaranteed is that esports is coming and mainstream media will need to be ready for it.

 

 

 

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Kiev Major South East Asia

The Kiev Major Regional Roulette – South East Asia

With the Kiev Major on the horizon, it’s time to start taking a look at the prospective strengths of each region. Over the next four days, join us as we look at each region, starting with South East Asia.

South East Asia – The Teams

When the direct invites were announced, some fans were surprised when no SEA teams received one. Instead, the best of South East Asia were left to fight over two qualification spots. When the dust finally settled, these two teams remained:

Team Faceless

Faceless South East Asia

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Black^

Position 2 (Mid) – Jabz

Position 3 (Offlane) –iceiceice

Position 4 (Support) – xy-

Position 5 (Supprot) – NutZ

Faceless are slowly making a name for themselves, and not the kind that they want. After impressive domestic form, Faceless are still unable to convert this to international success. Heading into DAC, hopes were high. However, a poor group stage performance would see them finish 7th – 8th. The only saving grace of DAC will be the victory against Team Liquid to guarantee top eight.

Faceless have been together since September 2016, and they are yet to transition from a promising team to actual threats. Faceless should be buoyed by the news that the Swiss format will be used for the Kiev group stages. The change in format might give Faceless a chance to secure a better seed heading into the single-elimination bracket.

Faceless need to make an impact in Kiev, or their days could be numbered with the current roster.

TNC Pro Team

TNC South East Asia

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Raven

Position 2 (Mid) – Kuku

Position 3 (Offlane) – Sam_H

Position 4 (Support) – Tims

Position 5 (Support) – ryOyr

2017 has been an interesting year for TNC, to say the least. They started the year winning WESG, albeit with no tier one teams competing. They also managed to qualify for StarLadder and place top four. However, since then, it has been a lot of disappointment for TNC. Missing out on other international tournaments, Kiev is a chance for TNC to get back on the right track.

Unlike Faceless, TNC is always considered the underdog, a tag which they thrive under. The Swiss format, however, points towards fewer upsets and more consistent results. The single-elimination bracket, however, may give TNC the ability to progress past the first few rounds in the main event.

South East Asia – Summary

SEA is a region that lacks a tier one team. Both Faceless and TNC are on the outside looking in. However, they are both capable of competing with the top teams. The main problem both face is consistency, especially in high-pressure moments.

The region was offended at the lack of a direct invite to Kiev. This is no surprise considering their recent international performances, however. Strong performances from both teams may make Valve think twice about leaving them out of the invites for The International. Since the disband of the old Fnatic, SEA has been looking for a new sweetheart. Both Faceless and TNC can take this role on if they can get over the hump.

Of all the regions being represented, SEA is arguably the weakest. This is a combination of a lack of attending teams and domestic competition. Currently, Faceless are dominating the majority of qualifiers, with TNC grabbing the occasional spot. Waiting in the wings, the likes of Mineski and Fnatic are still one step behind.

Where do you think the two SEA teams will place when its all said and done? Let me know in the comments below.

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Kansas City Chiefs 2017 NFL Draft Profile

Welcome to day 25 of TGH Draftmas. Today its time to look at the Kansas City Chiefs.

Chiefs Summary

2016 was much the same as 2015 for the Chiefs. They will be hoping that 2017 can be the year that they get past the divisional round in the playoffs. After finishing 2016 with a strong 12-4 record, Kansas City will be looking to repeat that same form and progress in the playoffs.

Jamaal Charles Chiefs

Image courtesy of offtherecordsports.com

Free agency saw the Chiefs release injury plagued Jamaal Charles. Charles is the all-time leading rusher in franchise history and will be difficult to replace. The draft has a few running backs that may find themselves on the Chiefs radar.

On the other side of the ball, Kansas resigned Eric Berry at safety. With this move the Chiefs will likely turn their eyes elsewhere during the draft.

The Chiefs have back to back playoff berths and will be hoping to continue this impressive consistency. With a few additions Kansas could potentially find themselves in a Superbowl in the next couple of years. 2017 has the makings of a blockbuster season for Kansas City and it all starts with getting the most out of the draft.

Chiefs Picks and Needs

The Chiefs have a total of 10 picks in this draft. Four of these are in the first 105 picks which puts them in a great position. Trades are a potential option with so many picks but we will get to that later.

First round: (1) No. 27

Second Round: (1) No. 59

Third Round: (2) No. 91, No. 104

Fourth Round: (1) No. 132

Fifth Round: (2) No. 170, No. 180

Sixth Round: (2) No. 216, No. 218

Seventh Round: (1) No. 245

With 10 picks, the Chiefs have a strong draft ahead of them. They have the ammunition to trade up or down in the draft depending on the targets they are prioritizing. Replacing Jamaal Charles looks to be a top priority for Kansas. With some strong running backs likely to still be on the board when pick time comes around, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Kansas pick one of them up.

A lack of depth at quarterback is also a concern. Whilst the draft contains no star quarterbacks, Kansas City could wait till the later rounds to find a potential diamond in the rough. Derek Johnson is ready to return to solidify the Kansas City defense, however he is coming of the back of an Achilles injury so it is not crazy to see them picking up a back-up linebacker during the draft.

With this in mind, I will say the biggest needs in no particular order are:

Offense

Quarterback

Running back

Offensive Guard

Defense

Linebacker

Cornerback

Chiefs Targets and thoughts

Let’s take a look at the first three rounds. As with the other Draftmas profiles, there will be no traders.

First Round:

Pick #27: Christian McCaffrey RB, Stanford

Christian McCaffrey Chiefs

Image courtesy of sfgate.com

The Chiefs have lost Jamaal Charles and need to shore up the run game. McCaffrey looks like he can be the man for the job.

Having rushed for over 2000 yards during his sophomore season in 2015, McCaffrey could be the answer to the Chiefs problems. He also provides an option at receiver, something he has been keen to demonstrate at both the combine and his pro day.

McCaffrey has the skills to make an instant impact for the Chiefs. He has shown he can run the ball, catch the ball and return the ball all to great affect. McCaffrey could be the spark  Chiefs need to ignite their 2017 season.

Second Round:

Pick #59: Raekwon McMillian LB, Ohio State

The Chiefs need cover at linebacker, especially with Derek Johnson just returning from a major injury. McMillian can be the man to fill that need and eventually develop into a starter. McMillian might not be the best linebacker in the draft but Kansas City do not need a superstar here. Instead they need a solid player who will be able to deputize for the returning Johnson.

Third Round:

Pick #91: Sidney Jones CB, Washington

At the beginning of the draft season, Jones looked like he could be a top three corner and go early in the first round. However due to an Achilles injury, he has been ruled out till around the playoffs. This should not deter the Chiefs as Jones is too good to pass up. The only issue is whether he is still on the board this late into the draft. With injury issues however he should still be available at this point.

Pick #104: Nathan Peterman QB, Pittsburgh

Having lost Nick Foles to free agency, the Chiefs are lack depth at quarterback. Peteraman possess experience in a pro-style passing attack that may give him an advantage heading into the league. Peterman could grow into a strong quarterback in a couple of years. Having time to learn will be exactly what he will get Kansas City.

Conclusion

With 10 picks in the 2017 draft, the Chiefs hold all the cards necessary to set themselves up for a strong run in 2017. Kansas City may well decide to trade up or down depending on the state of their board. 2017 could well be the year of the Chiefs and the draft is the first step on the road to a potential Lombardi Trophy.

You can read all of the previous days of Draftmas here!

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Fnatic's New Roster Announcement

Team Fnatic’s New Roster: The return of a giant?

On Feb. 6, 2017, it was announced that long term captain of Fnatic, Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung, would be leaving the team. That left Chong “Ohaiyo” Xin Khoo and Kim “Febby” Young-Min looking for three.

Fnatic made the decision to step back and understand what the team needed and work on potential new fits. After missing out on the recent Dota 2 Asia Championships and the Kiev Major, Fnatic has finally decided to make a return to the scene.

On April 4, a new era for Fnatic was announced. Let’s take a look at Fnatic’s new roster and what fans can expect moving forward.

Fnatic’s New Roster – The Players

Galvin “Meracle” Kang Jian Wen – Position 1 (Carry)

Meracle Fnatic's New Roster Announcement

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

The first new player to join the Fnatic side is Meracle. The Singaporean Carry player is the least experienced on the team in terms of international competition. However, he has always been a standout player on his former teams and he was often the focus of respect bans by opposition.

The lack of experience on the international stage may be an issue for Meracle, especially as he will be carrying the weight of the SEA fans on his shoulders. If he can put these nerves to the side, Meracle has the ability to make a real statement in the international scene with the right team. It seems as if he now has that and things look bright for Meracle and Fnatic.

Kim QO Seon-yeop – Position 2 (Mid)

Qo Fnatic's New Roster Announcement

Image courtesy of wesg.starladder.com

The second new addition to the new Fnatic roster is Qo. Reuniting with former MVP Phoenix teammate Febby, Qo looks set to be a welcome addition to the side. Teaming with Febby once more should allow Qo to settle into the team quickly. Meaning that they can move forward and look at qualifying for both the Manila Masters and TI7.

Qo is known for his aggressive play as mid. Rising to fame as part of the MVP Phoenix team that burst onto the international scene after a strong top eight finish at TI5, Qo will have a chance to add a new chapter to his legacy. This will be the biggest organization that Qo has played for and it shall be interesting to see how he copes with the pressure of the SEA region on his shoulders.

Chong “Ohaiyo” Xin Khoo – Position 3 (Offlane)

Image courtesy of Fnatic.com

Ohaiyo joined Fnatic in June 2015. He joined the team at the same time as longtime friend Mushi. This will be Ohaiyo’s first time playing without Mushi in over two years. This will be a chance for Ohaiyo to step up and be the leader in the absence of Mushi.

Ohaiyo was part of the Fnatic roster that finished top six at back to back majors in 2016 as well as finishing fourth at TI6.

Ohaiyo has a real chance to mold the new Fnatic roster into a team that can challenge internationally as well as domestically.

Djardel Jicko B. “DJ” Mampusti – Position 4 (Support)

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

The third and final new addition to the Fnatic roster is a familiar face, as DJ returns to the side. Beloved by many, the return of DJ rounds out a very strong Fnatic side. DJ is known for his flashy plays with heroes such as Enigma. He can be the spark that reignites the Fnatic brand and brings them back up to the top of international competition.

The main concern is how he will interact with Febby. Both are normally position four players and the interaction will be interesting. One will have to take a back seat and do what needs to be done for the team. Based on the announcement, it seems as if DJ will take back the position four role, much to the excitement of fans.

Kim “Febby” Young-Min – Position 5 (Support)

Image courtesy of youtube.com

Febby recently joined Fnatic in January 2017. He was picked up to help mend the broken Fnatic roster following the Boston Major. This obviously did not work out, but Febby made the decision to stick with the Fnatic roster moving forward.

Febby was a standout player for the MVP Pheonix roster that finished in the top 6 at TI6, The Shanghai Major and The Manila Major. Known for his flashy plays, Febby has the potential to be a standout player with the right team around him.

 

 

 

Fnatic’s New Roster – Thoughts

The new squad looks strong. Some of the players have experience playing together in the past: Ohaiyo and DJ, as well as Febby and Qo. This will give the team an advantage as they should be able to find chemistry pretty quickly. Meracle, however, may struggle as he is on a larger team than any he has previously played for. As a carry, the pressure will be placed on Meracle, how he will cope with this only time will tell.

The interaction between DJ and Febby shall be one to watch as this will be the first time they have played together. Both players are known for their impressive position four play and it should be interesting how they will split the duties. They may decide to rotate the positions depending on the hero. Both have the ability to make superstar plays and if they can get on the same page they have the ability to become a formidable duo.

Overall Fnatic has the depth of talent to be one of the strongest teams in SEA. Should they reach their potential, there is no reason that they cannot challenge on an international scale. First thing on the horizon for Fnatic will be securing a spot at the Manila Masters in May. Whatever happens, fans should be excited about this new team and the promise that they have. It looks as if the pain of Fnatic’s past can be wiped away be this promising new roster.

How do you think the new Fnatic team will perform moving forward? Let us know in the comments below.

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