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.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Joe!

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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.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Joe!

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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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An Interview with Immortals CEO Noah Whinston: Eyeing up Expansion?

Noah Winston is a big figure in esports, especially in League of Legends. He is someone who dropped out of college at the prestigious Northwestern University in order to become the CEO of Immortals. He is also someone who is outspoken about the fan experience and what he wants his organization to bring to the world of esports.

For Noah, this includes expanding the Immortals brand to many different esports, possibly even Dota 2.

I was fortunate enough to be able to interview the Immortals CEO and get some of his thoughts about expanding his organization.

Why Now?

Noah was introduced to League of Legends during the Season 3 World Championships by a friend. Even though he was not familiar with League, he was “engrossed in the experience”.

Immortals CEO: Noah Whinston

While Noah had always been a fan of esports he did not realize just how big it was. He decided then that he would want to look at it all as a fan first, So I think when I look at esports even before I started Immortals I approached this from a fans first perspective. I was a fan of esports before I ever thought about trying to do anything in it.”

Why Dota 2?

Dota 2 is an esport that has been around for many years and has plenty of support behind it. But, until recently, Noah had not really thought about getting involved with it. Like League, he was introduced and realized just how much the fans loved it.

“My first experience to Dota 2 was kind of the same way. I never watched a game of Dota, but I decided to hang out with some friends at TI6 in Seattle last year. Coming into the International and seeing this energy and this excitement around this game, you don’t need to understand the game itself to understand the feeling that the crowd has for it or that the fans have for it.”

Unlike some other esports, Dota 2 has a lot of support from its creators. Noah stated, “The only reason it is that big too is because of the massive support the community gives to that tournament through the Aegis and the crowd funding mechanisms that Valve institutes for it.”

This adds to the ecosystem of the game and the tournaments. For Noah, TI impressed him with its prize pool, which is a major problem for many esports.

“Obviously that ecosystem functions in a very different way than almost any other esports game. TI is the biggest prize pool event in the entire world for anything esports. It’s the culmination of an entire year of competition, everyone in Dota prioritizes performance at the International because of that prize pool and status. Because of that the International serves as this kind of hallmark event for esports outside of esports. Whenever TI happens, there’s always more and more stories around about how big this prize pool is.”

This caused me to wonder, what makes Dota 2 special in contrast to other scenes?

Dota 2 captures fan passion in a unique way relative to other esports games. It provides unique opportunities for those fans to directly engage with the thing that they love via the crowd funding mechanism for TI. I think of the esports out there, Dota is truly global in reach.”

Noah went on to mention the fact that these many different areas had very passionate fan bases. Unlike other esports he believed it was not limited in its reach.  

What the future holds for Immortals and expansion?

Next I wanted to know what Immortals future looked like. They are an org that is clearly on the rise and one that has a multitude of teams. While expansion is an option, Noah does not believe it’s the only one.

I think that we’re certainly not one of the organizations that thinks picking up more teams and more games are synonymous with growth. We do agree that being a multi-gaming organization is important for stability and reach, but at a certain point, and it’s a point we’ve reached, we’re more looking to grow vertically and not horizontally. We’re not looking to bloat by adding more teams in more games, we’re looking to kind of deepen our connection and our experience in the games we’re already in.”

This is an extremely interesting perspective as it seems that many org owners are always seeming to want more players and teams. Expansion is currently rapid in the realm of esports.

Noah says that they are trying to be opportunistic about their team and player pickups. He does not feel the pressure to add teams just to add them. For him, it is about finding someone who piques their interest.

“It’s More from the perspective of is there someone who so compels to sign them that we enter that scene. I think a good example is looking into our expansion in Super Smash Bros, both in 4 and Melee, where it was less of an approach ‘hey we really need Fighting Game players, like super smash bros players.’ It was more of an approach, “hey, Anti, Shroomed, these are guys are so compelling for me, both as an organization owner and a fan, and they fit so well with what we’re trying to do as an organization so well that we’re going to enter these games just for the privilege to sign them.”

This led him to Dota 2, saying, “I think that’s the approach we’re taking to Dota 2 right now. We’re still doing our research on the ground level, on the grassroots level.” For Noah, it is more about doing the research and making sure that it is something they feel will fit and something they feel they need.

“From my perspective what we’re looking for is a compelling reason to enter the scene. A team that compels us because we want them to be part of our organization so badly we’ll enter Dota 2 for them. Rather than saying, ‘look, Dota 2 is a great scene, we’re gonna compromise our values just to find any team that we can in it. That’s not to say Dota 2 isn’t an attractive enough game for us if we were a single game organization we may be taking that approach. But at the scale we are at now, it doesn’t make sense to enter other games just for the sake of entering.”

More specifically I wanted to know what was the “Immortals way” in regards to expansion. “I think that more for us it’s less of let’s try and find games to expand into and more of an if there’s a particularly compelling opportunity to take part in another game that’s something we’ll consider”

What would Immortals bring to the Dota 2 scene for Players?

This is a very important question for any esport. For many of them, the players are either respected and paid as well as they should be or are not supported in ways that make them feel like they can make playing an esport their career.

For the players, compared to a lot of the organizations in the Dota 2 scene, we provide a lot of stability and for lack of a better word legitimacy. We are a Venture funded organization with a long track record of treating our players well in other games, and especially with some of the drama that’s come from within the Dota community around players getting paid wages on time, getting their fair share of the prize money, etc., certainly that’s something we expect every player in our organization to be able to sleep sound about. To know they’re not being screwed over or screwed on their contractual options to their team.”

Noah also explained that his org takes the time to make sure that their infrastructure is solid. This means that they are organized, they know how to keep a player healthy through diet and exercise. For Immortals this helped the player and the org by keeping them at peak performance.

“Basically, we know that the players who play in our organization want to win. And we want to do everything we can to enable them to be their best selves.”

But, they do not just stop at helping a player with their current situation and career, they look towards their future.

“We also think about for them what happens for them outside of competition. What happens to a Dota player after he’s decided to retire, what are the education opportunity, what are the career opportunities available to them, and that’s something we really care a lot about.”

Dota is struggling to keep players on their rosters. This is causing players to feel that their future is insecure. Noah recognizes this and believes that its a problem that has to be remedied.

“We think right now there’s a lot of instability in Dota as a result of short-term thinking. If a team performs poorly at Kiev, they’ll probably make a big roster swap to ready themselves as well as possible for the International. If a team performs poorly at the international they’ll blow up their roster and try and rebuild from scratch. That amount of instability means rarely there is the opportunity to build long-term bonds between teammates, and there’s rarely opportunities to build long-term bonds between the specific rosters and their fans bases. And there’s rarely enough stability for players to really think not just about how am I doing the best that I can for competition, but how am I setting myself up the best to continue to live a life as a player, an influence, or outside of esports after I’m done competitively.”

The Fans

Lastly, I wanted to know what about the fans? While there is already great support from them for Dota and other esports, I wanted to know what more could be done?

I think a big part of our focus there is to create a fulfilling fan experience. Making it so that players feel close to their fans and that the fans feel as close to the players that they support so much. That’s done through streaming, through content creation, through social media, through meeting our fans where they are in their communities, and it’s done in building our own communities where our fans can interact with each other.”

“Our goal is to be able to create a fulfilling fan experience holistically. It should always be fun to root for Immortals and if we enter a game we bring that philosophy with us.”

The Dotasphere and Immortals

As you can see, it seems that Immortals are keen to expand into Dota if the right team or players are available. Interestingly enough, the right team may well be available right now. Up until recently, it seemed as if Team Onyx and Immortals were destined for each other. However, Digital Chaos messed up that idea by dropping the roster that took them to second place at TI6 and picking up Onyx.

With this in mind, the stage could be set to rescue the former DC roster, now named Thunderbirds and provide them with a home. With Kiev only a week away, Immortals face the decision to dive in or wait and assess the options. Based on what Noah has eluded to above the latter seems most likely, however, recent events could tempt Immortals’ hand.

Up until recently the amount of new organizations entering the Dotasphere was limited. However, with Mousesports returning and now Immortals declaring an interest in Dota, the future looks interesting. The only thing holding back other organizations acquiring teams is that lack of top level competition. Of the 16 teams attending Kiev, only one of those does not have an organization. With this in mind, it is easy to see why it may be off putting for other well-known organizations to pick up a Dota side.

It seems like the stars are aligning for both Thunderbirds and Immortals. Could we see an Immortals side at Kiev or TI7? Only time will tell and Immortals may not have long to make a decision.

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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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DAC Bracket Play Preview

Dota 2 Asia Championships DAC Bracket Play Predictions

The DAC group stages were filled with upsets, with EG and Liquid both failing to finish in the top two of their group. As a result, the DAC bracket play stage looks set to host some of the best games of the tournament.

DAC Bracket Play – The Bracket

 

DAC Bracket Play

The bracket for the 2017 DAC bracket play stage.

This is not the bracket that most fans would have expected to see. Based on events coming into DAC, it looked as if OG, VG.J, EG and Liquid should have been shoe-ins for the top two spots in each group. Instead, VG.J failed to win a single best of two and EG looked lackluster in their performances. Liquid started rough and then managed to pick it up and finished third. In the end, Liquid might regret winning the tiebreaker against Team NP, as they are now in the tough bottom half of the losers bracket.

DAC Bracket Play Predictions

Upper Bracket Round 1

OG V Newbee

The first game of the upper bracket will see OG take on hometown favorites Newbee. Based on the form coming out of group stages, OG should take this pretty easily. OG have shown a dominance over the competition not seen for a long time. Whilst Newbee are strong, they were helped by teams underperforming around them in Group B. OG look likely to take the event and I cannot see them stopping against Newbee.

Prediction – OG to win

OG DAC Bracket Play

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

 

IG v Empire

This is a game that many will have expected to see in the lower bracket first round. However, due to a combination of strong performances and shock upsets, it is instead the second game of the upper bracket round one. IG came out on top of the strong group B without losing a single best of two. On the back of Xu “BurNIng” Zhilei, who has an impressive 11.44 KDA, IG has shown the considered yet ruthless play you expect from a Chinese team. In comparison, Empire is a team that will keep running at you, whether it is 10 minutes or 50 minutes, they will not stop. In typical CIS fashion, Empire has been able to run over some of the slower paced teams and find themselves sitting pretty with a guaranteed top six finish.

IG will likely have the class to take the games over Empire, but the CIS team should be proud of their accomplishments at DAC.

Prediction – IG to win.

IG DAC Bracket Play

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Lower Bracket Round 1

This is where things get interesting, the remaining eight teams are going to face off in a best of one that can make the difference between $8,000 and $17,000. Let’s take a look at the matchups in the lower half of DAC bracket play.

LFY v IG.V

LFY looked surprisingly strong throughout the group stages. As a team that failed to qualify for Kiev, they surprised many by taking dominant victories over Faceless and Wings. They will come into bracket play with confidence on their side and will be hoping to show that they belong on the international stage.

IG.V, on the other hand, have no confidence. The younger brother of team IG, IG.V disappointed in group stages ending with an appalling 1-1-3 record. This was not the performance they will have been looking for considering that four of the five teams in their group are heading to Kiev at the end of the month.

IG.V will be hungry to avenge the disappointing performances that have got them into this position. Expect to see a ruthless IG.V attempt to dismantle LFY.

Prediction – IG.V to win

IG,V DAC Bracket Play

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Team NP v VG.J

Team NP will be grateful that they lost the tiebreaker against Liquid for third place in group B. They have been placed up against VG.J, one of only two teams that failed to win a best of two during groups. NP will be hoping that they can see more amazing plays for enigmatic mid-Jacky “EternalEnVy” Mao like this.

Going against fan favorite NP will be team VG.J, one of the better Chinese teams, at least before group stages.

If you look up calamity in the dictionary, you will see the boys from VG.J. Many people, myself included, had them finishing near the top of group A. Instead they finished bottom and failed to get a single series victory. VG.J are one loss away from joining all the other failed Chinese God squads in the “Never Again” pile. VG.J have no choice but to turn things around and a strong performance against NP will kickstart their lower bracket campaign.

Prediction – VG.J to win

VG.J DAC Bracket Play

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Wings v EG

From the winners’ bracket final at TI6 to the lower bracket best of one at DAC, a lot has changed for both of these teams. Wings continue to plummet following their dominance last year. EG have again decided to make things difficult for themselves. However, this time the challenge may be too great for the kings of lower bracket runs.

Facing Wings in a best of one is a recipe for disaster for EG. Having been famed for their unorthodox strategies and strong team play, EG will have their work cut out for them. In terms of individual skill, EG out matches Wings all over the map, however, as a team Wings have shown that they should never be counted out. EG should have what it takes but this will be the closest of the lower bracket games.

Prediction – EG to win

EG DAC Bracket Play

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Team Liquid v Team Faceless

A lot can change in a month, just ask Team Liquid. Finishing first at StarLadder signaled to everyone that Liquid was back. What was not mentioned is that it was only for one event. Liquid looked sluggish on day one and two until they realized that they should try and win a few games or they will have a terrible draw heading into the lower bracket. In hindsight, Liquid will be wishing they had lost the tiebreaker against NP as they now find themselves on the tougher side of the draw.

However, Faceless lived up to their name in the group stages. In the five games they played, they failed to win a signal best of two. This is simply not good enough for a team with aspirations of greatness. Faceless will need to find the positives and learn from DAC heading into Kiev. Liquid should dominate this game pretty easily.

Prediction – Liquid to win

Liquid DAC Bracket Play

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

 

DAC Bracket Play final placings

Now the predictions I made for the groups were completely ruined, however, let’s have another shot at predicting the final placings for DAC 2017.

1st = OG

Based on groups, OG should take the whole event easily as they looked dominant.

2nd = Newbee

Newbee demonstrated the precision that led them to second at ESL One Genting in January. Expect to see them finish second again here.

3rd = IG

IG shocked many during group stages and they will continue that run of form all the way to top three. BurNing is looking better than ever before and this is a great sign heading into Kiev.

4th = Team Liquid

Liquid will have to fight to get top four, however, if they go back to the ways of StarLadder then it’s possible. If they can get through EG in losers round two, they will ride that wave to top four.

5th – 6th = Empire, VG.J

7th – 8th = IG.V, EG

9th – 12th = LFY, NP, Wings, Faceless

Based on groups predictions seem to be set to fail, but let me know what you think in the comments below. What are your top four placings for the DAC bracket stage?

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DAC Group Stage Preview

Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Group Stage Preview

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 $ USD Percent Team
1st $225,704  40% TBD
2nd $84,639  15% TBD
3rd $67,711  12% TBD
4th $50,783  9% TBD
place 5 to 12
5th-6th $33,855  6% TBD
TBD
7th-8th $16,927  3% TBD
TBD
9th-12th $8,463  1.5% TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD

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

Wings DAC Group

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

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

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

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 

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 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

LGD.FY DAC

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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

Faceless DAC

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

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

DAC Empire

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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

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 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

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-

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

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

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

iG Vitality

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. 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

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

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

DAC NP

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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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7.03 Patch Notes Analysis - The Bladeform Legacy Update

7.03 Patch Notes Analysis – The Bladeform Legacy

Following the recent Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers, Valve has released the 7.03 patch. The Blade Form Legacy patch includes the much awaited Juggernaut Arcana, which we will get to later. Similar to 7.01 and 7.02, 7.03 is a minor balancing patch, so don’t expect anything dramatic in the patch notes. The majority of heroes have received minor tweaks, with only a small amount of heroes missing out. Let’s take a look at some of the larger changes and how they may affect the current meta.

7.03 Patch Notes – Major Changes

Rat Dota, Best Dota

Rat Dota Patch Notes

Image courtesy of twitter.com

If 7.00 was the resurgence of five-man Dota, 7.03 may well be the death of it. The new changes to tower armor seem geared towards solo pushing towers.

  • All towers base armor reduced by 4
  • Towers now gain 2 armor per nearby enemy player within a 1200 AoE

Whilst towers have lost four base armor, this will immediately be regained if you have at least two heroes pushing together. With this in mind, a five man push strat would grant each tower 10 additional armor.

The changes to tower armor are a direct buff to strong split-push heroes such as Lycan, Nature’s Prophet, and Broodmother. Will we see a resurgence in rat Dota? Will this be the return of Admiral Bulldog? Is Alliance ever going to be good again? These are all questions that will be answered in the coming weeks.

Please Use Scan.

Since introducing the scan feature into the game, it has remained widely underused. Icefrog has made it clear in this patch that he would really like people to use the feature.

  • Scan cooldown reduced from 270 seconds to 210

Taking a full minute off the scan cooldown will probably have little effect on its usage, considering many players are still unsure of how it works. This change will likely affect the pro-scene as teams can be more liberal in their scan usage.

The King Has Arrived

It has happened, Monkey King has been added to Captains mode. Don’t panic, however, as his addition to Captains Mode comes with a few nerfs.

  • Jingu Mastery buff now has a max duration of 35 seconds
  • Tree Dance night vision reduced from 800 to 400
  • Wukong’s Command duration rescaled from 13/14/15 to 13

The change to Jingu mastery is a welcomed one. Whilst it is still a very strong passive, you no longer have to worry about being one hit killed by a Monkey King hidden in fog. In addition, the change to Tree Dance makes chasing and scouting using the spell a bit worse.

The change to Wukong’s Command is minimal, although the reduced duration may be the difference between a kill and an enemy escaping on 1% HP. Expect to see lots of Monkey picks/bans in the upcoming DAC and Major tournaments.

Video courtesy of youtube.com/noobfromua

So I heard you Liked Support?

CM 7.03 Patch Notes

Courtesy of twitter.com

Playing Support is an art that only the most patient among us can master. Icefrog has decided that he wants to make Supports poorer than ever before.

  • XP required to go from level 1 to level 6 increased by 15, 300 total.
  • AoE hero kill Gold and XP bounties reduced by 10% (including comeback gold and XP)
  • Tier 1 Team Bounty reduced from 160 to 120
  • Passive gold income reduced by 10%

In the last few patches, Icefrog has added functionality to make the games easier for new / lower-skilled players. The changes to passive gold income and AoE hero kill gold and XP will have a severe impact on lower-skilled players. These changes will require Supports to maximize their time more efficiently and focus on stacking and pulling slightly more than rotating.

The changes to comeback gold and XP are welcomed, as in recent patches it seemed as if it was better to be behind in the early game. Whilst 10% is not a huge amount, expect to see a reduction in the number of large comeback victories.

Drums or Helm?

Helm of the Dominator 7.03 Patch Notes

Image courtesy of reddit.com

Drums of endurance 7.03 Patch Notes Analysis

Image courtesy of reddit.com

In 7.00, Helm received a rework, and it suddenly became the best item in the game. Helm became the go-to item for both Cores and Supports, due to its low cost, excellent stats, and making any hero into a better version of Chen. Valve has been redressing this imbalance since the rework.

  • Reduced All Stats modifier from +4 to +2
  • Recipe cost increased from 725 to 800

Whilst the item is still good, at a cost of roughly 2000 gold, it may see considerably fewer purchases than before.

On the other side of the coin is Drums of Endurance, which has received a much-needed buff. The item was nerfed in 7.00, and as a result was very rarely picked up. However, a reduced recipe cost may have made the item viable once again.

  • Recipe cost reduced from 700 to 575

At roughly 1700 gold, Drums is now a much more affordable item for supports or heroes looking to fight early. Players may now be wise to choose Drums over Helm in some cases.

7.03 Patch Notes – Quality of Life

Valve Pleases Everyone?

Patch Notes include new Jugg Arcana

Image courtesy of reddit.com/rdota2

When it was announced that Valve had realized a new patch, many people were surprised that the Juggernaut Arcana was finally released. However, once the dust had settled, many fans took to Reddit to highlight their displeasure with the new Arcana.

Whilst the Arcana has literally no effect on Jugg as a hero, many see it as a status symbol. The set looks like they combined Jugg and Io together in an attempt to please the community. Is it the nicest Arcana? No. Will it make Valve a lot of money? Yes. It’s as simple as that.

The only positive to the Arcana being realized is that they didn’t buff Juggernaut to make sure he is picked more. Reading through the patch notes, the only serious change received for Juggernaut is that his Healing Totem now grants 75 Gold and XP if it is destroyed.

Another New Model

In the 7.00 patch, Valve updated some of the older hero models. One hero that missed out was Jakiro. As fans read through the patch notes, they will be greeted by the changes to Jakiro’s base model that are well overdue.

For a full breakdown check out PurgeGamers full patch notes analysis here

What was the biggest change, and how have your favorite heroes been affected? Let us know in the comments below.

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