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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Kiev Regional Qualifiers Recap

Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers Recap

The Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers are finished. The qualifiers for SEA, China, Europe, CIS, North America, and South America took place March 10th – 14th. With the addition of two new regions, the qualifiers looked set to be the most competitive in Dota history. They did not disappoint one bit. Let’s take a look at what we learned from the amazing Kiev Major qualifiers.

Kiev Major Regional Qualifier Winners

North America – Onyx are stone cold under pressure

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Heading into the North American qualifiers, most fans had Team NP advancing to Kiev. Unfortunately, Onyx had other ideas. After forming in January in the post-Boston shuffle, many were unsure of whether Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho and the rest of the squad could make it big. Onyx made the qualifiers look very difficult. They finished group stages with a 4-2 record, losing to both Complexity and NP. Finishing third in their group, they ended up facing off against Complexity again in the semi-finals, a game which they would lose.

The lower bracket was, however, where Onyx came alive. Beating Team Freedom and NP, the latter thanks to Abed “Abed” Yusop’s outstanding Meepo play. This set up a rematch with Complexity, a team that Onyx was 0-2 against in the qualifiers. Onyx again turned to the Abed Meepo, and again he carried them to victory. Heading into Kiev, teams will have to ban Meepo consistently or else they will likely be punished.

South America – New Region, New Winner?

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

For the first time in the history of the Major’s, Valve decided to split the North and South American qualifiers. This change allowed the world to get an insight into the relatively unknown South American Dota scene. With roster changes galore, only two teams were given direct invites to the regional qualifiers. With several new teams, the qualifiers were hard to predict. Group stage finished with three teams tied 8-1, showing how unpredictable the region was.

SG esports would eventually take the crown and become the first SA team since 2015 to compete in a Valve event. SG hope that they can bring the unknown to the single elimination bracket and potentially cause a few upsets.

Europe – Secret show their class.

Image courtesy of teamsecret.gg

Heading into the qualifiers, most people expected B)ears to advance with relative ease. Secret, however, showed that they are still one of the top teams in the world. Secret looked dominant throughout the qualifier, dropping only one map through all their games.

Clement “Puppey” Ivanov managed to lead his team to an unlikely finish with relative ease. Secret seem to have finally cracked the combination to success. A strong combination of EU and SEA may prove to bring Secret and Puppey back to the dominance they once experienced.

CIS – VP finally reconnect

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

VP have struggled since the 7.00 patch. A combination of connection issues and the new patch have caused VP several issues. Generally, poor performances prior to the qualifiers, left VP facing a tough battle in the CIS regional qualifiers. VP silenced all their doubters in the first two days. Finishing 9-0 in the qualification rounds, VP looked to be back on top of their game.

The bracket section of the qualifiers was slightly more difficult. However, they were able to handle the opposition and will progress to the Kiev Major. VP are now faced with over a month of waiting until Kiev, where they hope to remind people why they were so heavily favored heading into the Boston Major.

China – Two teams, one org.

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

The Chinese qualifiers were among the most hotly contested of all the Kiev Major regional qualifiers. The top three teams in group stage all finished with a 7-2 record. Combine this with a three-way tie for fourth place, the Chinese qualifiers were something to behold.

Heading into bracket play, CDEC fell apart and would eventually lose both of their games 0-2. This left Vici Gaming, IG, and IG.V fighting it out for the two qualification places. With all the teams on a very similar level, it is a shame that China did not have three qualification spots. In the end, both IG teams would score a spot in Kiev. Both teams will be hoping to deliver a long-awaited Major title for the Chinese fans.

SEA – A two horse race.

Kiev Major Faceless

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Kiev Major TNC

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

The SEA region is currently going through a period of transition. Losing some of their top talents to other regions has left the available pool of players slightly weak. With this in mind, it is no surprise that both Faceless and TNC managed to secure qualification to the Kiev Major.

When it is so easy to predict a region’s qualifiers, you know something is wrong in that region. Since the fall of Fnatic, TNC and Faceless have been the only two teams that have looked as if they can threaten on a larger stage. However, in this qualifier, not one team looked to be of the caliber to challenge on a world stage. With both Faceless and TNC losing to weaker opposition during the group stage, things look bleak for SEA. It may be time for SEA to start taking the talent from other regions, with the hope of rebuilding their region.

Kiev Major Regional Qualifier – Final Thoughts

Changes to the regions and the current meta led to some of the most competitive qualifier matches in Dota history. Whilst it did hinder NA, the addition of separate qualifiers for SA is the start of a good trend. Valve have identified that SA Dota was on the decline. Giving SA fans the chance to see their favorite team compete against EG will do wonders for the Dota 2 scene in SA.

With the qualifiers in the books, the road to Kiev begins now. For some teams, the next stop is DAC. For others, they will have to wait until next month for some top quality competitive Dota 2.

What was your favorite moment of the qualifiers? Let me know in the comments below.

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Kiev Regional Qualifiers Recap

Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers Preview

The Kiev Major is the first major of 2017. The event is set to be one the most competitive in Valve history. However, before we can experience the event, there is the small case of the Kiev Major regional qualifiers. With a change to the available spots for each region, the qualifiers are set to be hotly contested. Let’s take a look at what we can expect from each region.

Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers Format

This will be the first Valve event that will see South America and CIS receive their own qualifiers. Because of this, the qualification spots for North America and Europe have been reduced.

China (Two qualification spots)

Europe (One qualification spot)

North America (One qualification spot)

SEA (Two qualification spots)

CIS (One qualification spot)

South America (One qualification spot)

All of the regional qualifiers will share the same format. Starting off with a round-robin group stage with the top four teams advancing to bracket play. Bracket play will consist of the top four teams fighting it out in a double-elimination bracket.

Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers – China

China was one of two regions to receive three direct invites to the event. With Wings, Newbee, and VG.J all securing invites, China is a region up for grabs.

With two spots at stake, it is a showdown between three teams. IG.V, IG and LGD.FY all look as if they have the potential to make it to the major. All three teams have recently progressed through the Dota 2 Asia Championship qualifiers to secure a spot in the main event. The only thing separating the three teams is that both IG and IG.V have recent international LAN experience.

Invictus Gaming (IG) demonstrated that they have the ability to challenge both domestically and internationally, as they finished 4th at Dota Pit Season 5. They also finished with a perfect 5-0 record in the recent DAC qualifiers. Having surrounding legendary carry Xu “BurNIng” Zhelei with a solid group of players has led IG to achieve strong results within China. They will be hoping that they can qualify to Kiev and eventually mount a challenge for the title.

IG Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Predictions: Invictus Gaming & IG.Vitality

Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers – Europe

Like China, European-based teams received three direct invites to Kiev. However, whilst Valve giveth, they also taketh away. It was announced that the CIS region would receive their own qualifiers. Leaving the EU teams fighting it out for one spot. Considering that EU is arguably the strongest region currently, the qualifiers should have some insane games.

Of the 10 teams competing in the qualifier, it will likely come down to a battle between Team Secret and B)ears. B)ears come into the qualifiers with a lot of expectations and hype surrounding them. Finishing second in their first qualification tournament will have done wonders for their confidence.

Standing in their way is Team Secret, a giant of the scene. Whilst the roster may be different, Clement “Puppey” Ivanov is hoping he can replicate the success of previous Secret rosters. Secret has finished 5th – 6th in the two LAN’s they have attended in 2017, and hope that this experience can lead them to qualify for Kiev.

B)ears Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Prediction: B)ears

Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers – North America

Similar to Europe, the Americas were split into North and South. This leaves North America with one qualification spot. The NA qualifiers look set to be a three-horse race, with Team NP, CompLexity, and Team Onyx fighting it out for the one qualification spot.

CompLexity has managed to battle through the open qualifiers, and are making a change to their roster. In a recent interview, captain Kyle “Melonzz” Freedman explained that the team is full of confidence heading into the Kiev Major regional qualifiers. They will, however, come up against fan favorites, Team NP. Most people are expecting Team NP to take the qualifiers, but it will not be easy. CompLexity is making a resurgence, and recently formed Team Onyx look strong. The main weapon NP has against these other teams is experience, not just in participating, but in winning. Whilst they have not won a LAN as a team, they have a TI champion and a Major winner in the squad. Team NP is a team with a whole heap of potential and should dominate the qualifiers and progress on to Kiev.

Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers NP

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

Prediction: Team NP

Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers – SEA

Alongside China, SEA is the only other region to receive two qualification spots to Kiev. This may coincide with the fact that no SEA based teams received a direct invite to Kiev. Looking at the teams attending the qualifiers, it is hard to look beyond Team Faceless and TNC to take the two qualification spaces.

Team Faceless have been performing well in recent months, with a third place finish at Dota Pit and recently qualifying for DAC. TNC have also had a strong 2017, including winning WESG. Both Faceless and TNC have dominated the SEA scene, with results going back and forth between the two teams.

Other challengers are Execration and Mineski, both who have struggled to challenge Faceless and TNC in recent months. Of all the regions, SEA looks to be the most lopsided.

TNC Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Predictions: TNC & Team Faceless

Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers – CIS

Following the example of DAC, Valve has made the decision to give the CIS region its own qualifier. Currently, CIS is one of the more underrated regions. The most notable team in the qualifiers is Virtus.Pro, who have been struggling since the release of 7.00. The new look Na’Vi squad are competing in the CIS qualifiers, having been previously made to compete in EU for DAC. Na’Vi will be hoping to capitalize on the recent issues that CIS has been facing.

Should VP show up to the qualifiers and not have issues connecting, they should be favorite. Standing in their way, however, is a field of teams that have been hit and miss. The main question is, will any of them show up to the qualifiers? Na’Vi have a strong squad on paper, but have yet to achieve decent results. Empire looks as if they can mount a challenge, but are lacking consistency. CIS is set to be the most hotly contested region and is definitely worth a watch.

VP Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Predictions: Virtus Pro

Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers – Final Thoughts

The Kiev qualifiers are set to showcase some of the highest level Dota. The road to Kiev starts here. Make sure to tune into Beyond The Summit or MoonduckTV for 24-hour coverage of the qualifiers.

Who do you think is going to qualify? Let us know in the comments below.

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Top 10 Best Dota 2 Teams in the World

The Best of the Best – Top 10 Dota 2 Teams in the World

Within competitive Dota 2, there is always one question that is repeated over and over again. Who are the top 10 teams in the world? The fluidity of Dota means that a team can be the best for a tournament, but then struggle to replicate that success at the next event.

With the Kiev Major on the horizon, it seems like a perfect time to take a look at who the current top 10 Dota 2 teams in the world are. The criteria for this list is that they have to have an active five man roster. This list is not based solely on a team’s performances on LAN and will focus more on events since the 7.00 update.

Number 10 – VIRTUS PRO

VP Top 10

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Ramzes666

Position 2 (Mid) – No[o]ne

Position 3 (Offlane) – 9Pashaebashu

Position 4 (Support) – Lil

Position 5 (Support) – Solo

Rewind back to Boston and VP would have been in the top two best teams in the world. However, times have changed, and a new patch and several issues have hit the VP team hard. Having recently forfeited the DAC CIS Qualifiers due to connection issues, VP look to be struggling. All this aside, they still have an immensely talented roster that is capable of winning any tournament they enter.

VP are a true CIS team. Known for their ability to overwhelm teams through sheer aggression, they are able to control games from start to finish. They have also been pioneers of unorthodox strategies such as the position four Phantom Assassin or Weaver in the past. They also have arguably one of the best Carry players in the world. Roman “RAMZES666” Hushnarev may only be 17, but has been playing competitively since 2015. VP have built a team around him, which has allowed them to compete at the very top level.

Kiev will be make or break for VP. Failure to qualify will likely result in a team change. A good performance at the event may reinvigorate the side. VP can rise back to the upper echelons of competitive Dota. Whether they do or not is a separate discussion.

Number 9 – Team Secret

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

Team Secret have been through a period of transition. After the EE blog was released, Team Secret looked to be dead in the water. Clement “Puppey” Ivanov had other ideas, however. He made the interesting decision to take some of the best talents from SEA in Pyo “MP” No-a and Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng. He also added promising offlaner Maurice “Khezu” Gutmann, formally of Escape Gaming (Now NiP), to the squad. Secret has all the pieces of a top tier squad. Getting them to fit together, however, is difficult. Secret has been showing promise in recent months but continuously fall short.

With his current team, Puppey has what he has always wanted, four players who will listen to him unconditionally. Secret has shown that they can pull off strong performances against the top sides, and this is why they have made the Top 10. In Johan “PieLieDie” Astrom, you have arguably the most selfless position five in the game. Referred to as DieDieDie by fans, Pie has no issues with sacrificing himself for the greater good. It is his selfless nature that allows Secret to run greedy line-ups that will see Puppey receive the same farm as Khezu.

Secret are currently setting up a solid foundation before making their main assault on the top teams of competitive Dota. With one spot available in the EU qualifiers for Kiev, this is a make or break time for Puppey and the rest of Team Secret.

Number 8 – Team Faceless

DAC 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 (Supprot) – NutZ

Faceless are the Kings of SEA. What does that get them? According to valve, not that much. Faceless missed out on an invite to Kiev in favor of teams from EU, NA, and China. SEA is a region that is struggling, having recently lost top talent to EU and NA based teams. Faceless, however, are the bastion of hope for SEA.

The team is currently dominating SEA, as shown by their recent results in the Mr. Cat Invitational. In the seven games they have played so far, they won six, 2-0, and tied one, 1-1. Faceless are a big fish in a small pond. The current issue Faceless are experiencing is translating their regional success to an international level.

Daryl Koh “Iceiceice” Pei Xiang has flourished as the team’s captain and has nurtured Jabz, xy-, and NutZ. Faceless have been shown to understand the meta very well, abusing the different pulls available on the Radiant side. This innovation makes Faceless a team to fear.

NUMBER 7 – VG.J

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

Team VG.J are the new kids on the block, but they have evidenced that they are one of the best teams in the world. A strong second place finish at StarLadder showed that the team has promise. Valve agreed as they were given a direct invite to Kiev.

Having three legends of Chinese Dota in rOtK, fy, and Fenrir in the squad means that they are instant fan favorites. Combine this with the solid play of Carry player Agressif, and the unpredictability on pub-star Mid player Freeze. That makes a strong roster. The main issue the team faces is the unpredictability of Freeze.

In a few games at StarLadder, Freeze made some questionable plays which often put VG.J on the back foot. StarLadder, however, was the team’s first international LAN event and was an excellent learning experience for the new squad. With DAC and Kiev coming up, VG.J have a chance to prove themselves as a top squad.

NUMBER 6 – Digital Chaos

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

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Resolution

Position 2 (Mid) – w33

Position 3 (Offlane) – MoonMeander

Position 4 (Support) – MiSeRy

Position 5 (Support) – Saksa

DC went from 100 to 0 real quick in 2017. Having had an amazing 2016 with a second place finish at TI6 and a top four finish at The Boston Major, things were looking good for DC. 2017 started in the best possible way as the team won ESL One Genting. Since then, however, things have been in a downward decline. Bottom two finishes at Dota Pit and StarLadder have left DC looking vulnerable. To top it off, they also failed to qualify for DAC.

The team got some excellent news when they were given a direct invite to Kiev, saving them from the difficult NA qualifiers. They hope that Kiev can reignite the fire under the team as they look to achieve a strong placing at the event.

Many consider Aliwi “w33” Omar one of the best Midlaners in the world, and with good reason. During their victory at ESL One Genting, he demonstrated immense skill, often dominating his lane. The rest of the team are solid, and the addition of David “MoonMeander” Tan following TI has added a flashy playmaker to the squad. DC will have to perform at Kiev or all that they have built in the past six months may be under threat.

NUMBER 5 – Wings Gaming

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

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Shadow

Position 2 (Mid) – Blink

Position 3 (Offlane) – Faith_bian

Position 4 (Support) – y’

Position 5 (Support) – iceice

Having won TI6, Wings were on top of the world. Nowadays, not so much. After a disappointing placing at Boston, Wings have struggled to reproduce the form of 2016. In both ESL One Genting and StarLadder, they have been knocked out by two Chinese teams, Newbee and VG.J respectively.

Often called the innovators of Dota, Wings are famed for the unpredictable drafts and their consistent playstyle. Recently, however, they seem to be unsure of the direction they are heading in. StarLadder was a perfect example, as they did not draft the same hero more than two times. They were eventually knocked out in the second round.

They still, however, make the top five best teams in the world based on what they can achieve. They have shown sparks of brilliance at both ESL and Dota Pit. In some respects, receiving consistent direct invites may be a curse rather than a blessing. The lack of play time has shown them to be rusty, and in some cases, behind the meta. Having only played two tournaments so far in 2017, Wings need to find their mojo again.

NUMBER 4 – 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

Newbee are one of the best teams in China currently. It’s a toss up between them and VG.J. Newbee suffers from a similar problem to Wings, a lack of game time. The difference, however, is that when Newbee shows up at a tournament, they always stand a chance of winning.

Dota is a game of fine margins, and ESL One Genting evidenced this. An epic back and forth series that ended with them losing 2-3 in the Grand Finals, highlights how strong this team is. They could have very easily won the series, but seemed to run out of steam mentally. Having received a direct invite to Kiev, they will again not have to worry about the qualifiers. This means they may have some rust heading into the tournament.

Any side possessing arguably the best mid player in China Song “Sccc” Chun, should be a challenger in any tournament. Combine this with the solidity of the rest of the roster, Newbee are a team to be feared. DAC and Kiev will offer Newbee the chance to prove this to fans that may still have doubts.

NUMBER 3 – 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

If this list was being compiled after Kiev, Liquid would most likely be number one. The new and improved Liquid have set the scene. They have won both the LAN’s they have attended in dominating fashion. At the recent StarLadder LAN, they only dropped two maps the whole event. Liquid is showing dominance on a level that Secret 1.0 showed in 2015, before TI5.

Possessing three players with over 9k MMR shows that the team has potential. In addition, they have one of the two best captains in the world, Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi. Liquid has been able to live up to expectations in recent months, dominating every event they have attended.

For Liquid to take the next step, they need to achieve consistency and stay at the top for longer than two events. The best teams don’t just win one event, they consistently win or place well. Liquid look in form and hope to carry that momentum into DAC and Kiev.

NUMBER 2 – 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-

Coming in at number two is Evil Geniuses. They miss out narrowly on the top spot, very narrowly. Since establishing their new roster, EG has not finished below fourth in any event they have participated in. On the new patch, EG has shown dominance, winning both events they have entered.

EG have managed to assemble a God-Squad like no other. Not only do they have some of the best players in the world, they are playing well together. They showed at Dota Pit that they are a force to be reckoned with. The only issue they have is a lack of tournament participation. After winning Dota Pit in January, EG have only played one competitive series, a show match against Complexity in March. That’s six weeks of no competitive Dota. This is the main reason they miss out on the top spot.

NUMBER 1 – 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

OG takes the top spot as the best team in the world. Choosing between OG and EG was tremendously difficult as there are strong arguments for both teams being number one.

OG take the top spot due to consistency. They have placed either first or second in six of the last seven tournaments they have attended. Having that level of consistency at the top level of Dota is amazing. There were questions surrounding the squad when it was formed. Many people believed that Gustav “s4” Magnusson would not be able to transition to offlane. In fact, he has been one of the stand-out performers on this squad. His partnership with Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka was a pivotal part of the win at Boston.

Tal “Fly” Aizik is the best Captain in the world, and he marshalls his team with a ruthless efficiency. Fly and the boys play with a killer instinct, waiting until the opposition makes a mistake and then pouncing on them. OG have shown that having the biggest names doesn’t make you the best team. Instead, they have focused on building a consistent squad that knows how to win.

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

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StarLadder Winners Liquid

What We Learned From StarLadder iLeague Season 3 Finals

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

StarLadder Final Placings

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

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

What we learned from StarLadder

Are Liquid back?

Courtesy of Twitter.com/TeamLiquid

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

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

GH is a God

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

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

TNC show that they can compete

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

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

DC continue to struggle

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

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

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

VG.J Turn up when it matters

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

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

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

Lyrical has a way with words

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

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

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

StarLadder Final Thoughts

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

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

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StarLadder I-League StarSeries Season 3 LAN Finals Preview

As we move further into the year, the tournaments are coming thick and fast. Next up is the StarLadder season 3 LAN finals held in the Shanghai International Gymnastics Center. StarLadder will take place February 23rd – 26th and will showcase some of the best teams in the world.

StarLadder Prize Pool

The prize pool is $300,000 USD, split as follows:

Place $ USD Team
1st $135,000 TBD
2nd $60,000 TBD
3rd $37,500 TBD
4th $22,500 TBD
place 5 to 8
5th-6th $15,000 TBD
TBD
7th-8th $7,500 TBD
TBD

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

StarLadder Format

The teams will be split into two groups, each containing four teams. The group stage will contain a double-elimination bracket with the top two teams advancing to bracket play. Bracket play will be a four team single-elimination bracket, with the semifinals being best of threes, and the final a best of five.

The Teams

Wings Gaming – Direct Invite

Wings StarLadder

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 have been missing from the competitive scene since ESL One Genting. After facing troubles with visas, they missed out on Dota Pit, meaning they have had very few games on the new patch. Since winning TI, Wings have not reached the heights that were expected by many fans.

Wings will be hoping to put in a good performance to try and secure an invite to Kiev. Considering the talent on show at StarLadder, Wings have a tough task ahead of them.

Prediction – 5th / 6th

Wings placement will rely heavily on the group that they are placed in. However, they have failed to impress since TI and will struggle to make it out of the group stages. They will be hoping to kick start their year with a decent performance to give them some momentum heading into the Kiev Major.

OG – Direct Invite

OG StarLadder

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

For some reason there seems to always be questions surrounding the ability of this OG team. Having proved at both Boston and DotaPit that they are one of the best, if not the best, team in the world, they will be hoping to impress at StarLadder. As winners of the Boston Major, they are guaranteed an invite to Kiev, so they hope to silence the critics once again with an emphatic display.

Predictions – 1st Place

OG have the pedigree and ability to win this tournament. Coming off the back of a second place finish at DotaPit, OG will be looking to step it up a level and finish first. Also, as EG are missing from the event, OG will feel confident with their chances.

Team Liquid – European Qualifier #1

Team Liquid StarLadder

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

StarLadder will be the LAN debut for the new Team Liquid and they hope to start it off with a victory. Liquid will be coming into the tournament on the back of an impressive 12 game win streak. They hope that an impressive performance at StarLadder can secure them a direct invite to the upcoming Kiev Major.

Prediction – 2nd Place

Liquid are on an upward trend, however they will eventually cross paths with OG. Taking the W against Fly and the rest of OG may be a step too far for Liquid, but it will be good for the team to get some LAN experience together.

Team Secret – European Qualifier #2

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

This is the second major tournament that the new look Secret have competed in as a team. The first, DotaPit, did not go as planned. Secret ended up finishing in a disappointing 5th / 6th. Having displayed good promise early in the tournament by beating DC, they eventually fell in the losers bracket. Secret hope to prove that they can still be one of the best teams in the world. StarLadder provides them with teams they should beat 70% of the time.

Prediction – 4th Place

With Wings and DC both looking fragile, Secret have a real chance at finishing strong in this event. However, with the likes of Liquid and OG also competing, a top three finish may be just out of reach. This will be the chance for Secret to gain some momentum heading into the Kiev Major qualifiers.

Team VG.J – China Qualifier #1

VG.J StarLadder

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

This will be VG.J’s first venture into international competition. The squad is stacked with some of the best players in China and will be expected to perform well on home soil. Mid player Liu “Freeze” Change is a relative unknown in the international scene and hopes to put his name on the map at StarLadder.

Prediction – 3rd

VG.J posses some of the best talent in Chinese Dota currently, and with Wings misfiring and Newbee not at the event, VG.J are China’s only hope. With four veterans of Dota, this team has the makings of a world beater. The only question is whether they can realize their potential or fall by the side.

iG Vitality – China Qualifier #2

iG.V StarLadder

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.V are a small fish surrounded by blood thirsty sharks. Similar to Elements Pro Gaming at Dota Pit, they are slightly out of place. As they have been playing together for nearly a year, they hope to possess an advantage over some of the newly formed teams. Having failed at Boston, they have been relatively quiet. This is also their first appearance on the international scene.

Prediction – 7th / 8th

Dota games are not played on paper. This is the thing iG.V will be relying on heading in to the tournament. They are on home soil and will be hoping that the crowd can push them to victory. However, they are against several strong teams and will be hard pressed to mount any serious challenge.

Digital Chaos – America Qualifier

DC StarLadder

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

In the last six weeks we have seen the two sides of DC. To go from dominating the field at ESL One Genting to finishing last at DotaPit is not good enough. DC are coming into the event in a weird place. They managed to qualify for the event beating NP in a playoff. However, a few weeks later they failed to qualify for DAC, losing to NP in the finals. They hope to make a comeback and put in a solid performance at StarLadder to secure an invite to Kiev.

Prediction – 5th / 6th

DC look out of sorts since ESL One Genting. The nature of the victory may have lead them to slack a bit heading into DotaPit. However, it is nearly time for the direct invites to Kiev to be announced. DC hope that they can reignite the fire of ESL One and put in a solid performance for the tournament.

TNC Pro Team

TNC StarLadder

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

TNC are used to being the underdogs, so this time around will be no different. They are the second best team in SEA, after Faceless, so this will be a tough challenge for TNC. With Faceless likely to receive a direct invite to Kiev, TNC will be able to use the tournament as a warm-up for the Kiev Qualifiers. TNC hope to catch a few teams off-guard using their unpredictable play style.

Prediction – 7th / 8th

TNC are a difficult team to predict, considering the unpredictable nature of their play. They will be hoping to use this to their advantage and upset a few teams and achieve a decent finish.

StarLadder Final Thoughts

Team Liquid makes their return to international competition at StarLadder, and hope to return with a bang. Standing in their way is OG, the silent assassins that know how to win and win often. OG look to be the favorites for the event, but Liquid have the potential to win. Looking through the rest of the teams, VG.J and Secret have the potential to challenge in the later stages of the tournament. TNC and iG Vitality look to be the weakest of the teams, and will be hoping that they can cause a few upsets and end up with a decent position.

Overall Predictions:

1st Place – OG

2nd Place – Team Liquid

3rd Place – Team VG.J

4th Place – Team Secret

5th / 6th Place – Digital Chaos / Wings Gaming

7th / 8th Place – iG Vitality / TNC Pro Team

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What We Learned From the DAC Regional Qualifiers

The Dota 2 Asia Champsionship (DAC) 2017 qualifiers are in the books. The qualifiers for SEA, Europe, CIS, and Americas took place February 3rd – 13th and saw some of the best teams fight it out for one qualification spot per region. The competition was fierce, the games were amazing, so lets take a look at what we learned from the DAC regional qualifiers.

DAC Regional Winners

South East Asia – Faceless rise to the top

DAC Faceless

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Team Faceless have managed to secure themselves a spot at DAC after conquering the SEA region. Having failed to qualify for StarLadder, the team will have been heavily focused on securing a spot at DAC. Finshing with a record of 5-1, Faceless only dropped two games throughout the qualifiers in a 2-1 loss to WarriorsGaming.Unity. The stats speak for themselves as Faceless finished 11-2 in terms of map count.

Faceless will be looking to build on both Dota Pit, where they finished third, and the DAC qualifiers. After losing to WG.Unity, Faceless are without a loss in their last six games, and with a month to DAC, they hope to continue their undefeated run.

Faceless may finally be reaching the potential that they showed when originally forming as a team. With Kiev on the horizon, Faceless hopes that their performances can secure them a direct invite to the next major.

Americas – Team NP advance with No Problems

DAC NP

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

Similar to Faceless, NP had fallen just short in the recent StarLadder qualifiers. They have been keen on writing their wrongs, and progressing to DAC. NP will be able to look back at the DAC qualifiers and see that they managed to progress from one of the most difficult Americas qualifying stages in recent history. Team NP finished with a 5-1 record, losing only to DC in the semi-finals. However, they did not let this loss dissuade them, and would eventually sweep aside DC 2-0 in the finals.

NP seem to be a team that perfectly sums up “so close, but yet so far”. They are a team that is constantly fighting against the enigma that is Jacky “EternalEnvy” Mao. EE is probably the most exciting player to watch, simply because you never know if he will make an amazing play, or fail. Having the ability to wipe a team and also die solo to Roshan means that his teammates are sometimes fighting an uphill battle. But with all this in mind, NP are still among the best in the world and will hope to show that at DAC.

Whilst a direct invite looks difficult due to being in the same region as EG and DC, NP hope their recent strength will carry them to a decent placing at DAC, and eventually Kiev.

CIS – The start of a new Empire ?

DAC Empire

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

When the Dota Gods give you lemons, you need to make that sweet Dota lemonade. That is exactly what Empire have done in securing their place at DAC. With VP experiencing connection issues (we will come to this later), CIS was open for the taking. Cometh the hour, cometh the Empire. Rated by many as the second best team in CIS, Empire did not disappoint. Winning all of their games and finishing 10-4 in map count will give Empire confidence for the future. The squad benefits from possessing one of the best Meepo players in the world, meaning that a ban is almost a must. This was evident in the qualifiers, as Meepo was banned in 12 of the 14 games, and picked up by Empire in the other two.

Empire have also displayed strong mental toughness as they nearly fell at the last hurdle in a close final series against Effect. Being down one map and at a 6k networth disadvantage, things looked bleak. However, Empire was able to turn it up a gear and take control of game two to tie the series at 1-1. Game three was an easy enough game for Empire as they controlled from the early stages, and eventually closed the game out after 31 minutes.

Empire have been missing from the international scene and hope that DAC will provide the launchpad they need.

Europe – Are Liquid back ?

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Now here is a name fans haven’t heard in a while. Prior to the StarLadder qualifiers earlier in the month, Liquid had been missing from the pro scene for two months. Whatever they were up to in that break has obviously worked wonders for the team as a whole. Liquid have yet to lose a game since their return, that’s 12 games without a loss. Teams will have to start taking note as Liquid look to be in terrifying form. Adding Maroun “GH” Merhej seems to have tied the team together, and they are displaying impressive form heading into an important couple of months.

Liquid hope that with a few more impressive performances, they may be able to secure themselves a direct invite to the Kiev Major and avoid the difficult qualification process. Currently, Liquid are looking like one of the best teams in the world. They have several competitive games in the new patch under their belts, and look to translate that success to the major stage.

DAC a Perfect World ?

With the winners covered, let’s take a look at some of the other notable things that happened during the DAC Regional Qualifiers.

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

VP not connecting anymore

One of the most notable events of the qualifiers was that VP have not qualified for DAC. All bad puns aside, this was completely out of their control. The team suffered connection issues in both of their games, leading to them being disqualified after some long delays.

Another casualty of the DDosS attack was their Dota 2 Manager, Andrey Kvasnevsky, who took the blame for the bootcamp choices made for the tournament.

Having not competed in the StarLadder qualifiers and missing out on DAC, VP will likely have to qualify for the Kiev Major. Hopefully they can reconnect as a team and mount a series challenge for a spot at Kiev.

A worldwide crush

Slardar DAC

Image courtesy of dotawc3.com

Often is the case in Dota that different regions develop slight nuances in the meta. Currently, however, there is one mainstay in every region. Slardar was the most contested hero in the whole qualifiers, being picked or banned in 200 games. In comparison, the next highest is Ember with 150 picks or bans. Slardar also has a very strong 56% win-rate. Expect to see more and more Slardar in top level games.

 

 

B)ears DAC

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

B)ears start with a roar

DAC was the first showing for new team, B)ears. The qualifiers were a baptism of fire, and B)ears rose from the fires of war to finish in a respectable second place. Possessing some of the best talent in the world, including talented position four Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat, B)ears hope to build on DAC. Heading into Kiev, B)ears will likely be a favorite to qualify from what is expected to be a tough qualification region.

 

 

 

 

If you missed any of the qualifiers, check out some of the best plays from the qualifiers below.

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7.02 Patch Update

The Winners and Losers – 7.02 Patch Notes Analysis

As expected, Icefrog has released the 7.02 patch for Dota 2. The patch is a small balancing update that focuses mainly on buffing and nerfing hero talent trees. There have also been some changes to the map to keep the balance between Radiant and Dire. Let’s get into it and see who the winners and losers of the 7.02 patch are.

The Winners of the patch

Balancing both sides of the coin

Dire Patch

Image courtesy of joindota.com

Prior to the release of the new patch, there were several reasons that Radiant had an advantage over Dire. Icefrog has taken steps to return the balance by making a few quality of life changes.

* The following abilities cause neutrals to temporarily not draw aggro: Meat Hook, Telekinesis and Toss
* Added more trees for TP cover around the dire towers
* Swapped the dire secondary jungle ancients and medium camp spots (and improved spawn boxes/stackability)
* The Dire ward spot to the left of the Ancients no longer gives vision over the rune area infront of Roshan
* Slightly adjusted the dire secondary jungle bounty rune further back
* Reduced spawnbox size for both Dire hard camps
* Shifted down the spawnbox for the ancient camp (formerly medium camp) in the Dire secondary jungle (so a high ground ward does not block the camp)
* Fixed a rare case where Dire ancients could be stuck between trees when spawning

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

A lot of these changes are minimal and focused on balancing the scales between the two sides.

Same hero new play style

WR Patch 7.02

Image courtesy of dota2walls.com

Windranger has been missing from the meta for a long time. Icefrog decided to bring her back from the dead with the next patch.

* Powershot damage from 120/220/320/420 to 180/260/340/420
* Powershot cooldown from 9 to 12/11/10/9
* Windrun slow AoE from 300 to 325
* Windrun manacost from 100 to 75
* Level 10 Talent from +15 Damage to +25% Windrun Slow
* Level 15 Talent from +16 Intelligence to +20 Intelligence
* Level 15 Talent from +200 Health to +40 Movement Speed
* Level 20 Talent from +12% Magic Resistance to +20%
* Level 20 Talent from +12% Spell Amplification to +15%
* Level 25 Talent from -5s Powershot Cooldown to -6s

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

These changes seem to point to a more support focused Windranger which may reinvigorate the hero. The change to Powershot will mean that an early point in the skill will allow good harass potential in lane. The changes to her talents seem to point her towards a more support focused play style. Expect to see support Windranger coming to a pro game near you.

Who needs a Midas

Doom patch 7.02

Image courtesy of dota2walls.com

Doom is another hero that had been missing from the meta for a long time. This may start to change, as with his new changes he may become more viable, and is already seeing some more play in competitive.

* Level 10 Talent from +8 Intelligence to +80 Devour Bonus Gold
* Level 10 Talent from +150 Health to +250
* Level 15 Talent from +6 Armor to +15 Scorched Earth Damage/Heal
* Level 15 Talent from +15 Movement Speed to +20
* Level 20 Talent from +65 Damage to +35 Doom DPS

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

Doom’s talent tree received a massive rework as part of the patch, something that he really needed. The main addition is the new level 10 talent +80 Devour Bonus Gold, which effectively gives Doom a built in Midas once he hits level 10. This will really allow Doom to transition well into the mid / late game. It seems as if Icefrog is trying to refocus Doom around his skills with the changes to his talent tree. As a result, Doom has lost some of his right click potential and will have to be careful during fights.

Returning from the shadows?

Bounty Hunter

Image courtesy of dotafire.com

Bounty was a hero that had been severely affected by the 7.00 patch, so it is nice to see Icefrog giving him some attention. Still, nobody is going to buy Aghanim’s Scepter on him no matter how much they buff the upgrade.

* Scepter now also increases Shuriken Toss ministun duration from 0.1 to 0.75
* Level 10 Talent from +15% XP Gain to +20%
* Level 20 Talent from +100 Damage to +120 Damage
* Level 20 Talent from 8% Spell Amplification to +75 Shuriken Toss Damage
* Level 25 Talent from +20% Evasion to +25%

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

The change to the Aghanim’s upgrade makes sense, however it will more than likely not increase the amount the item is picked up. The 20% XP gain at level 10 will help Bounty get his levels faster, something he desperately needs. The addition of +75 Shuriken Damage offers a welcome choice against the +120 Damage. Whilst most people will pick up the additional damage, in higher level games the extra Shuriken Toss damage will see a lot of attention. Bounty may see some more play, however he still is in need of a more considerable buff to make a return to the meta.

The Losers of the Patch

Balance in all things

Image courtesy of youtube.com

The nerfs to Ember will not be a surprise to anyone who has played the game recently. With a high pick and win rate, the hero was teetering between great and broken.

* Root now disables Activate Fire Remnant
* Level 10 Talent from 15% Spell Amplification to 12%

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

Now whilst two changes is not dramatic it is the nature of these changes that is important. Firstly, having Root disable Activate Fire Remnant makes sense, but will now allow another way to lock Ember down and stop him from jumping out. Secondly, the change to the level 10 talent is a welcome one, that reduces the heroes power without completely destroying the hero. Ember will likely still see a high pick and win rate in higher tier games and will likely receive heavier nerfs in an upcoming patch.

 

Is No Bear LD still within range ?

Image courtesy of youtube.com

Lone Druid definitely deserved a nerf and Icefrog agreed. The Druid had become a mainstay in higher MMR games, with a strong win rate.

* Level 10 Talent from +200 Attack Range to +175
* Level 15 Talent from +65 Damage to +55
* Level 20 Talent from +7 Spirit Bear Armor to +12
* Level 20 Talent from -50s Respawn Time to -40s

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

The changes to LD are minimal currently, but may see him become a more situational pick rather than consistently picked. Reducing the additional attack range provided by the level 10 talent was a needed change, and will mean that it is possible to close the gap on LD in fights. In addition, reducing the damage provided to LD from his level 15 talent will be a welcomed change. Similar to Ember, the changes are needed, but are still arguably not enough.

 

Who needs Ion Shell

Dark Seer patch

Image courtesy of dotafire.com

Dark Seer has been a mainstay of the competitive meta for the last six months. Icefrog may have just ruined that for everyone. With a long list of changes, will Dark Seer ever be the same again?

* Movement speed reduced from 300 to 295
* Ion Shell manacost from 70/90/110/130 to 100/110/120/130
* Level 15 Talent from +90 Damage to +120
* Level 20 Talent from +25 Intelligence to +75 Vacuum AoE
* Level 20 Talent from +12 Strength to +10% Cooldown Reduction
* Level 25 Talent from +12% Cooldown Reduction to +25 Strength
* Level 25 Talent from +70 Ion Shell Damage to +80

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

The biggest of all these changes is the change to Ion Shell. Dark Seer is a hero that benefits from pushing towers in the early game through the use of Ion Shell. This has changed with the mana cost of Ion Shell being increased, meaning that early game Dark Seer cannot simply spam itl in lane whenever it is off cooldown. Dark Seer will now need to be conscious of last hitting rather than leaving that to the Ion Shell. The talent tree also received a rework, which overall is a nerf to Dark Seer. If you like to play Dark Seer, it may be time to find a new hero, as Icefrog has decided to punish him and may do this again in the future.

Icefrog has sent him back to the Underworld

Image courtesy of pcgamesn.com

Having been recently released into Captains Mode, it is not a surprise to see Underlord receiving the balance hammer from Icefrog.

* Movement speed reduced from 305 to 290
* Atrophy Aura Damage Reduction from 10/20/30/40% to 4/16/28/40%
* Level 15 Talent from +200 Health to +35 Movement Speed
* Level 20 Talent from +100 Cast Range to +125
* Level 20 Talent from +50 Attack Speed to +60

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

Icefrog decided that the early game of Underlord was too good and has decided to reduce the Atrophy Aura Damage Reduction. The change now means that for the damage reduction to be beneficial, it will now require two skill points, which will possibly change the skill build moving forward. Whilst he will not join Arc Warden in the new hero dumpster, expect Underlord to receive some nerfs in upcoming patches.

Other changes of note in the patch

* Shrines are now vulnerable after a T3 tower dies (same as the Shrines inside the base), rather than after all T2 towers die

* Sentry Wards now come in packs of 1 for 100 gold (instead of 2 for 200)

* Added Lycan to CM

* Observer Wards now have a Fog of War simulator to show you the area the ward will reveal (taking into account trees and terrain height)

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

For a full breakdown check out Purge’s Livestreamed reactions to the new patch here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZEpSU0DOoU

You can ‘like The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers.

You can follow Joe here – https://twitter.com/TrenchCommander

Fnatic stong logo

Mushi Leaves Team Fnatic, What’s Next?

A few weeks ago we discussed what was going wrong with Fnatic and the potential next steps. The one thing that fans would not have expected was for them to part ways with Mushi. Arguably one of the best known players in the world, Mushi was a big part of Fnatic from early 2015. Fnatic are now left with Ohiayo and Febby looking for three. Let’s take a look at what’s next for the SEA powerhouse.

A Brief History of Fnatic.Mushi

Fnatic Mushi

Image courtesy of gosugamers.net

Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung’s Team Malaysia were picked up by Fnatic on June 4th, 2015. This would be the start to a long relationship between the two parties, looking as if it would never end.

During his time with Fnatic, Mushi captained the team to an outstanding fourth place finish at The Internation 2016. This was potentially a highlight of his career, and things were looking good following TI. However, this turned out to be wrong; things would slowly begin to fall apart. The signs were there, and the cracks began to show.

The Cracks Begin to Show

Fnatic on True Sight

Image courtesy of gosugamers.net

As mentioned in the previous piece on Fnatic, the True Sight documentary really exposed some of the issues in the team. The documentary seemed to cast Mushi in a very dim light, something that has been argued about since the first showing. It was difficult for new players to become adjusted to the team as they were in awe of Mushi. The fact that neither new player could speak up to Mushi eventually caused the roster to fall apart, and would result in them not qualifying for the Boston Major. After failure to make it to Boston, the roster would eventually disband, leaving Mushi and long term partner in crime Ohiayo to start again.

The Beginning of The End

ESL One Genting

Image courtesy of liquipedia.com

ESL One Genting was a low point for both Fnatic and Mushi. Fnatic would have had no expectations heading into ESL, but they looked lifeless as they were swept aside. Things had to change heading into the StarLadder and DAC qualifiers. Unfortunately for Fnatic, they did not. After a disappointing showing in the StarLadder qualifiers, they pulled out of DAC in hopes of resolving the current issues plaguing the team.

 

 

 

A Life After Mushi

In the previous Fnatic article, we believed that there was still life in the roster, with a few additions. Fnatic obviously disagreed; parting ways with Mushi seems like a crazy decision. Fnatic are now left with long term member Ohiayo and newcomer Febby. Whilst both these players are very talented, the future of Fnatic does not look bright.


With the DAC qualifiers nearing an end, fans should expect some roster changes in the near future. Due to the brand of Fnatic, they will have the power to attract top players to the organisation. However, the current talent in SEA is limited to a few teams that have established successful rosters. It seems as if Fnatic will have to scrape the barrel for talent in hope of qualifying for Kiev.

Is Europe The Way Forward?

With the dropping of Mushi, there have been rumors that Fnatic may be changing SEA for EU. Whilst this may seem unlikely as the organisation have backed current players Ohiayo and Febby, it is not beyond the realms of possibility. The newly formed B)ears team would be an ideal candidate. The roster is currently without a sponsor and have made a great start to life in the DAC EU qualifiers.

The rosters consists of:

  • Feras “Feero” Hroob
  • Adrian “FATA-” Trinks
  • Lee “Forev” Sang-don
  • Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat
  • Adam “343” Hussein

Fnatic have previously ventured into the EU scene, so the thought of them doing so again is possible. Picking up the B)ears squad would be a strong move, but the organisation may be reluctant due to their ties with SEA.

Final Thoughts

The Fnatic of old has crashed and burned. It’s now up to Ohiayo and Febby to rebuild the SEA powerhouses back to their former glory. Can this be done? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, the road ahead will not be easy. With the backing of Fnatic, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. I’m sure that everyone wishes Mushi the best moving forward, hopefully he can find a team and continue to play at the top level.

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DAC Logo

Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Regional Qualifiers Preview

Most fans will remember Dota 2 Asian Championships 2015 (DAC) as the breakout event for superstar mid laner Syed “Sumail” Hassan. After taking a break throughout 2016, it was announced that DAC would be returning to our screens in March 2017.

The qualifiers for the event are scheduled from February 3rd-13th and are being split into four different regions (the China qualifiers have already been completed):

AmericasAmericas DAC (one qualification spot)

SEA DAC

SEA (one qualification spot)

EU DAC

Europe (one qualification spot)

CIS DACCIS (one qualification spot)

DAC Format

Teams will be split into two groups of four teams, playing a double elimination format with all games being best-of-three. The top two of each group will then advance to a double-elimination bracket with the winning team booking themselves a spot in the LAN finals in March/April.

Americas DAC Qualifiers

Eight of the best teams based in North and South America will take part in the online qualifiers for a spot at DAC. The teams will be fighting it out for one spot, and with such a stacked field the competition will be of the highest level.

Having finished second at TI, third/fourth at Boston, and first at ESL One Genting, many would have expected DC to be given a direct invite to the event. This was not the case however. They have instead been thrown to the wolves that is the Americas regional qualifiers. Joining DC fans can look forward to seeing the following teams:

Group A

  1. DC
  2. Wanted (PPD’s team)
  3. Complexity Gaming
  4. Team Freedom

Group B

  1. Team NP
  2. SG e-sports
  3. Infamous
  4. Team Onyx

What to expect

With the StarLadder qualifiers wrapping up, it’s straight from the frying pan and in to the fire for most of these teams. Of the eight teams competing, six of them competed in the StarLadder qualifiers. Team NP, DC, Complexity, Team Onyx, Infamous, and Team Freedom will be hoping that they build on the events of StarLadder.

Ones to watch

Heading into the qualifiers, Team NP and DC look like they will be competing for the top spot, as they have done for the majority of the StarLadder qualifiers. If you are looking for an underdog, both Team Onyx and WanteD have the ability to give the more established teams a run for their money.

With Abed finally joining up with Team Onyx, they hope to take advantage of the easy group and progress to the playoffs where they stand a good chance of qualifying. WanteD are an unknown quantity, but with a roster captained by PPD, good things can be expected. WanteD are unfortunately in a group with DC, Complexity, and Team Freedom so progression will be difficult. Fans will be hoping that PPD can prove he is still one of the most formidable drafters in the world and draft his team to victory.

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

Prediction – Team NP

Dark Horse – Team Onyx

SEA DAC Qualifiers

The teams in SEA are beginning to rise in power. With TNC winning WESG and Faceless finishing third at Dota Pit, the future looks bright for the region. With five of the competing teams possessing the ability to finish in the top spot, there will be some stiff competition. The only sour note hanging over the qualifiers is that they are missing Fnatic who pulled out of the qualifiers due to team issues. Fnatic have been placed by Next Generation, who will be hoping to seize the opportunity.

Group A

  1. Team Faceless
  2. Signature.Trust
  3. WarriorsGaming.Unity
  4. Next Generation

Group B

  1. TNC Pro Team
  2. Rex Regum
  3. Mineski.GGNetwork
  4. Execration

What to expect

The recent StarLadder qualifiers saw TNC finish one point above Team Faceless. Having seen the top spot be decided by a point will give fans a taste of what to expect. Faceless will be hoping to avenge the disappointment of narrowly missing out in the StarLadder qualifiers.

Ones to watch

TNC have had a very good start to the year, winning WESG and also qualifying for StarLadder, so they will be coming into the qualifiers in form. Being one of the more consistent teams in the region, they will inevitably mount a strong challenge for the number one spot at DAC. Trying to stop them will be Team Faceless. Faceless have been hit or miss in their time together and fans are hoping they can continue their strong start to 2017.

On the flip side, Execration recently showed cracks in the StarLadder qualifiers, finishing a disappointing sixth out of eight possible places. Possessing some of the more talented players in the region, they should kick into gear for the DAC qualifiers and be a serious challenge.

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Prediction – Team Faceless

Dark Horse – Execration

European DAC Qualifiers

The teams competing in the European qualifiers all posses the ability to gain qualification, and challenge at the main event. This must be the most hotly contested qualifying groups in recent history. Teams in EU have a right to feel hard done by. These qualifiers will also be the first time that B)ears has played together.

Group A

  1. Ad Finem
  2. B)ears (FATA’s Team)
  3. Natus Vincere
  4. Team Secret

Group B

  1. Team Liquid
  2. Ninjas in Pyjamas (Formely January 25th)
  3. Alliance
  4. Cloud9

What to expect

Group A is the group of death. Any of the four teams that are in the group have the ability to qualify for the main event. This will be the first showing of FATA’s team B)ears who seem to be the weakest team in the group.

Group B contains the 35k God Squad, Team Liquid. Liquid secured a spot at StarLadder with a dominant qualifying run. Liquid hopes to dominate StarLadder and rise to prominence once again on the world stage.

Ones to watch

Any of the teams in this qualifier could easily qualify for the main event. Team Liquid look to be the favorites based on recent results, but the new Navi roster looks to be gelling well. Navi v Secret in round one of the groups is an ode to a team gone by, but may shape the rest of Group A.

Having been picked up by NiP, Synderen’s team hopes to take advantage of a slightly weaker group to make it into the playoffs and cause some trouble. It is just unfortunate that there is only one qualification spot available, as a handful of top tier teams will fail to qualify.

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Prediction – Team Liquid

Dark Horse – Ninjas in Pyjamas

CIS DAC Qualifiers

Virtus Pro will be celebrating DAC’s decision to host CIS based regional qualifiers. Containing only a handful of challenges, and several tier three teams, VP will be looking to take advantage. Standing in their way is Vega Squadron and Team Empire, who can both cause trouble.

Group A

  1. Virtus.Pro
  2. Effect
  3. Team Spirit
  4. LQ

Group B

  1. Vega Squadron
  2. Comanche
  3. Team Empire
  4. F.R.I.E.N.D.S

What to expect

If you are hard pressed for time, missing the CIS qualifiers might not be the worst idea. A region that has a huge difference between the top and bottom teams will often provide uninteresting games.

VP should capitalize in the qualifiers if they perform to their potential, something that is easier said than done.

Ones to watch

Virtus Pro are the favorites and should dominate the qualifiers. The main challenge will be from Vega and Empire. VP struggled at Dota Pit, so Vega and Empire may be able to capitalize on some of the cracks. However, VP should kick back into gear and steam roll the qualifiers.

Vega and Empire have unluckily been grouped together in Group B. Should both of them make it out, they will be hoping to cause an upset over strong favorites VP.

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Prediction – Virtus Pro

Dark Horse – Team Empire

Final Thoughts

Whilst the qualifiers are set to showcase some of the best Dota in the world, the lack of qualification spots may eventually limit the main event. Europe especially will be feeling the strain with eight of the best teams in the world competing for one qualification spot. For the teams that do not qualify, it will be a good opportunity for teams to prepare for the Kiev Qualifiers which are fast approaching.

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