What better way to start off a new year then with a DotA Pro Circuit minor? Even as far as DotA tournament’s go, Captain’s Draft is unique. The tournament gets its name from the game mode of the same moniker. In Captain’s Draft, the hero pool is randomly narrowed down to 27 heroes before picks and bans begin. This randomization forces teams and captains to improvise strategies, as optimal team compositions are not likely available. As usual, let’s take a look at the teams that will be participating in the first Pro Circuit Tournament of 2018.
Position 1 – Johan “N0tail” Sundstein
Position 2 – Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok
Position 3 – Gustav “s4” Magnusson
Position 4 – Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka
Position 5 – Tal “Fly” Aizik
OG won their first big tournament of the season at MDL Macau following a string of disappointing performances. The four time Major winners have been struggling despite their star studded roster remaining mostly unchanged. Their performance at MDL Macau was like a flashback to their glory days. After ending the group stage at the top of the leaderboard, they proceeded to win the playoffs without dropping a single game. Perhaps their luck is finally turning around.
Position 1 – Zhang “Paparazi” Chengjun
Position 2 – Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang
Position 3 – Ren “eLeVenN” Yangwei
Position 4 – Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng
Position 5 – Lu “Fenrir” Chao
2017 was the year of “almosts” for Chinese DotA team Vici Gaming. Despite performing well in qualifiers, they never seemed to be able to claim first place. Their 3-2 loss against Liquid at the AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League was the closest they came so far this year. Their 0-3 loss to Newbee in the grand finals of the Perfect World Masters tournament was probably even more painful. Nevertheless, these second place victories have put them on the board. As it stands now they still have a guaranteed invite to TI8. We’ll see shortly if they have the versatility to strengthen their position on the leaderboard.
Position 1 – Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard
Position 2 – Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng
Position 3 – Adrian “Fata” Trinks
Position 4 – Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat
Position 5 – Clement “Puppey” Ivanov
Secret are now the team to beat. If you can beat Secret convincingly, no other team in a tournament should be as scary (except maybe Liquid). Liquid may have won more tournaments, but Secret has placed well at both Majors so far, giving them a clear point lead. At the most recent of said Majors, Dreamleague 8, Secret even proved that they could topple the TI winners not once, but twice. Two of the three Grand Final games were 60+ minute slug fests, but Secret came out on top in the end. This is the team to look out for this tournament.
Position 1 – Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
Position 2 – Clinton “Fear” Loomis
Position 3 – Sumail “Suma1l” Hassan
Position 4 – Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen
Position 5 – Rasmus “MISERY” Filipsen
Removing UNiVeRsE’s name from EG’s roster for this article proved painful for me. It is hard to believe that such a talented player was performing poorly enough to be removed from the organization. More importantly, removing UNiVeRsE caused massive structural changes to Evil Geniuses as a whole. Fear has taken the mid role from Suma1l, who will be filling in UNiVeRsE’s old offlane position. MISERY will play hard support while also relieving Fear of his captaining duties. I’m not convinced that these moves are the correct ones, but seeing how they play out at Captain’s Draft will prove interesting to say the least.
Position 1 – Kam “NaNa” Boon Seng
Position 2 – Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung
Position 3 – Daryl “iceiceice” Koh Pei Xiang
Position 4 – Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong
Position 5 – Michael “ninjaboogie” Ross Jr.
After a fantastic start to the season, Minesky has all but fallen off the map. After winning PGL Open Bucharest, the team has hardly been seen outside of qualifiers. The last time we saw them was during their disappointing 7th-8th place finish at Perfect World Masters where they failed to take a single game in the playoffs. If they can’t make a comeback here, it may be time to think about roster changes. The team is full of talented players, but something is clearly not working.
Position 1 – William “hFn” Medeiros
Position 2 – Danylo “KINGRD” Nascimento
Position 3 – Otavio “tavo” Gabriel
Position 4 – Heitor “Duster” Pereira
Position 5 – Aurthur “PAADA” Zarzur
Pain Gaming is a new face from the South American scene. If they don’t seem familiar, it’s because they have not participated in any Pro Circuit tournaments yet this year. It is also nearly impossible to analyze this team because they’re brand new overall. This roster was thrown together in early November, and has only played in qualifiers. As pessimistic as it might sound, I would expect Pain to perform similarly to the other South American teams. Historically speaking, South American teams have struggled on the international stage this year. This team’s inexperience together only compounds my reservations.
Position 1 – Airat “Silent” Gaziev
Position 2 – Rostislav “fn” Lozovoi
Position 3 – Andrey “Ghostik” Kadyk
Position 4 – Maxim “yoky-” Kim
Position 5 – Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov
Team Empire’s frequent roster changes make it difficult to follow their progress as a team. The team’s history on Liquipedia shows players leaving, going inactive, returning and getting signed by other teams all just weeks apart. Former team captain Ivan “VANSKOR” Skorokhod’s departure just a week ago must’ve hit the team hard. Miposhka is picking up the reins, but will the team be able to rally around him? The unpredictability of Captain’s Draft naturally strips away some of the more tenured team’s advantage. They certainly have an uphill battle if they want to secure an invite to TI8 at this point.
Position 1 – Rasmus “Chessie” Blomdin
Position 2 – Linus “Limmp” Blomdin
Position 3 – David “Moo” Hull
Position 4 – Zakari “Zfreek” Freedman
Position 5 – Kyle “melonzz” Freedman
I love rooting for CompLexity. It’s cool to see not just one, but two sets of brothers playing at such a high level together. I always enjoy watching Moo play the offlane, especially on heroes like Timbersaw. What I don’t love is the disappointment I feel when they fall short of top 3. After a third place finish at the first tournament of the season, they have not made it to the winners podium. I do believe however that Kyle is a competent drafter. He seems to have the kind of personality that could benefit from the chaotic nature of Captain’s Draft. We will certainly see soon enough.
Captain’s Draft 4.0 will take place in Washington, DC from Jan 4th – Jan 7th.
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