Dota 2 Power Rankings

Dota 2 Power Rankings May 2017

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

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

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

  • Must have an active five player roster.

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 10 – Team NP

Dota 2 Power Rankings Team NP

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

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Eternal Envy

Position 2 (Mid) – Fata

Position 3 (Offlane) – MSS

Position 4 (Support) – Aui_2000

Position 5 (Support) – PieLieDie

Previous Placing – New Entry

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

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

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

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 9 – Team Faceless

Dota 2 Power Rankings Faceless

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Black^

Position 2 (Mid) – Jabz

Position 3 (Offlane) –iceiceice

Position 4 (Support) – xy-

Position 5 (Support) – NutZ

Previous Placing – Number 8 (-1)

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

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

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

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 8 – TNC Pro Team

Dota 2 Power Rankings TNC

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Raven

Position 2 (Mid) – Kuku

Position 3 (Offlane) – Sam_H

Position 4 (Support) – Tims

Position 5 (Support) – ryOyr

Previous Placing – New Entry

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

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

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

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

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 7 – Team Liquid

Dota 2 Power Rankings Team Liquid

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – MATUMBAMAN

Position 2 (Mid) – Miracle-

Position 3 (Offlane) – MinD_ContRoL

Position 4 (Support) – GH

Position 5 (Support) – KuroKy

Previous Placing – Number 3 (-4)

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

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

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

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

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 6 – Team Secret

Dota 2 Power Rankings Team Secret

Image courtesy of teamsecret.gg

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – MP

Position 2 (Mid) – MidOne

Position 3 (Offlane) – Khezu

Position 4 (Support) – Yapzor

Position 5 (Support) – Puppey

Previous Placing – Number 9 (+3)

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

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

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

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

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 5 – Newbee

Dota 2 Power rankings Newbee

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

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Uuu9

Position 2 (Mid) – Sccc

Position 3 (Offlane) – Kpii

Position 4 (Support) – Faith

Position 5 (Support) – Kaka

Previous Placing – Number 4 (-1)

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

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

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

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 4 – Evil Geniuses

Dota 2 Power Rankings Evil Geniuses

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Arteezy

Position 2 (Mid) – SumaiL

Position 3 (Offlane) – UNiVeRsE

Position 4 (Support) – Zai

Position 5 (Support) – Cr1t-

Previous Placing – Number 2 (-2)

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

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

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

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

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 3 – Virtus Pro

Dota 2 Power Rankings Virtus Pro

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Ramzes666

Position 2 (Mid) – No[o]ne

Position 3 (Offlane) – 9Pashaebashu

Position 4 (Support) – Lil

Position 5 (Support) – Solo

Previous Placing – Number 10 (+7)

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

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

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

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 2 – Invictus Gaming

Dota 2 Power Rankings Invictus Gaming

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – BurNing

Position 2 (Mid) – Op

Position 3 (Offlane) – Xxs

Position 4 (Support) – BoboKa

Position 5 (Support) – Q

Previous Placing – New Entry

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

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

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

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

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

Dota 2 Power Rankings – Number 1 – OG

Dota 2 Power Rankings OG

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Notail

Position 2 (Mid) – Ana

Position 3 (Offlane) – s4

Position 4 (Support) – JerAx

Position 5 (Support) – Fly

Previous Placing – Number 1

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

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

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

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

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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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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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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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Dota PIt

The Good and The Bad: Dota Pit Season 5

With Dota Pit in the books, it’s time to take a look back at the event. From great games to time delays, Dota Pit definitely had some good moments, some bad moments, and some moments in between.

The Good – Dota Pit

The Grandest of Finals

Dota Pit Grand Finals

Image courtesy of youtube.com

Having matched up in the Winners Finals, EG swept OG aside in emphatic fashion, finishing the series 2 – 0. Fans may have been worried that the Grand Finals would follow the same suit, but this was not the case. The Grand Finals went the full best of five, with OG being up 2-1 going into game four. EG managed to turn it around, mainly due to Arteezy’s excellent Lone Druid play. The series showed that OG and EG are still the teams to beat, even on a new patch. Demonstrating some amazing plays throughout, teams will need to be wary of these teams moving forward.

Le Balanced Fire Spirit

Image courtesy of youtube.com

After seeing mixed success at ESL One Genting, Ember made a resurgent return at Dota Pit. He was the most picked hero in the tournament, being picked 16 times and boasting a massive 81% win rate. Some teams have tried to counter the rise of Ember by picking up Invoker. This was very unsuccessful however. Invoker was picked up six times in matches against Ember, only winning one of those games. The Veil build-up allows Ember to be active early, a problem he suffered with in previous patches. In a meta that seems to be leaning more towards magical damage, the current Ember Veil combo seems to be here to stay. Teams will need to start finding ways to defeat this build.

Team Faceless show their true faces

Image taken at The Summit 6. Courtesy of esportsedition.com

Many people did not expect much from Faceless at this event, myself included as I had predicted them to finish 7th / 8th. Faceless managed to mount an impressive losers bracket run through the perilous best of one matches. Facing off against EG in the first game they played will have left Faceless fans fearing the worst. In fact, Faceless put up a valiant fight against EG, winning game one, but eventually losing the series 2-1.

In their losers bracket run, Faceless defeated DC, VP, and IG before eventually falling to OG in the losers bracket final. It can be argued that the best of one lower bracket games did work in Faceless’ favor, but the conditions were the same for every team.

Faceless proved that they can be contenders on the world stage with a strong third place finish. They will be hoping to build on this into the SEA StarLadder qualifiers.

Who needs Sniper when you have Lone Druid

Image courtesy of dotabuff.com

The addition of Talent Trees has opened up new ways to play heroes that for the longest time have had the same item build-ups. Lone Druid is one of the heroes most changed by the new Talent Tree options, which has brought forward the possibility of focusing more on building up items on LD rather than his bear. At ESL One Genting, LD was only picked once, and that was in a game that Wings Gaming went on to lose.

In this event, however, he was picked six times, all on the last day, and boasted an impressive 83% win rate. LD was completely ignored on days one and two of the event, and was only picked up by both EG and OG. With the dominance that EG primarily were able to show with the hero, expect to see LD appearing in more and more pro games coming up.

The Bad – Dota Pit

Schedule, what schedule?

Image courtesy of ambassador-baptist.org

Whilst the games at Dota Pit were great, managing to actually play them seemed like a bit of an issue. All three days suffered from delays, with the largest delay being a whopping four hours during the Grand Finals. The amount of delays for an event of this caliber is simply unacceptable. As a fan watching, it was unbearable at times, listening to the same playlist over and over on the Dota Pit stream. It definitely deterred people from watching the stream. The effect on the players was easy to see at the trophy ceremony, with the members of EG looking visibly exhausted when accepting the trophy.

What a difference two weeks makes

Image courtesy of twitter.com

Two weeks prior to Dota Pit, Digital Chaos took home the first place finish at ESL One Genting. Many people predicted DC to finish in the top three at Dota Pit. This did not happen, however. Following a disappointing day one, DC was eliminated from the tournament, finishing 7th / 8th. Being knocked out on the first day definitely hurt DC. It will be interesting to see how they bounce back from the event. Fans may argue that the format definitely played against DC, as they never really had a chance to get going. However, in the games they did play, DC looked out of sorts and a completely different side to the team that finished first at ESL One Genting.

That little something missing

Image courtesy of dotablast.com

Over the last couple of months, Dota fans have been treated to the best of the best in terms of desk hosts, with both ReDeYe and Machine proving that they are among the world’s elite hosts. Dota Pit however had neither of these names, and instead had KotL Guy and Sheever sharing the hosting duties. Now whilst I like both Sheever and KotL Guy as analysts / commentators, I felt that they did not make the best fit as hosts. This goes back to the recent discussion I had with ReDeYe, where he explained that sometimes it is detrimental if a host has extensive game knowledge, as they may dominate discussion. This was something that did happen on a few occasions during the event.

As a fan, I hope to see both ReDeYe and Machine attending more Dota events in the future. I also hope to see both KotL Guy and Sheever return as analysts / casters.

Best of ones are probably not for the best

Image courtesy of twitter.com

After waiting until two days before the event to announce the format, there was a lot of speculation among fans. However, Dota Pit shocked a few people by announcing best of one games for all the lower bracket games, including the lower bracket finals. Many people are fans of the best of one games as they can provide some of the most interesting matches in the tournament. From a viewers perspective, the best of one lower bracket games missed the mark, as fan favorites DC were eliminated straight away after falling into the lower bracket.

The scheduling of the days also seemed to be a bit bottom heavy, in that the majority of games were played on the last day. Normally the games per day reduce as you move through the tournament. Dota Pit opted for the opposite strategy. For the players that made it to the final day, the scheduling must have been extremely tiring. Combine this with the heavy delays, and Dota Pit was probably not the best tournament to compete in.

HONORABLE Mention – Dota Pit

Bringing the hype like no other

Image courtesy of youtube.com

It was announced that the stage host of Counter Pit, aka E-sports Hype Guy, would be hosting Dota Pit. He did not disappoint, from the first event to the last, he put a ton of effort in. Even after a massive four hour delay, he still attempted to hype up an exhausted crowd to cheer until the end.

Dota Pit Final Placings

Place $ USD Percent Team
1st $62,937  45% Evil Geniuses Evil Geniuses
2nd $34,965  25% OG OG
3rd $25,174  18% Team Faceless Team Faceless
4th $16,783  12% Invictus Gaming/Invictus Gaming Invictus Gaming
place 5 to 8
5th-6th  0% Team Secret Team Secret
Virtus.pro/Virtus.pro Virtus.pro
7th-8th  0% Elements Pro Gaming/Elements Pro Elements Pro
Digital Chaos Digital Chaos

“Table courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2/Dota_Pit_League/Season_5”

Final Thoughts

Although there were some great games at Dota Pit, the heavy delays made this an event to forget. Overall, due to the heavy delays and awful stream playlist, Dota Pit Season 5 Finals is getting a Report and some time in Low Priority.

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Dota Pit

Dota Pit Season 5 Event Preview

Dota Pit Season 5 is the third major tournament of the 2017 Dota year, if you include WESG. The tournament will take place from January 20-28th and will be held in the Spaladium Arena in Split, Croatia.

Dota Pit Format

Dota Pit will be played in a double elimination bracket that will take place over the three days. All upper bracket games will be best of three apart from the Grand Finals which will be best of five. It was also announced that the lower bracket games will all be best of one! Best of one brings a huge amount of unpredictability and means that making a lower bracket run in the tournament will come with very high risks.

Dota Pit Prize Pool

The prize pool for the tournament was announced as being $125,000 and would be increased through the sale of in-game tickets and cosmetics. The most recent prize pool announcement was for $136,345. At the time of writing, the distribution amounts have yet to be announced.

Dota Pit Teams

The tournament has been hit with two teams pulling out, which has added two challengers into an already stacked field of teams. With ESL One Genting Champions Digital Chaos being joined by the likes of OG and EG, fans should be in for a treat with some top quality games over the weekend. So who is descending into the pit to try and win the event:

Elements Pro Gaming – Replacing Wings Gaming – Direct Invite

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Swiftending

Position 2 (Mid) – kole

Position 3 (Offlane) – Mitch

Position 4 (Support) g0g1

Position 5 (Support) – LeBronDota

Most people may have been surprised when it was announced that EPG were selected to replace Wings Gaming, who could not attend due to visa issues. However, they did nearly qualify for the event after losing to OG in the final series 3-2. EPG will be hoping to catch some of the teams by surprise and the format may work in their advantage. This is also a chance for EPG to prove themselves among the biggest teams in the world.

Tournament Prediction – 5th / 6th

EPG has what it takes to catch a team by surprise and due to the best of one lower bracket format, its possible that they can take a game and end up finishing 5th / 6th.

Digital Chaos (DC) – Direct Invite

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 are coming into this event hot, practically on fire. Off the back of an amazing victory at ESL One Genting, the team now have their first LAN win. DC will be looking to build on their first success and carry that forward into Dota Pit. The difference, OG and EG are both returning to this tournament and did not take part in ESL One Genting. Fans will be hoping that DC can continue their fine form at the start of 2017 with another victory at Dota Pit.

Tournament Prediction – 2nd Place

This tournament will come down to a battle between DC, OG, and EG. The three powerhouses are almost interchangeable at the top of the pile and it will be interesting to see how the weekend pans out.

OG – European Qualifier #1

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

Dota Pit signals the start of 2017 for the Boston Major champions. This will also be their first competitive outing on the 7.xx patch. OG had several questions surrounding the team heading into the Major. Could s4 work in the offlane? Could Ana fill the space that Miracle- had left? How would the team manage following the roster changes? OG answered all of these questions in resounding fashion at the Major by winning the event in dominant fashion. OG will be hoping that they can continue the success of Boston and get their year off to a great start.

Tournament Prediction – 1st Place

OG have shown that they are a team to be feared. This will not be an easy tournament for them to win, but if any team can , it will be OG.

Team Secret – European Qualifier #2

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

Dota Pit brings about the return of Team Secret. Having failed to qualify for the Boston Major, and amidst a dispute with former players, Team Secret looked in a bad position. The last event that Secret competed at was the ROG Masters in November, where they finished first.

With a new look roster, and hoping to make a resurgence in 2017, Secret will be hoping that they can impress the Dota community with a high finish.

Tournament Prediction – 5th / 6th

Similar to EPG, Secret are somewhat of an unknown quality. Fans will be hoping that this will work in their advantage and that the format of the tournament can help Secret show that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the Dota scene.

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

VP are heading into Dota Pit with a point to prove. After failing to win both the Major and ESL One Genting, VP will be looking to prove to the world that they should still be considered one of the worlds best Dota teams.

VP, however, looked out of sorts at ESL, often times making confusing plays, something they are not normally known for. Lil recently tweeted that quick cast on Earth Spirit (one of his favored heroes) was bugged – https://twitter.com/LilJke/status/818737760668413952. How much of an impact this had, nobody can really tell.

Tournament Prediction – 4th Place

Based on their performance at ESL One, VP did not look like the same team that we considered favorites to win the Major. VP will be hoping to bounce back from the disappointment of ESL with a strong performance over the weekend.

Team Faceless – SEA Qualifier

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 one the strongest teams in the SEA region. How much you can read into that is another question. Heading into the Major, fans were interested to see how the SEA powerhouse would match up with the world elite. The answer to this questions was shown pretty quickly. Having finished 9th – 16th, Faceless were left disappointed.

Fast forward to Dota Pit and Faceless seem to be re-establishing their dominance in SEA, and will be hoping that they can quiet the doubters with a high placing.

Tournament Prediction – 7th / 8th

Recently, it seems as if Faceless have been rotating positions depending on the hero being played, with Black often playing the four position Pudge, and xy- playing in the Carry role. Seeing as this worked out so well for Team Liquid at the Major, Faceless may be in for a tough time at Dota Pit.

Invictus Gaming – Replacing Newbee – Chinese Qualifier

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

Time has not been kind to IG. They have had a dramatic fall from grace since their victory at The International 2012 (TI2). The team has been going through a period of transition, but may be starting to find their feet on the world stage once again. Having recently qualified for the Dota Asia Championships (DAC) with a perfect record in their group, they will be hoping to use that experience at Dota Pit.

Tournament Prediction – 7th / 8th Place

IG are not among friends in this tournament, they are not in China and they are the small fish in the middle of the ocean. On the plus side, expectations will not be high for IG and they may be able to catch a team napping, especially in the best of one lower bracket.

Evil Geniuses – American Qualifier

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-

Dota Pit will see EG’s first real foray into competitive Dota on the 7.xx patch, not including the show matches at Chine Top.

Recent games have seen Arteezy playing a large amount of Meepo in his solo games. Seeing as Meepo had decent levels of success at ESL, it would not be a surprise to see EG turn to Meepo in an attempt to progress in the tournament.

Tournament Prediction – 3rd Place

Although they have not played in any tournaments since the release of 7.xx EG are still a team to be feared and should make it to the later stages of the tournament. With a few surprise picks they may even finish higher than predicted.

Dota Pit Final Thoughts

EG and OG make their return to competitive Dota, and following the high level of play shown at ESL One, this tournament seems set to produce some amazing highlights. Overall, any of the teams predicted in the top four have the ability to take the tournament, but the quality of OG should win through on paper. But we all know Dota is not played on paper.

Overall Predictions:

1st Place – OG

2nd Place – Digital Chaos

3rd Place – Evil Geniuses

4th Place – Virtus Pro

5th / 6th Place – Elements Pro Gaming / Team Secret

7th / 8th Place – Invictus Gaming / Team Faceless

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LPL Summer 2016 Power Rankings

With the LPL getting started back up tonight, I figured I’d release my power rankings and expectations going into the split. I’m going to be splitting my rankings up by Groups, but I’ll weigh in as to which group I believe is stronger.

Group A

  1. Edward Gaming – To me, EDG is the only clear standout in Group A. There are some good teams in this group, but without the competition of RNG, I think EDG will have no problem having control over Group A. With an allstar roster (and the addition of former SKTT1 Sub Scout), I think EDG has an easy split.
  2. Newbee – Newbee (Previously QG Reapers) played really well last split, but after not being able to field a mid for the semifinals, had to forfeit. I think they will have similar success this split, and hopefully will be able to show up to the playoffs. dade is now the primary mid laner, with Peco (now HappyY) moving to the ADC position. If there is a team in Group A that can challenge EDG, I think it’s Newbee
  3. Snake Esports – Snake had a great spring split as well, but fell short against EDG in Round 2 of the playoffs. They’ve made a couple changes in the bot lane during the break, and I expect to see a solid performance.
  4. Invictus Gaming – Rookie is probably in my top 2 LPL mids, but last split his shoulders just weren’t strong enough to carry his team through round 1 of the playoffs. With consistent abysmal performance from the bot lane, its no surprise a new support has been brought in that will hopefully bring some new life to the Rift. If Tabe can fix IG’s bot lane, then they may be able to climb much higher.
  5. Saint Gaming – formerly Hyper Youth Gaming, SG had an astounding 1-15 record in the spring. Since then the roster has had an intense overhaul. Highlight pick up is definitely former Samsung Blue top-laner Acorn. Frankly I’m not expecting much from SG this split, but I’ve been surprised before.
  6. Game Talents – Who? Game Talents purchased Energy Pacemaker’s LPL slot. With a roster made up of EPA and M3 players, I don’t have a lot of faith they’ll do any better then EPA’s 4-12 last split.

Group B

  1. Royal Never Give Up – This is perhaps the easiest team to rank in all of LPL. After a fantastic Spring Split, and a respectable showing at MSI, RNG is definitely poised to be the champions of LPL once again. I have high expectations of RNG, and would not be surprised to see them in the top 3 at Worlds.
  2. Vici Gaming – I’ll probably get some hate for this one, but I have high expectations for Vici this split. Despite a fairly average performance in the Spring, I think Easyhoon can lead this team to great places.
  3. Team World Elite – WE took second in the regular season last split, and definitely has the guns to continue being successful. Mystic and Zero aren’t the best bot lane in China, but are consistent enough to provide a good rock for the team. I think Condi is the real wild card for WE, if Condi succeeds, WE will succeed.
  4. LGD Gaming – On paper, LGD should be one of the best teams in China. MaRin and imp are some of the strongest individual players in China, but last split something just didn’t click. I’m afraid that LGD is just missing some key factor of success. I predict this will be MaRin’s last split with LGD.
  5. OMG – To be honest, I wanted to put OMG at number 4. But with 11 people on their roster I struggle to have high expectations for their ability to trust, communicate, and execute. OMG has not done anything particularly impressive since 2014, and doesn’t seem to have done much to change that. Maybe they’ll be able to swap players in and out without a problem, but with that many players I expect that developing any kind of synergy may be difficult.
  6. I MAY – I really like I MAY. Their logo is cool, they’ve got an experienced roster, and they have a lot of potential. I just don’t see them succeeding on the stage. Now: This is almost identical to what I said about Europe’s G2 before the Spring Split. If anything, by placing them here at #6, I’m guaranteeing that they will win the LPL.

 

Overall, I think Group B is the stronger of the two. If I were to rank them all together EDG and Newbee would be the only Group A teams I’d put in my top 6.

Best of luck to all of the LPL, and to all you folks who stay up until 7AM to watch them play!