Dota Pro Circuit

Dota Pro Circuit: The standings so far

We’re almost at the halfway point in the Dota Pro Circuit for the season. In these past few months we’ve seen some clear leaders rise to the top of the charts. Others, however, performed worse than most fans anticipated. Though we are still a few months away from the final tally, it’s as good a time as any to analyze the teams seeing the best results during the first third of this competitive season.

Team Secret

Dota Pro Circuit

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Team Secret is on a tear that the brand has not seen since the TI5 season. 7.07 might just be their patch. Out of 107 tournament games they have played since 7.07, they have won 74 of them. This massive 70% win rate is more than a little unusual in a game as volatile as DotA 2.

It is also hard to pin down the particular thing bringing them this success. Team Captain Clement “Puppey” Ivanov has been known for being a master drafter able to adapt to his enemies over the course of a set. Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard, while a newer member of the team, has shown his prowess in the carry position on aggressive heroes like Weaver, Huskar and Lifestealer. Adrian “Fata” Trink’s ability to engage as Tidehunter, Puck and Brewmaster often leaves enemies scrambling in team fights. There currently do not seem to be any obvious weaknesses in their line-up, or their gameplay.

However, though they are a thousand points ahead of the next team, it could only be a single major that costs them that spot. While this sounds tragic, in the end it doesn’t matter all that much. The only goal of the Qualifying Points system this year is to make the top 8. No one gets special treatment for finishing first vs finishing eighth.  With that known, it is difficult to imagine enough teams passing Team Secret on the leaderboards to take away their direct invite to TI8 even this early in the Dota Pro Circuit. Safe to say, we’ll be seeing them this August in the Main Event.

Team Liquid

Dota Pro Circuit

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

In many of my articles I have talked about Team Liquid as the TI winning team that hasn’t lost their touch. It is difficult to describe them any other way. Too often we see TI winning teams implode upon themselves shortly after claiming the Aegis. Either they have an immediate roster change, or they can’t seem to find their groove again after a much deserved break. Liquid did neither of these things. They continue to be a force to be reckoned with in any tournament they participate in. Though Liquid have played fewer games than Secret this season, their win rate is actually higher than Secret’s at 73%. More than that, they have placed in the top 3 of every single tournament they have participated in.

More than any individual player, this is a team that moves around the map in a way few others do. This team has been together for so long it feels like they know when someone needs help in lane before they even ask for it. Kuroky may be a solid drafter, and GH might always be where the enemy doesn’t want him to be, but it is how these individual pieces come together that makes this team shine. The next time we see Team Liquid will be at the Galaxy Battles Major in mid July. I’m willing to bet they place in the top 3 there as well. This year’s Dota Pro Circuit is looking bright for them as well.

Virtus.Pro

Dota Pro Circuit

Image courtesy of media.epicenter.gg

Though Virtus.Pro is not a member of the 70% win rate club, their results are still remarkable. Out of 90 competitive games they have won 60 of them, putting their win rate at a nice 67%. Though they were already doing well in the rankings, their recent victory at The Summit 8 provided additional padding to their points. Unfortunately, they did not win as many points for their lineup as they could have since their captain was on hiatus until the end of last year. Regardless they still have an incredible lead over Newbee in the spot below them.

I find it difficult to argue that Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev contributes the most to his team’s success. His hero pool recently has consisted of heavy farming late game heroes like Medusa, Morphling and Razer. Farming aside there is another thing that these heroes are really good at: not dying.  A late game carry’s greatest weakness is getting picked off early. RAMZES, however, is especially smart about the way he moves around the map to avoid these ganks. Despite not being overly aggressive with his farm, he finds enough to pull in the game winning items right when he needs to. Of course his team helps to create space for him to do so, but I’ve seen more popular carries get carried away by the pressure to farm and feed kills.

Don’t even get me started on RAMZES Broodmother games. For those, I have no words.


Featured image courtesy of blog.dota2.com

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

You can follow Ben here – https://twitter.com/TheWholeShoe

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

Statistics for this article fetched from datdota.com

dota 2, galaxy battles, major, tournament

Galaxy Battles II Loses Major Status

Earlier today Valve announced it would be rescinding the Major status of Galaxy Battles II. As well as the qualifying points available at the event. You can read the full statement here. Valve cited player privacy issues as their reason behind this change. While also mentioning that they will be working with tournament organizers to put on another Major. Complete with prize pool and qualifying points.

Galaxy goes on

Intially, it’s obvious that this will hurt fans attending the event most. As many paid for tickets to a Major Dota 2 event in hopes of seeing elite teams battle for points on the Pro Circuit Leader-board. Though Valve was not clear on whether the prize pool would be changed. It is unlikely that Valve would contribute to the prize pool after rescinding its Major status. Without any contribution from Valve there is still $500,000 up for grabs at Galaxy Battles II. Which should still entice teams to bring their best strats to the events. As the scene has shown time and time again how much they value their fans attendance.

Valve cited player privacy issues as their main reason for removing the Major status associated with Galaxy Battles II. Looking around the Philippine’s website for their Department of Foreign Affairs did not provide any information that really stood out. One requirement for Visa that did raise questions was a requirement to submit pictures of the traveler’s passport prior to obtaining a Visa. This may be what Valve was concerned about as Passports contain a lot of personal information and having a tangible copy of one could pose a large potential risk.

Last year’s stage at Galaxy Battles (GosuGamers)

 

Rescheduling a Major could shake the Pro Circuit later on

What is really interesting about this is the timing that will go into scheduling another Major. The Pro Circuit schedule is jam packed this year with a plethora of Dota almost every weekend. Definitley not something to complain about. Though it presents a unique challenge in rescheduling with these specific teams that are going to attend Galaxy Battles II.

Majors carry an insane amount of qualifying points. A team that wins a Minor gains 450 qualifying points toward their total. A team that wins a Major gains 2,250 points toward their total. Finishing first place at a Minor gives players 150 QP each and winning a Major gives 750 QP each. The differences in these is glaring. On the bright side, Valve has stated they fully intend to hold another Major-style tournament to make up these Qualifying points so it is not as if they are completely off the table. Depending on when Valve decides to “redo” this event it could really affect the overall standings for a direct invite to the International. If this tournament was to take place closer to TI it could allow a team who was playing well at the time to grab a huge amount of Qualifying Points in a final push for Dota’s most prestigious event.

While it’s sad that teams will not be jockeying for position in the Dota Pro Circuit in Manila next week. There is plenty of money on the line and matches are sure to be hype. As the fans in the Philippines have gained a reputation as being some of the best in Dota. Surely they will still be in for a great tournament.

Featured image courtesy of TNC Gaming

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eli!

You can follow Eli here – https://twitter.com/E_Sherman58

And check out Eli and Ben’s Podcast “Secret Shop Talk” on the TGH Podcast Feed

 

Captain's Draft

Captain’s Draft 4.0: The competition

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.

OG

Captain's Draft

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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.

Vici Gaming

Captain's Draft

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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.

Team Secret

secret, dota 2, international, i-League, ESL One, DreamLeague, Captain's Draft

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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.

Evil Geniuses

PGL Open, ESL One, DreamLeague. Captain's Draft

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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.

Minesky

Captain's Draft

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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.

Pain Gaming

Captain's Draft

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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.

Team Empire

DAC Empire. Captain's Draft

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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.

CompLexity Gaming

Captain's Draft

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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.


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

You can follow Ben here – https://twitter.com/TheWholeShoe

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

KnC Banner

Kobolds and Catacombs Day 1 Deck Theorycrafting

The next Hearthstone expansion, Kobolds and Catacombs, has finally been released. In the reveal season, we saw many powerful and fun cards that are coming out with the set. But, which of these cards fit into existing decks? What new decks are coming into the meta?

The Meta

Dragon Priest

KnC Dragon Priest

Dragon Priest Decklist

In past expansions, Dragon Priest has been an archetype that many people have toyed around with and played on ladder. In this expansion, we may see the rise of a Dragon-oriented Priest build similar to the Dragon Priest deck that was viable during the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion last year. The iteration I have theory-crafted includes a much more value-orientated game plan by including cards such as Lyra the Sunshard, Drakonid Operative, and the new Priest weapon, Dragon Soul. The deck can also be built to take on a more minion heavy route by taking out cards like Dragon Soul, Lyra the Sunshard, and Shadow Word: Death and replacing them with Cabal Shadow Priest, which synergises with Twilight Acolyte, and Twilight Drake.

 

The inclusion of Duskbreaker in this expansion really helps Dragon Priest’s historically bad matchup versus aggressive decks, which makes the new iteration of Dragon Priest that much scarier. On ladder, this deck seems like a solid choice for climbing at a high pace. In tournaments, players may elect to bring Highlander Priest instead because of its favorable win-rates versus slower decks.

 

 Zoo Warlock

KnC Zoo Warlock

Zoolock Decklist

In the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion, we once again saw the rise of an old friend: Zoo Warlock. The early game minion package combined with Prince Keleseth proved to be the kick this deck needed to get back into the meta, and topping off with Bonemare and Bloodreaver Gul’Dan made Zoo Warlock scary in the late-game as well. This time around, Blizzard has given Zoo Warlock even better tools for taking the board early game and keeping it. The addition of Kobold Librarian helps keep your hand full, which is extremely important when having so many low mana cost minions in your deck. The main difference with this Zoo Warlock compared to the previous deck is that it cuts Prince Keleseth for the new 2-drop, Vulgar Homunculus.

 

With this iteration of the deck, I decided to add the Demon synergy package in the form of Demonfire, Bloodfury potion, and Crystalweaver. We have seen quite a lot of play with Bloodfury Potion and Crystalweaver in the past Zoo Warlock decks, but the addition of the Vulgar Homunculus makes these cards coming down on curve extremely threatening. Hooked Reaver also makes an appearance in this deck because of how solid its stats are when the Battlecry goes off, as well as its ability to synergise with the rest of the demon synergy in the deck.

 

The addition of higher-health minions and buff cards will help Zoo Warlock in the next meta mainly because of the predicted prevalence of Duskbreaker on the ranked ladder. In tournament play, this deck will likely be chosen for inclusion in aggressive lineups.

Big Druid

KnC Big Druid

Big Druid Decklist

The ‘Big’ archetype saw large amounts of play during the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion as a whole, especially during the later half of the set’s meta. Kobolds and Catacombs has not given Big Druid many other tools, but the core of the deck is strong enough to still see play. The only change I have made to the current Big Druid list is taking out Innervate and adding Arcane Tyrants. Innervate, once a staple in most Druid decks, took a huge hit from the nerfs that occured in the middle of the last expansion. It was included in Big Druid, but it was arguably one of the weaker cards within the deck. Two different cards were shown from the new expansion that could find a home in Big Druid: Greedy Sprite and Arcane Tyrant. I chose to include Arcane Tyrant instead of the Sprite because it is very similar to Kun the Forgotten King in the way that it makes your power turns even more powerful. A common way Kun has been used during the meta was playing it as a big free body to pair with Ultimate Infestation. Arcane Tyrant acts in a similar way when paired with Nourish, Spreading Plague, and Ultimate Infestation as well. Greedy Sprite could be included instead of the Tyrant, but the ramp effect is rather slow and your opponent can choose to ignore it. Although this is the case, ramp is powerful enough that Greedy Sprite might see play over Arcane Tyrant.

 

Big Druid seems to be the new go-to Druid deck. In the past, Jade Druid has held this spot, but Big Druid is able to make bigger minions faster and still keep aggression at bay, which may see the ‘Big’ archetype overtaking the Jade mechanic this expansion. Because of this, it is a solid choice for both ranked ladder and tournament play.

 

Tempo Rogue

KnC Tempo Rogue

Tempo Rogue Decklist

Tempo Rogue swept the meta in dominant fashion when it was first discovered to be a powerhouse of a deck. With Kobolds and Catacombs, this deck gets even stronger with the inclusion of some slower yet highly valuable cards. One of these cards is the Rogue Legendary of the set, Sonya Shadowdancer. Sonya replaces the rather weak card of Shaku, the Collector as a card generation engine. Most of the minions in Tempo Rogue have such good effects or Battlecries that Shadowcaster saw a decent amount of experimentation and success during the expansion. Sonya is much cheaper than Shadowcaster, which makes its effect easier to pull off. The second card I have added to the deck is Fal’dorei Strider. Admittingly, a 4 mana 4/4 is rather weak as a tempo play. But, the potential for that minion to pull one, two, or even three additional 4/4 bodies is so powerful that it is worth the initial tempo loss. Even if only 1 additional body is pulled, paying 4 mana for 8/8 worth of stats is crazy powerful. There is also the potential to high-roll by creating a 4/4 on turn 7 to be able to play Bonemare onto after your opponent cleared your board the previous turn.

 

Fal’dorei Strider takes the place of Saronite Chain Gang, mainly because of Chain Gang’s vulnerability to an on-curve Duskbreaker. Overall, Tempo Rogue looks to still be a powerhouse deck next expansion, and I expect to see it played both on the ranked ladder and in tournaments.

 

Highlander Priest

KnC Highlander Priest

Highlander Priest Decklist

Highlander Priest has been at the top of the meta throughout Knights of the Frozen Throne, and it seems to still remain at the top during Kobolds and Catacombs. The Priest list I have selected to showcase only adds one card: Psychic Scream. In order to include the new Priest board clear, I chose to cut Mass Dispel from the deck. Mass Dispel is often times weak, so it made sense to take it out for one of the best cards of the upcoming expansion. This decision shows how good of a deck Highlander Priest already is. Another take on Highlander Priest is to go for a more minion-focused route by including a Dragon package with Duskbreaker. While this seems like a good idea, I feel the current version of the deck is much better. In the past, more value-oriented decks were tested. These decks included cards such as Elise the Trailblazer and Free from Amber. It was ultimately found that the faster and more burst-oriented Priest build was better. Therefore, I feel it is appropriate to stick with the tried-and-true burst style.

 

Once again, Highlander Priest seems to be at the top of the meta. Expect to see a large amount on ladder and as a staple deck in many tournament lineups.

 

The Non-Meta

Combo Hunter

KnC Combo Hunter

Combo Hunter Decklist

For the past few expansions, Hunter has been struggling as a class. Blizzard keeps pushing control tools and weird cards for the Hunter arsenal, which leaves the class in an awkward position in terms of deck building because of how weak each of the archetypes are. With the new Hunter legendary minion, Kathrena Winterwisp, I thought it would be really interesting to build a combo-oriented deck using Kathrena, Charged Devilsaur, and King Krush. It is often not a combo that will instantly kill your opponent, but the amount of stats that the combo provides are truly ridiculous. This deck runs the Secret package to help fend off aggro, the Candleshot and Hunter’s Mark combo to deal with large threats, and Deathstalker Rexxar to create even more value in a late game scenario.

 

While the deck might not be top-tier, it seems extremely fun to play. Personally, I will be testing this deck in tournament play in a lineup that is attempting to target control decks. On ranked ladder, Combo hunter still seems weak to aggro decks and Highlander Priest, which makes it not extremely viable in the upcoming meta.

Conclusion

Overall, Kobolds and Catacombs sees both powerful and fun cards added to the game. While it may not be the best expansion of the year in terms of player attitude and hype, it will likely lead to a diverse and healthy meta both in terms of ranked ladder and tournament play.

 

Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via Hearthstone.gamepedia.com.

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

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

DreamLeague

DreamLeague 8: The competition

The second Major of the competitive season is upon us. Since the last major, the point totals have seen some shuffling, and the game itself has been patched. While Virtus.Pro has been sitting pretty at the top, the 1500 points that are on the line could change that quickly. Of course if Virtus.Pro wins DreamLeague as well, they will further cement their spot in TI8. They’re not the only ones with their eye on the prize though, so let’s take a look at their competition.

Team Liquid

Dota 2 Power Rankings Team Liquid, ESL One, Dreamleague

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen

Position 2 – Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barqawi

Position 3 – Ivan “MinD-ContRoL” Ivanov

Position 4 – Maroun “GH” Merhej

Position 5 – Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi

 

 

 

Liquid has shown no signs of slowing down after a dominant start to the season. Currently they are the only team to have won more than one tournament this season. Liquid continue to prove that they are a team to be reckoned with, and I doubt anyone would be surprised if they were the team to take the lead in the rankings after DreamLeague.

Newbee

Dota 2 Power rankings Newbee, i-league, ESL One, Dreamleague

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Xu “Moogy” Han

Position 2 – Song “Sccc” Chun

Position 3 – Damien “kpii” Chok

Position 4 – Hu “Kaka” Liangzhi

Position 5 – Zheng “Faith” Hongda

 

 

Newbee is fresh off the heels of a victory at the Perfect World Masters tournament. It is clear they are not going to let their TI runner-up stigma effect their performance moving forward. Though soul-crushing at the time, they have bounced back well. During the Chinese Qualifiers for DreamLeague, they only dropped a single game. Newbee is clearly the pinnacle of Chinese DotA right now, and we can expect good games from them at DreamLeague.

Team Secret

secret, dota 2, international, i-League, ESL One, DreamLeague

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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

Team Secret is looking for redemption after falling just short of first place at the last Major. Fortunately for them, their second place finish at ESL One also puts them at second place on the current rankings leaderboard. Their chances at the Perfect World Masters Tournament was hamstrung by a personal emergency that left them without MidOne, but the gang is back together now and ready to give it their all.

Evil Geniuses

PGL Open, ESL One, DreamLeague

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Artour “Arteezy” Babaev

Position 2 – Sumail “Suma1l” Hassan

Position 3 – Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Aurora

Position 4 – Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen

Position 5 – Clinton “Fear” Loomis

 

It has not been the best year for Evil Geniuses so far. As it stands, the team has only managed to secure a single third place victory this season. That being said, they pulled it together for the DreamLeague NA Qualifiers, and only dropped a single game. This could be a sign that they are trying something new, or getting more familiar with the patch. The team will definitely have to step up their game if they hope to perform on the main stage. So far though, their chances do not look the greatest.

Fnatic

ESL One, DreamLeague

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao

Position 2 – Steve “Xcalibur” Ye

Position 3 – Khoo “Ohaiyo” Chong Xin

Position 4 – Djardel “DJ” Mampusti

Position 5 – Johan “pieliedie” Åström

 

 

Fnatic is the first team on the list without a single Qualifying Point to their name. Though their 7-8th place finishes at ESL One and Dota PIT earned them some prize money, that money will not help them secure a spot at TI. That being said, Fnatic have been looking better and better over just the last two weeks. They achieved first place in both the DotA Summit SEA Qualifiers and the DreamLeague SEA Qualifiers. I don’t know what possibly could have happened to warrant this 180 turn, but Fnatic may just be a real contender in this tournament if they can hold on to this momentum.

Infamous

PGL Open, DreamLeague

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Alonso “Kotaro Hayama” León

Position 2 – Mariano “Papita” Caneda

Position 3 – Steven “StingeR” Vargas

Position 4 – Elvis “Scofield” De la Cruz Peña

Position 5 – Christian “Accel” Cruz

 

 

 

Not much has been heard from Infamous since their disappointing finish at PGL Open Bucharest. They succeeded in taking first place at the World Cyber Arena tournament in South America last month, but since then they have only been playing in qualifiers. This tells me that my previous evaluation of them may have been true. In the confines of the small South American scene, Infamous are kings on the playground. Unfortunately this does not translate well to success on the world stage. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see a team from an underrepresented DotA scene succeed. Everyone can remember how hype Ad Finem’s run through the Boston Major was last year right? It makes me sad to say that I’m unsure if Infamous is the team to bring that hype back given their poor performance recently.

Virtus.Pro

Virtus Pro VP The Kiev Major, ESL One

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Roman “RAMZES666” Kuchnarev

Position 2 – Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko

Position 3 – Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov

Position 4 – Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk

Position 5 – Alexei “Solo” Berezin

 

 

The champions of the last Major are back to prove they can do it again. However, their DreamLeague qualifier performance does not exactly inspire the utmost confidence from their fans. They were only one loss away from being tied with OG at 7-7 and forcing a tie breaker. At the same time they recently crushed the DotA Summit CIS Qualifier by beating Na’Vi 3-1 when Na’Vi is looking strong. I have no doubt Virtus.Pro will make the top 4 at DreamLeague, but they need to bring their A game if they hope to win another Major.

Na’Vi

Na'Vi, i-League, DreamLeague

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Vladislav “Crystallize” Krystanek

Position 2 – Danil “Dendi” Ishutin

Position 3 – Victor “GeneRaL” Nigrini

Position 4 – Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan

Position 5 – Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev

 

 

I could gush about Na’Vi’s return to relevance in the DotA 2 scene for hours. This team has had a rough few years, but things finally seem to be turning around. Fellow Game Haus writer Eli Sherman already wrote a great article on the topic, which echoes many of my sentiments as well. You can find that article here.

DreamLeague Season 8 will take place in Jönköping, Sweeden from Dec 1st – Dec 3rd.


Featured image courtesy of dreamleague.dreamhack.com

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Ben!

You can follow Ben here – https://twitter.com/TheWholeShoe

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

Dota Pro Circuit

DotA Pro Circuit: Balanced or broken?

By now the new DotA 2 Pro Circuit system probably feels familiar, as if it has always been there. Finally though, we have a system that transparently dictates which teams receive invites to The International. Invites in previous years have been met with a wide range of criticism from fans who follow the scene closely. “But what about X team?” they ask. “They’ve won two of the past three tournaments they’ve participated in! Surely they are worthy of an invite.” Conversely, fans have questioned the inclusion of teams they considered unworthy of skipping the highly competitive qualifiers. The question now becomes, is this new Pro Circuit system the final solution? Perhaps it is just a step in the right direction.

Transparency is good

Pro Circuit

Image courtesy of dota2.com

Fans like to be kept in the loop. It is plain and simple. The lack of visibility into Valve’s previous selection criteria was problematic. It put some fans in a sour mood before the opening ceremonies even began. Though they undoubtedly enjoyed some high quality DotA in the end, Valve never wants their 20+ million dollar tournament to start off on the wrong foot. The new system definitely addresses these concerns. By the end of the final tournament before TI8, or maybe even before that for a few teams, the masses will know exactly who has earned those coveted invites to the biggest tournament of the year.

There are other benefits to this new system as well. Because the Qualifying Points are awarded to players and not to organizations, rosters are incentivized to stay together if they are performing well. Too many times in the past have we seen a team win a tournament only to immediately drop players for unknown reasons. Team Secret dropped Aliwi “w33” Omar and Rasmus “MiSeRy” Filipsen after winning the Shanghai Major in 2016. Perhaps the most memorable instance of this behavior is when Evil Geniuses dropped Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling shortly after taking the Aegis at TI5. When points are attached to these winning players, these kinds of changes are far less likely. Hopefully this change will make the competitive scene less volatile, and thus easier to follow.

But there are always problems

Of course there are two sides to every argument. One could easily argue that despite good performance, any player creating friction in a team game can be mentally exhausting for all involved. This will undoubtedly hurt a team in the long run. Peter “PPD” Dager eventually went on to explain that no amount of winning was worth the stress he was going through working with Aui. Now I know that after TI, the point values will reset, but let’s play pretend for a second. If Evil Geniuses had just won a Major with Aui instead, would they have let him go? A DotA 2 Major is worth a whopping 750 points per player on the winning team. A loss of that many points could take a series of wins to make up for. This brings me nicely into my next point.

A victory at a Major is worth a full five times the amount of Qualifying Points as a Minor. This disparity seems incredible, especially considering that points are never awarded below fourth place no matter the event. Any team would have to win five Minor tournaments to even catch up to a team that has won a single Major. This disparity seems a little extreme, especially considering that many of these competitions see the same competitors.

Pro Circuit

Current Qualifying Points standings courtesy of wiki.teamliquid.net

Say that Team Liquid, who has two first place Minor finishes and one third place Major finish, never win a Major this season. They need to win at least two more Minors to even tie Virtus.Pro, who won that first and only Major so far this season. Virtus.Pro is bound to continue participating in tournaments for the rest of the year, and their lead seems difficult to surmount. While a team of Liquid’s caliber might be up to the task, plenty of other great teams may fall short.

A great start

I am certainly not trying to say that this new Pro Circuit system is bad. Far from it! The Qualifying Points system makes seasons easy to follow, and informs viewers of tournament stakes outside of prize pools. However, the point disparity between Majors and Minors is alarming to me. Granted, the season is still young. We still have no idea how the greater part of the season is going to turn out. Everything could turn out fair and balanced, but I worry talented teams that succeed in Minors will find it hard to qualify without a Major win.

At the end of the day though, teams failing to earn Qualifying Points are not completely lost. Even if they do not manage to secure direct invites, they will still be able to work their way up through the Regional Qualifiers, or even the Open Qualifiers. Maybe that will be enough to balance the Pro Circuit. Only time will tell.


Featured Image from blog.dota2.com

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

You can follow Ben here – https://twitter.com/TheWholeShoe

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

For a more in depth look at what The Game Haus thinks of DotA 2, be sure to listen to our DotA 2 podcast “Secret Shop Talk” here.

Willow

The many talents of Dark Willow

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Dueling Fates made massive changes to how the game is played, but it will take much more time for players to fully understand the information released in the patch notes. What will not take more time is for players to experience the true headliners of this patch: the new heroes. Dark Willow and Pangolier have invaded pubs the same way every new hero does shortly after launch. I admit partial fault for this, as I’ve been playing the hero extensively in an attempt to understand what makes her click. I will always have more to learn, but I wanted to share what knowledge I’ve gained so far in the hopes that it helps you either play a better Willow, or counter one on the enemy team.

Who likes crowd control?

Willow

Dotabuff.com

I sure love crowd control. It is one of the reasons I was so attracted to this hero in the first place. Let’s start by breaking down some of these crowd control abilities and their uses.

Bramble Patch creates a large maze of thorns that roots enemies that touch the brambles. This skill has many qualities that set it apart from other similar abilities in positive ways. Even at level one, the brambles created by the skill last for a full 15 seconds. If Willow places a Bramble patch behind her team to help them escape, the enemy can’t wait out the duration. They either need a method of ignoring the root, or they have to give up on the chase.

Cursed Crown is a delayed area of effect stun that targets an individual hero. If it hits, this disable will stun all heroes within range of the targeted hero for a full 3.5 seconds at level four. I do use the word “if” for a reason though. Cursed Crown is probably the easiest stun in the game to dodge or disjoint with its 4 second delay. Activating BKB, Aeon Disk, Guardian Greaves or Manta style any time before the stun hits completely removes the effect. When the ability does hit though, it removes at least one hero from the fight for a substantial amount of time. To me, it seems worth casting even if it only baits out a premature item use due to its low cast time.

Terrorize, one of Willow’s two ultimates, forces enemies in a moderate area to flee toward their fountain after a short channeling time. This is a great disengagement tool on its own, but coupled with Bramble Patch it can flip a team fight on its head. If placed correctly, enemies will be unable to dodge the brambles, forcing them to both take damage and be rooted in place for upward of 2.5 seconds. This is definitely a large enough window for the cavalry to arrive and clean up.

But how does she do damage?

I’m glad you asked! Dark Willow’s damage lies primarily in her Shadow Realm nuke and Bedlam, her second ultimate. After taking her +300 Shadow Realm damage at level 20, Shadow Realm becomes a devastating 660 magical nuke. That’s not even the best part. The best part is that Willow becomes untargetable by spells or auto attacks while the nuke is charging. The 600 bonus range granted by the ability ensures that she’ll be able to hit her target, even if the target has turned around and given up chase.

 

Willow

Dotabuff.com

 

Willow

Dotabuff.com

Bedlam, on the other hand, requires Willow to be close to her targets. Once activated, Willow’s faerie companion will circle her while firing magic projectiles at the nearest enemy unit similar to Witch Doctor’s Death Ward. As Willow is not a durable hero, charging in with no plan is ill-advised. When used in tandem with Shadow Realm, Willow can keep herself safe while melting a single hero fairly quickly with Bedlam. It is important to note though that Willow is not completely immune while in the Shadow Realm. Any untargeted AoE abilities will still hurt her, so Willow players should be mindful of their positioning at all times.

So she’s a support, right?

Willow’s strength lies in her ability to disrupt the enemy, making her ideal for a support position. Cursed Crown and Bramble Patch make her incredibly useful for setting up kills and escapes in the laning phase. As Shadow Realm levels up, her increased burst damage and range can help secure kills on more elusive heroes as well. Add that to the fact that her abilities scale well with levels and not items, and you’ve got a solid support on your hands.

One of Willow’s biggest problems in the laning stage comes with her mana pool. Her abilities generally require tons of mana and have long cooldowns to start, making mana boots a must buy. A Kaya purchase in the mid game basically solves her mana problems for the rest of the game. The additional spell amplification also helps her nuke, making it a great item for support Willow. Unfortunately, Willow’s other weakness is that she is still incredibly squishy, even in the late game.

Initially, I thought that Meteor Hammer might be the item to solve this, but I was disappointed with the results. Though the strength gain and regen provided by the hammer seemed great, the active ability left me wanting. Even under the protection of Shadow Realm I frequently found myself unable to channel the hammer for the full duration. If for some reason you’re getting tons of gold as Willow, feel free to give it a try yourself. For those less adventurous, a Glimmer Cape will increase your survivability just fine.

Dark Willow has a lot of freedom in the late game when it comes to items. Rod of Atos can help lock a hero in place while you Bedlam them to death. Shiva’s Guard increases Willow’s tankiness and inhibits right click heavy line-ups well. Purchase a Scythe of Vyse if you absolutely need to lock down that one problem hero. Feel free to go more aggressive with an Orchid into Bloodthorn to increase damage as well. As long as you’re picking intelligence items that are appropriate to your individual game, it’s difficult to make a wrong choice.

But in a game I played…

Yes, I am fully aware of the number of carry Willow builds out in the wild. While I don’t think this is the optimal way to play the character, the concept is not without merit. In fact, Willow’s +200 attack speed perk at level 25 almost single-handedly enables this kind of build. First of all, the character’s attack animation is already solid even at level one, tacking almost two full moonshards for free at level 25 transforms her into a machine gun.

If you’re keen to try this playstyle, I would highly recommend the mid lane for a couple of reasons. First of all, you won’t have to be fighting for farm in another lane where your teammate thinks they’re a better carry than you. Secondly, Willow’s abilities benefit greatly from fast levels, which are inevitable in the mid-lane. Willow’s great attack animation should help secure the CS, and an early bottle will sustain her mana in the early game.

As a carry, the enemy team might try to focus you more than as a support. For this reason, a glimmer cape probably is not going to cut it as a defensive item. I have had some success purchasing a Linken’s Sphere as an alternative. Linken’s coupled with Shadow Realm invulnerability makes Willow maddeningly difficult to lock down, and the extra stats and regen help solve her mana problems further. On the way to level 25, additional intelligence items like Scythe or Atos still help with both her lockdown and attack damage. The magic burst from Mjolnir coupled with even more attack speed makes it a solid pick as well.

If you still have money after all of those purchases, Nullifier is a great addition to a carry Willow’s arsenal. By the time you get a nullifier, machine gun mode should be online. Willow will attack so fast that she’ll be able to keep a Nullified enemy slowed all by herself. Bloodthorn will keep enemies from fighting back while giving her machine gun attacks chances to crit.

What are your closing thoughts then?

I still don’t fully agree with carry Willow, but sometimes it is necessary to adapt to the needs of the team. There are worse heroes than Willow to answer the call for an impromptu mid player. Her world-class crowd control abilities make her relevant in every stage in the game, and her talent choices make her versatile enough to shift roles should the need arise. Though I’m sure we’ll all still be learning where she fits into the competitive scene over the next few months, putting in time on her now is definitely a worthwhile investment.


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

You can follow Ben here – https://twitter.com/TheWholeShoe

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

ESL One

ESL One Hamburg: the competition

After Star Ladder and PGL Open Bucharest reintroduced competitive DotA in October, it’s finally time for the first Major of the year.  Unlike Minors which only award a total of 300 Qualifying Points, DotA 2 Majors quintuple that number.  The winning team of ESL One will earn more Qualifying Points than the total point pools of both previous Minors combined.  This will be enough to earn them a comfortable lead until the next Major drops in early December.  But this is a conversation for the future.  For now, let us take a look at the teams that will be competing in the highest stakes tournament of the year so far.

INVITED TEAMS

Team Liquid

Dota 2 Power Rankings Team Liquid, ESL One

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen

Position 2 – Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barqawi

Position 3 – Ivan “MinD-ContRoL” Ivanov

Position 4 – Maroun “GH” Merhej

Position 5 – Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi

Liquid comes into ESL One on the heels of a victory at Star Ladder. Mineski proved themselves a capable team at the tournament, but not capable enough to triumph over the champions. As it turns out, Liquid hasn’t lost their touch in this patch despite taking a break after TI7. After all, they dropped only a single game in the entire tournament. At this point, Liquid seem to be the indisputable kings of the patch, but teams still have one last chance to change that. Regardless, Liquid are doubtless the favorites to win this tournament, and they seem poised and ready to do so.

Newbee

Dota 2 Power rankings Newbee, i-league, ESL One

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Xu “Moogy” Han

Position 2 – Song “Sccc” Chun

Position 3 – Damien “kpii” Chok

Position 4 – Hu “Kaka” Liangzhi

Position 5 – Zheng “Faith” Hongda

Newbee had a rough tournament at Star Ladder after being knocked out in the group stage by CompLexity and Secret. Though the team is comprised of great talent, Newbee seems to have lost their edge since TI7. Their second place finish there is doubtless what earned them their invite to ESL One, but after their showing at Star Ladder they are the team with the most to prove.

QUALIFIED TEAMS

Team Secret

secret, dota 2, international, i-League, ESL One

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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

Though Secret managed third place at Star Ladder, they were eliminated in the group stage of PGL Open Bucharest. Their losses in the latter were to The Immortals and Infamous, South Korean and South American teams respectively.  Perhaps one can contribute their losses there to unfamiliarity with those two region’s playstyles. Regardless, they’re going to have to adapt if they hope to earn the lion’s share of the Qualifying Points from ESL One.

Evil Geniuses

PGL Open, ESL One

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Artour “Arteezy” Babaev

Position 2 – Sumail “Suma1l” Hassan

Position 3 – Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Aurora

Position 4 – Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen

Position 5 – Clinton “Fear” Loomis

Evil Genius showed us a mixed performance at PGL Open Bucharest. They made it to the playoffs, but proceeded to lose to LGD Gaming without taking a single game. More importantly though, EG showed us that they’re not willing to take some risks in the draft to earn a win. In their final game with VGJ.Thunder, an unorthodox offlane Bane pick coupled with a Drow Ranger strategy enabled them to dominate the laning stage.  Once the snowball started down the hill there was no stopping it. VGJ found themselves defeated after just over 20 minutes.

While EG finds wins with these “cute” strategies, they will need consistency to survive in this single elimination tournament.

Fnatic

ESL One

Roster:

Position 1 – Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao

Position 2 – Steve “Xcalibur” Ye

Position 3 – Khoo “Ohaiyo” Chong Xin

Position 4 – Djardel “DJ” Mampusti

Position 5 – Johan “pieliedie” Åström

Fnatic is a very different team than they were a few months ago. The departure of Mushi in February of this year lead to a volatile time for the team. After a series of additions and departures, this new roster sees EternaLEnVy taking the Captain’s help from DJ. Depending on how this succession of power occurred, this could be either a good thing or a bad thing for the team cohesion.

Say what you want about Jacky Mao, but he is an experienced player who knows his way around a game of DotA. His aggressive style could be the edge his team needs at ESL One. It could also lead to ill-advised team fights that turn into team wipes.

Keen Gaming

ESL One

Roster:

Position 1 – Jin “zhizhizhi” Zhiyi

Position 2 – Zhai “” Jingkai

Position 3 – Song “dark” Runxi

Position 4 – Jiang “佞臣” An

Position 5 – Chen “Rong” Jingwu

Keen Gaming may seem like an unknown brand, but they are originally an offshoot of the EHOME brand. This isn’t to say that the EHOME.Keen brand was especially popular or successful though. Nevertheless in September of this year the current roster of EHOME.Keen chose to part ways with the organization.

The truth is that some of the players on this team have been playing DotA 2 professionally for less than a year. Most would use that as an excuse to call their talent into question. One has to remember that they earned their spot in this major through the Chinese qualifiers. Now they just have to prove themselves on the world stage.

Virtus.Pro

Virtus Pro VP The Kiev Major, ESL One

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Roman “RAMZES666” Kuchnarev

Position 2 – Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko

Position 3 – Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov

Position 4 – Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk

Position 5 – Alexei “Solo” Berezin

Virtus.pro made a surprising announcement that they would not be changing their roster after TI7. Don’t get me wrong, their team is talented, but teams that have actually won major tournaments have dropped players in the past. Their decision to maintain the same roster shows their confidence, and to be fair they had a great showing at TI7.

The key to Virtus.Pros victory at ESL One is going to be young RAMZES. Not since SumaiL have we seen such a mix of youth and execution. While he can be overly optimistic in team fights, he has a tendency to get just the right kills to turn the tide.  He is definitely one to look out for in this tournament.

SG e-sports

ESL One

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Guilherme “FuckinEh” Costábile

Position 2 – Adriano “4dr” Machado

Position 3 – Rodrigo “Liposa” Santos

Position 4 – Thiago “Thiolicor” Cordeiro

Position 5 – Lucas “Bardo” Bardosa

SG e-sports managed to defeat Vici Gaming 2-0 at Star Ladder before being swept by both Mineski and Liquid. It’s hard to fault SG for those losses though, since Liquid and Mineski look like the two strongest teams so far this season.  While their win’s against Vici were far from one sided, they showed solid teamwork throughout the series.  It seems like they can compete with some of the big players in the scene. Hopefully they’ve been studying their defeats leading up to the biggest tournament of the season so far.

ESL One Hamburg will run from Oct 26th – Oct 29th.


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Ben!

You can follow Ben here – https://twitter.com/TheWholeShoe

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

i-League, Star Ladder, Dota 2, The Aftermath

Star Ladder: The Aftermath

Two months passed between the end of TI7 and the start of the TI8 competitive season. Some teams took well deserved breaks, some doubled down on their practice, and some teams broke apart entirely.  More important is how these players and teams adapted to the game of DotA during the break. With the completion of Star Ladder, it’s a good time to take a look at some data from the aftermath, and try to answer this question!

Most Picked Heroes

 The International 7

  • Earthshaker – 71
  • Sand King – 69
  • Batrider – 63
  • Puck – 61
  • Nightstalker – 51

 Star Ladder

  • Earthshaker – 12
  • Venomancer – 12
  • Pugna – 11
  • Earth Spirit – 11
  • Puck – 11

It probably isn’t too surprising that we see some similarities between these lists. After all, Star Ladder and TI7 were both played on the same patch. The reason teams favor these heroes is also fairly apparent.  An Earthshaker with a blink dagger is hands down the best team fight initiator in the game. Puck on the other hand is notoriously difficult to kill due to his elusive abilities. His ultimate and AoE silence make him a great team fighter and initiator as well. But everyone knows this. It is probably more productive to talk about the differences between these lists than the similarities, so lets start with Venomancer.

Showstoppers

At TI7, the venomous tower pusher didn’t even break the top 20 most picked heroes. As a matter of fact, he even received a minor nerf post TI7 when Valve lowered his daytime ward vision. Perhaps teams are just making better use of his versatility. Not only do his plague wards allow him to put pressure on towers early, but they also enable him to farm multiple jungle camps if his lane goes poorly. Poison Nova is a deceptively powerful teamfight ultimate that can deal 1360 magical damage to all heroes hit at level 3. Tools like these allow Venomaner to fill many roles on the team, making him a great comfort pick.

Pugna had some impressive showings as well at Star Ladder, though his win rate was only around 54%. In the matches he DID win, he was a terror. His ability to disarm enemy right click carries with Decrepify should not be underestimated. If he has allied stuns to back him up, Decrepify paired with Life Drain seals the fate of about any hero in the game. Similar to Venomancer, Pugna is also a great pusher thanks to his Nether Blast ability. We can see here again that it’s the hero’s ability to fill multiple roles that makes him so appealing when locking in a draft.

The Aftermath

Image courtesy of dotafire.com

If there was one show stopping hero at Starladder though, it would have to be Earth Spirit. Earth Spirit lost only a single game that he was picked in at the tournament, giving him a 91% win rate. Earth Spirit’s major selling point is his wide array of disables. He does not scale as well into the late game as Pugna or Venomancer, but his group stuns and silences keep him a credible threat through all phases of the game.

But what happened to the heroes that were dethroned from the list since TI7? Well despite the fact that Sand King and Bat Rider were among the most picked heroes, their win rate left something to be desired. Batrider won 48% of his 63 games, while Sand King only won a disappointing 35% of his 69 games at TI7. On the other hand, Nightstalker didn’t make the Star Ladder top 5 because he is still being banned in a large percentage of drafts.

The Aftermath: Conclusion

Though DotA 2 has not seen a new patch in nearly half a year, seeing these lists change somewhat is a small comfort. Even within the same patch, portions of the meta will still shift as heroes fall our of favor.  These microshifts help keep the game feel somewhat fresh, but a new patch is incoming on Nov 1st.  It will be exciting to see how the meta shifts with another round of major changes.  Needless to say, we’ll all be playing a very different game of DotA after that.


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Ben!

You can follow Ben here – https://twitter.com/TheWholeShoe

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

PGL Open

PGL Open Bucharest: The competition

It has begun. Starting with the Star Ladder i-League Invitational this weekend, there is a ranking tournament for the next three weekends straight.  The DotA 2 competitive dry spell is finally over.

The PGL Open Bucharest tournament is yet another Valve Minor, meaning 300 Qualifying Points will be up for grabs.  While they are not weighed as heavily as Valve Majors, these early points can be very important for players to establish their position on the leaderboards.  Very few teams from Star Ladder will make an appearance at PGL, so we have a lot to talk about.  Let’s get started.

Invited Teams

Evil Geniuses

PGL Open

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Artour “Arteezy” Babaev

Position 2 – Sumail “Suma1l” Hassan

Position 3 – Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Aurora

Position 4 – Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen

Position 5 – Clinton “Fear” Loomis

The TI5 Champions have played less than 20 games since TI7, but their performance has been healthy. It is hard not to contribute at least a portion of this success to the return of Fear as 5 position support and captain.  Zai’s departure surely dealt a blow to team morale, but Cr1t- is perfectly capable of stepping up to that 4th position in his stead. Now freed from the stress and responsibility of captaining, Cr1t- can focus more on being the playmaker he needs to be. Other than a surprise loss to Leviathan during the i-League Invitational Qualifiers, EG has been proving that they’re as strong as ever coming into this season.

LGD Gaming  

PGL Open

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Wang “Ame” Chunyu

Position 2 – Lu “Maybe” Yao

Position 3 – Xu “fy” Linsen

Position 4 – Yao “Yao” Zhengzheng

Position 5 – Chen “Victoria” Guanhong

LGD’s performance has been a little more shaky since TI7 than our previously mentioned direct invitee. Thanks to their participation in a few extra Chinese tournaments, we have a pool of nearly 50 games played since TI to base this assertion off of. Nevertheless, this lineup contains some of China’s best talent, and it would be a mistake to underestimate them. After all, this is more or less the lineup that placed 4th at TI7.  You don’t achieve that kind of accolade by being a second rate team.

Qualified Teams

Team Secret

secret, dota 2, international, i-League

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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

There isn’t much to say about Team Secret that wasn’t already said in my StarLadder competition analysis. They have not had the chance to play enough since then to trigger a change of opinion. After qualifying for three minors back to back they’re still in a great position to get a head start in Qualifying Points this season.

Na’Vi

Na'Vi, i-League

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Vladislav “Crystallize” Krystanek

Position 2 – Danil “Dendi” Ishutin

Position 3 – Victor “GeneRaL” Nigrini

Position 4 – Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan

Position 5 – Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev

Na’vi’s performance at StarLadder so far has been defined by solid team play and unpredictable picks. Unfortunately for Na’vi, their odd drafting picks have been met with mixed success. During their first game against Team Secret, Secret punished Na’Vi’s first pick Tiny hard. This effectively rendered the hero useless during the mid game where he needs to snowball into the late game. The third game was where things got really interesting, as Na’vi last picked an Ancient Apparition for Dendi to take mid. Ancient Apparition mid has not been seen in the meta for years, but it turned out to be exactly what their draft needed to counter Secret’s Timbersaw and Alchemist duo.

Regardless of the results of their erratic drafts, it makes for an incredible DotA watching experience. As long as the fans get good DotA to watch, isn’t that what is really important?

 

Immortals

PGL Open

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Kim “QO” Seon-yeob

Position 2 – Pyo “MP” No-a

Position 3 – Lee “Forev” Sang-don

Position 4 – Kim “Febby” Yong-min

Position 5 – Kim “DuBu” Doo-young

My familiarity with this roster as MVP.Phoenix makes it strange to call them The Immortals. Nevertheless, it’s exciting to see the Korean powerhouse make its return no matter what form it takes. Their return to DotA 2 has not been easy either. Qualifying for this PGL Open required The Immortals to beat teams like OpTic Gaming and Digital Chaos, which is no simple task.

After the original MVP.Phoenix disbanded in January of 2017, the players went their separate ways and played on other teams. Ironically enough, each player still participated in TI7 on teams like Fnatic, Secret and Digital Chaos. After gaining experience on those teams, they decided it was time to get the gang back together. The results will be exciting to watch.

Infamous

PGL Open

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Alonso “Kotaro Hayama” León

Position 2 – Mariano “Papita” Caneda

Position 3 – Steven “StingeR” Vargas

Position 4 – Elvis “Scofield” De la Cruz Peña

Position 5 – Christian “Accel” Cruz

Other than 5 position support “Accel”, this is not the same Infamous that attended TI7. With the departure of most of their TI7 roster, Infamous absorbed most of the roster of Elite Wolves in early September.

It is interesting to note that Infamous did not originally qualify for PGL Open Bucharest. Digital Chaos.SA originally held that spot. However, thanks to the disbandment of most of DC.SA’s roster after winning the South American qualifiers, Infamous took their spot after beating SG Esports in a replacements finals match 3-1.

It would be great to see a South American Dota team start to make it in the big leagues, but whether Infamous is that team remains to be seen.

VGJ.Thunder

PGL Open

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 – Liu “Sylar” Jiajun

Position 2 – Liu “Freeze” Chang

Position 3 – Zhou “Yang” Haiyang

Position 4 – Pan “Fade” Yi

Position 5 – Fan “Ayo” Tianyou

I don’t profess to be an expert on Chinese DotA, but to me, this team seems built around Sylar. He is the most experienced member of this team, as well as the one that has seen the most professional success. At the end of the day though, DotA is a team sport, and the rest of the team are no slouches. After all, VGJ.Thunder had to beat teams like Invictus Gaming and LGD Forever Young to make it to PGL Open. If the team can continue to give Sylar the space he needs to do his thing, this team could go far in this tournament.

Mineski

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

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.

Mineski is the final team that is playing in both the current StarLadder tournament as well as the PGL Open. They got off to a bit of a rough start after losing to Team Liquid 0-2  at StarLadder. This result was almost expected though, as Liquid is still playing like the TI Champions that they are. Whatever ends up happening at StarLadder, Mineski can take comfort in knowing they’ll have another opportunity for Qualifying points right around the corner!

PGL Open Bucharest will be held in Bucharest, Romania from October 19th – October 22nd.


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Ben!

You can follow Ben here – https://twitter.com/TheWholeShoe

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon