Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s Greatest Dynasties

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive first released August 21st, 2012, and since then the competitive scene has went from strength to strength. The game followed on from the already popular Counter-Strike series and the newest release sparked even more interest than its predecessors.

Despite a few controversies along the way, the esports scene for CS:GO has boomed, with ELEAGUE’s season 1 and 2 having a combined prize pool of over $2.5m.

With such prizes out there, it is no surprise to see many teams competing and training hard to slug it out over these massive cash rewards, not to mention the sponsorships and contracts that come into play in modern day Counter-Strike.

Some teams, however, have went above and beyond the competition experiencing an extended period of time at the top. Many of these teams went months in domination, others went a lot longer with long unbeaten streaks still lauded over rival teams to this day.

The following list will break down just some of the teams who dominated Counter-Strike for a period of time following the game’s release:

[This list is in no particular order]

5. Fnatic – November 2013-June 2014

photo by AftonBladet.se


Fnatic were the first team to ever win a major in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, something that places them in the history books. This lineup consisted of JW, Flusha, Schneider, Pronax and Devilwalk, and they put their stamp on the scene by beating the odds and coming from nowhere to placing second at MSI Beat IT.

This was just the beginning as the team continued to place high in tournaments consistently before the lineup burned out in the summer of 2014 after failing to progress from the DreamHack Summer groups.

4. Virtus Pro – October 2013-February 2017

Virtus Pro are a team that traditionally blow hot and cold, the terms Virtus Plow and Virtus Throw go hand in hand depending on how the team performs. It is, however, undeniable that they have been one of the most consistent long term teams the game has seen.

The team has featured the charismatic lineup of TaZ, NEO, Pasha, Byali and Snax, and have been a thorn in the side for nearly every team attempting to establish a tier one dominance since October 2013. With one Major win and seven international titles, they are without a doubt one of Counter-Strike’s most successful dynasties.

photo by GINX eSports TV

Virtus Pro are one of the teams that have been able to forge a legacy that will out last this iteration of the game as their longevity at the top remains admirable to even the biggest rivals of the Poles.

 

3. Ninjas in Pyjamas – August 2012-November 2014

Ninjas in Pyjamas are another team that will forever hold a legacy within Counter-Strike. Their run to the fabled 87:0 winning streak is still talked about to this day, a feat that will likely never be replicated.

The line up is still largely the core of modern day NiP, featuring GeT_RighT, F0rest, Friberg, Xizt and Fifflaren. That team has amassed one Major win amongst 18 international tournament wins. This coupled with the fact that they reached the last eight in 31 of their 32 tournaments in this time frame cements them as one of Counter-Strike’s best teams ever.

photo by Liquipedia

Their success can be attributed to the clear nature of each of their roles, every player knew what they had to do and executed it with lethal precision for over two years. It seemed as though no team could touch them before Fifflaren’s retirement, which NiP could not recover from, replacing their fifth member consistently over the years until Friberg left in June 2017. Only time will tell if this will help NiP get back to where they once were.

2. LDLC/EnVyUs – September 2014-July 2015

photo by Liquipedia

Shox, KioShiMa, NBK, Happy and SmithZz came together in September 2014 to create a team that worked wonders. They emerged in the shadow of a deflating Fnatic team whose era was coming to a close. They won one Major and six international titles in a run enviable to many teams today.

One of the main reasons for this team’s success was the expressive nature players were allowed. Rather than focusing on a highly tactical game, they focused on allowing players’ decision making and individual skill to find the openings in games.

One of the cruxes of many teams throughout competitive Counters-Strike has been the sacrifice of skill in lieu of an IGL’s tactical ability. This was a notion that this team grabbed by the scruff of the neck and disobeyed, Happy was arguably the team’s best player despite being their IGL, which allowed for the team’s firepower to exceed that of other teams. This run is typified by the run of 17 top four finishes from 19 tournaments, which is to this day unchallenged.

1. SK Gaming – August 2016-Present

This is a team that needs no introduction even to the most casual Counter-Strike fan. SK are the hot topic within professional CS:GO at the moment; there doesn’t seem to be a tournament that goes by that SK don’t make the finals. Since August 2016 they have made seven finals, winning four of them. A recent poor showing in the ESL Pro-League is the only blip on the scorecard for the Brazilians, which has seen them pick up almost $1m in prize money in 10 months.

Coldzera in particular has gained a lot of attention, gaining a majority of tournament MVP’s for 2017 so far. This has lead to claims that he could be one of Counter-Strike’s greatest players ever. With this level of success it’s hard to debate the legitimacy of these claims.

Fallen, Coldzera, Fer, Taco and Felps have all been writing history over the past year and will likely place themselves high in the history books of Counter-Strike. Only time will tell how long this period of success will go on for, but they will have at least secured a dynasty to be fondly remembered.

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Feature image courtesy of Game Skinny

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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Starladder

StarLadder Season 3 Finals 2017: The Winners and The Losers

The Starladder i-league invitational was hosted this weekend in Kiev. There was a lot of good Counter-Strike competition between some of the top teams in the world. There were definitely some good highlights. Here I want to highlight the winners and losers coming out of the tournament.

Winners:

FaZe Clan

Faze Clan at IEM Masters, courtesy of wiki.teamliquid.net

FaZe Clan (The Actual winners)

FaZe went into StarLadder with decent expectations. This would be one of the first tournaments with their new squad cemented. After being the runner-up in the last tournament against Astralis in the grand finals, FaZe was ready to take Starladder by storm. They barely made it out of groups, having to beat SK Gaming in a one map tiebreaker to get to the quarter-finals. Once they got there, FaZe narrowly beat out G2 to get to the semi-finals.

Faze Clan faced off against HellRaisers in the semi-finals. HellRaisers making it to the semi-finals may have surprised some, but they definitely earned respect. Finn “Karrigan” Andersen evidently did his homework, and he led FaZe to a confident 2-0 victory.

After making their way to the grand finals, they were faced with Astralis for the second grand final in a row. Even though I’m sure it is intimidating to play against a team that you just lost to a month ago, FaZe played very well. One of the most important parts of their play was that they dominated the pistol rounds. It was unreal how well Faze seemed to manipulate each round in their favor. In my opinion, with this tournament win, they became the best pistol team out there.

 

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Photo Courtesy: dotesports.com

HellRaisers

HellRaisers started off well in the Starladder groups, beating FaZe and CLG fairly comfortably. They still lost to G2, however. Where they really shone was the quarter-final matchup against North. North is a very strong team, and things were looking dire for HellRaisers after they dropped the first map to them. HellRaisers showed off their ability to keep themselves composed.

As the competitive scene in Counter-Strike continues to evolve, team mentality and resolve are becoming extremely important. The higher up the team is, the better the mentality. When you get to the top flight of Counter-Strike, the players are the best of the best and it is less about individual skill and more about team play/dynamics. This is what separates the low quality teams from the high quality teams. HellRaisers made some positive strides in this tournament.

Losers:

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Photo courtesy: hltv.com

G2 Esports

G2 came into the Starladder finals looking like they were going to pick up this trophy easier than a European team in North America. In group stages, they went undefeated. Though this lineup hadn’t been truly tested in a best of three yet, their individual and team play in the group stages were unparalleled.

They went into the quarter-finals against FaZe Clan and saw a disappointing exit after losing 2-1. Making the quarter-finals is nothing to scoff at, but with the big names and talent on G2, it was a very disappointing performance. Their group phase dominance seemed to vanish into thin air after FaZe won the first map.

The series was extremely sloppy from both sides. Countless times a team would be on full buys, and lose to full ecos. G2 and FaZe had a strong amount of back and forth between them, but FaZe ended up edging G2 out of the tournament by just a few rounds. It was very weak from G2, and they will be looking to improve their form heading into the next tournament.

Virtus Pro funny

Photo courtesy: wwg.com

Virtus Pro (VP)

Starladder was really a sucker punch for VP. They came out extremely timid in group stages. VP was stomped in all three of their matches, and did not even manage to secure more than five rounds in any of their games. I don’t have any explanation for their poor play other than they got caught on the wrong day. VP coming into this tournament looked to be in contention for the trophy. However, with their swift exit after the group stages, it seemed to be a poor sign of what’s in store in 2017.

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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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ESL One Genting

ESL One Genting 2017 Dota 2 Preview

In just a couple of days. the 2017 Dota 2 season kicks off with ESL One Genting. The tournament will take place from January 6-8th and is hosted at the prestigious Arena of Stars. For the eight teams competing in the tournament, they will be hoping that they can take home the first tournament of the year.

ESL One Genting Format

The tournament will be played in two stages. The first will be a group stage consisting of two groups, each with four teams. They will play each other in a double elimination format until two teams are left from each group who will proceed to bracket play. As with all ESL Dota 2 tournaments, bracket play will be single elimination. Meaning anything can and will happen. As a fan of the unpredictability that single elimination bracket play brings to competitive Dota, I am excited to see what the teams have in store for us over the weekend.

ESL One Genting Prize Pool

ESL One Genting boasts a $250,000 prize pool, which is a large amount considering it is possible to win the tournament only playing four series. The prize pool is broken down as follows:

  • 1st Place – $100,000
  • 2nd Place – $50,000
  • 3rd Place – $25,000
  • 4th Place – $25,000
  • 5th – 8th Place – $12,500

ESL One Genting Teams

Eight of the top teams will arrive in Malaysia, all with aspirations of winning ESL One Genting. The winners of the last ESL One event, OG, are not attending the event so a new champion will be crowned over the weekend. Lets take a look at who is fighting it out to be ESL One Genting 2017 champions.

Group A

Virtus Pro (VP)

 

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) – Solo

Position 5 (Support) – Lil

Heading into the Boston Major, VP was touted by many, including myself, as firm favorites to win the event. Unfortunately for VP this was not the case, Evil Geniuses (EG) defeated them, resulting in a 5-8th finish.

With ESL One Genting just round the corner, VP will be desperate to avenge their failure at the Major with a dominant display over the weekend.

Prediction:- 1st in Group A

VP are famed for playing a chaotic style, combine this with their niche picks (Phantom Assassin / Weaver supports) and a single elimination tournament, I foresee VP performing very well and taking home first place in their group.

Fnatic

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

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – InYourDream

Position 2 (Mid) – Mushi

Position 3 (Offlane) – Ohaiyo

Position 4 (Support) – Febby

Position 5 (Support) – Yamateh

Following disappointment at the Boston Major, Fnatic made the decision to drop three players from their roster. Leaving Mushi and Ohaiyo to look for three players in time for ESL One Genting, but they managed to pull it off. Fnatic announced their new roster on January 4th, a mere 36 hours before their first group stage game against heavy favorites VP.

Fnatic will be hoping that they do not regret leaving it to last minute to finalize their roster for the event. Instead they will be hoping to benefit from taking the time to select the correct players for each role.

Prediction:- 4th in Group A

Unfortunately, I think that Fnatic have decided on a roster too late. The team will not have had a chance to play together very much, and at this level of Dota, skill is not enough to win a series, let alone a whole tournament. ESL One Genting has come too soon for this Fnatic roster, and I expect that they will be hoping to use this tournament as a chance to bond as a team.

Newbee

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

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Uuu9

Position 2 (Mid) – Sccc

Position 3 (Offlane) – Kpii

Position 4 (Support) – Faith

Position 5 (Support) – Kaka

Newbee is currently one of the two best teams in China, the other being Wings Gaming, and will be hoping to assert their dominance on the international stage at ESL One Genting. Following a very disappointing 9 – 16th finish at the Boston Major, they bounced back in the recent Dota 2 Professional League Season 2 to finish first in the all Chinese league. They will be hoping that they can start 2017 with a bang.

Prediction:- 2nd in Group A

Combine the brilliance of Mid lane player Song “Sccc” Chung with the reliability of the rest of the team, Newbee are one of the favorites to take the tournament. Although I have predicted them to finish second in the group, it would not be a surprise if they nabbed the top spot from VP.

Team NP

 

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

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

Fan favorites NP boast an International winner, in Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling. Aui, along with Shangai Major winner Jacky “Eternal Envy” Mao, will be hoping to lead NP to the ESL One Genting crown. Having formed in September 2016, NP will be hoping to build on recent performances and get the teams maiden first place finish at ESL One Genting.

Known for his insane plays and almost reckless abandon, EE will be hoping that the solidity of the four other players on the team will propel them to glory. Team NP are on the cusp of the elite Dota 2 teams, and they will be hoping that 2017 is the year they join the elite teams.

Predictions:- 3rd in Group A

Unfortunately for Team NP they are in the harder of the two groups and up against the likes of Newbee and VP. I believe that they will finish third in their group. If NP can start hot and catch other teams in their group by surprise, I think that they may have a chance at making it to bracket play. As heavy fan favorites, the Dota 2 community will be willing NP to greatness. Whether they can achieve it or not, is a different question.

Group A Predictions Recap

  1. Virtus Pro
  2. Newbee
  3. NP
  4. Fnatic

Group B

Digital Chaos (DC)

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 recently finished second place at The International 6 (TI6), a few days later and to the surprise of many they made a roster change. They dropped fan favorite David “Moo” Hull and replaced him with David “MoonMeander” Tan. After a good showing at the Boston Major, finishing 3rd/4th, DC will be hoping that they can start the year with a victory at ESL One Genting.

In many people’s eyes DC have a roster with the ability to take the Dota 2 scene by storm, although they have yet to realize this potential. Will ESL One Genting be the start of a great 2017, or another bump in the road to greatness?

Prediction:- 1st in Group B

Being placed in the same group as the TI6 champions could be both a blessing and a curse. DC will be looking to avenge the defeat they suffered in the finals of TI6, and I fully believe that they will be able to at ESL One Genting. I expect them to finish top of their group, although they will be fighting it out with TI6 champions Wings Gaming.

Execration (XctN)

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

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Nando

Position 2 (Mid) – Gabbi

Position 3 (Offlane) – Dj

Position 4 (Support) – Owa

Position 5 (Support) – Kimo

2016 was a massive year for XctN. They have shown themselves to be one of the best teams in the South East Asian (SEA) region. However, 2017 started with uncertainty, XctN lost two players and were left searching for replacements. With the addition of Fernando “Nando” Mendoza and Joshua “Owa” Dela Serna, they will be hoping that they can continue to improve in 2017.

XctN will be hoping that their Mid player Khim “Gabbi” Villafuerte can make the same stylish plays in 2017 that he made in 2016 (Click here to see Gabbi’s amazing Puck play at MPGL in September).

Prediction:- 3rd in Group B

The difficulty with an eight team tournament is that you are inevitably going to face extremely tough opposition in the group stages. Unfortunately for XctN, this is the predicament that they find themselves in. Being grouped with the first and second place teams from TI6, Wings and DC respectively, means that their chances of making it out of group B are slim. I do, however, hope that they can prove me wrong as they are an exciting team to watch.

Wings Gaming

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

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Shadow

Position 2 (Mid) – Blink

Position 3 (Offlane) – Faith_bian

Position 4 (Support) – y’

Position 5 (Support) – iceice

2016 was a rollercoster year for Wings, which saw them achieve six first place finishes. This includes taking home the Aegis of Champions at TI6, and also winning ESL One Manilla in April. Many expected them to challenge for the crown at the Boston Major, however this was not the case. They achieved a disappointing 9 – 16th placing, followed by another disappointing finish at China Top 2016.

With the groundbreaking 7.00 patch still relatively new, Wings will be hoping that they can use their highly unpredictable play style to achieve a good placing at ESL One Genting.

Prediction – 2nd in Group B

Expect Wings to make it through their group relatively easily. In my opinion, it is a straight fight between Wings and DC for top spot in Group B. Wings have the skill and team play to win the entire tournament, however their most recent performances have been lackluster to say the least. I expect Wings to finish 2nd in the Group, but they may prove me and many others wrong.

WarriorsGaming.Unity (WG)

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

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Ahjit

Position 2 (Mid) – NaNa

Position 3 (Offlane) – KaNG

Position 4 (Support) – Ahfu

Position 5 (Support) – Wenn

WG are one of the best teams in SEA, and at the Boston Major they shocked many people by battling to a respectable 5 – 8th placing. WG are somewhat an unknown entity in the international Dota 2 scene. Apart from their performance at the Boston Major, they have mainly played in SEA based tournaments where they have seen great success.

Prediction – 4th in Group B

WG are going to suffer the same issues as I mentioned in relation to XctN. Their group has two of the best teams in the world, who have the potential to win the entire tournament. I expect WG to be fighting it out with XctN for the bottom two places in the group. There is always the chance that WG could potentially catch DC or Wings off guard, but I find this highly unlikely.

Group B Predictions Recap

  1. Digital Chaos
  2. Wings Gaming
  3. Execration
  4. WarriorsGaming.Unity

ESL One Genting Final Thoughts

7.00 has reinvigorated Dota, and I am excited to see some of the best teams in the world play on the new patch. With the ability of teams like Virtus Pro and Wings Gaming to make almost all the heroes work in some way, I expect to see a weekend of world class Dota

In terms of my overall event predictions, I think that Virtus Pro will take the whole event, with Digital Chaos finishing second.

1st Place – Virtus Pro

2nd Place – Digital Chaos

3rd / 4th Place – Newbee / Wings Gaming

5th / 6th Place – Team NP / Execration

7th / 8th Place – Fnatic / WarriorsGaming.Unity

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Starladder i-League: Virtus Pro vs Alliance

The Sweds have had their ups and downs perhaps more than any other lineup we’ve seen. In this series, they showed their good selves and they emerged victorious pretty convincingly with 2-0.

Game 1

    VP Alliance
Sven Juggernaut
Zeus Queen of Pain
Nature's Prophet Beastmaster
Winter Wyvern Shadow Demon
Oracle Chen

VP had the superior mid-late game lineup here. Sven can destroy your whole team with a few items, Zeus is a nuker that progresses really well throughout the game, and Nature’s Prophe’s split pushing can prove to be too much. Alliance, on the other hand, had an edge in lane control and taking towers early. Queen of Pain can give Zeus a really hard time during the lane, and so it happened; paired with a courier snipe, Zeus didn’t have his bottle for some time and fell behind.

Alliance needed to act fast. 10 more minutes to VP’s Heroes would mean they could easily clear creep waves, to stop the enemy push and keep farming. Juggernaught isn’t the best option to deal with Sven, and Queen of Pain falls off pretty quickly if she doesn’t snowball. Execution-wise, snowball was the correct word for this game, as Alliance won every fight, took every tower they needed, secured Roshan and went high ground.

VP needed some more time and it perhaps would’ve been a totally different game, but they just didn’t have the space for it.

Game 2

   VP Alliance
Sven Gyrocopter
Zeus Juggernaut
Dark Seer Beastmaster
Oracle Shadow Shaman
Earth Spirit Chen

While the picks were a bit similar, this game was quite different. Alliance went for an irregular Juggernaught solo mid. With Dark Seer and Earth Spirit on their side, Virtus Pro had more powerful team fighting potential than the first game. While Alliance were ahead most of the time, they didn’t have the clear dominance of Game 1. VP realized that and stuck together to force a team fight; and perhaps that was their big mistake.

VP roamed around as 5 for way too long, and allowed Alliance to do what they do best: split their team, farm and push around the map. After establishing map control, the Sweds took a few Roshans and pushed their way in slowly and steadily. After taking mid racks and overextending a bit, VP took advantage of their team fight strength and pushed back, making Alliance feel threatened for the first time in the series. With a few buybacks however, and Sven getting kited way too much by Beastmaster and his Refresher Orb pickup, Alliance pushed VP back.

With a smoke gank, Alliance took advantage of their enemy’s bad positioning despite getting scouted by Zeus’ ult, which resulted in an easy team fight and the rest of VP’s high ground.

I believe VP felt too pressured to use their superior team fight. It’s a very common mistake for teams to stay as 5 for too long and fall behind in gold and EXP. Stacking like that is most effective when they’re able to get towers quickly. If they’d chilled out a bit and farmed a bit more, they could’ve probably forced a Game 3.