Thor Open 2012 Preview
It's wintertime, and we head north this December with the Thor Open 2012, a 130,000 SEK ($19,000 USD) 2 day offline tournament that will be held at the CDON Expo at Kistamässan in Stockholm, Sweden.
Though less prestigious than the recently concluded Dreamhack Winter 2012, the prize pool is similar, and given the stakes you can rest assured that the competition is going to be fast and furious. TL writer Tephus will carry you through this recap with a preview of the teams, reminding us that fan favourites No Tidehunter will be there, along with half a dozen other teams. We then finish with a small feature on NTh and why they have no choice but to go all the way this time.
A smaller tournament, the Thor Open 2012 provides a perfect opportunity for new teams to shine, and we're sure that many of them are making their way to Stockholm right now in the hope of making a name for themselves in the cold Swedish winter.
This weekend, join us on TL in our Live Report thread and on IRC, as we watch the games.
Featuring a first place prize that matches DreamHack, the Thor Open will be a great platform for up and coming teams to show their stuff on. Eight teams will be fighting it out, with the winner demonstrating that they are ahead of the pack of middle-tier teams. While perhaps not having the starpower of DreamHack, it should be safe to expect better games throughout the tournament, even during its early stages, as the skill levels of teams attending are much closer. While the DreamHack champions are perhaps expected to repeat their success at Thor, we're not writing anyone off just yet.
Here is what we make of the teams.
After their breakout performance at DreamHack, No Tidehunter comes into the Thor Open a clear favourite. With the experience and skill brought by the tandem of Loda and Akke, EternaLEnVy's strong drafts (helped by AdmiralBulldog forcing bans) and rising star s4, No Tidehunter will be the team to beat. That doesn't mean nth is without weaknesses, of course, but the competition will have to find these and exploit them to the fullest to have a chance of beating them.
The ex-HoN superstars have come a long way since their switch to Dota 2. While they definitely stumbled out of the blocks, as of writing this, Fnatic.EU is in first place of Star Ladder Season 4's round robin stage, a tournament featuring all of the top EU Dota 2 teams. At DreamHack, they surprised us with a 3rd/4th place finish. It is clear that H4nn1 now leads one of the top Dota 2 teams in Europe. However, they need to show that they can beat the premier teams when it matters, and they are still lacking a big tournament win. A top placement here could be exactly what they need.
4 Friends + Chrillee
While they didn't make it out of their group at DreamHack, they put up decent games against the two eventual finalists. They have also been able to consistently beat mid and low tier EU teams, with play that is capable of impressing the likes of Loda. They have also collected a decent amount of valuable LAN experience, which should allow them to play well this weekend.
Wagamama's crew has been struggling as of late, failing to get out of groups at DreamHack, and posting poor records in GosuLeague, Star Ladder, and The Premier League. While they have on occasion shown they can match up with the best teams in Europe, they will need to find more consistency in their play to if they're going to make any impression this weekend.
ROOT will be playing with 2 standins at the Thor Open, with ddx- and Brock Li not crossing the Pacific for the tournament (chw and GoAudio from Svenhunterz will be filling in for them). While the team hasn't been seen much in the competitive scene, they did come into the tournament with a win over Absolute Legends, and a few months ago beat Dignitas at ECAL. Outside of that, they have a decent record in some of the smaller online cups.
Out Of Tangos
We don't know much about this team, other than what we saw at DreamHack last week. We do know they won Monthly Masters November, a monthly tournament run by German site fit4gaming.de, taking home a prize of 130$, and that they are now ranked first on the site's Dota 2 ELO Ranking. Although they managed to battle through the BYOC bracket at Dreamhack, they failed to impress in the bracket stages. Thus, this will probably be an uphill task for them.
Team GO + Gam.Dota
Not much should be expected from these last minute Swedish replacements. Team.GO failed to make its way through the qualifiers even after four attempts, and were later invited in alongside GAM. Little about them is known except that they both are old Swedish DotA teams and any result outside of the basement should be seen as a good first showing for both of them. It is worth noting that Team Gam is playing with pepp3 from the DHW2011 winning mTw squad, and pieliedie from Kaipi, a team that finished second in GosuLeague Season 4 and currently lead Season 5.
No Going Back
Everybody loves the underdog. Not that you can ever call a team with the likes of Loda an underdog, of course, but you get what I mean. Going into Dreamhack Winter 2012, very few people expected No Tidehunter to go all the way, and yet, as they went through the brackets, they gained more and more fans.
By the time they got on stage in this much tweeted picture, they had a massive following. Loda was back, Akke, s4 and AdmiralBulldog were back, and the young EternaLEnVy was famous. And rightly so! They played some great Dota and won one of the most prestigious tournaments in the western scene.
The thing is, they are no longer the team that everyone cheers as they rise through the ranks. They are at the top, leading the western Dota alongside the likes of Na`vi and Empire. They are the team to beat, and their battle from now is not one of rising to new heights.
Their task is now to stay on top, and that's exactly what they're going to try and do this weekend in Stockholm. They should manage it just fine, especially given the teams that they will play against, and yet, they no doubt feel the pressure.
They cannot afford to fail here, because top tournament finishes from No Tidehunter are no longer a pleasant surprise. They are now an expected outcome, and that's exactly what fans and Dota aficionados alike are looking forward to in this weekend.
Our expectations are clear.
No Tidehunter has stepped beyond the summit now, and there's no going back.
We want a win.