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Road to the finals
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Dota Pit League returns to Croatia for its fifth Season and has gathered 8 teams from around the world to duke it out in Split. While Wings and Newbee were forced to cancel their participation, the tournament is still stacked, with quite a few strong teams. For some, it will even be their “debut” on the newest Dota version. So get your drinks and snacks ready for some quality Dota, as the recent lull in tournaments finally breaks!
Replacing Wings largely due to the close proximity of their players to Split and not necessarily because of their prowess in-game, EPG on paper look like the weakest team attending. But we should not count them out entirely: in the European qualifier for Dota Pit, Elements did manage to give OG a run for their money, losing the finals 2:3. On the other hand, we also have to keep in mind that those games were played shortly after the release of 7.00, and might therefore be a poor gauge of their strength. Realistically speaking, they will probably be the first to be eliminated. However, as the last Dota Pit Season showed us, maybe we should expect the unexpected.
While Wings’ and Newbee’s withdrawals from Dota Pit Season 5 has robbed us of highly sought after rematches between these rivals, the competition in attendance can definitely push DC to their limits. Sitting at the top of the pile has never been a pleasant experience for Dota 2 teams; we will have to see whether or not DC can continue their current form.
Of course, there is little reason to doubt the skill assembled on the star-studded roster of the Major champions, but uncertainties remain. Just how well have they adapted? Do they already have a ready answer for the ever-evolving metagame that developed at Genting? Can their supports continue the crisp vision game and rotations that has brought them this far?
With plenty of time on their hands since they took home the Boston Major, we can be sure that they will have studied their opponents and prepared appropriately. Split will be the stage for OG to show that they have the potential to extend their dominance from Boston into the 7.XX-era.
Trial by fire it is to be, then, for Puppey’s squad, as they have to go up against the ESL One champions DC in their first match. This LAN will show just how well this roster of young blood and veterans has meshed and prepared for the new metagame.
Nevertheless, there is the lingering feeling that VP might have hit their peak during The Summit 6. A championship over the field attending Split would be just the right way to silence those doubts. If VP can keep up their strong form, their exceptional team cohesion, and push past their previous mistakes, they have everything at hand to take home the gold in Croatia.
On the other hand, it may be overly rash to just count out a team that contains talents such as iceiceice, Black, and xy-; indeed, there have been signs of recovery as they have looked decent during their most recent games in the StarLadder qualifiers. Whether or not that is enough to let them challenge the top tier teams remains to be seen. Split will either become their place of redemption or just another step on their downward spiral.
Recently, though, they have shown signs of a real breakthrough: they put on a clinic for the DAC qualifiers and swept their group with a clean 10-0 record to make it to the non-Valve-major.
Stepping out of their home region for the first time in a long while (disregarding Burning and Q’s stints as standins during Boston), iG are back to claim their place among the best in the Dota 2 world.
Entering a big LAN without any officials might sound risky, but then again, EG has always been among the select few teams that opponents specifically prepare for, so it may work to their advantage.
While we do not know what to expect from them, just going by the individual skill of the players and their past performances, I would say that we are in for a treat as we will get another top tier team stepping into the new meta of 7.XX. If EG can translate their playstyle into the new patch, Cr1t- might just find his first premier LAN trophy as EG’s captain.