Two years ago, the first DAC took place, becoming known as the proto-Major. EG, with their new star SumaiL, recovered from a loss in the winners bracket finals to take down VG in convincing fashion and cemented themselves as the best team in the world six months before they lifted the Aegis above their heads at The International 5. EG will be returning to defend their title as one of the four invited teams along with Wings, OG, and Newbee. Every member of the 2015 runners-up, Vici Gaming, have also made their way through different qualifiers to compete: Fy and Fenrir on VG.J, Super on LGD.FY, and Black^ along with Iceiceice on Team Faceless.
DAC 2017 will be the last stop for many of the teams attending before the Kiev Major. The opportunity to become accustomed to patch 7.04 and find strategies that work for them or discover what no longer works will be vital. All will be aiming to take the championship and ride the momentum into Kiev, and later Seattle, with the hope that they can recreate EG’s 2015 success.
While the players may have changed, Kaka’s ability to create opportunities in the early game for his team to gain advantages is a key part of their success whether it be from the laning stage or they way Newbee maneuvers through the map. While Newbee may not be the favourites for many to take the tournament, they are certainly no dark horse and have a real shot at taking down anyone they come up against.
While we can safely put IG around the 4th/5th best team in China on any given day the question will be; how well do they stack up against their international competition? With IG making their way to the Kiev Major they should use their time during DAC to learn from the better teams, adapt their strategies and prepare to take what they learn from their matches here and apply them on the much larger stage.
The DAC qualifiers were played during NP’s finest hour, losing only to DC during their whole run. On the other hand, the LAN finals are not taking place on a convenient timing for NP as they just failed to qualify to the Kiev Major. Envy’s squad is facing their hardest time yet, not only because of missing Kiev; they lost before playing the final of the qualifier to a team that was not even close to be a favorite to earn the ticket to Kiev.
But this is the kind of chance that an anime protagonist will use to fuel up their spirit again. It is very unlikely for NP to win this tournament, but - considering that they are not traveling to Kiev - the best way to recover their morale is to leave a great impression against most of the strongest teams at the moment. To achieve this, they will have to either advance a couple of rounds in the losers’ bracket or earn a spot in the winners’ bracket, for which they will need a great performance during the Group Stage. With teams like EG, OG, Liquid and Newbee participating in this ‘mini-Major’, the terrible things Envy envisions every time he visits China will have to be overcome by him and his teammates.
Since their formation, Team Faceless has arguably been the best team in the SEA region. Despite that, flopping at both The Summit and the Boston Major left an impression of ‘strong locally but weak internationally’ in the competitive scene. This is bound to change after their good showing at the DelayPit Season 5 playoffs and grabbing the first place in both Starladder and DAC qualifiers, positioning Faceless as one of the teams with which to be cautious.
Faceless’ style is just what you can expect from it: Iceiceice will be trying to create as much chaos as possible while Black^ and Jabz take over the farm to carry their team to victory. This wouldn’t be possible without NutZ’ and xy-’s self-sacrificial roles. While the duo won’t shine as much as the supports of other tier-one teams, a fairly wide hero pool for iceiceice and the support duo could allow Faceless to bring up a fight against the most frightening teams across the globe… if iceiceice or Black^ are not having one of those days on which one of them decides to encourage their teammates just to find themselves feeding some kills to the enemy. After all, Faceless is a SEA team and consistency is not something you will find on that region; precisely, this is the time for Faceless to show some.
Giving all the credit to one player is unfair in a game like Dota, and if the support duo is having a good time, either Miracle- or MATUMBAMAN are going to make use of that support. The great thing about these two cores' current shape is that, at worst, one of them is going to take advantage of the other's struggle. Miracle- can steal the show with a mid-lane Anti-Mage while MATUMBAMAN will surprise you with a Necrophos pick. By the way, if you happen to forget about Mind_ControL, well, that’s the first mistake a team will do when focusing on shutting down either Miracle- or Matu – because getting rid of those two with the support duo and Mind_ControL roaming around the map seems like something only the top teams at Boston can try nowadays.
Team Empire comes from the newly formed CIS region, a region full of talent and reckless Dota. Their run in the qualifier was pretty impressive for this roster: Winning their group and going through the Winner’s bracket, they defeated teams like Vega, Spirit and Effect.
The current roster is composed of some fairly less known players such as Miposhka and Chappie, but some other names like fn and KingR you for sure have heard before. This squad has been improving its performance since the beginning of the year, positioning them as a strong CIS team but they still lack the results to place them as a real contender for a tier-one spot. They failed to qualify to the Kiev Major mostly due to the contested region they participate in. But in a time where is hard to tell who is actually the strongest team in the CIS region, the recent shape of Empire should not to be underestimated.
If Empire manages to advance to the playoffs and wins a couple of rounds in the brackets, we might witness the awakening of a powerful force.
OG’s recent results are not bad, but the team has shown some weakness lately. They got to DAC through a direct invite, and during the period after the Boston Major they have participated in Starladder, Elimination Mode and Dota Pit. Achieving first place only at Elimination Mode is not enough for team that has such high goals as OG, especially when their rival, EG, defeated them directly at DotaPit. Nonetheless, their loss to VG.J shouldn’t be overreacted to as this team has demonstrated that when it matters most, they will bring their A-game and become a fearsome threat.
It is yet to be seen if OG will manage to bounce back to their pre 7.00 level, but we can rest assured that OG will take this test seriously in the run-up to Kiev.
Not having PPD and Fear has taken out one of the strongest advantages EG had over their opponents: the draft advantage. But this was immediately compensated with Cr1t playmaking abilities which allowed Zai and himself to become one of the most feared support duos in the competitive scene. This is yet another chance for EG to show that they are actually stronger than anybody else.