Table of Contents
A Midwinter Night's Dream
Yes, I Went There
Winter is Coming
Three's a Crowd
An Irishman Walks Into DH
Insert Punchline Here
The Right Side of the River
More on Liquipedia
A Midwinter Night's Dream
Dreamhack comes but once a year. Well, that's not true anymore, so let's rephrase that.
DH Winter comes but once a year, and what an event it's going to be this time. Having just come out of a month of continuous Asian Dota in the form of the G-1 League, we now get to go straight into some of the best that the European and North American game have to offer. Na`Vi, Empire and a whole lot more are making their way to Sweden this week to play for 200,000 Kronor ($29,000).
As you shall see, this DH preview is full of nutritious content for the discerning Dota 2 fan. First off, why not see what Kipsate makes of the teams and their chances? Then, jump into some group analysis courtesy of TheEmulator.
Our features desk worked hard this week as well, with SirJolt producing a bite sized piece on the Dreamhack experience, and our resident statistician shostakovich weighing in on the Dire Advantage debate.
We hope you will join us this weekend as we root for our favourite teams in the Live Report thread and on IRC. Finally, do check out Dota Academy's Dreamhack Winter 2012 fantasy league. It's fun, and free!
Happy DH! Happy Dota!
Winter is Coming
Picture by Dreamhack.
Winter is coming.
16 teams will be participating in the Dreamhack Winter Tournament, sponsored by Corsair once again. 14 teams are known while 2 spots will be determined by BYOC. Let's have a look at the teams, then!
Natus Vincere Tier - The Kings Themselves
Some would look at this tournament and hope to see only one thing, for someone to topple Na`Vi. Na`Vi, present as always, favorite as always. At the Starladder finals they showed once more that online means nothing and LAN is everything. Some would even go as far as to say that the first place is already determined and that there is only a competition for the 2nd place. Na`Vi however are not invulnerable, they too are human, they too make mistakes and this Dreamhack definitely won't be free money like ESWC. Sitting on a throne is a thousand times harder then winning one and we will see if they can remain seated once more.
A Tier - Lords and Nobles
Team Empire will once again be the team to look out for this tournament, they won the JD Masters II Special Edition Tournament just recently and are looking quite in shape. For Empire it will be a test of LAN once more. With their first large LAN tournament under their belt they now have gained experience. Funn1k especially has been playing extremly well, his Clinkz, Wisp and Batrider play are all a treat for us to see. Normally we would say they are a class above the ones not Na´vi, however Empire player BlowYourBrain is unfortunately unable to attend Dreamhack due to vissa issues and will be replaced by Socks. It takes 5 players to make Empire, and while the team itself is incredibly strong we think that it won´t be as good as it could be.
Evil Geniuses, hate them, love them. They are one of the most controversial teams in the Esport scene, and with good reason. EG as of late has been participating in the G-1 league in Asia at high pings. While high pings are not an indication of good Dota we did see some interesting and strong strategies coming out of them. The Naix Bomb with Batrider and the now famous Knight strategy. Chaos Knight, Holy Knight, Dragon Knight, OmniKnight and Leshrac, it is a strategy which is both an immoveable object and an unstoppable force. Setting a good record in the D2L recently they are definitely a team who has the potential to take it all.
Team Dignitas, The team of North America that sweeped everyone in the months near the International has been toned down a bit. They are dropping games yet are still a formiddeable team to be reckoned with. Some of the performance can be attributed to the patch. AUI2000 no longer is able to play his beloved Morphling to its maximum potential. Dignitas also has little LAN experience. ESWC is the only LAN experience they have under their belt and the competition level there was low. Adjustment to the patch is needed and we will see if they have what it takes to regain their previous dominance and win Dreamhack.
A- Tier - The Upper Middle Class
In December of 2011 a post appeared on Teamliquid titled ''Going on leave from University to play Dota''. Some ridiculed him, others encouraged him to stay in university and some of them told him to do what feels right. Today he is a proud member of No Tidehunter. His name is EternalEnvy and he, together with his team will be attending Dreamhack. In fact Eternalenvy is surrounded by not just anyone, but by players Loda, Akke, s4 and AdmiralBulldog. You should never let Admiral ''Syllabear'' Bulldog have Lone Druid, as he is possibly one of the best Syllabear players in the west and has logged countless hours of Dota using this hero. Yet he is not the only one with a strong signature hero, Akke's Chen is also one of the best of the west. No Tidehunter is filled with strong individual players and they have great potential to make it far into Dreamhack.
B Tier - The Middle of the Road
They were one of the fiercest team in HoN, unfortunately they haven't been performing that well. They qualified through Dreamhack Valencia, a tournament of little competition. Nevertheless qualify they did and this is their chance to prove that they are not done yet. A big plus of this team is that they have stayed together for quite a while.
Pulse Esports is their name and Wisp is their game. Pulse Esports with the ever so elusive Wisp player Mini is somewhat of an unstable team in a sense. They are the team that can take games off anyone yet they are never able to quite follow through.
SexyBamboe and SingSing both left the team not too long ago. This means that like any new team they need to buildup new strategies, new team chemistry and new friendships. They do however have Kuroky and Black^ as a strong dualcore of individually skilled players, who against all odds will be able to put up a great show.
Absolute Legends is a decent team. Once it was known as team Y, and had great potential with GoD and Vigoss. Little of that is left now though. They are a solid individual team but they have a long way ahead of them. Absolute Legends recently added SexyBamboe to its roster and may therefore take some time to settle down and play at their best.
C Tier - Just Starting Out
The two BYOC teams, Gamer University(now known as 3D max) and WhA
Apart from WhA These teams are inexperienced and the little that has been seen in the qualifers was against other unkown teams. Perhaps a team will suprise us but with teams such as Na`Vi and Dignitas participating we don't see this happening. If anything it will be a great learning experience for the teams and a chance to get some good exposure providing they will do well. As for the BYOC teams, last dreamhack they were absolutely demolished in hilarious fashion. This time Pain - Gaming from Brazil will be attending the BYOC so we might see a better performance out of the BYOC teams then last year.
Group A: Natus Vincere, Absolute Legends, Team 3DMAX, Out Of Tangos.
There is a reason Natus Vincere have their own tier in Kipsate's preview, they are the definitely one of the favourites of this tournament as well as any tournament they participate in. There is always the possibility of a upset, but I see Natus Vincere taking first place in this group with great ease. Absolute Legends will probably take second in group A, also, Team 3DMAX and Out Of Tangos are fairly unknown, so therefore it is hard to predict how they will do.
Predictions: Natus Vincere and Absolute Legends advance.
Group B: Evil Geniuses, No Tidehunter, 4 Friends + Chrillee, Rigg3d.
Lately Evil Geniuses has been performing very strong, especially with their 2nd place finish in D2L. In all, their new lineup, specifically the addition of Jeyo have been performing well, so they are predicted to come first in group B. No Tidenhunter has a great chance to make it far in Dreamhack this time around. In group B we see them coming in 2nd place, advancing to the next round. 4 Friends + Chrillee and Rigg3d are fairly unknown teams that have not shown anyone anything special as of yet, so therefore it doesn't seem like they will be able to make it out of group B.
Predictions: Evil Geniuses and No Tidehunter advance.
Group C: Team Empire, mousesports, We Haz Asian, BYOC Team #1.
Team Empire is a step ahead of everyone in this group. With their recent wins at the JD Masters and D2L, we can expect a great showing from them in this tournament. Unfortunately, their entire lineup will not be present this weekend, but we can expect them to take first in group C either way. mousesports will probably take second, and may even upset Empire for first. We Haz Asian are definitely not scrubs, but they are not in the same tier as Empire/mousesports as of now, so expect them to come in third. As for BYOC Team #1, it is very hard to imagine them even taking a game off anyone in this group.
Predictions: Team Empire and mousesports advance.
Group D: Fnatic.EU, Pulse Esports, Team Dignitas, BYOC Team #2.
Fnatic.EU has been looking strong these days, coming off of their win at Dreamhack Valencia, you can expect them to do well here. Team Dignitas is also looking very good, especially in the Raidcall D2L. You can expect a first place finish here by Dignitas, with Fnatic coming second, although it is possible for either to get first. Pulse Esports is also a very strong team but we don't see them reaching the next stage yet. For the BYOC Team #2, our view is the same as BYOC Team #1.
Predictions: Fnatic.EU and Team Dignitas advance.
An Irishman Walks Into Dreamhack
DreamHack has always made the most of the features that distinguish it from other major tournaments. Alongside any announcement, hype videos, or press releases come references to the records each successive event breaks, and its status as the most attended LAN on the planet. Those epithets aside, that all-important LAN aspect of DreamHack seldom makes itself felt on stream.
For those of us watching DreamHack remotely, its name has been made on the high quality of its free streams and tournament production values. While these are fine things in themselves, they don't come close to communicating the DreamHack experience. For those who have attended DreamHack Winter, there's something quite different lurking just beneath that well-groomed surface. It's difficult to define without describing the scene that greeted those of us at last year's LAN.
The DH experience.
Hosted in a capacious building that feels, more than anything else, like an abandoned aircraft hangar, the LAN began cold, filled with the trundling of swivel chairs, towers, and displays being wheeled across the bare concrete floors. On arrival, an army of DreamHack veterans launched into a fit of construction.
Where so many were content to plug everything in, connect to the network, and get playing, there were some for whom comfort, and perhaps status, were paramount. These few, intrepid engineers had come prepared. They deployed partially-prefabricated structures designed for the purpose. Vast agglomerations of old crates and palettes added multiple tiers of desks, building upward. Some of these structures became brackets for hardware, others shelving, still more bunks. Rather than sprawling outward, DreamHack's hacker architects reach into their airspace. Lining the frames of these architectural marvels were chains of fairy lights, somehow augmenting the atmosphere, but in a way that remains elusive, difficult to describe.
By night of the first day, the collective exhausts had heated the place, the walls were sweating, the lights dimmed, and those daisy-chained christmas lights draped across homemade multi-storey desks picked out oases of green and pink in a desert of red-blue LEDs.
That heat, the cloying warmth of thousands of machines in one place, lends a physicality to the sense of community. Walking through the LAN gives the feeling of having pressed against too many people, every one hotter than body temperature. Were DreamHack not the vast affair that it is, it's easy to imagine that the biggest problem with the venue would be heating it, and yet, like so many things, such a fundamental issue is effaced by the sheer weight of the event's popularity.
Floating on top of all the body heat and sweat, that potent DreamHack miasma, above the ropes of lights and hacked-together structures, is the pristine event we watch on streams.
With all that in mind, DotA and DreamHack seem a natural match. DotA too is, at its core, a monumental edifice whose origins are firmly planted in a sense of community endeavor, and one that has become more than the sum of its parts over the years. DotA has come to so much more than just another WarCraft 3 UMS, but its roots in those DIY modifications run deep.
Just as the side of DreamHack that the vast majority of us will see when we tune in to watch the tournaments this November will be something very different from that ocean of PCs belching out endless heat for days at a time, so too is Dota 2 something altogether different from its predecessor. The DotA that we see played will be something far removed from the game's humble beginnings, but that doesn't mean that the community feeling isn't there.
DotA and Dreamhack seem particularly well suited to one another, and we hope to see each strengthened by the other this month.
Number Crunch: The Right Side of the River
The proximity of Dreamhack Winter and demand from people makes this an excellent opportunity to discuss the so called 'Dire advantage.'
On 22nd May, 2012, legendary support player NS published a blog on GosuGamers about Roshan, erupting a discussion about the balance between the Radiant and Dire sides of the map. Among other things, NS argues in the article - whose read is a must for players willing to learn and see insights from a professional player - that the Roshan position gives the Dire a big advantage in relation to the Radiant. People would usually agree that the Dire has an advantage, and some would even say that any statistics would point that the Dire winrate is bigger than the Radiant.
Just after reading NS blog at that time, I went to check the statistics I had avaliable. At that time, the score was a perfect 413 vs 413 draw. Since then, more games were added and mistakes were fixed. From the first The International until 22nd May 2012, there were a total of 936 games. From these games, 826 gave us perfect information. The score is 410 vs. 416 in favor of the Dire, which is translated into 49,6% and 50,4% winrates respectively. An insignificant advantage. As months passes after that blog by NS, the numbers changed a bit.
NOW being Nov 20th, the day this data was compiled.
Also, the score from the day 6.75 was released until today is 133 vs 96!
While the number doesn't explain what are the advantages possessed by both sides of the map, I'd say they highlight how influent a pro-player can be. While talking to my friends about these numbers on June, I coined the term NS EFFECT to describe what was going on with the Radiant vs Dire. People woke up to this factor and started to make active use of it. Several heroes that makes Roshaning a dangerous journey were added and became popular. At the same time, it became an unwritten rule on tournaments that Radiant always have the first pick, with the argument that this balances the Dire advantage and it's impact on the game. The recent patch change swapping the amount of bans of the first and second ban phase changed the game. The 'Dire advantage' gave way to the Radiant advantage.
Here's an evolution of the first/second pick winrates.
NOW being Nov 20th, the day this data was compiled.
I'm not really sure if Radiant having first-pick balaces the 'Dire advantage.' What really brings balance to tournaments is the bo2 format, as it makes teams play on both sides of the map and with first-pick/second-pick. Dreamhack will surely give us a hint as to which is the right side of the river.