At the dawn of a new era for Dota 2 in the form of the Dueling Fates update, lies the AMD SAPPHIRE Dota Pit League. Offering 300 Pro Circuit points, the third minor starts on November 2nd and concludes on November 5th with 2 direct invites, TI finalists Team Liquid and Newbee, alongside 6 qualified teams. The sixth edition of the famed Dota Pit series also features its highest prize pool yet, with a whooping $300,000 dollars up for contest. Amongst the constant action that the competitive landscape has seen over the past month, Dota Pit League stands to offer the first glimpse into the new patch and meta.
Moreover, it shall also serve as a chance to refresh disastrous memories of Necrophos and Viper in 7.06 and offer a possibility to restart their journey for 2017 for many of the teams involved. Can Virtus Pro continue their momentum or shall we again see the rule of Team Liquid? How far can Fnatic and SG e-sports carry their regions towards glory? Could Dueling Fates prove to rejuvenate the lost charm of Chinese Dota, and see Newbee and Vici Gaming win the minor? Or is it going to be Immortals and OG who claim victory?
In what can only be described as a virtually unbreakable momentum garnered by The International winners, Team Liquid started the new competitive season breaking the ‘TI curse’ in style at the StarLadder i-League Invitational. What can be said to have started with the addition of breakout star GH-God to the roster has shown little signs of slowing down, only their 3rd/4th place finish in Hamburg has shown that they are indeed beatable. While they have been undoubted kings of 7.06, what lies in speculation is their performance in the Dueling Fates update. Does Team Liquid have what it takes to dominate not one but two competitive years?
Miracle- and GH have been incredibly talented players who have adapted to various heroes and styles of play, and arguably are two of the most flexible players in the scene. Mind_Control shone at The International 7 with million-dollar winning Nature's Prophet plays, and has boasted a large hero pool for the offlane across a range of different metas. Matumbaman on the other hand has relied strongly on a very specific number of heroes to play around, or excel rather, such as the Lycan and Lone Druid. Whether his skillset shall shine in the new meta will be tested soon enough. Last but not the least, very few professionals can brag about the level of experience that KuroKy builds himself from. The master-tactician and captain extraordinaire faces the colossal task to lead his unstoppable team into the unknown, for if he is able to successfully decipher the new patch before the other teams, there will be the formation of a legacy which will stand above all.
The numero uno Chinese team to look out for during The International 7, Newbee concluded a dominant 2017 with a stable roster. However, they fell short at the TI finals, losing only to the virtually invincible Team Liquid. Tears ran awry in the aftermath of the legendary whitewash, and their sight truly was that of despair. However, they weren’t one to let themselves get carried away, and Kaka soon found himself leading a rejuvenated roster into the DreamLeague Season 8 China Qualifiers, taking down Vici Gaming and LFY with vengeance. Their strong showcase at this qualifier was soon to be overshadowed however by poor performance in their next lan showing.
An overzealous Newbee was caught off-guard with the competition at the StarLadder i-League Invitational. Their first game against compLexity Gaming, a team marred with consistent failures, resulted in a devastating defeat for Kaka and co., dropping two straight games. What could’ve been considered as a rare failure in the discipline of the Chinese roster was soon found to be the final diagnosis of the team that showed up at the tournament. The final nail in Newbee’s run at the first Minor of the season was sealed in the form of another quick 2-0 whipped up by Team Secret as MidOne overran them in games that lasted 25 and 30 minutes. Few would’ve expected a TI finalist squad to come 7th-8th at the first Minor of the new competitive season. What is left to speculation now is whether the cards shall turn in favor of the team that has fallen short with the advent of the Dueling Fates update. Can Newbee redeem itself in the eyes of its ardent fans with a stellar comeback at Dota Pit Season 6? Or, arguably more importantly, do they receive their chance of revenge and pin down the blue counterparts, Team Liquid?
The highly fabled Korean roster once poised to bring another esport under their famed nation’s esports legacy, MVP Phoenix’s career in professional Dota 2 can be perfectly thought of as the metaphoric meteoric rise. What once started off with great vigor among players and fans alike soon faded into the 5 moving to various parts of the world in search of striking gold. However, we now have the 5 undisputed champions of Korea return to their roots (March aside) and assemble for round 2. The question is, will this much-awaited gamble pay off?
Their quest towards glory got off to a rough start, falling down to NA giants Evil Geniuses at the ESL One Hamburg Qualifiers, in a straight-forward 2:0 showdown. A resurgent Immortals was seen at work however, registering a win at the PGL Open Bucharest NA Qualifiers. In beating Digital Chaos, The Dire, compLexity Gaming, and Vici Gaming.J, they truly put their mark as a force to be reckoned with in the region. The team then fell into a short-spanned slump, failing to qualify for two tournaments before finally finding their footing and making it to Dota Pit Season 6 in a close-fought final against Optic Gaming, winning with a score of 3-2. Their track record ends with a 3rd-4th position at the PGL Open Bucharest, falling short only to tournament winners, Mineski. Their struggle towards this point can be considered commend worthy nevertheless, for taking down LGD and Secret in the group stages is no small feat. That being said, Immortals definitely bring the x-factor to the tournament, and definitely pose as a team to watch out for unexpected upsets.
OG today is but a mere shade of what it's glorious past used to be. During the heady days of 2015, the discovery of Miracle- and his addition to the Notail-Fly duo sparked fireworks that rocked the competitive landscape to its core. Securing 2 Majors and a slew of tournaments, OG entered The International as favorites. A shock exit at the hands of TNC in an unforgettable series led to the departure of arguably the most skilled mid player of that period in the aftermath of the tournament. Critics and fans alike waited eagerly to see N0tail’s next move. What resulted was a master move. Little-known 17 year old Australian player Ana alongside veteran Dota mastermind S4 and the insanely talented Jerax ushered in a new era of success for the green brigade. OG found themselves riding on unparalleled success, securing 4 Valve majors under their belt.
Post TI7, OG have found themselves in a treacherous slump. It could be argued that they were favored for the European qualifiers, and it was indeed a poor showcase of skills and coordination that beat them at every step. While they crashed out against mousesports in the first qualifier, it was their loss in the ESL One Hamburg 2017 Europe Qualifier against SFTe-sports that raised eyebrows regarding their current roster.
StarLadder i-League Invitational #3: Europe Qualifier saw them reaching the finals, but Team Secret simply were the better team at the end of the day, winning the 2 40 minute games back to back. Fans of OG finally had something to rejoice for with their qualification for the 3rd minor of the year, after a long fought 3:2 against HellRaisers. While their gameplay in 7.06 up to this point has been notably lacklustre, if there is one thing that OG have excelled at, it is in adaptation. Certainly, with the onset of the new patch, OG could finally have their chance at a reset of their luck in the competitive scene and make hay while it shines. What remains to be seen is whether this shall indeed be the case, or does OG continue to suffer.
With the addition of South American qualifiers to every Major and Minor, the competitive scene in those regions has experienced a transcendent shift. What were once seen as quick affairs surrounding the dominance of very few teams has now become a stacked battle. Emerging at the top of the crowd is the Brazilian roster, SG e-sports. Winning 4 out of 6 qualifiers is no small feat. However, the road has only just begun for South American Dota 2, for while SG e-sports’ have enjoyed successful endeavors within the region, there has been little of the same elsewhere.
The current team playing under the SG e-sports banner has but only scratched the surface of the international scene. Their largest dent so far at an international events remains their surprise 2-0 victory against Vici Gaming at the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 3. Paparazzi’s Faceless Void and Ori’s Necrophos seemed clueless in the wake of a very strong showcase of skills and patience by Costabile on the Arc Warden in game 1. The next game saw 4dr rise up to the competition alongside Costabile as SG e-sports won in dominant fashion. Their subsequent defeats at the hands of Team Liquid and Mineski however, highlighted the inconsistency and glaring problems plaguing the newly formed team. By the looks of their past stats and record, South American Dota fans will have to wait just a little bit longer for SG e-sports certainly has a long way to go before they can stand upright against their European and American counterparts.
Virtus Pro have stuck together for nearly 1 year and 3 months as we speak. The uncrowned emperors of the CIS region, Solo and co. have relished unparalleled successes across this period of time with international acclaim for their ungodly teamwork. The Virtus Pro that plays at this tournament brings years of experience to the table, for which few have found the answer in the past. Their current form post-TI has proven to be just as remarkable as before with their win at the Hamburg Major. With the level of competition at hand, Virtus Pro needs to rise up higher still on the new patch and lay precedence for more to come from their side.
Of late, Virtus Pro have played only in 3 qualifiers, securing 2 wins with relative ease and dropping one in a surprise defeat at the hands of Team Empire. This will also mark only their second outing in the new competitive format, the first being ESL One Hamburg. Virtus Pro as a team have excelled when momentum has been their ally. Periodic moments where Virtus pro seem virtually unstoppable dot the calendar. With this also accompanies a classic Russian allergy towards closing out tournaments and matches, and the consequent loss of momentum. Virtus Pro therefore sit at the precipice of a possible train of success that could decorate their story in the Dueling Fates update. Ramzes666 and No[o]ne, the core around which the entire team revolves, are extremely versatile players who have shown their worth over many patches. It will not be surprising to see Virtus Pro take the lead in setting the meta, especially in this tournament. The question that needs to be answered is, can they continue to outclass their opposition?
EternalEnvy’s dream of winning The International takes a new form post-TI as he joins his fate with Ohaiyo, DJ, Xcalibur and former teammate Pieliedie. Playing under the banner of Fnatic, SEA seems to be his choice of battleground. Their current showing makes one question that decision, for they have failed to be remarkable in any sense of that word, with the only consolation being not one but two qualifications for an event because of the deserving team needing to back out.
7th-8th in the StarLadder i-League Qualifiers, 5th-6th in the PGL Open Bucharest, 3rd-4th in the ESL One Hamburg Qualifiers, and lastly, 2nd in the AMD Sapphire Dota Pit Qualifiers. Fnatic has been consistently cut short by the cut throat competition in the SEA region. The team currently faces structural problems, with all-round failure at various levels in their showings so far. It’s sufficient to say that the cores, namely Xcalibur and EternalEnvy, have failed to perform and deliver at their expected level. The supports have been the saving grace in their case, but now facing international competition that far exceeds the needs of winning SEA games, it will take nothing but a revolutionary difference in the Fnatic that has been playing the qualifiers until now, and the Fnatic that will be needed to win the tournament. There is little doubt that Mineski would’ve been a better hope for a SEA win in Croatia, given their indomitable performance at the PGL Open. Can Fnatic redeem themselves in the eyes of their fans and be the next big thing to emerge from the region?
With every shuffle in China arises one star-studded roster that fails to live up to its promises and potential. As an organization, Vici Gaming peaked around the 2014 and 2015, under the command of rOTK and fy. Thereafter, numerous shuffles and terrible international results marred the legendary name that it was. However, Vici Gaming today stands as the perfect composition of new talents accompanied by revered and experienced names in the industry. All they need now are results.
Keeping in mind the nature of Chinese qualifiers, it is interesting to note that Vici Gaming have emerged as the dominant force in three qualifiers, securing themselves a slot in the StarLadder i-League Invitational, DreamLeague Season 8, and the AMD SAPPHIRE Dota Pit League. In the qualifiers for StarLadder i-League Invitational, Vici Gaming did the impossible. Starting from the loser’s bracket, not many would’ve bet on them to come first in the face of a stacked bracket. They however went on to take down Invictus Gaming, EHOME, LGD Gaming and LGD.FY in a praise-worthy feat of perseverance. Paparazzi, the undisputed star of the roster, has been on a roll. With a win rate of 62% post-TI and averaging a KDA of 5.45, everyone should be sure to pay attention to how he plays. However, another major factor that has turned the stars in favor of Vici Gaming has been the addition and discovery of Ori. Ori has dazzled the scene with fantastic mechanical skills. Accompanied by Paparazzi this core-duo was seen at its best in the best-of-3 against LGD in the finals of the Dota PIT Qualifiers. There certainly is a major x-factor in Ori, and while his first international outing at the StarLadder i-League Invitational went awry, he may have what it takes to win China it’s first minor.