Table of Contents
Turning the tides
What’s the Secret?
It’s all about the points
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Mooduck’s tournaments have always been fun and a good distraction from the regular events, but they had been no more than token tournaments. However during this Captain’s Draft tournament SUNSfan found his way to not only host an official Valve event on American soil; he also managed to SUNSfan his way into casting a LAN final.
With 8 teams divided in 2 groups Washington was the stage for some of the finest Captains Draft Dota seen in a while, with stellar performances from players like iceiceice, Midone and Paparazi. Not only that but a deceiving group phase and some excellent matches in the playoffs added some intense flavor to the first LAN of 2018.
After earning some of the first DPC points for TI8, CompLexity began a slow but steady improvement on their play, especially after Core players like Chessie and Limmp delivered more consistent performances. This was aligned with a notorious fall in EG’s play – that ended up with the departure of Universe – and hence the uncertainty about which team would save NA Dota’s reputation.
Turning the tides
And after 8 Valve events, we can’t say the answer to that question lies within Kyle’s Squad. CompLexity has been losing most of its momentum – and potential points – by missing the chance to consolidate their dominance in the region against a weakened EG, a MIA Immortal squad and an underwhelming OpTic performance.
On the other hand EG has been performing poorly recently, and things had not been improving much for them. This LAN was the debut of a lineup that features Sumail in the offlane, Fear taking back the 1 position and Misery on a support role. It was a test for both teams and although we can’t say that EG’s run was bad – since they were knocked out of the tournament by both of the finalist – we can’t say that this Captain’s Draft LAN was fruitful for them either. CompLexity finished third in a group with EG and Pain gaming; considering that they tied with EG and lost 2-0 vs VG the net result is one victory over Pain Gaming, which is not even the top South American squad at the moment.
While CompLexity’s issue is that they can’t seem to get the LAN performance they believe they can achieve, EG has now found their new identity and might stop CompLexity from having more chances in the future. Some time ago, CompLexity was on a more hopeful path when compared to EG’s descent, but now is the ex TI champs squad is the one with a brighter future. Although EG also played the Pain wildcard EG’s new role switch has allowed this always-talented lineup to fill the hole that Universe left with amazing ease. While the shot calling stills seems like it could be a relevant issue for this squad, the level of play of the “new” core lineup of Fear, Arteezy and Sumail leaves us with a good impression for the coming LANs.
The ESL ONE Genting Minor will have both teams facing the top tier competition available in the Dota Pro Circuit while EG will have another chance to get some lighter practice at Galaxy Battles in the Philippines.
Teams that achieve such a thing like winning a Major are always in need of something: keep winning LANs. Secret’s victory over Team Liquid in the DreamLeague Major was as good as Virtus Pro’s was, over Secret. But considering that the immediate results after that victory were underwhelming for VP, the true power level of Virtus Pro was uncertain; were they that better than Secret and Liquid? Barely, is the answer that the results afterwards showed.
What’s the Secret?
The very same doubt could be said about Secret, but the squad led by legendary captain Puppey has demonstrated that they are currently the top team in Dota 2 Pro Circuit by some margin. Their advantage might not be as big as they want, but considering that Liquid has yet to win a Major and Virtus Pro’s last victory was over Eternal Envy’s Fnatic, the chances of getting that second Major at Katowice are getting better and better by the minute.
Secret’s run in the tournament, as many other champions, was far from perfect – and that’s the great thing about it. A deceiving result in the group stage showed us a weak Secret that barely achieved to win a game against an even weaker Empire.
But as a cornered fox, Secret is more dangerous when given the smallest of openings. When EG pulled out a doubtful draft with a position 1 Underlord Secret took a more traditional and comfortable approach with Midone’s Invoker and Ace’s Juggernaut. When Mineski tried to beat Secret with Pudge and Death Prophet picks Secret varied their draft with two very different approaches in both matches. The finals against Vici Gaming was just a delightful demonstration of how a rough road to the final will build up more character than a smoother path – and Dota 2 has quite some examples for it. Snatching two matches from the brink of defeat and adding the cherry on top of picking Meepo in the final game is a luxury very, very few teams have given themselves. And few things are more tilting than throwing two matches just to get Meepwnd in the final.
While one can say that Secret kept winning ‘impossible matches’ the answer to the question of what came first the throw or the comeback is quite simple: the throw. Throwing a match is something that happens a lot in Dota 2, especially since the addition of the comeback mechanics, but throwing a match is just half, or less, of the story. A team in a disadvantage might be already be too demotivated to “catch” a thrown match. In other occasions the throw can only be triggered by the smart and precise play by the underdogs. Either way it is a big mistake or a great play and a comeback will always require calm and calculated thinking from the team defending when all hope seems lost. Something that is forged by experience, lots of rough experiences.
OG and Mineski got what they came for, some points and cash. But the way things went for them surely gave them a sour taste: while OG was first in the group by beating the two weakest teams, Mineski defeated not one but the two finalists in convincing fashion, especially with that Iceiceice Dark Willow. Despite the strong performances both fell short against Secret and Vici Gaming in the playoffs, losing their respective semi-finals by 2-0. For Mineski, a good harvest to keep their lost pace in the race to TI; for OG a grim reminder that despite being on the invite list for TI at the moment, they are still not allowed in the ‘top of the world’ club of which they were once a part of.
It’s all about the points
Current DPC rankings can be seen here