Dota 2 seems to be refreshed in 2018: Valve has now been more involved than ever in the running of individual tournaments. Before further clarifying that a Major must have 16 teams, it has already revoked the major status of Galaxy Battles II: Emerging Worlds. The tournament had fallen as a victim of the Philippine government’s long-raging war on drugs. The developer and publisher of the game cited the government policies infringement on players’ privacy as the primary reason to rescind the very important DPC points.
But EG and VGJ.Thunder fans have none of that with both teams performing quite admirably and making it to the finals. The new constitution of EG has apparently worked: Arteezy is still better left to play the harder carries, his occasional deaths in the early and mid game not affecting the team’s ganking tempo. Flashy plays made on a regular basis may not be in Fear’s arsenal but plenty of experience and far superior game sense and maturity have well equipped him to deal with any challenges that might come his way. Sumail’s offlane has also proven to be quite superb with strong initiations and decent laning on a variety of heroes throughout Galaxy Battles.
The View From The Top
However, whatever momentum Evil Geniuses have now, they will enter ESL One Genting as the 4th or 5th favourite. The team that beat them, VGJ.Thunder, are around the same if not lower expectations despite their recent 3-0 final victory at Galaxy Battles. Team Secret, Vici Gaming, Virtus Pro, and probably Newbee all are more convincing candidates to vie for the top prize. But all eyes will still be on Team Liquid. The TI winners’ momentum does not show any sign of abating. Yes, they lost games here and there and did not win all the tournaments they entered, but that was unrealistic in the first place. They relaxed a bit, which is more than deserving for what they had achieved, but there is no sign of them falling victim to the same problems that plagued Alliance and Newbee after their TI victories.
Liquid can adapt very well and change is indeed what Liquid must do. Old Na’Vi fans will know that even the most glorious reign comes to an end. New patches come out, the map is re-designed and re-fitted. Items have their composition, function, and strengths changed. New items are made. Heroes learn new abilities as they forget some of the old. But Liquid can be proud of themselves for the consistency they have shown. Only Na’Vi has ever done better than they have done; that took the Yellow Legion three years to prove it. Liquid has had only a year and a half together and are quickly approaching Na`Vi’s throne.
After winning TI6, Wings rode on their winning streak to win Nanyang Cup and Northern Arena BEAT Invitational. The sudden slump was not totally expected but considering the team’s history it was not that erratic by their standards; the new single-elimination format was also given the blame as all Chinese teams seemed to have gone to sleep for the winter. They soon bounced back in last year’s ESL One Genting, finishing top 4. But it was the last tournament of significance that they participated in as Wings. At this point last year, the rumours of discord between Wings’ management and their five players had already been in circulation for more than a month and was later proved that the dispute about pay was already disrupting the team’s morale and interfering with training and playing. We shall never know what exactly happened in later episodes of the rectangular disputes among the players, the management, ACE, and the fans. Wings were another victim of success at TI.
EG had a good run after their TI5 win, too. Personnel changes were minor and deeper acrimonies did not surface until very recently. They were still overall successful despite bitterness in interpersonal relationships, managing to clinch the final day of TI the year after as well. But the failure to win a Major could hurt them as this season progresses, and it is something we are sure EG wishes to amend.
Then there was Newbee, who lost the only player (Hao) who was hungry for more glory. Mu’s great RPG adventures seemed partly to be a result of not playing with Hao, but it was below par for what people expected from a TI winner. Like iG two years ago, they suffered from a change of heart. In the cruelly competitive environment of professional Dota, trying to muddle along was never going to cut it.
True the lineups of iG, Alliance, and Newbee all changed substantially after their respective TI win, but that is just another testament of the hard work required to keep winning. Liquid has done the sensible thing to stick together, and numerous teams have asked the question in the same position. As of now, Secret has twice successfully dislodged Liquid in a final. Vici and Mineski came close. VP are good to go. LFY feels they were painfully close to prevent Liquid from claiming the Aegis in the first place. Other teams will have nothing to lose, that is, if Newbee can throw what SGamer and Weibo have to say behind them.