It's here. It's finally here. The DPC is back, baby! Don't get us wrong, there were some amazing tournaments during the DPC downtime but they just didn't have that same feel to them. The aura of importance graced upon any tournament by the DPC status wasn't there and you could tell. Most teams went on a roller coaster. They'd win one event only to crash an burn shortly after. Because the events didn't really matter in the minds of the players. That's all a thing of the past now. Have a bad season and not only will you miss the Major but you'll be relegated to the second division, making your chances to make TI extremely slim. Excruciating for the players but great for us fans. Because we can look forward to 6 weeks of top level competition in the most competitive region in Dota 2 right now: Europe.
Before we get into the tournament itself, a quick note on our coverage is in order. The LiquidDota writing staff is smaller than it ever has been and covering all regions isn't feasible at this point in time. Considering the available staffs timezones and other commitment, as well as the potential of the games of each region, we've made the decision to focus solely on EU. However if you feel like you have the time to cover another region please hit us up and we'll help you do so!
Week 1 Schedule
Lots of interesting things will happen in the very first week. While you can say that OG and Secret gets soft starts to the DPC season, both playing opponents they really should beat, the rest of the weeks matchups look very promising. While we might only get one match on Thursday, it's Alliance versus Nigma. Alliance didn't get a direct invite but had a convincing run in the closed qualifier while Nigma's coming off a disappointing 2020. That being said, Nigma has had Alliance's number for most of last year. Loda's boys are gonna wanna change that ASAP while Nigma, with Kuroky back after surgery, will do everything they can to keep it going.
There's one team whose schedule stands out for week one, though. One team whose matches are "can't miss material" for the first weeek. One team whose DPC season could make, or break, in the first week: Team Liquid.
Liquid’s Achilles’ HeelThe spotlight of the first week will without a doubt be focused on Team Liquid. The current world #2 team, according to the ESL rankings, was maybe hoping for a soft start to the season. A chance to test out if those scrims really have been giving them all the information they need. A nice little ramp up. Well let’s just say that didn’t happen. Instead they could not have drawn a harder schedule. Sure, neither of their two matches this week is against the titans in Team Secret but, maybe a bit surprising, that doesn’t make their schedule any easier.
Team Liquid will start the inaugural DPC season against two teams they’ve consistently underperformed against over the last six months: Vikin.GG (Tuesday) and Team Nigma (Thursday). To really drive that point home, we’d like to show you a comparison on how they’ve performed against those two compared to how they’ve performed against Secret. Here’s a summary of their series against all three teams, since June 1st, 2020:
- vs. Secret: 3 wins, 5 losses (37% winrate)
- vs. Nigma: 3 wins, 6 losses (33% winrate)
- vs. Vikin.GG: 1 win(!), 3 losses (25% winrate)
That means that Team Liquid is probably the only team in the world that would prefer to play Team Secret over Team Nigma or Vikin.GG. Now the stats above doesn't tell you the whole truth. You could claim that the only reason they have a lower win rate against Nigma is that they have one less series played against Secret. And let’s not forget that Puppey’s team is still a formidable opponent that everyone wants to avoid like COVID-19. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Team Liquid will face their two biggest foes in the first week of the DPC. On a patch that they haven't played any official games on. It could very well be that their make or break week is week 1. Time to defend that #1 spot, boys.
Hot TakesPro Dota can, at times, seem a bit... predictable. Ya know, Secret will own the regular season. OG will swoop in with another miraculous TI run. Nigma will look promising but falter. So that's why we think the DPC needs some hot takes. Some predictions that aren't necessarily going to come true but aren't completely outlandish.
That's what the below three predictions are. In all honesty, we'd be happy if one came through. Elated if two did. Amazed if we got them all right. Which one(s) will be right? We have no clue. These are simply our slightly daring predictions for the inaugural EU DPC season.
We'll be making these every week. The first ones will cover the entire season, so remember to screenshot for some easy Twitter likes when we get them all wrong, but after these the takes will all focus on the upcoming week of play.
Vikin.GG was snubbed
The invites for the top EU division of the first DPC league was always going to be controversial, no matter who ended up getting the invites. EU had five really good teams and only four spots. However, we still think that Vikin.GG was snubbed and deserved an invited. And they will prove it. The new kids on the block will end the season ahead of AT LEAST two of the invited teams (Secret, OG, Liquid, Nigma).
OG will NOT make the Major
OG has been kind of hit or miss over the last few months. However, they ended 2020 on a high note as they took second in both OGA Pit and EPIC League. So they seem to be on the rise. However, they’ve struggled against plenty of teams in their group. Secret, Liquid, and — maybe a bit surprisingly — Alliance have all given them a huge headache the last few months. While the first two don't really make things complicated, the problem is Alliance. Alliance will be one of the teams fighting for that fourth spot. Which means that their matches against OG will be huge for them, resulting in a possibly complicated scenario down the road where OG find themselves in close proximity to the 5th spot. And at that point anything can happen.
The two last teams to qualify will be relegated
Maybe not the hottest of takes. The last two teams qualified won't have dazzled us in the qualifiers but there's always that one team that surprises us. We don't see that happening in the first season. The skill gap between the top six and the last two is simply too big. They might take a game off one of the others but, in the end, it won't be enough to secure their spot in the upper division. Sorry Chicken Fighters and Mud Golems.
Graphics: Julmust / DreamHack
Graphics: Julmust / DreamHack