While there are a lot of positive storylines happening in the EU DPC right now, there are definitely as many negative ones. Liquid and Nigma finding themselves on the bottom half of the standings are definitely two of them. But the saddest one is probably the story of VikinGG.
The European mix team made a name for themselves quickly once the COVID lockdown hit most of the world. They brought with them an exhilarating play style focused on aggression from minute one and made a lot of fans, the writer of this included. When the DPC invites were released, there were those claiming VikinGG earned an invite over Team Nigma to the EU DPC group stage. And at that point in time, they had a valid argument. Now? Not so much. After losing to HCE, the team that has gotten styled on by everyone else so far, VikinGG find themself at the very bottom of the upper division.
For HCE this is a nice break from what we've seen from them so far. Grabbing a win might be what they needed to start hunting the teams above them. At least we hope so.
|Vikin.GG||High Coast Esports|
|High Coast Esports|
Coming out of the laning phase, the game was dead even. For a while, it looked like VikinGG would come out ahead but a well timed move from Supreme^ meant that HCE could turn on Tobi's Timbersaw, instead of losing their Juggernaut, and this gold influx evened things out. Overall, though, it felt like VikinGG was still slightly better off. After an early kill in the lane, Chessie had been completely shut down by Shad and Seleri in the bottom lane, leaving him far behind the other cores.
This is usually where we see VikinGG excel. They move around the map very efficiently and end up claiming a few kills. Not this time. Instead, almost everything they tried fell apart. Either because of nice play from HCE, often led by Supream^ who had a great performance on the Storm Spirit, or simply by indecision. As VikinGG wasn't pressing as hard as they have in the past, HCE found the ball in their court and found a few key kills themselves. However, they still couldn't find the Naga Siren who was busy getting huge. And when the Shad decided to show up, things got very scary for HCE, very quickly.
With that in mind, HCE's hand was forced. They saw the amount of damage Naga could dish out and knew she was far from done farming. If they didn't move in right now, their chances to win the game would start to dwindle quickly. Turns out this would be a brilliant move, since VikinGG hadn't anticipated this and was thus spread out over the map. The resulting fight was definitely sloppy from VikinGG who seemed confused as to what the plan was. They lost both Puck and Timbersaw and suddenly HCE was 5k ahead, as well as a side of rax. And then a Rosh. And 10k gold. In just 5 minutes the game had gone from even to clearly in HCE's hands. The Swedish org wasted no time with this lead and simply pushed in the lanes. All VikinGG could do was watch from a distance as the game spiraled out of control.
|High Coast Esports|
Yet again, we saw an even laning phase. HCE had a lot of success top, getting two kills for Charlie that resulted in him having level 6 before Tobi could reach level 5, and a nice rotation from BOOM allowed for kills to happen bottom. In general, this would favor the team with the carry that comes online first. And that was definitely HCE, in this case. A Juggernaut will come online so much quicker than a Medusa. So when VikinGG's offlane tower fell just 8 minutes into the game, it was go time for HCE. They immediately rotated bottom, got two nice kills, and suddenly VikinGG was down to a single tier 1 tower.
Still, Shad's farming didn't take too much of a hit as he was forced to his triangle. Medusa is a hero who can farm that part of the map easily and VikinGG invested the required resources to keep him safe in that area of the map. With little pressure on the Dusa, HCE becomes more and more desperate. They try to be aggressive towards the mid tower, in an attempt to force VikinGG's carry out of the shadows, and while they succeed in that mission they don't get the tower or the carry. Instead they drop kills. At this point they seemed destined to drop this match and be forced into a decider.
Then disaster struck. Just as it seemed like VikinGG was in a position to pull ahead, they lost it all. A failed Rosh attempt, combined with some pristine pre-fight movement from Supream and Charlie, resulted in seven(!) deaths while they only managed to claim a single hero from HCE. The result was that Shad was still at the very top of the networth chart but the gap down to his supporting cast was simply huge. While Medusa may be a 1v5 type of hero, she needs way more time to build up to that point than HCE was willing to give them.
In the end HCE knew how to take care of their advantage and pushed down mid lane, forcing a fight where they, yet again, won so much more than they lost. And with that came the series. They claim their first win in the EU DPC and, for the first time, climb out of last place.
Series MVP: Supream^
Game 1 was not one of those "you can't miss this" games. But it wasn't a bad game. It was a a lesson in how to play Storm Spirit and how to handle impending doom as a team. It was also a lesson in how important it can be to catch your opponents off guard.
Graphics: Julmust / DreamHack
Graphics: Julmust / DreamHack