AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League Tournament Introduction

by Mark Ryan
on October 31, 2017

In Split, Croatia, on November 2nd, 2017, 8 Dota teams will battle in the 4th Dota tournament of the season. This Minor tournament will be unique with wild outcomes because it’s happening 1 day after the new patch. The highly anticipated match will mark the end of the current meta which has been going on for way too long.

The 8 teams participating are:

  • Team Liquid from Europe
  • Newbee from China
  • OG from Europe
  • Virtus Pro from CIS
  • Immortals from North America
  • SG e-sports from South America
  • Vici Gaming from China
  • Fnatic from South East Asia

Because the new patch will be changing the entire meta, the teams will have 1 day to get used to the changes. This can cause upsets that would not normally happen. Maybe Fnatic and SG e-sports are great at using a strategy that becomes unstoppable with the new patch. Or maybe Team Liquid lose miserably because of the meta changes. The new patch happening 1 day before this tournament makes things much more exciting.

Let’s take a look at the teams participating and their chances of winning the tournament.

Virtus Pro – (+175)

  • Carry: Ramsez666 – 9740 MMR
  • Mid: No[o]ne – 9347 MMR
  • Offlane: 9pasha – 8020 MMR
  • Support: Lil – 7731 MMR
  • Support: Solo – 6638 MMR (captain)
  • Coach: Artstyle

Virtus Pro are your most recent champions! Winners of the first major tournament of the new season, ESL One Hamburg, Virtus Pro took down reigning champions Team Liquid, TI7 2nd place team Newbee, and top contender Team Secret on their hard road to victory. Congratulations to Virtus Pro on this amazing victory.

I am a huge fan of Virtus pro. I love their play style, their cocky attitude, and it’s all backed up by actual victories. In a scene where trash talking is rare, Virtus Pro (Lil specifically) is one of the few teams that talk trash. Before ESL One Hamburg started, Lil created a little controversy by saying Team Liquid’s GH did not do anything special at TI7. GH is regarded as a top player at TI7 and many people would call him the MVP of the tournament. 9pasha continued the trash talking by saying Team Liquid didn’t do anything special to beat them.

Virtus Pro backed up their trash talk at ESL One Hamburg. During the group stages, Virtus Pro would beat Team Liquid 2-1 in an epic series. This would be the first series defeat for Team Liquid since the upper bracket of TI7.

Virtus Pro would go on to win the entire tournament, defeating Team Secret in the grand finals 2-0. They won $500,000 and 750 points towards TI8. Solo was voted the MVP of the tournament and won a new Mercedes Benz.

Virtus Pro’s strengths are numerous. Solo is a top tier captain who out drafted legendary captains such as Puppey of Team Secret, Kuroky of Team Liquid, and Faith of Newbee at Hamburg. No[o]ne is arguably the best core player in the game right now, after demolishing everyone in his path at Hamburg. 9pasha played extremely well in Hamburg. His Brewmaster game was incredible and caused chaos throughout the map, making it easy for his carry to deal damage while he distracted the enemies.

There was no weak player on this team in this tournament, everyone did great and outclassed the rest of the teams on their way to victory.

Now Virtus Pro ranks #1 at Dota Pit, ahead of Team Liquid, Newbee, and OG.

Since Dota Pit will be held one day after the new patch releases, the results of this tournament are difficult to predict. The current patch masters, Team Liquid, lost to 2 teams at ESL One Hamburg while picking their comfort heroes. Virtus Pro did not pick too many meta heroes at ESL One Hamburg except maybe Necrophos. They won by picking heroes such as Sniper, Brewmaster, and Enchantress, heroes that not many teams play.

It’s likely that Virtus Pro is currently better than Team Liquid or Newbee or any of the other teams in this tournament. Liquid had a great run in their last 5 tournaments, it’s possible that they’re burning out. Virtus Pro just achieved their first major victory of their career so their reign has just begun.

I have high hopes for Virtus Pro at Dota Pit. These boys have a reputation for being a chaotic team so playing a day after the patch releases will probably be seen as a positive for them.

Team Liquid – (+225)

  • Carry: Matumbaman – 9509 MMR
  • Mid: Miracle – 9274 MMR
  • Offlane: Mind_control – 8994 MMR
  • Support: GH – 9411 MMR
  • Support: Kuroky – 7540 MMR (captain)
  • Coach: Heen – 7274 MMR

Has the TI curse begun? The TI7 champions have lost at the most recent Major: ESL One Hamburg. They lost 2 series to Virtus Pro and Team Secret. During the losses, Liquid picked their comfort heroes such as Broodmother, IO, and Terrorblade and still lost. Many teams in Dota fear the comfort heroes of Team Liquid and ban them out of respect. Virtus Pro and Team Secret said come at me bro and let Liquid pick their heroes. Liquid still lost, showing the world that the champs aren’t invincible.

It’s possible that teams have figured out how to beat Team Liquid. Liquid used to overwhelm opponents with their map control. They would slowly build up a stranglehold on the map by owning all 3 lanes and pushing all the creeps towards the enemy base.

They would avoid fights, split the map, and over the course of 30 minutes make all 3 lanes push into the enemy base. Team Liquid would then farm the map with their 4 core line up and eventually have such an advantage that winning was an inevitability.

We saw Team Secret counter this strategy during the semi-finals at ESL One Hamburg. Team Secret saw Liquid’s unwillingness to engage in fights during game 1 of the series, so they picked Bristleback (one of the hardest heroes to kill) and sat him in front daring Liquid to fight. Liquid never fought and always tried to split the map in game 2, but Secret just kept pushing and eventually won.

Liquid used their greedy strategy to win 5 straight tournaments but lost in the semi-finals in their 6th tournament.

With the new patch incoming, how will Liquid fare? They were the absolute kings of the current meta until ESL One Hamburg. At their core, Liquid is very greedy with basically 4 cores. Their 3 cores love to farm and get ahead in net worth and their support, GH, also loves to get ahead in net worth. They found much success and shouldn’t change everything just because they lost in a tournament to teams they beat before.

Liquid is still a top 2 team in the world, and the other team, Virtus Pro, need to win more tournaments to cement their status as the number one team in the world.

It’s hard to say how much the new patch will influence the rankings of teams. Maybe a team like Evil Geniuses will bounce back to tier 1 form with buffs to Sumail’s favorite heroes. What we do know is that Team Liquid has 5 world class talents on their team with a history of success that very few teams in Dota history have accomplished. It’s unlikely Liquid fall far from their current rankings but only time will tell.

Newbee – (+550)

  • Carry: Moogy – 8504 MMR
  • Mid: Sccc – 8876 MMR
  • Offlane: Kpii – 8474 MMR
  • Support: Kaka – 9403 MMR
  • Support: Faith – 7456 MMR (captain)

China may be the region with the highest number of great teams, but it seems like other regions have the best teams in the world. Europe and CIS are owning the rest of the world with teams like Team Secret, Team Liquid, and Virtus Pro ranking highly in every tournament. China needs to step up their world performance or risk being considered the next North America.

Newbee is China’s best team but they have not defeated a non-Chinese top tier team in many tournaments. Their run at TI7 consisted of heavily favored matchups which paved the way to a grand finals appearance.

They defeated Evil Geniuses and Invictus Gaming in the first 2 rounds of the upper bracket, both tier 2 teams and Invictus Gaming overachieved by making it that far. They then defeated LFY which was their toughest challenger but LFY is a Chinese team. Then they lost 0-3 to Team Liquid in the grand finals.

Since LFY’s great TI7 run, they lost in every qualifier they played in and have not been seen at a tournament. They were Newbee’s toughest challenger that they beat and we have seen that LFY maybe overachieved. Newbee’s great run at TI7 was maybe a case of lucky matchups and they overachieved as well.

Newbee and the rest of China are struggling to adapt to non-Chinese styles of Dota play. China loves conventional Dota, with conventional roles and conventional gameplay. China will predictably focus on objectives and the game will play out predictably.

Compared to CIS and European Dota which is dominating the world, the play style is quite different. The conventional roles are flipped on their head, the style is focused more on map control and farm compared to objectives and the aggressiveness is increased.

Virtus Pro and Team Liquid love to dominate their lanes, which Newbee is struggling to deal with. Roamers such as GH are putting pressure on enemy cores unlike China (or the world) has ever seen.

China has not seen a dominant team since Wings Gaming in 2016. Wings Gaming achieved their success by playing an unconventional style the Dota world has not seen since. Many people joked that Wing’s picks were random picks which sometimes it seemed like it was.

Newbee is trying to be the top team in the world. They have the talent and potential but the results aren’t there yet. But Team Secret finally beat Team Liquid at ESL One Hamburg. That should give hope to Newbee to witness a team that struggled like Team Secret to finally break through and defeat a team like Team Liquid.

I think Newbee should keep grinding with their current roster because maybe the next patch will be beneficial for them. Team Secret showed the world that if you stick together and keep trying, you could break through and make it further than you have before. If it can happen to Team Secret it can happen to Newbee, a team with arguably better talent.

OG – (+700)

  • Carry: N0tail – 8021 MMR
  • Mid: Resolut1on – 8462 MMR
  • Offlane: s4 – 9232 MMR
  • Support: Jerax – 7969 MMR
  • Support: Fly – 8161 MMR (captain)
  • Coach: 7fckngMad – 8931 MMR

The original kings of Dota, OG is finally back at a tournament. After missing out on the first 3 tournaments of the season, OG has a chance to win some qualification points towards TI8 and upset some top teams in the process.

Since their dominance at classic Dota Major tournaments before the competitive scene change, OG has not been very successful. They changed their mid player from Ana to Resolution after TI7 where they placed 7th-8th. Everyone else has stayed the same.

OG has a unique issue that not many teams in Dota face. OG is one of the most winning organizations in Dota so they have to deal with winner’s fatigue. OG won 4 out of 5 Major Dota tournaments, a truly unprecedented feat. Their dominance stretches back to 2015 where they won the Frankfurt Major to 2017 when they won the Kiev Major.

There are so many dreamers in Dota that the desire to win is so strong. Many players have not accomplished any 1st place victories in any tournament so their ambition to win is at an all-time high. OG has won so many times that their ambition and attitude towards the game may have changed since finding success. It’s the desire to win that pushes players to the absolute limits to achieve their dreams. But what happens after you achieve your dreams?

OG has the talent and experience to compete against the best but their performance has fallen off drastically since the Kiev Major.

Maybe this meta isn’t favorable to OG and their strengths.

OG’s main strength is their leadership and talent recruitment. The leadership of Fly and N0tail is the foundation on which all their success was built on. The first 2 Majors featured teammates such as Miracle and Cr1t who are extremely talented players. After their first 2 Major victories, Miracle and 2 other members of the team left, leaving only Fly and N0tail behind.

No one thought that OG could bounce back after losing Miracle but they recruited S4, a TI winner and one of the game’s oldest veterans, Jerax, an up and coming support player, and Ana, an unknown talent. With this new roster, OG would win 2 more Major tournaments proving that Fly and N0tail were the important players all along.

OG need to master the new meta quickly. Team Liquid was the team to master the old meta and they used that mastery to find much success. I believe OG has the talent to compete against anyone, but perhaps after winning so much so early, their foot has eased off the gas pedal, which allowed other top teams to surpass them.

The Other Teams

Immortals – (+800)

Immortals is a team whose chances of winning is a roll of the dice. Their talent is tier 2, borderline tier 1. Somehow they manage to beat teams they have no business of beating and that has been their history.

Immortals consist of 5 South Korean players that are playing for a North American team. The same 5 players upset OG at TI6 when OG was the favorite to win it all.

At PGL Open Bucharest, Immortals finished 3rd-4th. During the group stages, they beat Secret 2-0, and then Secret again 2-1 before losing to Mineski 2-1 in the playoffs. Secret beat Team Liquid at ESL One Hamburg so can Immortals beat Team Liquid? Unlikely but bigger upsets have happened from the likes of Immortals.

Vici Gaming – (+1400)

Vici Gaming is a classic Chinese Dota team with a healthy mix of veteran and fresh talent. Their cores are young and new to the professional scene and the rest of the team are veteran players with a lot of Dota experience.

At +1400 the expectations of this team are very low. Vici Gaming qualified for 3 out of 5 qualifiers they participated in, beating LFY, LGD, and Eclipse in the process.

Vici Gaming only played in 1 tournament this season, StarLadder i-League Invitational #3, and they went 0-4. They lost 0-2 to SG e-sports, a team from Brazil with the lowest odds in any Dota tournament.

Chinese Dota has taken a hard hit since 3 of the top 4 TI7 teams were Chinese. This region might be saving their strategies for TI8 but if they don’t do well in these international tournaments, there won’t be any Chinese teams at TI8.

SG e-sports – (+6600)

SG e-sports is apparently the best team from South America. It’s either been Immortals or SG e-sports representing South America in every tournament so far.

Including South America in every tournament is a great move for Valve. In terms of competition, South America is quite behind every other region. I’m sure the region will get better as the years go on but right now they are the weakest region in the world.

Fnatic – (+6600)

You have to be especially bad to get the same odds as a Brazilian team that has done badly at every tournament. Unfortunately for Fnatic, SG e-sports did better than they did. SG e-sports have won at least 1 game at a tournament, Fnatic has won 0.

Fnatic has been gifted tournament appearances. They won 0 qualifiers, the only reason they are playing in tournaments is because teams that actually qualified could not attend.

Their mid player, Excalibur, is perhaps the least talented player at any Valve tournament that is not from South America. He might be the best core on a tier 3 team, but he would be a downgrade for most tier 2 teams. He is definitely not a tier 1 talent.

EternalEnvy, the captain, is perhaps the worst captain in all of Dota. His draft picks are extremely bad and questioned heavily by analysts during broadcasts. Fnatic’s in-game decision making is also not great. They have talented players but the leadership is the worst. As long as EternalEnvy is a captain, or core, or drafter, the team has no chance.

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