The rosters change, the winners stay
This weekend the 11th tournament of the Dota Pro Circuit took place in Shanghai, which means that we are halfway through the season. There are 12 tournaments left now, however most of the points are still available to be won. So far, 5800 points (maximum amount of points won by one player) have been awarded and 12,750 points are still available to be taken during the rest of the season.
One week after losing to Newbee, Team Liquid solidified its dominant position by winning their third tournament this season and staying comfortably in second position behind Team Secret. The next tournaments will be two Majors, which means that the team standings will most likely change a lot in a month’s time. The latest competitive results, the biggest games to come and all the freshest news from the Dota Pro Circuit are here, as always handed over to you on a silver platter!
- StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4
For the second time this season, Valve led us to Shanghai for a minor and the organizers once more offered a high quality event. There was a clear distinction between top and lower tier teams during the competition, with the exception of LGD, who stood out by defeating Newbee in the semifinals. Indeed, it is always great to see the presence of teams like Kinguin, Infamous or Complexity but unfortunate to see that these teams do not match the level of other squads like Mineski, LGD or even Empire. The group stage did not provide much suspense partially due to the format that was used during this tournament, it did not give many chances to lower teams to come back in to the competition. We really expected a revenge finals between Liquid and Newbee, but instead LGD reached the last round and lost 3-1 against Liquid in a very intense Grand Finals. Liquid only lost one game during this event (a game lost in 18 minutes) and then kept on impressing their opponents with their game style and outstanding execution.
Upcoming tournaments and games:
- Dota2 Asia Championships 2018 Qualifiers
The qualifiers for the next Major competition played in Shanghai at the end of March are currently being held in different regions. Six teams have already been invited: Liquid, IG, VG, Newbee, Secret and Virtus.pro. For this tournament, two teams from SEA and NA will be qualified as well as three teams from China, while all the other regions will fight for one available seat. This seems quite logical as these are Asian championships, but a little bit unfair for the other regions as many points for the race to TI8 will be awarded during this event. Maybe it is also more relevant according to the amount of teams competing in each region, in which case this format is arguably much more balanced overall. Here is a list of all qualifiers finals for each region:
- SEA: 08/02 and 09/02 at 18:00 SGT
- China: 09/02 at 17:00 CST
- CIS: 13/02 at 19:00 MSK
- Europe: 09/02 at 18:00 CET
- NA: 08/02 at 18:00 EST and 21:00 EST
- SA: 10/02 at 00:00 CET
- ESL One Katowice (20/02/2018 until 25/02/2018)
The next Major will take place at the end of the month and the 16 teams to compete were determined a couple of weeks ago already. All of the top tier teams were invited to join, and therefore the qualifiers were pretty open and provided a few surprises. In the NA qualifiers, Complexity celebrated their second win on the same day and had the best performance of the week by stomping all their opponents in both qualifiers. Same story for LGD, the team struggled during the beginning of the season but confirmed that the team is back at its highest level since 2018. The biggest surprise came from Effect, who qualified in the CIS region by eliminating major teams like Team Spirit and Vega Squadron. Effect will participate in their first Major as well as the biggest LAN event they have ever attended. In the SEA region, Fnatic fought its way through the qualifiers and reached first place after a hard fought qualifier round. In South America, Infamous qualified without too many problems and are now hoping to score their first points in the general standings.
Here is a list of all the other teams qualified: Virtus.Pro, Secret, Liquid, EG, Newbee, Mineski, VG, NaVi.
Roster changes and CIS drama
One of the biggest news of these last weeks that created a lot of drama in the pro circuit is the move of Lil from Virtus.pro to NaVi in exchange of RodjER. Both players have been a part of their previous teams for a couple of years and suddenly swapped seats. Lil announced that being part of the NaVi squad was a childhood dream and quoted: "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get". More recently, NaVi’s captain Sonneiko has also been released from the squad due to unsolved internal conflicts, and a new player is now being selected. Above all the roster changes, this move gave NaVi 900 extra points in the team standings and made the team jump to fifth place with 1100 points. Both CIS teams are owned by the same stakeholders and these changes can be seen as a strategic move to get both teams to safely participate in TI8. Let’s just hope that all the drama happening around will not disturb the teams, which are favorites to qualify for the mega event in Seattle anyways.
Other roster changes include an entirely new team for VGJ.Storm, all five players have been let go and the team is now going to look for new players to fill in their team. As far as VGJ.Thunder is concerned, ‘DDC’ joined the squad instead of ‘ayo’ as their position five player. After being dropped from Fnatic, ‘Ohaiyo’ joined LFY along with ‘Yao’ and ‘Super’. W33 also found a new home at PENTA Sports. Famous streamer ALOHADANCE was also let go from Vega Squadron and has not found another team so far. The team known as ‘Animal Planet’ signed a contract with the Canadian organization Iceberg Esports and have therefore changed their name to that of its new owners.