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Dota 2

DPC S2 Week Four: New Teams On Top

Michael Hassall

Week four of the DPC Season 2 2021 is in the books, and as the end of the season creeps ever closer, there’s some new faces at the top of many of the brackets. In Eastern Europe Na’Vi has slipped from its top spot, while two undefeated teams sit strong. In Western Europe, OG defeated Team Secret in a stand-out match while Alliance found themselves facing and upset. Across the pond in NA and SA, two new teams have cemented their place at the top of the table. While in China, things aren’t looking too hot for the defending Major champions.

Fnatic Moon

Fnatic’s Moon was a force of nature throughout the week, leading his team with confidence from the middle lane. (Photo courtesy Epicenter)

Invictus In a Spot of Trouble in China

Written by: Patrick Bonifacio

1. Team Aster 5 0
2. Elephant 3 2
2. PSG.LGD 3 2
2. Vici Gaming 3 2
5. EHOME 2 3
5. Invictus Gaming 2 3
5. RNG 2 3
8. Sparking Arrow Gaming 0 5

It’s not looking very good for the defending Singapore Major champions Invictus Gaming. They currently sit in seventh place in the Chinese regional league, which is a far cry from winning the first Major of the year. It’s also a little concerning that they ended up losing to Elephant this week, considering that Elephant didn’t even qualify for the Major at all.

Fortunately, they didn’t completely drop the ball in Week Four. They won their series versus Royal Never Give Up, which ended in a score of 2-1 in favor of iG. The first game went pretty smoothly for iG, thanks to Zhou “Emo” Yi and Jin “flyfly” Zhiyi and their great core play. Emo led the way in kills with 11 of his own as Storm Spirit, while flyfly followed suit with a perfect 8-0 Juggernaut game. iG held a very early advantage in this game, and made sure not to relinquish it throughout the 27 minutes of play.

RNG would do the same to them in the second game, holding iG to just 11 kills while scoring 23 of their own. Zhong “圣子华炼” Liushuai’s Medusa pick worked perfectly, even though he played it in the safe lane as opposed to the mid lane as per usual. He came away with eight kills and no deaths, thanks to a blazing fast Butterfly timing at 27 minutes. Chong “FelixCiaoBa” Wei Lun also shined through in this game as the soft support Mirana, setting up kills for himself and his teammates quite often.

But it was iG who would come out the victors in this contest, after a pretty hard-fought Game Three. iG brought out the Emo Morphling this game, which turned out to be just what they needed to close out the series. Emo went 11-2 with an 18 minute Ethereal Blade picked up, which proved highly effective against RNG’s Medusa pick. Flyfly helped follow through on his fast start, dealing nearly 40,000 damage as Drow Ranger.

Their play allowed iG to turn the tables on RNG in the late game, after RNG had secured an advantage of more than 12,000 gold. A huge teamfight victory for iG at 42 minutes swung the lead in their favor after trailing for so long, and they would carry their lead until the very end.

Unfortunately, they could not get the job done against Elephant later in the week. Xu “fy” Linsen and his teammates seemed to have iG’s number the whole time, and quite frankly the Major defending champions just didn’t look like they had any answers to give. They will have to perform much better over the last two weeks of play if they want to even remain in the upper-division at this rate, let alone qualify for the Major.

An Immovable Object and an Unstoppable Force

Written by: Michael Hassall

1. Team Spirit 5 0
2. 5 0
3. Na’Vi 3 2
4. AS Monaco Gambit 2 3
4. Team Unique 2 3
4. Winstrike Team 2 3
7. PuckChamp 1 4

In the ESL One Eastern Europe league, the two undefeated teams of Team Spirit and continued their dominance. Team Spirit went first making Team Unique’s chances of sneaking into the top three look increasingly less likely. In two decisive games, TSpirit dominated at all phases of the games, but was a little slow to pull the trigger and end things.

Meanwhile, ended the week putting on a clinic against EXTREMUM, with Danil “gpk” Skutin breaking out his Invoker. Thanks to the still (fairly) fresh water rune changes, gpk was able to bully his lane and transition into late game. Still, the team opted to not pick the invoker a second time, instead, relying on a much more engage heavy composition for game two.

With Egor “Nightfall” Grigorenko, formerly epileptick1d, on Faceless Void, the team’s combination of Lion, Magnus and Disruptor created havoc for EXTREMUM. VP’s opponents had been in control for almost the entirety of the game, winning their lanes and pushing down VP’s towers. However, a pair of disastrous team fights spelled disaster for EXTREMUM, who just couldn’t resist the amount of hard engage VP had at their disposal. EXTREMUM fall to a 0-5 record, with the chances of them being relegated now almost certain.

Elsewhere in the league Na’Vi hangs on desperately to their third-place spot, and ticket to the Major. The team is 3-2, with almost the whole table on their heels. Arguably though, they’ve gotten the two biggest challenges out of their way with TSpirit and having already handed them losses. And the undefeated record of one of those teams will definitely change next week, when the two top teams in the region face off on May 13th.

Clash of the Titans

Written by: Michael Hassall

1. Alliance 4 1
1. Team Liquid 4 1
3. OG 3 2
3. Team Nigma 3 2
5. Brame 2 3
6. Team Secret 2 3
6. Tundra esports 2 3
8. Hellbear Smashers 0 4

In the Western European league, the desperate search for a ticket to the Major continues. Alliance, formally the top team in the league, had a huge upset loss against Brame on May 4th. Brame has a knack for upsetting big teams, first recording such a feat back at Summit 13 against Team Liquid.

Against Alliance though, Brame seemed to outlast their opponent. Over a grueling almost three hour series, the team grinded out a first game win, by simply outplaying Alliance and waiting for Tasos “Focus” Michailidis’ Wraith King to become unkillable. In the second game Alliance struck back, giving their carries comfort picks and trusting them to win lanes.

Ultimately though, it would be game three that decided the series. With solo mid player Irakli “W1sh-” Peranidze on Pugna, the team were able to secure an early lead. However, as the game veered into the 30 and 40-minute territory, control started to slip into Alliance’s hands. But after some clever map play and good catches on their opponents, Brame were able to secure the shock win over Alliance.

But this upset was somewhat overshadowed by a titanic clash between OG and Team Secret. Despite sitting in the record books as a nice, clean 2-0, that tells nothing of the story of this matchup. In two long, drawn-out slugfests two of the best teams in Europe clashed. In the hour-long first matchup, Secret had all but sealed the deal, only for the comeback kings of OG to steal the game.

Similarly, in game two, a back and forth brawl saw the lead switch between both stacks throughout the game. At one point, it looked like Team Secret had done it, taking down the tier three tower in OG’s high ground and looking to end. But incredible team fighting skills from OG prevented that, and eventually, the two-time TI winners prevailed.

As the dust settled it was clear that the stand-out player from this series wasn’t any of the usual OG suspects. Instead, Martin “Saksa” Sazdov, whose Clockwerk in the first game and Lion in the second, set the pace and saved OG from defeat multiple times.

Ultimately this is perhaps the best thing for the EU region as a whole. Perhaps this is all part of some galaxy-brained play to get for or even five whole Western European squads to TI thanks to DPC points.

Undying Makes It 5-0 in North America

Written by: Patrick Bonifacio

1. Undying 5 0
1. EG 4 0
1. Quincy Crew 4 0
4. simply TOOBASED 3 3
5. Black N Yellow 2 3
6. 4 Zoomers 2 3
7. S A D B O Y S 0 5
8. The Cut 0 5

It’s the same old song and dance over in North America for Week Four, as the top three teams maintain their respective undefeated streaks for the fourth straight week. Undying, Evil Geniuses, and Quincy Crew all have zero losses up to this point in time, though the round-robin will finally catch up to all three of them in Week Five.

Not much else to talk about when it comes to the games in NA, as a result—but Undying’s series against S A D B O Y S on Sunday was particularly notable. Not because it was competitive or anything like that, but rather because it was just another example of the stark difference in skill between the top three and the rest of the pack in the region.

Jonathan “Bryle” Santos De Guia immediately got to work in the first game, taking the reins right away as the solo mid-Morphling. He scored 14 kills while only dying once, and this was without buying an Ethereal Blade. Instead, the quick Sange and Yasha timing allowed him to impose his will on the map as soon as the mid game rolled around.

Indeed, that’s when things started to really go Undying’s way. They started creating serious separation in terms of net worth past the 20 minute mark, fueled almost entirely by Bryle’s headstart. Enzo “Timado” Gianoli O’Connor also helped out quite a bit, going 6-0 as the carry Luna. Rare footage of Luna in that role actually getting stuff done.

The second game was… interesting, to say the least. The final score was 70-20 in favor of Undying, making it immediately apparent that the entire game was a complete stomp. Bryle made S A D B O Y S look like a bunch of low-ranked pub players in this one, scoring nearly half of his team’s total kills by the end. Undying also made sure to make the most of the fact that S A D B O Y S didn’t want to call gg until the very last minute, by wiping them in the fountain a few times. Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek also sold all of his items and bought multiple Hands of Midas at the end, just to rub a little salt in their opponents’ wounds.

Fnatic Regain Lost Ground in SEA

Written by: Patrick Bonifacio

1. TNC Predator 4 1
2. Fnatic 3 1
2. T1 3 2
4. BOOM Esports 3 3
4. Excration 3 3
6. OB Esports x Neon 3 2
7. Omega Esports 2 4
8. Lilgun 0 4

Perennial Southeast Asian champions Fnatic have placed themselves back in Major contention in Week Four, winning both of their scheduled series to capture second place in the standings. This was an important week for them when it came to their overall performance, given that they were in sixth in Week Three.

They started things off this week against Omega Esports, against whom they played a full three-game series. Omega were actually the ones that drew first blood in the match, leveraging the hard work of Justine Ryan Evangelista “Tino” Grimaldo and Mc Nicholson “Mac” Villanueva as Tiny and Bristleback respectively. Their collective effort made sure that the game was completely out of reach for Fnatic right from the start, as Omega’s net worth lead just ballooned out of control.

Fnatic would reply very convincingly in the second game, though, with Marc Polo Luis “Raven” Fausto in particular showing everyone why he’s considered one of the best carries in the world right now. His Luna pick worked way better than most probably expected, what with the incredible 15 minute Sange and Yasha timing that he enjoyed. Better still, he and his team secured Roshan just after he picked up the Sange and Yasha. Though their lead diminished somewhat after the mid game, Fnatic kept it above the neutral line more than long enough for them to close things out after 35 and a half minutes.

The third game was more of the same, with Fnatic scoring 24 kills over Omega’s 12. They won two of the three-lane matchups after bringing out the Templar Assassin for Kam “Moon” Boon Seng, and from there Omega just couldn’t put up a fight. Moon’s nine-minute Blink Dagger timing was also way too much for their relatively fragile draft to handle. With no momentum to work with, Omega tapped out after 40 minutes of play.

Fnatic continued their success later on in the week against bottom feeders Lilgun, which went just about as well as anyone would have thought. Lilgun looked outmatched entirely in the two-game series, with Fnatic taking a swift 29-minute victory on the back of Moon’s 9-1 Death Prophet. It’s pretty safe to say at this point that Lilgun isn’t likely to finish anywhere above last place, while Fnatic could very well steal the top spot from TNC Predator going forward.

The Kings of SA Dethroned

Written by: Michael Hassall

1. NoPing e-sports 5 0
2. beastcoast 4 1
3. Thunder Predator 3 2
4. Infamous 3 2
5. Hokori 2 3
6. SG e-sports 1 4
7. Team Unknwon 1 4
8. Infinity Esports 1 4

A bold new week for South America, as the undefeatable beastcoast has been defeated. No rat in papal regalia dancing to Ameno this week guys. The culprits? None other than Infamous, a storied team in the SA scene, but a strictly middle-of-the-pack squad in this DPC team.

Still, the team upset beastcoast with some absolutely disgustingly good performances from their carries but also support Miquel “Michael-” Choque. His roaming Tusk pick started to take control from the start of the second game, keeping Infamous equal in gold for the first 20 minutes of the game. However, beastcoast were able to hang in and drag out the game, forcing Infamous to attempt a difficult high ground siege. Eventually though, after one dramatic team fight, beastcoast relented and Infamous took the victory.

With an almost hour-long loss now in the records, beastcoast seemed dejected in the final game of the series. And, after another impressive Tusk performance, Infamous was able to take home the match.

This upset had another unexpected upside, in that it rocketed NoPing e-sports into first place in the division, and potentially scuppered Thunder Predators’ chances at heading to a second Major this season.

Truly the entire face of the OGA DPC South America Regional League Season 2 has been upended by just two matches. With NoPing defeating Thunder Predator and beastcoast dropping their first regional series this entire year, it’s no longer certain who will head to the second Major from SA.