DPC S2 Week One: Flipping the Script
Week one of the second season of the 2021 DPC is already in the books, and we’ve seen surprises throughout. With all the region’s returning to home front to competition after the Singapore Major it was a pleasant surprise to see teams that hadn’t made it to the event begin to surge.
In Western Europe, OG is back on form after the return of one of their star players. Meanwhile, in China, Elephant looks to become the super team it was promised to be. The status quo hasn’t changed in NA just yet, even with EG proving that the region is stronger than it lets on. And in SEA, OMEGA Esports proved their promotion was no fluke.
DreamLeague Season 15 Starts With a Bang
After the return of Anathan “ana” Pham to the lineup of OG, it seems only fitting that the team are on top of the standings after week one of the DPC S2. With a pair of convincing wins over Brame, in what some may call a tune-up match, OG looked back in form. They were fighting well across the map, and showing the kind of aggression that was typical for the team in the past.
But beyond the return of ana, it’s the new patch that has emboldened Topias Miikka “Topson” Taavitsainen in the middle. In an era where solo mids can confidently lane without mana problems, thanks to water runes, Godson is in full effect. What’s more, with Invoker strong in the meta, his brand of Dota is very much on the up.
Beyond OG, Alliance and Team Nigma are finally back in business. The squads both defeated a seemingly struggling Team Liquid and Team Secret in their opening bouts.
However, with just one week into the season, it feels far too early to call time on the reign of Secret just yet. But this was always a close division, and it only feels closer still with both of Europe’s representatives at the last Major sitting at the bottom of the bracket.
Team Spirit Surge Again in Week One
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Just like in the Western European league, in the ESL One Eastern Europe Online Season 2: Upper Division, there’s new kings on top in week one. Team Spirit, who closed out the season with some surprise victories, has continued their form in the new season.
Kicking off the week with a convincing defeat of Natus Vincere, Spirit continued their week with another 2-0, this time against AS Monaco Gambit. In both cases, Spirit were far more clued in on the recently released patch. But beyond that, it was the standout play of Spirit’s five-position Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov, whose pair of Grimstroke games against Gambit helped seal the deal.
But Team Spirit has been here before. The team opened strong in the last DPC season in week one before dropping to middle of the table, and finally missing the Major. The squad will have to battle with consistency if they hope to keep their place in this league.
Virtus.Pro, Team Unique, and Winstrike Team also picked up wins in their opening matchups, none were so clean as Team Spirit. Every squad mentioned dropped at least one game, and it feels as if there’s a lot of space for improvement across the board in the region. Virtus.pro, who found themselves eliminated from the Singapore Major by Thunder Predator, will have a lot to
Elephant Begin Redemption Campaign in China
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Compared to the other DPC regions, China is currently operating with a truncated schedule. The first two weeks will feature just three matches each, though the schedule will return to normal by the third week.
Nonetheless, it’s business as usual for the strongest region in competitive Dota. Chinese superteam Elephant notably had a good outing against EHOME this week. Having just narrowly missed out on a wild card spot for the Singapore Major, Xu “fy” Linsen and his crew are on a mission to redeem themselves this season.
Their road to redemption has started off well with a 2-0 victory, thanks in no small part to Lu “Somnus丶M” Yao and his signature Storm Spirit. He led the way for his team in the first game, in particular, setting up kills left and right for his cores and even fy’s Lion. Though EHOME dealt with his Storm Spirit a bit better in the second game, it wasn’t nearly enough as the team’s two other cores picked up the slack. Overall, it was quite a one-sided affair in Elephant’s favor, which they will definitely take given their results from last season.
Royal Never Give Up, meanwhile, had a doubleheader on their first day of the new DPC season. They took care of Sparking Arrow Gaming (SAG) with relative ease, especially in the first map where they destroyed them 20 kills to two. SAG had absolutely no good answers to RNG; not even the Viper pick in the mid lane against Deng “Dstones” Lei’s Beastmaster.
The second game was a lot more competitive though at 29-23. Both teams traded blows through the first 35 minutes or so, until Dstones himself shut the door on SAG in the waning minutes of the game. Having gotten his hands on Beastmaster yet again paid dividends in the final contest, going 9-3 while also dealing more damage than Zhong “圣子华炼” Liushuai’s carry Nature’s Prophet.
Top Players Do The Usual in North American DPC
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The situation in North America meanwhile is completely normal, with the top teams easily beating the probable bottom-feeders. Midfielders Undying and 4 Zoomers put in flawless performances this week, as did Singapore Major participants Quincy Crew and Evil Geniuses.
The backmarkers probably won’t be putting up any surprising results in this region, where the pecking order is more or less immutable. The only two teams in this category that we could see completing an upset here and there are Black N Yellow and simply TOOBASED. Both squads have a good amount of experience and talent to work with, in order to stick around in the regional league at least.
But with all things considered, the next few weeks in NA will likely unfold the same way as in the previous season. EG and QC will be first and second, with the rest of the field in some order depending on how many strange things might happen. This is Dota, however, and “strange things” aren’t always as strange as they may initially seem. It would indeed be great to see some of the lower-ranked teams in NA get some time in the limelight.
Returning Giants in Week One of South America
After the huge disappointment of beastcoast missing out on the Singapore Major, Thunder Predator seemed to make it their mission to avenge their absence. In taking down some of the best teams from across the world TP proved they, and the whole of SA, had stepped up to a whole new level.
Now in their return to league competition, beastcoast and Thunder Predator are back to business. Both teams recorded big wins in their opening games, with beastcoast rocketing to the top of the league with a dominant showing against both Hokori, and then Team Unknown. While the true challenge will likely come from the likes of TP, and not anyone else, it’s still reassuring to see beastcoast on form so early.
The other big stand-out from this week’s SA action was the debuting Infinity Esports. With A-list sponsors, it’s nice to see the team match that caliber with their own performance. The Peruvian squad dismantled their countrymen on Hokori in a thrilling matchup. Hokori initially looked like they would bounce back from their loss earlier in the week to beastcoast, picking up a win with a potent Troll Warlord pick. But Infinity came back, banning away their Troll, and picking up a pair of dominant mid heroes for their own side. An Invoker game and a Windranger game showed solo mid Jeanpierre Valente “PiPi” Arroyo’s impressive range of talent. Both heroes benefit from a near-limitless mana pool thanks to water runes and bullied their opponent out of the lane. A decisive victory for the newcomers.
OMEGA Esports Put On A Surprise Show in SEA DPC
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Southeast Asia had one of the more exciting runs this week, thanks in no small part to the great showing by OMEGA Esports. The all-Filipino squad, who qualified from the lower division this season, notably defeated T1 two games to one to claim a joint first place alongside BOOM Esports.
Before getting to face T1, though, they first had to deal with their fellow lower division qualifying team Lilgun. It was a showdown between Mongolia and the Philippines in this matchup, with the Filipinos coming out on top after three games. OMEGA got the jump on Lilgun in the first game, leaning heavily on the mid Beastmaster played by Mc Nicholson “Mac” Villanueva to carry them through. Justine Ryan “Tino” Grimaldo was no slouch as the team’s core Io either, posting nine kills himself.
Lilgun made sure to return the favor in the second map, this time by picking Huskar, one of the strongest mid heroes in the current metagame. The selection worked perfectly, with Altanginj “x123” Bilguun posting 14 kills in a dominant performance. A nine-minute Armlet of Mordiggian timing was the icing on the cake. The tempo he was able to create was just unmatched by OMEGA, allowing Lilgun to put the game in a stranglehold 25 minutes in. From there, it was just a matter of keeping it clean, which they did easily.
However, it was OMEGA who would win the day in a 44-20 thrashing for the third map. Mac put on a superstar performance as Puck in this map, going 15-1 to remind people how deadly Pinoy Puck players can be. Tino followed right behind as the carry Alchemist with 10 kills. OMEGA held firmly onto the advantage the whole time, giving Lilgun zero chance of taking the series.
Once they encountered T1, OMEGA made sure to carry their momentum well even in a long three-game series. The first map was another masterclass by their two main cores, with Mac scoring a whole 17 kills as Beastmaster. Tino’s Sniper was almost equally lethal, with the hero able to fire away freely at T1’s rather immobile draft. The final score was 39-23 in OMEGA’s favor; not a bad start at all for a former lower division team.
T1 would not take the series loss lying down, however. They pulled out the patented Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon Morphling in Game Two, which happened to be just what they needed. OMEGA actually held a small net worth lead through the first 30 minutes, but 23savage would have none of it. His 16 minute Ethereal Blade timing allowed him to snowball right out of control, hitting 731 gold per minute by the game’s end. Not even the Bloodseeker pick from OMEGA was enough to contain him, giving T1 the comeback win.
Alas, OMEGA would not be denied. They closed out the series in a stunning 32-4 stomp over T1 in the third game, where they made the more experienced squad look like pub players in comparison. It was hard to watch for T1 fans, as their team just could not get the ball rolling at all. This performance in particular may be indicative of OMEGA’s serious potential this season, and it would be wise for even top teams to take them lightly going forward.