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Dota 2

DPC S2 Week Two: Return of Alliance and TNC Predator

Michael Hassall

We’re already into week two of DPC 2021 S2 competition, and already clear front runners are starting to appear. In Eastern Europe, one team has finally figured out how to stop Beastmaster, the most annoying hero of the current patch. Meanwhile, in Western Europe and Southeast Asia, a pair of old powers are rising to new prominence. In China, there’s an all-out brawl for first place, while in South America, it’s much tamer. And in North America, some signature Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao shenanigans were on the menu.

RNG take down ELEPHANT

It's week two of the DPC 2021 S2 and at least in China it's anyone's season as RNG take down Elephant in dramatic fashion. (Image courtesy Perfect World)

Team Spirit Have Cracked the Code

Written by: Michael Hassall

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

Team Spirit are 3-0 in Eastern Europe, and at the top of the standings. This is an outcome few if any predicted. The reason: They alone have figured out how to stop Beastmaster one of the most dominant heroes in the middle lane this season. For whatever reason, every time someone picks Beastmaster against Alexander “TORONTOTOKYO” Khertek, he shrugs and wins the lane anyway.

Having defeated Beastmaster against Na’Vi and AS Monaco Gambit in Week 1, Team Spirit set to do it again against Winstrike Team on April 25th. Banned out in the first game, Winstrike were able to secure the first game thanks to a dominant performance from Anton “dyrachyo” Shkredov on Lifestealer. Seemingly having bigger fish to fry than the Beastmaster, Spirit left the hero open for game two, and proceeded to punish Winstrike for picking him.

Hounded by ganks, and more importantly, unsupported by his side laners, the Beastmaster crumbled. A great performance by TORONTOTOKYO on Storm Spirit probably didn’t help things either. Being able to spam his spells thanks to bottled water runes made laning against BM as simple as dodging axes. Team Spirit’s run-through this season is still on thin ice, but it still has steam for the time being.

Alliance on top Again

Written by: Michael Hassall

1. Alliance 3 0
2. Team Secret 2 1
3. Brame 1 1
3. OG 1 1
3. Tundra Liquid 1 1
6. Hellbear Smashers 1 2
6. Tundra Esports 1 2
8. Hellbear Smashers 0 2

Another week, another hype Alliance win. This time against Team Nigma in what has to be, just two weeks in, the game of the season. A closely fought war, the game started out with Alliance picking up the first win after close to 45 straight minutes of being behind. Alliance kept Nigma within clawing distance, and after a pair of disastrous fights for their opponent, the team grabbed the win.

In the second game, Nigma refused to let things scale away from them. Instead, they used a brutal engage combo of Centaur Warrunner and a disgustingly farmed Faceless Void to pummel Alliance into the ground. With the match on the line, Alliance picked away the Centaur but allowed Nigma to keep the Faceless Void pick. After all, they only really needed the Warlock. A broken pick apparently in the hands of Artsiom “fng” Barshak who helped secure the win alongside his carry.

But while Alliance now sit at the top of the standings, they’ve done by the smallest margin possible. Each of their three matches has gone the distance, with them dropping a game. While this also means they’ve played more Dota this season than anyone else, it’s also a sign that the team could stand to polish up it’s game a little. Although against this European field, 3-0 is still impressive.

Western Europe is filled with teams with one thing on their mind—and it’s not the current season. Instead, the likes of OG, Team Nigma, Team Secret, et al. seem to have their eyes turned towards The International. With every game crucial for qualifying for that event, some may be more focused on the forest of Dota 2’s biggest tournament, missing the trees that make up each series in the DPC League.

Three Teams Tied For First in China

Written by: Patrick Bonifacio

1. EHOME 2 1
2. Elephant 2 1
2. Royal Never Give Up 2 1
Invictus Gaming 0 0
Team Aster 0 0
Vici Gaming 0 0
8. Sparking Arrow Gaming 0 3

The Chinese upper division saw their second and final shortened week of play this week. There were clean sweeps across the board in Week Two, with superteam Elephant playing doubleheaders this time around. The squad led by International silver medalist Xu “fy” Linsen split their two series this week, cleaning up against Sparking Arrow Gaming while being brought to their knees by Royal Never Give up.

The first game of their match against RNG was indicative of how much work Elephant still need to put into building chemistry. Even with the awesome start to the laning phase that they had put in, they ended up throwing their significant lead away in the late game. Both Lu “Somnus丶M” Yao and Zhang “Eurus” Chengjun got the farm they needed, and for a long time, it looked like RNG would fold as they had Phantom Lancer against Sven.

Sven naturally counters Phantom Lancer as a hero with cleave built-in, but in the end, it wasn’t enough after Elephant just tossed away their advantage. They lost a teamfight big time just after the 35-minute mark, though to Elephant’s credit they managed to get back their advantage soon after. They would hold onto it for another 15 minutes, but RNG would cause another massive swing in the final five minutes. Elephant tapped out just two minutes shy of the 60-minute mark.

The second map took even longer than the first, clocking in at 65 minutes total. It was another case of Elephant dropping a lead they should have kept the whole way through, but this time the lead was more than double that of the last game. At one point, Elephant had a 33,000 gold advantage to their name, but one late-game teamfight went awry and undid all of their prior efforts.

Huge props to RNG for keeping their heads above water despite facing such an uphill climb, though. If they can perform like this (or even better) against teams like PSG.LGD Gaming and Invictus Gaming this season, they could very well sneak into the next Major.

TNC Maintain Form in SEA

Written by: Patrick Bonifacio

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

After missing out on the Singapore Major entirely, TNC Predator are now clearly on a mission to redeem themselves as one of the premier contenders in Southeast Asia. Week Two sees them maintaining their undefeated streak this season, with two series wins under their belt after this week.

They started this week off by sweeping Omega Esports, the surprise winners from last week’s proceedings. TNC barely broke a sweat in the matchup, using their fantastic drafting prowess backed by the superb leadership of Marvin “Boomy” Rushton. They had answers to everything that Omega threw at them in both games, and all in all they made Omega look like they needed to go back to the lower division.

Gabbi TNC

Things are starting to look up for TNC Predator as they seek to reassert themselves as one of the best in SEA. (Photo courtesy ESL)

They followed this up with a 2-1 victory over OB.Neon, who placed top six in Singapore. As one of the more anticipated matchups in the SEA region, the contest certainly did not disappoint. OB.Neon was the first to draw blood in the series, taking it hard to TNC with a score of 30 kills to 10 after 32 minutes of play. Everything went off without a hitch for OB.Neon, especially for star player Erin Jasper “Yopaj” Ferrer and his Dragon Knight pick. Yopaj ended with a flawless 9-0 kill-death ratio, while John Anthony “Natsumi-” Vargas helped him as the 10-2 Void Spirit.

TNC evened things out in the second game, which proved to be an evenly fought contest despite the game ending in less than 30 minutes. The x-factor that allowed TNC to put the game in a chokehold past the mid game was Armel’s mid Beastmaster, which we all know is one of the strongest heroes in the metagame right now. His 13-minute Aghanim’s Scepter rush helped TNC take over before 20 minutes had elapsed, and from there OB.Neon just couldn’t respond at all.

TNC sealed the deal in the third map, which went for a healthy 42 and a half minutes this time around. TNC had the game in the bag for the most part, though, as for some reason OB.Neon thought it was a good idea to give Armel Beastmaster yet again. It was everything but a good idea as it turned out, because Armel scored 17 kills. Gabbi followed behind with 11 kills as Spectre, while OB. Neon’s cores just couldn’t get much of anything going.

This result puts TNC quite a bit ahead of BOOM Esports, who are trailing behind them with a score of 2-1. BOOM lost to OB.Neon two games to zero this week; not the result they were hoping for. Perennial SEA champions Fnatic, meanwhile, took a humiliating loss at the hands of Execration, putting them in seventh place from the get-go. They’ve only played one match so far though, so there’s plenty of time for them to get back up the order.

Usual Suspects Stand Firm in NA

Written by: Patrick Bonifacio

1. EG 2 0
1. Quincy Crew 2 0
1. Undying 2 0
4. 4 Zoomers 2 1
5. Black N Yellow 1 2
6. simply TOOBASED 1 2
7. SadBoys 0 3
8. The Cut 0 3

It was another rather predictable week for North America, whose frontrunners dominated the matches as usual. Singapore Major second placers Evil Geniuses trounced 4 Zoomers on Sunday, which was to be expected given how good EG are right now. Undying, meanwhile, also scored a 2-0 win versus simply TOOBASED, allowing them to tie with EG so far.

Perhaps the most interesting thing in NA this week was the match between Quincy Crew and Black N Yellow. In particular, the first game was wild, lasting 68 minutes in total with a base race to top it all off. Both—yes, both teams managed to get mega creeps on each other after a back-and-forth slugfest, with Quincy Crew enjoying a massive ultra late-game lead on the Radiant side.

Both squads kept trading teamfight wins left and right as they vied for the upper hand, only for the game to devolve into a contest of who could throw the hardest. As is tradition with matches involving EternaLEnVy himself, though, the final moment of Game One was just unbelievable to watch. Recognizing that his team had just one opportunity to pull the win out of a hat, EnVy (playing Wraith King) used his Boots of Travel to backdoor QC’s Ancient. He was, of course, met by a few of QC’s players on that side, and despite his best efforts to solo the objective down, he just didn’t have enough left in the tank to get it done.

With the painful loss in the first game still fresh in their minds, Black N Yellow simply folded in the second game. The contest barely lasted 16 minutes, with Quincy Crew holding their opponents to just three kills while scoring 17 of their own. It was over in a hurry, and was a sign of things to come for the region this week; every match played ended in a clean sweep. Not much else to say about NA at this point, though we hope some upsets are forthcoming.

South American Seasonal Similarities

Written by: Michael Hassall

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

There are times when it can be a struggle to watch South American Dota. Not because of a lacking in quality, but because you have to assume that beastcoast and Thunder Predator will win their matches. Once again the two best teams in the region sit jointly at the top of the standings—at least until they face each other next week.

NoPing e-sports, a middle-of-the-pack contender last season looks to squeeze it’s way into the discussion for top teams. However, as a smaller region, South America will only ever take two teams to the Major. Despite NoPing’s impressive demolition of Hokori, which saw their opponent’s tap out in just 19 minutes in the second game, most SA fans will not want to see them in the top-two

Beastcoast, who were robbed of a chance at a Major, and Thunder Predator, who performed so excellently in Singapore are favorites for a reason. But the rising stock of the likes of NoPing, Infamous, and Infinity Esports, shows that this isn’t the dead-end region people thought of it as a few years ago.