DPC Week Five: Jungle Huskar Is Back
The Dota Pro Circuit 2021 continues to push forward with most major regions nearing the end of play. With teams vying for their chance to book a ticket to the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021 major, wins became more crucial than ever. Some of the major highlights of the DPC this past week include the return of jungle Huskar, a rapid loss for OG and Fnatic handing Neon their first loss.
Na’Vi Loses One and Jungle Huskar is a Thing Again
Written by: Michael Hassall
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While there’s no movement in the standings, biggest shock in this week’s CIS league was Team Spirit’s defeat of Natus Vincere. Na’Vi, the number two team in the group, were in control for much of the first game of this February 21 matchup. However, after a series of disastrous fights at the 38-minute mark, Team Spirit grabbed control and took the first game.
Game two again saw Na’Vi take an early lead. But just like the first match-up, as the game veered into 40-minute territory, the squad started to lose fights. Ultimately they were just too far ahead for Team Spirit to catch, bringing the score to 1-1. In the final game, Spirit flipped the script, keeping the game close before taking the victory after two brutal team fights facilitated by Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov’s three-position Tidehunter.
Ironically, this wasn’t the only time Team Spirit made headlines on Sunday, with the organization’s CS:GO side also claiming a landmark victory over Astralis at IEM Katowice. For an org that’s traditionally been a strictly tier two competitor, it’s hugely promising to see them now challenging for a Major spot after an upset win.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only notable game coming out of CIS this week. Instead, much to the ire of players everywhere, Virtus.pro continued their winning streak with an unorthodox pick: jungle Huskar. After comfortably winning the first game against last-place NoTechies, Vitalie “Save-” Melnic locked in the hero and promptly made his way to the jungle.
What followed was insanity. A pre-10-minute Roshan attempt saw the Huskar fall after an unlucky double stun, leading to a 15-minute win for VP.
In a post-game interview ESL’s casters and Save- attempted to tell fans to not try this at home, but it’s safe to say the damage is done. If you start seeing Jungle Huskar in your game, blame the undefeated Virtus.pro and the now demoted NoTechies team.
OG’s New Patch Woes
Written by: Michael Hassall
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Waking up to find your offlaner has a stomach bug and there’s a brand new patch to play isn’t ideal. But if you’re OG, that’s just another day at the office. With less than 12 hours having passed since the release of the latest patch, OG valiantly took to the field and won their first game, breaking out the trust Alchemist to secure their victory against Team Liquid on February 20th.
However, as the matchup went on, there was clearly something wrong with the team. New update teething problems combined with Sébastien “Ceb” Debs‘ illness resulted in a record 13-minute loss for the team. The squad called GG giving Team Liquid the 1-1 scoreline, and perhaps giving OG a chance to regroup.
But TL are a strong stack in their own right, and any advantage you give them can be deadly. Banning away some of the most effective teamfighters for OG, such as Tidehunter and Io, Team Liquid’s own fast-pushing comp of Lycan and Bloodseeker dominated the match. While OG were able to stifle the bleeding for around 20 minutes, a team wipe following a huge team fight saw TL take the lead.
They were able to mount a small comeback after some crucial picks on TL’s supports, but it was just too little too late. OG were defeated 1-2, with the squad falling out of Major contention with just one week left to play – and the undefeated Team Secret their final opponent.
Team Secret themselves, on the other hand, spent their Week 5 stomping High Coast Esports, ensuring the team’s demotion to the lower division. Secret, on the other hand, become the first team locked in for the Major, with a ticket straight to the playoffs. Win or lose their match against OG next week, they’re in an incredible position.
Still Anyone’s Game in South America
Written by: Michael Hassall
It’s crazy to think about, but with just three matches left in the league, we still don’t know who’s heading to the Major for sure in South America. Beastcoast are an obvious bet, but whether they head to the playoffs, or a group stage spot in Singapore depends on them winning their final game of the season against SG e-sports.
SG defeated Team Unknown this week to eliminate that squad from Major contention. In a close-fought three-match series, the crucial decider was who was able to lock in Enigma. In game one Unknown picked up the Black Hole creating hero, and after a tightly contested series of lanes, pushed in for the victory.
However, SG e-sports were far more dominant when they priority picked the Enigma away from Unknown. Two quick matches saw their lead never really in question, as Danylo “Kingrd” Nascimento popped off in both games. For the Brazillian team, a win next week against beastcoast would be massive, bringing their country into crucial international competition.
Thunder Predator and NoPing e-sports are the other challengers for this title. After handing beastcoast their first loss of the season, NoPing must now rely on Thunder Predator and SG to lose their next two matches. NoPing defeated the number one in the standings in dominating fashion, and did so by simply bullying them in their lanes. The Keeper of the Light picks in each game meant beastcoast’s carries just couldn’t get started. So to have to sit on the sidelines while your fate is decided next week will be extra painful for them.
Thunder Predator has perhaps the easiest final two weeks of the league, having faced EgoBoys this week, and Latam Defenders next. Winning a series against the already demoted Defenders should be an easy win, but given that TP had trouble against EgoBoys, there could still be an upset. The EgoBoys played better in their role as spoilers, holding off the Predators for 40 minutes before defeat. However, ultimately they’re still likely to be demoted following week 6.
Quincy Crew Lock in Major Spot in North America
Written by: Patrick Bonifacio
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All hail the true kings of North America! Unfazed by the return of Evil Geniuses to the region, Quincy Crew swooped in and reasserted their dominance. Their 2-1 victory over EG extends their match record to 6-0, and guarantees them a spot in the Singapore Major.
It was truly the match that NA fans had been waiting for, as it went the distance with all three games played. EG executed the first move in the series, drafting Alchemist for Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and Puck for Azel “Abed” Yusop. The two lead cores held strong against heavy pressure coming from Quincy Crew’s side. Despite losing their bottom tier 3 tower and barracks, the two combined for 22 of EG’s 26 kills.
A crucial teamfight victory in the waning minutes of the game allowed them to extend their net worth lead significantly. From there, Quincy Crew just could not recover from their losses. It was just a matter of time until EG barged down their middle lane and closed the game out.
It didn’t take them long at all to bounce back, though, as they gathered their composure for the second map. Quinn “Quinn” Callahan in particular absolutely disrespected Abed’s signature Storm Spirit in their one on one matchup. Suiting up as Tiny in the solo middle role, he spanked Abed to win the lane, giving himself plenty of momentum.
This resulted in a 12-minute Blink Dagger timing for him, with which he blew the game wide open. Despite a spirited defense by EG in the closing minutes, Quincy Crew’s advantage was just much too large to overcome.
The final map was a total statement win by Quincy Crew. They held EG to a mere four kills while scoring 26 of their own, proving once and for all just who ruled the land. Yawar “YawaR” Hassan popped off as Juggernaut, backed by a stellar performance by Arif “MSS” Anwar as Rubick. EG simply had no answers to their opponents’ advance, and were forced to concede the series after 33 minutes.
Fnatic Hand Neon Their First Loss in SEA
Written by: Patrick Bonifacio
The members of Neon Esports do bleed after all. Perennial SEA champions Fnatic took Neon down in Week Five, though it took all three games to do so. Djardel Jicko “DJ” Mampusti and his crew started off on the right foot, with their signature safe lane Io leading the charge. Marc Polo Luis “Raven” Fausto really knows how to make this unorthodox strategy work, proven by his 6-0 scoreline.
Kam “MooN” Boon Seng made sure not to be outdone, of course, scoring eight kills himself as Storm Spirit. Overall, Fnatic just played their brand of Dota in the first game, notching the win in just 33 minutes.
Neon snatched the second game in turn in what was a roller coaster of a contest. Neon held a small lead throughout most of the game, but it changed hands a few times as Fnatic battled back. Alas, John Anthony “Natsumi-” Vargas made sure that Fnatic could not turn things around. He played a flawless game as Phantom Lancer, going 11-0 and putting his whole team on his back.
Unfortunately for Neon, the series win was not in the cards for them. They fell to Fnatic in the third and final map, after finding themselves with no map control early on. The combination of Wraith King and Death Prophet was just too much for them to handle. Once Fnatic’s cores were online, they had no choice but to watch their towers fall one after the other. Despite the score being 24-17 in Fnatic’s favor, the game was actually more one-sided than the kills would suggest.
The rest of the games in the region went as expected, with the marquee squads sweeping aside the bottom teams. The overall result: a five-way battle between the top five to be resolved in Week Six. Should be exciting for sure!