DPC Week Four: Fnatic Surge Up Standings in SEA
Another nearly full week of the DPC 2021 is in the books with five of the six major regions competing. The lone region not playing was China, as they took a break to celebrate the Chinese New Year. However, elsewhere in Asia, Fnatic began to storm up the standings in the SEA region, going 2-0 on the week.
Fnatic was not the only story though, as the CIS and NA regions becoming battlegrounds between the middle-of-the-pack teams. Here are the stories you need to know from the fourth week of DPC play.
Fnatic Surge in SEA
Written by: Patrick Bonifacio
The story in Southeast Asia this week is that of Fnatic and their flawless run, as the perennial SEA champions swept aside their opponents with relative ease. This is in stark contrast to their results from Week Three, where they were unable to fight off BOOM Esports in a three-game series. This time around, they trounced both of their rivals, not dropping a single map in the process.
First on the docket for Fnatic in Week Four was all-Filipino team Vice Esports. Unfortunately for Vice, they just looked like they were out of their league against Fnatic, able to muster up a mere 26 kills versus Fnatic’s 80 throughout the match. They were simply outclassed by the much better squad, though of course losing to Fnatic is not at all shameful.
Next up was Vietnamese roster 496 Gaming, whom Fnatic also destroyed in just two games. Their series was quite a bit more interesting than the one Fnatic played against Vice, however. The first game looked like it would be a competitive one, with 496 actually having the net worth lead early. This would all turn around shortly after the 20-minute mark though. Marc Polo Luis “Raven” Fausto and new recruit Natthaphon “Masaros” Ouanphakdee both came online and led the way from there.
The second map was all about Fnatic as expected, this time with Kam “Moon” Boon Seng getting in the mix as well as the Invoker. He and his team put the game in a stranglehold early, and would not relinquish their advantage throughout the 33 minutes of play. 496 simply could not find the answers they were looking for and were forced to concede the series then and there.
Status Quo Remains in North America
Written by: Patrick Bonifacio
|7.||Black N Yellow||1||5|
The standings over in North America didn’t change much this week, with both Evil Geniuses and Quincy Crew still standing head and shoulders above the pack. What did come as a shock, however, is the fact that seventh placers Black N Yellow actually handed Quincy Crew their first map loss of the season.
Black N Yellow did so in convincing fashion, holding Quincy Crew to just 13 kills in 34 minutes of play. NA veteran Eric “Ryoya” Dong crushed Quinn “Quinn” Callahan in the mid lane matchup, styling all over his Ember Spirit with — and this is poetic — Void Spirit. This translated to a lightning-quick 12-minute Eul’s Scepter timing for him. From there, it was easy pickings for Ryoya, setting up gank after gank before Quincy Crew could respond properly. Likewise, Daniel “zero” Yun helped greatly in this regard, providing tons of damage with his Timbersaw pick.
Alas, the series win was not meant to be for Black N Yellow. Having lost the first game, they were also unable to follow through on the upset in the third. Knowing that he had some revenge to take, Quinn stole the Void Spirit pick from Ryoya and proceeded to massacre him with it in the middle lane. The latter’s Puck ended up with a pitiful record of 3-7 as a result. Yawar “YawaR” Hassan also stepped in big time to close any comeback window that BnY might have had a glimpse of this series, farming up a storm as Medusa to crush their opponents’ hopes.
At the very least, this shows that even Quincy Crew have gaps in their armor that teams in the lower half of the standings can exploit. Whether or not they will lose again has yet to be determined of course, but their matchup against EG in Week Five should prove to be extremely exciting. After all, one of them will have to come out as the losers.
The Battle for Third in CIS
Written by: Michael Hassall
|4.||AS Monaco Gambit||2||3|
In the ESL One CIS league, Virtus.pro continued their undefeated run, albeit just barely. Team Spirit pushed the squad to the limit in one of the longest series in the league so far. After dropping their first game with a 61-minute defeat, Virtus.pro cleaned things up for their second match. The initial game had seen them get caught out, and take unfavorable team fights, eventually giving up the victory. For game two they tightened things up with a much quicker win.
But once again in the final match, Team Spirit were able to drag things out, threatening to overpower Virtus.pro with a late-game Medusa and a deadly Void Spirit. Only the sheer power of Outworld Devourer, a pick which is gaining huge popularity in pubs lately, was able to defeat Team Spirit.
Likewise, Natus Vincere found themselves clinging to their top spot and undefeated run against AS Monaco Gambit. In another close series on Valentine’s Day, Na’Vi were eventually able to put down the upstart and freshly rebranded Gambit side, but not without some close calls.
Both Na’Vi and Virtus.pro are now locked into the one and two seeds for the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021. However, Team Spirit, AS Monaco Gambit, Team Unique, EXTREMUM, all within striking distance of the third, and final, spot.
But it’s EXTREMUM who look most poised to take the wildcard spot. A dismantling of NoTechies this week gave them the boost they needed to be within striking distance of the Major. A pair of difficult challenges in the coming week five and six matchups will both prove whether or not this lineup is ready for the Major and secure its position.
Nigma’s Enigma Problem
Written by: Michael Hassall
|8.||High Coast Esports||1||4|
The DreamLeague Season 14 DPC league is very much feeling like a one-horse race. Especially when Team Secret are already, by some calculations, over 80% likely to be the top-seeded team out of Europe.
But don’t let this distract you from the chaos that’s happening among the potential second, third, and fourth-seeded teams. Squads like Alliance, Team Liquid, or former TI opponents Team Nigma and OG, are furiously fighting for the remaining spots. This was perfectly demonstrated as the latter two teams met in their week four matchup.
In what was expected to be a match of the week contender, the game’s opening matchup saw Nigma make a huge push to prove their relevance with a dramatic victory over OG. Their slightly old-school set of picks, including Razor and Lion overwhelmed OG, as the core Dragon Knight scaled out of control.
But for game two, OG had a few tricks up their sleeve. Namely, Johan “N0tail” Sundstein breaking out the position five Enigma. The beauty of the pick was that it gave OG a very simple win condition: Hit a big Black Hole.
After a decisive victory with this simple tactic, OG decided not to fix anything that isn’t broken, picking up the Enigma for a second time. Nigma’s decision not to ban it can only be attributed to thinking there’s no way they get hit by so many Black Holes two games in a row. OG proved that theory to be decidedly wrong, winning the series after two oddly similar games to close out the matchup.
While it’s almost certain Secret grabs the top spot, the remaining three Major qualification spots are going to be much more tightly contested. Games like this are a must-win for Nigma, whose stock is falling fast in the wake of stacks with a similar pedigree. Nigma must now contend with Tundra and High Coast Esports in their final two games prior to the Major and may struggle to give themselves enough playoff berth.
Beat Downs and Second Place Battles in SA
Written by: Michael Hassall
With the top qualifying spot for the Major now all but officially locked in for beastcoast, the rest of the OGA DPC South America Regional League is left to battle for second place. As things currently stand, a close victory over NoPing e-sports has secured Thunder Predator this spot – for the time being.
However, the likes of Team Unknown and SG e-sports are hot on their tail. Unknown made their case in week four with a brutalization of the Latam Defenders. After a tame first game, the squad demolished their opponent’s in the second match with a 22-minute, 33-5 match that saw all of their carries go deathless.
The victory also pushes Team Unknown within striking distance of a struggling Thunder Predator, who must win their next two matchups to retain a Major spot.
Meanwhile, the other contender to the throne, SG e-sports, fell apart. After a great early start to this season, the team were subject to a shellacking by Ego Boys this past week.
After stretching out game one thanks to their better rotations, and Ego Boys inability to deal with the Night Stalker, SG lost out after their opponent’s finally capitalized on their game-long advantages. But for game two EgoBoys were much more firmly in control. The Enigma pick, which was perhaps cribbed from OG’s performance earlier in the week, wrought havoc on SG, giving the EgoBoys a well-deserved win.
South America’s middle-of-the-pack teams ultimately may end up preventing each other from catching up with Thunder Predator. However, if one team can secure the two victories it needs over the next two weeks while upsetting TP, the region will be sending an unexpected name to the season’s first Major.