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Top
Dota 2

DPC Week Three: Tundra Esports Turning Heads

Hotspawn Team

The Dota Pro Circuit 2021: Season 1 has reached the halfway point. Though some teams have separated themselves from the pack in their respective regions, it is the little-known and unexpected risers who continue to make noise. Teams like Tundra Esports in Europe and Undying in North America have proven that you don’t need a big orgs backing to go toe-to-toe with the biggest names in Dota.

skiter dota infamous

Oliver "skiter" Lepko and the rest of Tundra Esports surged this week with a big win over Team Liquid (Photo via EPICENTER)

Without further ado, let’s look at the biggest storylines from all six DPC regions.

Double the Trouble in EU

Written by: Michael Hassall

PLACE TEAM WINS LOSES
1. Team Secret 4 0
2. Alliance 2 1
3. OG 2 1
4. Tundra Esports 2 2
5. Team Nigma 2 2
6. Team Liquid 2 3
7. Vikin.gg 1 2
8. High Coast Esports 0 4

In the all-out brawl that the DreamLeague Season 14 Upper Division has become, it’s nice to see some of the smaller-name teams perform well. This week it was Tundra Esports’ turn to shine. The former mudgolems stack had a bumper week with a victory over Team Liquid, that saw them survive shaky early games to secure victory.

At a certain point, it almost becomes redundant to talk about how great Team Secret is. The team scored a double 2-0 this week continuing their reign at the top of one of the DPC’s most competitive leagues. The first victory was a stomp of Team Nigma, and the second a dismantling of Team Liquid. There were three EU teams playing two matches this week, and Secret was the only side that looked like they benefited it.

Elsewhere, Nigma’s two-match week turned to disaster as the squad butted heads with Team Secret and Vikin.gg. While the Team Secret matchup went as well as could be expected, there were glimmers of hope during the Vikin.gg matchup. A long, drawn-out game one saw Vikin.gg win. However, Nigma secured the second game and looked to capitalize on their momentum. But as Vikin.gg doubled down on their Earthshaker pick, they were able to cause a lot of disruption to Nigma’s gameplay. This eventually led to Nigma collapsing on all fronts, giving up their second loss of the week.

 

Virtus-ly Unstoppable

Written by: Michael Hassall

PLACE TEAM WINS LOSES
1. Virtus.pro 4 0
2. Natus Vincere 4 0
3. Team Spirit 2 2
4. Live To Win 2 2
5. NoTechies 1 2
6. EXTREMUM 1 3
6. Team Empire 1 3
8. Team Unique 0 3

There are three things for certain in the ESL One CIS Upper Division: Death, Taxes, and Virtus.pro winning all their games. But what was surprising this week was just how dominantly they managed to do it.

Against Team Unique on Thursday, February 4, Virtus.pro wrapped up their first game 22-3 minutes. The overwhelming power of Egor “Nightfall” Grigorenko (formerly epileptick1d), on his Wraith King simply blew any chance Unique had of stopping VP away. Another short game followed for the quick 2-0

But Virtus.pro weren’t done with the dominating victories after one series. In their second win of the week over EXTREMUM, the squad also recorded a 22-3 victory. However, this time the kills were more evenly distributed over VP’s entire lineup. With the deadly combination of a Shadow Shaman/Timbersaw lane and Nightfall’s Wraith King, Virtus.pro once again recorded a 2-0 and handily managed to make their way into the record books as well, the first team to record two 22-3 victories within 24 hours.

It’s somewhat of a shame that the CIS region has become such a two-horse race just three weeks into the league. But it’s also a good omen for the kind of performance we can expect from these teams come the Major. Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro are on top form, and ready to take on all comers on an international stage.

Turns Out Nothing Can Stop beastcoast

Written by: Michael Hassall

PLACE TEAM WINS LOSES
1. beastcoast 4 0
2. SG e-sports 3 1
3. Team Unknown 2 2
4. Thunder Predator 2 2
5. NoPing e-sports 1 2
6. Infamous 1 2
7. Latam Defenders 1 3
8. EgoBoys 0 3

The most anticipated match of the South American Upper Division league so far pitted Thunder Predator against beastcoast. This was the big challenge for beastcoast, who had ‘coasted’ their way to a 3-0 season against some seemingly weak opponents. However, the team set out to disprove doubters in this highly anticipated game.

Right out of the gate beastcoast came to prove they were the real deal. A game one stomp to show that their winning streak so far was nothing to sniff at.

Game two, however, was a lot closer with TP’s Mid Tidehunter forcing beastcoast to have Elvis “Scofield” De la Cruz Peña’s Earth Spirit babysit Jean Pierre “Chris Luck” Gonzales’s Batrider. But in the end, all this meant that TP managed to drag out their inevitable defeat much longer, as the brutal power of the late game Batrider and Chaos Knight kicked in. Beastcoast took their game two victory and ended the week with another 2-0.

Beastcoast still sits atop the South American scene as the best in the region. With over half their matches for the league played, it seems assured they’ll be heading to the Major. However, the number two spot will likely be far more highly contested. Infamous, NoPing e-sports, Thunder Predator, Team Unknown and SG e-sports all sit within striking distance of that spot, with just a single win or loss between most of them.

In a week marred by the passing of one of South America’s talents, the scene remains as vibrant and competitive as ever. In many ways, this is the best way to remember Anderson “444” Santos.

TNC Bounce Back in SEA

Written by: Patrick Bonifacio

PLACE TEAM WINS LOSES
1. Neon Esports 4 0
2. Fnatic 2 1
3. TNC Predator 2 2
4. T1 1 1
5. BOOM Esports 2 2
6. Vice Esports 1 2
7. 496 Gaming 1 3
8. Execration 1 3

The big story in Southeast Asia this week was that of TNC Predator’s recovery from their slow start this season, with the popular Philippine-based squad notching an important win against T1. The series itself clocked in at nearly three hours of elapsed game time, with the first and third maps taking up the majority of the duration.

It was an all-out slugfest as expected of a top tier SEA matchup — one worthy of the region’s reputation for heartstopping back and forth Dota games. In fact, according to stream analytics site Esports Charts, the match between these two squads was the most popular of the week in terms of tournament ratings.

Neon Esports meanwhile had another grand old time in Week Three, putting their fellow Filipinos in Execration away in three games. Although they did give up one map in the match itself, their two victories in the first and third games were clinical as can be, as they finished their opponents off in 25 and 22 minutes respectively. Neon are certainly looking red hot in the early goings of the season, as they now find themselves firmly in the top spot with Fnatic in their rearview mirrors.

Speaking of Fnatic, the perennial Southeast Asian champions faltered for a moment this week, losing their matchup against longtime rivals BOOM Esports. They took the first game of the series in 35 minutes but proceeded to lose the next two after BOOM successfully made the necessary adjustments. The adjustments in question worked beautifully, allowing BOOM to run away with the win and leaving Fnatic dazed and confused as to what had just happened. This resulted in BOOM tying with T1 in the standings at two wins and two losses apiece.

Aster Amongst the Stars in China

Written by: Patrick Bonifacio

PLACE TEAM WINS LOSES
1. Team Aster 3 0
2. Invictus Gaming 3 0
3. Vici Gaming 3 1
4. PSG.LGD 2 2
5. Elephant 2 2
6. EHOME 1 3
7. Team MagMa 1 3
8. LBZS 0 4

Du “Monet” Peng and the rest of Team Aster continue to tear it up over in China, showing no signs of slowing down from their phenomenal start this season. This week they faced off against EHOME — whom they took down almost without breaking a sweat in just two games. Granted that EHOME isn’t exactly the cream of the crop once you look at the standings, but Aster’s consistency so far is a very good sign for them going forward.

It’s also interesting to note that Aster contains the dynamic duo of Lin “Xxs” Jing and Ye “Borax” Zhibiao (Borax formerly being known as “BoBoKa”), who have been playing on the same team together for five consecutive years. Should they keep this kind of play up in the current season, we could see them put in more success together. It’s certainly looking that way as Team Aster have a 6-1 record to themselves thus far.

As for superteam Elephant, they managed to make a similar recovery to that of TNC this week — against PSG.LGD Gaming no less. Though it took them three games to put LGD away, the way they regained control of the match after losing the first map was quite convincing. Getting their hands on some of the best heroes in the current metagame certainly helped as well, indicating that they may also be getting their drafts together.

This result was crucial for Elephant, as they didn’t exactly get the start that they wanted in the first two weeks of the season. They’ll certainly be happy about this outcome, and will look to build on it as they come across some of the weaker teams in the league so far. Given the two-week break for Chinese New Year, they’ll have plenty of time to prepare for their next match.

Undying and SADBOYS Catch Up in North America

Written by: Patrick Bonifacio

PLACE TEAM WINS LOSES
1. Evil Geniuses 4 0
2. Quincy Crew 3 0
3. Undying 3 1
4. SADBOYS 2 1
5. 4 Zoomers 2 2
6. Black N Yellow 1 3
7. 5ManMidas 0 4
8. A-Team 0 4

Though both Evil Geniuses and Quincy Crew are in a league of their own in North America right now, the teams in the midfield are definitely starting to string together some wins — thus gradually closing the gap to the top. Undying and SADBOYS are the two best teams in the midfield so far, with the former being just two games behind Quincy Crew.

Undying were the first to improve their record this week, sweeping aside sixth placers Black N Yellow in an easy two-game series. Their first win in the matchup took no more than 17 minutes and 49 seconds to achieve, showing that on a good day the multinational squad can certainly be dominant. The second game wasn’t that much more competitive either despite going on for twice as long as the first, especially considering the kill score of 48-25 and the almost 30,000 gold lead that Undying had by the end of it all.

Unfortunately for them, they were scheduled to face EG on Sunday, which went about as well as anyone expected. Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and the rest of the Boys in Blue brushed them aside in two games, extending their own record to eight wins and two losses in maps. In fact, EG didn’t even have to change their draft much after the first game, opting to pick Death Prophet over Nature’s Prophet (a prophet swap, if you will) while keeping the rest exactly the same.

Undying seemed content to do so as well — changing just two heroes in between games in their draft — which didn’t quite work out in their favor.

As for the SADBOYS, they continue to at least play well against the lower-ranked teams in the league, which is good given how new the squad itself is. They will face Undying on Thursday, which will be another test of their mettle after they failed to steal a series against EG in Week One.