China needs some new blood
Chinese teams always seem to outperform western teams. It used to be that EU teams would create the meta and China would replicate it and improve on it in a way that made it difficult to counter. Today, the Dota 2 that we are seeing isn’t the same game that was played a few years ago. There is more emphasis on fighting and team coordination than the 4-protect-1 strategy that most of China used. Their carry players were ones who would always stay in front of the opposing teams in terms of net worth and nothing could’ve been done about it. The problem with the China region is that it’s very hard to break into big teams if you are younger player. There are several examples, but the issue is that there are very few young Chinese captains, even fewer than in western regions. Their usual drafts are stale, very slow-paced and rely on item timings that are impossible to reach when playing against today’s fast-paced teams. After the worst finish in years for China (not a single team in top 8), we are looking for a big reshuffle. The best thing for most teams would be to keep 3 of their more experienced players and consider adding 2 pubstars to their team. This way, we would get more teams in the region, creating a more competitive environment and a chance for China to get back into top-tier Dota.
Teams are not that far apart in quality as they seemed to be
At first glance of this Major, how many teams did you expect to be in the place that they are in right now? Let’s be honest, very few. EHOME was favored by many professional analysts and casters to be the victor of this tournament and they finished 9th-12th in front of their home crowd, falling to Alliance. Aside from Chinese teams and team Archon, who had a very bad time here, with overall score of 0-5, the remaining 10 teams were relatively close to each other in terms of overall quality. Let’s take Virtus Pro for example, this is the tournament that they looked most stable in, but were in a difficult group (all teams were top 6 from that group except for VP). OG was favored to be in the top 3 teams and they finished in 7th/8th place with Alliance, who were also ones looking for a great result here. The fact that there wasn’t such a differences between teams at the Major resulted in many good clashes, often taking Bo3 games to game 3. Even matches for 3rd and 4th place (where EG took MVP 2-0 and were beaten by Liquid with the same result) didn’t seem so one-sided as you would imagine them to be. All in all, the following premier tournaments (Dota Pit League Season 4 LAN and ESL One Manilla LAN), will probably see some of the teams that didn’t do so well in the Major take the top 3 spots just because of the slight difference between the teams.
Secret still have it in them
Team Secret was definitely one of the least favored teams to win this Major, and yet they have done it. PieLieDie and Puppey exhibited an amazing performance with their support heroes, while Misery, EternalEnvy and W33haa have done a very good job on all their core roles. Despite the team struggling to find the right balance for this patch before the Major, they pulled through just in time. Even in group stages, their wins didn’t look as convincing as expect from a team that emerged as a victor. They finished 2nd in the group, and stormed through the upper bracket, beating OG and Evil Geniuses 2-1 in both matches. In the upper bracket finals they were faced with Team Liquid, where they won again, and this time it was a convincing 2-0 victory. In the finals they gave an amazing performance, even better than through the entire tournament and they beat Team Liquid once again, this time with a 3-1 victory.
NA and SEA Dota are starting to rise
As Chinese teams are becoming less frightening to play against, there are some teams from the Americas and Southeast Asia wanting to take their place among the best. MVP Phoenix and compLexity Gaming have proven to us that hard work and solid preparation is in fact more important than raw talent. MVP had the most impressive run here, catching everyone by surprise with their devastating tempo and great control of the map, while compLexity is a team with one of the best captains in the game. Swindlezz has been a MOBA player for a while, but his Dota 2 experience is not that impressive, his results are: 9th-12th at his first TI and 5th-6th at this past Major. These 2 teams are proof that pumping new blood into the game is always a good idea, and a refreshed scene is one of the best things that happened to this game.
This meta is the best in ages, but can it improve?
The Dota that we’ve seen in the Shanghai was extremely balanced and diverse. Almost 80% of the heroes were picked here and even though Invoker can snowball out of control, he is really manageable. For example, in 6.84. meta, you’d see only Leshrac/Lina/Storm Spirit on the mid lane and that’s it. Right now, we’re seeing very diverse games without many “cancer” heroes like we had before, and those heroes are mostly supports or offlaners, which is fine in a way. Of course, this meta can improve and it most likely will, but right now, we’re having very upbeat games with many kills and skirmishes, something that this game was lacking for a while, especially when China reigned supreme as the top country/region in this game. Oh how the tables have turned.