Issue 21: The conclusion of the group stage at Arlington
As teams bid adieu, others gear up to secure their TI invites
Here’s your 30-second summary for this issue of Ancient Tidings:
PSG.LGD is a tier above the rest (of course they are)
Teams with stand-ins are… playing surprisingly well
A team from each region has been eliminated. Balance.
The group stages at Arlington
For a Major plagued with problems both external and internal, ranging from the aforementioned visa issues to some truly scuffed audio… the Dota showed in the group stages showed that as long as the games are hype, it doesn’t matter if they’re being casted using tech from the 80s.
Every team looked capable enough to beat the other (bar PSG.LGD, they’re simply built different); the presence of standins didn’t appear to deter teams in the slightest… for the most part.
Since everybody’s anxiously waiting for the playoffs to begin shortly after this goes live, no time like the present to catch up on the games worth catching up on.
There was a lot of Dota after all.
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PSG.LGD vs Soniqs
PSG.LGD was already shaping up to be the raidboss at Arlington long before the groupstages were reaching their climax. Soniqs was, unfortunately for NA fans, fast becoming the punching bag of the group with their movements and individual play just seeming a bit off-kilter.
Regardless… Soniqs put up a fight this series, much to everybody’s surprise. Check out the highlights from the series below.
BOOM vs Aster
Not once, but twice in a row. You’d think this series was a wash given the draft (Yopaj Ember, FBZ Mars, Tims Mirana for game 2? Please.), but Team Aster came to Arlington with a message that has been received loud and clear by fans around the world: International Dota is no longer their Kryptonite.
Truly spectacular Dota all around, with quite possibly one of the best Mars performances I have ever seen. (A rather common reaction to regular FBZ Mars’ performances, but this was something truly special)
China vs SEA is incredible to watch when both teams are on form.
BOOM vs Spirit
During the Stockholm Major, BOOM’s underwhelming performance led to a lot of gloom and doom for SEA’s prospects in TI. If the best team SEA had to offer goes out with a whimper when in a Major without an entire region in attendance, what would happen when TI comes around?
Fans of SEA Dota can rest assured, there’s no jetlag or sickness this time for BOOM. They’re bringing their A-game against some of the best competitive Dota has to offer… including the reigning TI champs.
Speaking of the TI champs, it’s reassuring to see that they’re swinging back into form as they speak. What makes BOOM and Spirit so enjoyable to watch is their synergy and spellcasting. Their drafts might not be all that wild but their teamplay is just so damn good.
And hey, I’m all up for Collapse’s hero pool expanding after Magnus received the nerf hammer. Entirely due to him, of course.
OG vs Outsiders
It’s getting spicy, y’all.
From cheeky all-chatting going awry to great comebacks built on back-and-forth teamfights, this series had it all.
EG vs Team Spirit
Oh boy, NA Dota really seems to be getting the shorter end of the stick in an NA Major… right? Can EG weather the storm brought onto them by the TI Champs, or will Bulba and RTZ’s bromance eclipse all odds? Only one way to find out readers.
PSG.LGD vs RNG
Ana standing in for Ghost has honestly resulted in a way better showing for him than his recent Riyadh performance. Perhaps its the way RNG plays that suits his playstyle more, or perhaps he’s had more time to warm up. Either way… seeing the likes of Somnus and Ana go up against Ame is the stuff all-star matches are made of.
Except this wasn’t a showmatch, and PSG.LGD were sweating for perhaps the second time in the group stages.
Entity vs BOOM
Pure’s visa being declined resulted in more than a few people writing them off. Their best player wouldn’t be with them, on top of which… his replacement would be an offlaner? How on earth could Entity possibly grab more than a few Ws?
Side note: It is absolutely absurd that even if Entity ended up winning the Major, their TI invite would not be secured. A Major win should guarantee you a TI invite, no ifs, no buts. Next.
Talon vs Soniqs
Unfortunately for Talon… the loss of Q has keenly been felt this Major. Xepher is a hugely accomplished pos 4 in his own right, but he doesn’t bring what Q brings. Q is the drafter and in-game shotcaller of Talon, and it shows.
Despite this, Soniqs vs Talon was a hell of a series between two teams trending towards the bottom of the groups. Xepher in particular performed admirably on his Tiny.
What was your standout game from the group stage? Let me know in the comments below!
Without much ado… here’s what the groups look like after their conclusion. Maybe… scroll past if you wanna avoid spoilers.
I, for one, did not expect both Entity and Outsiders to snatch a solid second place in the groups. PSG.LGD and Aster being on top, certainly. I anticipated RNG being higher, potentially swapping places with FnaTSM.
Ooooh boy. PSG.LGD vs BOOM is one hell of a way to kick start the playoffs. Now it just depends on Mushi to draft strats his squad is comfortable with…
Entity vs OG and Outsiders vs Team Spirit are both honestly up in the air; that being said, I’d like Entity to win simply because OG already won the previous Major, they can take it easy this time, eh?
The playoffs hold a lot of weight for teams to secure their TI invites, but don’t take my word for it. Check out this absolutely fantastic post by u/WalkTheEdge who’s gone through the effort to document a plethora of scenarios for the teams that can qualify via the Major.
Okay, lets focus a bit on non-Major stuff from this point onwards…
Beastcoast qualify to TI
The 2nd representative from SA has secured their slot at TI. I’m of the opinion that they’re amongst the best international teams from the Americas, their innovative and balls-to-the-wall Dota deserves a spotlight and I’m glad they’ll be there alongside their Thunder Awaken brethren.
Proposals for the next DPC season post TI11
The current state of the DPC system has received… mixed reviews, to say the least. Talent, players, and spectators alike have lamented the length of the leagues, saying that watching their favourites play once a week for an hour or two is barely worth the wait. Each game matters a lot on paper but seldom does it feel that way.
The length of the leagues has also impacted the feasibility of third-party tournaments, while also reducing the time for balance patches to arrive and shake things up.
Enter… this. Valve’s request for proposals, for both the online leagues and the Majors.
A quick glance will tell you that the leagues might be halved in length, to a total of 20 days. Division 2 will take place after the entirety of Division 1, potentially affecting viewership for tier 2 matches. This means that Div 2 teams might be left out from 3rd party tournaments since potentially TOs would hold them after the conclusion of Division 1… since that’s where the most eyeball-grabbing teams will be playing.
As for the Majors… well, on paper, not a lot seems to have changed. I was hoping for a larger prize pool, especially after the success of Riyadh masters. I do hope, however, that something happens to make sure that every team who makes it to a Major is compensated. Not just by their winnings in the regional league.
Of course, there should hopefully be no unpaid teams in the regional leagues as well. You are playing for 3 weeks, after all, providing viewership. You should be compensated!
Dota 2 Geoguessr
If you’re a fan of Geoguessr (popular amongst streamers, notably Gorgc) you’d be right at home. u/Devskaldh made a version based on the Dota 2 map. Fun!
Here it is.
MoFarah bids farewell
While unfortunately not a household name, MoFarah was nevertheless a rock of the tier 2 casting scene, notably casting with names like Bkop and Nomad. You’d have spotted him casting the likes of OGADotaPit, or even hanging out on Bkop’s stream.
Good luck to him with whatever he does next!
While no official announcement has been made yet, this article seems fairly convinced that iceiceice will be playing the TI quals a bit closer to home… with controversial teammate MidOne.
As an iceiceice fan, I hope he gets to play on the TI mainstage at his home. The best player Singapore has produced deserves it after all these years.
I do wish he was on a more likeable team though… imagine him forming an OQ stack alongside the likes of Topson!
That’s it for this issue of Ancient Tidings! The next issue will cover the conclusion of the Arlington Major, alongside… whatever newsworthy event happens in the dynamic world of Dota 2. Stay tuned, and don’t forget to share it with your 5-stack if you like my work!