A number of things have happened since we last talked about how the competing teams in the Dota 2 Pro Circuit stack up against each other.
Team Secret and Team Liquid may have remained on top, but the rest are in a bit of a mess; Evil Geniuses have since shuffled players, as well as switched roles, and are now playing with a new captain, while OG seem to have figured out how to play better as a team. Virtus Pro too did something most people probably didn’t expect with their captain, Alexei ‘Solo‘ Berezin, off on a break.
As has always been the case, our Dota 2 Pro Circuit Power Rankings reflect competitive Dota 2’s current hierarchy through much of December. Recent play obviously carry a lot of weight, especially if it comes in unexpected fashion, as well as where they rank on the season’s leader boards.
We’re pretty sure Clement ‘Puppey‘ Ivanov is already thinking of how to outdraft their opponents at the Captains Draft Minor while you’re reading this, so we’d better start.
10. TNC Pro Team
Our journey through MDL Macau is such a great experience for us. We learned a lot and discovered different things to help us to come back on top. Thank you all for your never-ending support!#SummonYourStrength #Niugame #TNCDota2 #RiseofthePhoenix
Link > https://t.co/MBxOwjjbQM
— TNC Pro Team (@TNCProTeam) December 14, 2017
Previous Ranking: N/A
Since gaining the respect of the entire world at The International 6, TNC Pro Team have been quite the enigma; they tend to play well against international teams in LAN tournaments, often making deep runs whenever they do manage to qualify, but almost always lose to other teams from their home region in the qualifiers.
Team Faceless served as the proverbial thorn on their side post-TI6. Nearly a year later, Daryl Koh ‘iceiceice‘ Pei Xiang remains TNC Pro Team’s biggest threat. Only that this season, the legendary Dota 2 player has teamed up with his former teammate, Chai ‘Mushi‘ Yee Fung in Mineski.
Between Mineski and Fnatic, who boast a star-studded lineup headlined by Jacky ‘EternaLEnVy‘ Mao and Abed Azel ‘Abed‘ Yusop, qualifying for Pro Circuit tournaments in Southeast Asia haven’t been easy. In fact, TNC Pro Team have only qualified once. Yes, once. But, they did make that one time count, making it all the way to the Grand Finals of the MDL Macau Minor, all the while taking down every Chinese team in the tournament and sweeping Virtus Pro in the playoffs.
With a LAN title at China Top 2017 and some Qualifying Points secured, you’d best believe that TNC Pro Team have put the teams ahead of them in the Dota 2 Pro Circuit standings on notice.
9. Natus Vincere
— Natus Vincere (@natusvincere) December 10, 2017
Previous Ranking: 8 (-1)
Worry not Natus Vincere fans. The black and yellow moving down a spot in our latest Dota 2 Pro Circuit Power Rankings has less to do about their performance (well, non-performance) since our last edition, but more of other Dota 2 teams surging past them.
As said previously, it’s clear that this iteration of Natus Vincere still have a long way to go. They’re a scary team to face against, no doubt. They’re a legitimate threat, even. However, they’re still far too inconsistent to go from dark horses and threats to title favourites just yet.
There’s obviously talent on paper and the occasional flashes of brilliance have finally started to get Natus Vincere results. The only thing missing now is for them to show us in 2018 that thy’re ready to make the proverbial leap.
— Tal Aizik (@Fly_dota2) December 17, 2017
Previous Ranking: N/A
Not to take anything from OG, because they deserve props for finally winning a title and earning some Qualifying Points on the season, but it’s hard to put much weight on their recent performance when it has come against arguably lesser competition.
The only team OG played that legitimately belonged in the conversation of the best Dota 2 team in the world lately were Virtus Pro and they lost every time they were matched up against each other. That’s as big of a caveat if I’ve ever seen one.
But hey, a title is a title, and they did make Top 4 just a week later, so it’s not like they don’t deserve to finally return in our Dota 2 Pro Circuit Power Rankings.
It’s just, you know, you kind of expect more from them being 4-time Major title holders and all.
Ggwp 0-1, we are now eliminated from Perfect World Tournament.. pic.twitter.com/RqvMEwM8GH
— Mineski Pro Team (@MineskiProTeam) November 24, 2017
Previous Ranking: 7 (-)
Mineski have literally achieved nothing other than a last-place finish at the Perfect World Masters since their unexpected run of dominance to start the season. They’ve qualified for a tournament or two since, which is nice, but qualifying means next to nothing these days unless you make it to the Top 4 at the tournament itself. This is especially true when you consider the caliber of talent in Mineski’s current roster.
It remains unclear what led to Mineski’s almost sudden drop in performance. Were they really that one-dimensional with Mushi drafting for the team? Will letting Anucha ‘Jabz‘ Jirawong really make that big of a difference? Are Mineski doomed to follow the foot steps of last year’s Team Faceless?
We might never know the answer to these questions. Not now, at least. However, what we we do know is that Mineski will have a chance to move up (or down) in our Dota 2 Pro Circuit Power Rankings as they’re set to play in three straight Pro Circuit LAN tournaments in a row.
6. Evil Geniuses
— Evil Geniuses (@EvilGeniuses) December 20, 2017
Previous Ranking: 6 (-)
It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that Evil Geniuses are under performing. Not when the organisation itself decided to make changes in an attempt to spice things up for 2018.
The structure of Evil Geniuses’ current roster is filled with question marks. Was letting go of Saahil ‘UNiVeRsE‘ Arora really the right choice? Does Syed Sumail ‘SumaiL‘ Hassan have what it takes to survive in the offlane? Is Clinton ‘Fear‘ Loomis going to be effective in the mid lane? Or will he return to playing more as a sacrificial core in the safe lane to make space for Artour ‘Arteezy‘ Babaev?
In fact, the only sure thing right now is that bringing in Rasmus ‘MISERY‘ Filipsen to take over the reigns from Fear as team captain and Kanishka ‘BuLba‘ Sosale as the new coach was the right move given the circumstances. The former is a longtime Dota 2 veteran who has proven his worth on the game’s biggest stage many times over. Meanwhile, BuLba, for all the hate that he receives, was Evil Geniuses’ coach when they won The International 5.
Either way, only time will tell if Evil Geniuses’ decision to flip over their roster the way they did will pay off or not.
5. ViCi Gaming
— ESL Dota2 (@ESLDota2) December 6, 2017
Previous Ranking: 4 (-1)
So how exactly does a team rank ahead of two others in our latest Dota 2 Pro Circuit Power Rankings when it doesn’t have as much Qualifying Points and hasn’t exactly played since making an appearance at the Perfect World Masters back in November? Simple. Be a talent-laden Chinese squad and drop a LAN series only to the last two Dota 2 teams who battled it out for the Aegis of Champions at The International 7 back in August.
Save for their embarrassing last-place finish at the Starladder Minor earlier in October, ViCi Gaming have only had excellent showings, making it to the Grand Finals in each of their Pro Circuit LAN appearances since. Though they didn’t end up taking home the title both times, such a quick turnaround deserves some level of praise.
Should ViCi Gaming qualify for the Galaxy Battles Major later this week, they’ll end up making as many Pro Circuit LAN appearances in January alone than they have these past three months. Even if they don’t, they’ll still play in two LAN appearances to open up the year and their performance then should give us a better idea how the so-called 2nd best Dota 2 team in China stacks up against the rest of the world.
We are happy to announce our partnership with Chinese giant Ele.me ! pic.twitter.com/HtkP81zQ20
— Newbee (@NewbeeCN) December 8, 2017
Previous Ranking: 3 (-1)
Newbee have proven that they are the best Dota 2 team in China. It’s just that the fictional title doesn’t carry as much weight when you think about how only Newbee and ViCi Gaming have performed consistently well so far this season.
LFY have had chemistry issues, while LGD Gaming have since blown up their roster. EHOME have not played as well as most people had hoped, while Invictus Gaming look like a completely different team despite losing just one player. Though, in their defense, that one player was Xu ‘BurNIng‘ Zhileing, who is widely regarded as one of the best carries in the history of Dota 2.
Either way, until Newbee starts making some noise in the Dota 2 Pro Circuit, whether by making deeper tournament runs and winning more titles, they haven’t a shot at climbing up the ranks.
3. Virtus Pro
See you soon! pic.twitter.com/gRdIIN0Cft
— Virtus.pro (@virtuspro) December 18, 2017
Previous Ranking: 5 (+2)
You know a team is legit when they continue playing well despite playing a man short. Though Solo was a “mere” position 5 support player, he was Virtus Pro’s captain whose tactical feeds and sacrificial play style, among others, played an important part in the team’s success. It certainly helps that Virtus Pro have a coach in the legendary Ukrainian Dota 2 player and TI winner Ivan ‘Artstyle‘ Antonov ready to stand-in. But, if we were to be honest, it’s Ilya ‘Lil‘ Ilyuk who deserves a lot of praise here for having adjusted so well and so quickly to playing with a greedier and less sacrificial position 5 support.
Regardless of who deserves the credit for Virtus Pro not missing a beat, their successful title defense and 3-peat at the Dota Summit 8 Minor proves that they remain one of the best Dota 2 teams in the world. It’s just that the two teams above them on the Dota 2 Pro Circuit leaderboards are just on a whole other level.
2. Team Liquid
The Major title evades us yet again at #DHW17
Congrats to Team Secret! pic.twitter.com/dQiWaoktXN
— Team Liquid (@TeamLiquid) December 3, 2017
Previous Ranking : 2 (-)
Team Liquid are still the best Dota 2 team in the world. At least, in the eyes of many. Objectively, they certainly have the case for it. After all, they’ve won more LAN titles these past six months than most teams have in years (they’re 7 out of 9) and last I checked, they’re still the reigning TI champions.
Team Liquid remain the standard with which other Dota 2 teams measure themselves up against. Their often spot-on drafting, chemistry, teamwork and mental fortitude are all qualities that other teams can only dream of ever achieving.
Unfortunately, when you’ve had a target on your back for so long, one team is bound to figure out how to take you down, and the best team in the Dota 2 Pro Circuit right now have Team Liquid fully figured out.
1. Team Secret
— Team Secret (@teamsecret) December 18, 2017
Previous Ranking: 1 (-)
Team Secret’s position on top of our latest Dota 2 Pro Circuit Power Rankings is not as much about taking home the DreamLeague Season 8 title at the expense of Team Liquid as much as it is how they took it. In case you forgot, they 3-0’d Team Liquid in the Grand Finals. 3-0.
Clement ‘Puppey‘ Ivanov and his team beat the reigning TI champions and back-to-back DreamLeague champions at their own game, while showing them a couple of tricks of their own. That’s not an achievement that should be taken lightly, especially not when you consider how dominant Team Liquid have looked for the better part of the past 12 months.
The scariest part? Team Secret will only get better. Marcus ‘Ace‘ Hoelgaard is a versatile carry that could disrupt the meta once again with another unconventional pick or build, while Adrian ‘FATA-‘ Trinks will only continue to improve as he becomes accustomed to playing in the offlane.
Team Secret are the team to beat until someone else takes them down.
Which team do you think we missed in the latest edition of our Dota 2 Pro Circuit Power Rankings? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.