Much has happened since our last Dota Pro Circuit rankings to end 2017; Virtus Pro and Natus Vincere have swapped position 4 supports in a roster move whose full effect remains to be seen, while LGD Gaming have re-established themselves as yet another legitimate contender from China, along with Newbee and ViCi Gaming.
It should already go without saying that we have a couple of new entrants to our Dota Pro Circuit rankings, along with a few who have dropped out of the top 10 entirely after failing to impress over the past few weeks.
As always, we have designed our regular power rankings to reflect the current status of Dota 2’s Pro Circuit. We don’t come up with it just arbitrarily. Rather, we base it on full-season performance and recent performance trends. Though we have a tendency to put a lot more importance on the former.
With a huge two months ahead of us that will see 1 more Major than we’ve seen all season long, expect to see a different of teams in our next Dota Pro Circuit rankings. Until then, here’s where everyone stands right now.
— OG (@OGDota2) February 1, 2018
Previous Ranking: 8 (-2)
The European powerhouse just can’t seem to fully figure out how to play properly together. Jesse ‘JerAx‘ Vainikka and Roman ‘Resolut1on‘ Fominok — two players who are arguably top 5 in their respective positions — just don’t seem to fit in well with the rest of the team. Meanwhile, teams have learned how to play against Johan ‘N0tail‘ Sundstein, content on giving him space knowing that he’s never going to play as the team’s main carry.
Here’s exactly just how worse OG have been compared to their usual standards: In the period between post TI6 up until the Kiev Major, OG enjoyed a win-rate of 66.67% across 144 games. They won two Majors in that time and ended up making deep runs in other international LAN tournaments. Also, they were the third winningest team (with a minimum of 126 games played) across that period, which lasted 9 months. In the 9 months since, their win percentage has dropped by almost 5% to 61.59% across 164 games, a statistic inflated by the fact that majority of their wins post TI7 have come against arguably lesser competition in Online Qualifiers.
There’s no doubt that OG have one of the most talented rosters in all of Dota 2 and the fact that they locked it in means that they’re in it for the long haul. Talent doesn’t win games, however, and until OG starts coming up big against international competition again, they’ll find themselves closer to dropping out of our rankings than moving up.
Previous Ranking: 7 (-2)
To be fair, Mineski haven’t done too bad since our last Dota Pro Circuit rankings. They impressed at the Captain’s Draft Minor and ended up finishing in the Top 4. Although they stumbled at ESL One Genting 2018 just a few weeks later, finishing well below expectations in front of homecrown at 9-12th place, they would recover in Shanghai at the Starladder Minor, nearly topping their group at the expense of Newbee and ultimately reaching the Top 4 once again.
These are no doubt good results, but Mineski just aren’t built to be good; they’re supposed to be a great Dota 2 team. Though they would be invited to TI8 if the invites were to be given out today, Mineski remain far too inconsistent to move up the proverbial ladder and disrupt the status quo.
Mineski will make an appearance at both the Katowice Major and Bucharest Major a few weeks from now. Impressive showings at both tournaments will propel them up our standings and in the eyes of many. However, if they fail to make a deep run and finish well outside of the top 4, then Mineski might just end up being a slightly better version of Team Faceless 2.0 by the season’s end.
Previous Ranking: N/A
VGJ.Thunder has two things going for them: their win at Galaxy Battles and the fact that they’re a Chinese team. Lest we forget, making it out of the Regional Qualifiers in China is an achievement in on itself. The fact that they won an international LAN, even if it wasn’t part of the Pro Circuit, only helps their case.
VGJ.Thunder were a good team before, and they’ve only gotten arguably since, reuniting Leong ‘ddc‘ Fat-meng with his former teammate, Liu ‘Sylar‘ Jiajun. With yet another veteran Dota 2 leader in their ranks, VGJ.Thunder will have a chance to make some noise (no pun intended) in the months ahead.
7. LGD Gaming
Previous Ranking: N/A
Speaking of Chinese teams benefiting more from being from their region, LGD Gaming‘s rise to the No. 7 spot in our Dota Pro Circuit rankings is another example of that. They didn’t just qualify for just one tournament, after all, they qualified for three, topping competition such as ViCi Gaming and LFY, among others. Not to mention they took 2nd place in their first LAN together at the Starladder Minor, all the while setting records and becoming the first team in more than a year to make Team Liquid call “GG” right before the 20-minute mark.
Both the results and eye test speak for themselves: LGD Gaming’s latest lineup are scary good. Only time can tell if they can keep this up, or if they’ll succumb to the expectations and heightened scrutiny that comes with being one of the better Dota 2 teams in the world.
6. Virtus Pro
We want to thank @LilJke for an incredible time. Our team with him has become what it is now and we sure that we will meet again at the tournaments. Thank you for everything! pic.twitter.com/aojcDRGRTs
— Virtus.pro (@virtuspro) February 1, 2018
Previous Ranking: 3 (-3)
This is what happens when you go from defending your title for the second time in a row at the Summit 8 Minor to losing to an Evil Geniuses squad 2-0 that ultimately ended up getting dismantled by Team Liquid at ESL One Genting 2018. The uncertainty factor that comes with the team swapping out Ilya ‘Lil‘ Ilyuk and Vladimir ‘RodjER‘ Nikogosyan certainly doesn’t help either.
Virtus Pro might just end up getting the better player of the deal, but until we see actual results, Lil remains objectively the better player of the two, with the hardware and experience to prove it.
It’ll be a while before we see Virtus Pro playing in an international LAN again. Hopefully, when we do, we’ll have a better idea of exactly what kind of Dota 2 they have become after saying goodbye to one of the most polarizing players in the game today.
5. Evil Geniuses
— Evil Geniuses (@EvilGeniuses) February 2, 2018
Previous Ranking: 6 (+1)
The last time we ranked Evil Geniuses, they had just recently swapped out Saahil ‘UNiVeRsE‘ Arora with Syed Sumail ‘SumaiL‘ Hassan in the offlane and brought in Rasmus ‘MISERY‘ Filipsen to help captain the team. Ever since then, Evil Geniuses have done better.
After an early exit at the Captain’s Draft Minor that saw them with a very unlucky matchup against the eventual champions, Team Secret, in the opening rounds of the playoffs, they took 2nd place at Galaxy Battles before ultimately finishing in the top 4 at the ESL One Genting Minor. Nevermind the fact that they got absolutely dismantled by Team Liquid, that just speaks more to just how good the reigning TI champs are than how bad they’are currently playing.
The rate that which SumaiL have adjusted to life in the offlane is much faster than most people thought. He remains the one-on-one matchup nightmare that he has always was, only now he helps give Evil Geniuses the sort of drafting and laning advantage that they arguably never enjoyed before. Meanwhile, MiSeRy seems to be just the right kind of leader that Evil Geniuses need to keep them in line when the going gets tough. After taking the risk and blowing up their roster, it’s safe to say that Evil Geniuses are in much better shape now than before.
The question now then is, can Evil Geniuses catch up to the likes of Team Liquid and Team Secret? We’ll find out soon enough.
4. ViCi Gaming
Previous Ranking: 5 (+1)
There’s no shame in failing to make the Top 4 at ESL One Genting. Not when you find yourselves matched up against the eventual champions Newbee in the opening rounds of the playoffs. Especially not when ten other Dota 2 teams also failed to make it to the playoffs. Not to make excuses for ViCi Gaming or anything, but they at least deserve that much.
Criticize ViCi Gaming for failing to seal the deal against Team Secret and Team Liquid in the Grand Finals of the Captains Draft Minor and Dota Pit League Minor respectively, but the fact that they managed to reach that far and threatened to take down the two best Dota 2 teams in the world right now speaks a lot about how good they are. In fact, had Newbee not had their revenge against Team Liquid at the Genting Minor, they would’ve found themselves one spot higher on our Dota Pro Circuit rankings.
Previous Ranking: 4 (+1)
Newbee are one of the best Dota 2 teams in the world and they made sure to erase all doubts after taking down Team Liquid en route to winning ESL One Genting 2018. But, as good as they’ve been, their most glaring weakness remains: they’re slightly predictable and they have a tendency to stick to comfort heroes, especially when the stakes are high. That’s a trait that separates them from Team Liquids and Team Secrets of the world.
With ViCi Gaming just behind them and LGD Gaming on their way up, Newbee’s status as the best Dota 2 team in China might not be for long. However, until we see them lose more often than they’ve won, their place among the top 4 in our Dota Pro Circuit rankings remain safe.
2. Team Liquid
Previous Ranking: 2 (-)
Not ranking Team Liquid as the no. 1 team still feels wrong sometimes. After all, they have the winningest five-man lineup in the history of Dota 2 (minimum 200 games played) and they’ve won the most Pro Circuit LANs so far this season with three under their belt. They also currently lead all Dota 2 teams (minimum 80 games played) with a 61-22 record (73.49% winrate) since The International 7 — to be fair, Team Secret aren’t too far behind in 2nd place at 79-35 (69.30%) — and they’ve only dropped 5 series all season long. Not to mention Team Liquid’s captain Kuro ‘KuroKy‘ Salehi Takhasomi is the first and only player to have ever won 1,000 games throughout his career.
Team Liquid remain arguably the heavy favourites to win The International 2018, but until they beat Team Secret and get their revenge, they’re not going to get back the top spot in our Dota Pro Circuit rankings.
1. Team Secret
Previous Ranking: 1 (-)
When Team Secret won the DreamLeague Major and took over the No. 1 spot in our Dota Pro Circuit rankings over Team Liquid, the question on our minds was, “Can Team Secret keep this up?”. After winning the Captain’s Draft Minor, in dramatic fashion in no less, it’s safe to say that Team Secret are here to stay, with professional Dota 2 player and occasional caster Niklas ‘Wagamama‘ Högström going as far as to say that Team Secret are untouchable right now.
We’re inclined to agree with what Wagamama said. Prior to losing Adrian ‘Fata‘ Trinks to food poisoning, Team Secret had gone undefeated during the group stages of ESL One Genting 2018 and were looking to have an easy time reaching the Grand Finals. No offense to Khoo ‘Ohaiyo‘ Chong Xin or Newbee, but there’s a huge chance that the results would’ve turned much differently had Team Secret played as a full team.
Barring any bouts with sudden illnesses, the only thing that’s going to stop Team Secret are themselves and until otherwise proven, they remain the best Dota 2 team in the world.
Which Dota 2 team do you think deserve to be in the top 10 of our Dota Pro Circuit rankings? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.