Five Key Takeaways from The Summit 9

With The Summit 9 now over, which saw six Dota 2 teams converge in the BTS house in Los Angeles for $100,000 in the final tournament before The International 2018, we recap five of the biggest things that stood out from the final big tournament of the season.

Hosted at the BTS House in Los Angeles, The Summit 9 brings back the casual-competitive setting that Dota 2 fans from all over the world have come to love since the tournament’s inception. This time around, there’ll be no DPC points up for grabs, and the prize pool is only $100,000. But, with five out of the six participating Dota 2 teams playing at The International 2018 in a few short weeks, The Summit 9 will serve as their final stop and a temporary fix for the viewers before the biggest event of the year.

While none of the usual powerhouses attended the event — literally zero teams from the direct invites played — the competition was as fierce as ever as the field was completely even heading into the tournament, with arguably no team standing out.

At the end of it all, Evil Geniuses stood the tallest, finishing the group stages with a 7-3 map record and sweeping their opponents in the playoffs to claim the title. Fnatic surprisingly ended up claiming second-place despite their lacklustre play during the group stages after a strong showing in the playoffs. Meanwhile, VGJ.Storm and Let’s Do It, finished third and fourth respectively.

Evil Geniuses’ Gamble is Paying Off

The Summit 9

The Summit 9 title is the third in franchise history and the first for Andreas Franck ‘Cr1t-‘ Nielsen and Fly(Beyond the Summit)

We’ve already seen far too many superstar lineups implode and not fulfil their potential, and although Evil Geniuses’ latest roster hasn’t proven much yet, their gamble to add Tal ‘Fly‘ Aizik and Gustav ‘s4‘ Magnusson so late into the season is starting to pay off.

With every one of their three cores among the most mechanically-skilled players in the world, capable of winning lanes despite unfavourable matchups, Evil Geniuses took The Summit 9 by storm and walked away with the win quite easily. Not even Fnatic, who relied on the recent buffs to high-ground defense, which made turtling strats and playing for the late game more viable, could do anything to stop Evil Geniuses from getting what they wanted.

Just to give you an idea how well Evil Geniuses played at The Summit 9, 4 of their 11 wins ended before the 30-minute mark, with VGJ.Storm taking the least amount of time to tap out at 16 minutes and 33 seconds.

Granted, Evil Geniuses’ win may not have come against the likes of Team Liquid and Virtus.Pro, a win is a win, especially if it comes as dominantly as theirs did. Add that to the collective experience and talent on the roster, Evil Geniuses may just improve enough in the coming weeks to disrupt the status quo in Vancouver come TI8.

The God of SEA Doto

The Summit 9

DJ may not be in the spotlight as much as his other teammates, but he’s a huge part of Fnatic’s success and will play a key role if they are to make a deep run at TI8. (Fnatic)

Fnatic may not have had as much success as most people would expect given the names on their roster, but it’s hard to fault Djardel Jicko B. ‘DJ‘ Mampusti for his team’s shortcomings.

At The Summit 9 alone, he was often solely responsible for winning team fights and even entire games as essentially a fourth core on his team. His play throughout the tournament garnered praise from players all over the world, specifically, for his excellent usage of Shackle Shot on Windranger. 

We already knew DJ was one of the best Dota 2 players in Southeast Asia regardless of position, but his performance at The Summit 9 proved that he was probably rated too low. He’s one of the best Dota 2 players in the world right now, arguably top ten.

With Fnatic now having seemingly learned not to be just content with having Abed Azel ‘Abed” Yusop carry them to victory, they’ll be one to watch out for at TI8, especially if DJ keeps on playing as well as he did this tournament.

A Painful Lesson for the Brazilians and W33

The Summit 9

A third-place finish at ESL One Birmingham 2018 may be a nice achievement, but they’ll have to do better if they don’t want that to be the only high point of their season. (paiN Gaming)

Everybody at ESL One Birmingham 2018 loved paiN Gaming. The crowd, especially, took a liking to the underdogs. They rode that high to a third-place finish at the first ever Dota 2 tournament in UK. The placement was the highest of any Dota 2 team from South America by far this season.

After that, many started expecting big things from paiN Gaming. Unfortunately, they did not deliver at The Summit 9.

A naturally aggressive team whose biggest strength and weakness lie in their propensity to take fights unexpectedly, paiN Gaming had an admirable 5-5 finish during the group stages, but ultimately fell in the hands of Let’s Do It in the opening rounds of the playoffs.

Of course, The Summit 9 is a non-bearing tournament. paiN Gaming have every bit of a reason to experiment here. But, finishing below a team that’s not playing at TI8 has got to hurt.

Hopefully, paiN Gaming only walks away from this tournament with lessons instead of regrets, as painful as what they learned may be.

Somebody Get Nisha On a Tier 1 Team

The Summit 9

Nisha is, by far, the best player on the former Team Kinguin roster and will likely be playing for a more prominent organization next season after this performance at The Summit 9. (Team Kinguin)

Why and how Michal ‘Nisha‘ Jankowski has not been picked up by a Tier 1 team, we’ll never know. He’s had all season to show for his efforts. If anything, his performance was The Summit 9 was more of a validation or confirmation than a revelation.

As the only team in the tournament not playing at TI8 in a few weeks, Let’s Do It played like it if you go by their standings. But, if you took the time to watch their games, you’d see that they were in the running in every one of those games. All of that is mostly thanks to their 17-year-old Polish mid laner.

No offense to the rest of Let’s Do It. They all played admirably against the odds, and they’ll go home with a fourth-place finish for their efforts. However, we’d be lying if we said that the entire tournament served as a showcase for more established Dota 2 teams and organizations to consider picking up Nisha for next season.

It’d be a huge surprise if Nisha doesn’t end up playing in another organization in the next few weeks.

BTS Delivers Once Again

The Summit 9

The run to TI will never be complete without a Dota Summit and BTS delivered once again with how much fun The Summit 9 was for the viewers from all over the world. (Beyond the Summit)

Whoever said that you need the best Dota 2 teams in the world to make an entertaining tournament?

This is not meant to slight the teams that played at The Summit 9, but it’s the reality. Unlike the past two Summit tournaments, there was no clear Tier 1 team here. There was no OG, Virtus.Pro, Team Secret, LGD Gaming, and the likes, to be found. Instead, the tournament had a pool of six Dota 2 teams, five of which qualified for TI8 via the regional qualifiers.

While it admittedly made for some clowny games, the tournament still made for a must-watch and entertaining Dota 2 tournament nonetheless. It only helped that the pros themselves took turns casting games every now and then — Peter ‘ppd‘ Dager was nowhere to be found on the couch, though, which sucked.

At this point, a Dota Summit before a TI is already a tradition, and with the next Dota Summit already scheduled for December 12-15, we just can’t wait to find out what the BTS team has in store for us next season.

Final Thoughts on the Summit 9

OpTic Gaming finishing last was a disappointment. Especially because we had them pegged as the heavy favourites to win The Summit 9. They often looked out of sync, even when their drafts were on point for the most part. Quinn ‘CCNC‘ Callahan, for one, seemed stuck on pub mode and tried to carry his team on his own to victory, which very rarely works against pro teams. We also didn’t see OpTic Gaming put Neta ‘33‘ Shapira on a featured role much. Although that probably suggests that ppd thought very little of the tournament but a way to get his team back into shape.

As for VGJ.Storm, they played as well as most hoped for. It sucked that they could do nothing against Fnatic’s chaotic and late-game oriented playstyle, with Roman ‘Resolut1on‘ Fominok surprisingly a non-factor in their series, but that happens. While we wouldn’t call it as a wake-up call, but do expect the loss to be something that they will try their best to learn from as they head into TI8.

All in all, The Summit 9 was an excellent way to get our fix before the big event in August, where we’ll see 18 of the best Dota 2 teams in the world collide for what will likely be another record-setting prize pool.

What do you think were the biggest takeaways of The Summit 9? Do you think the results here will have a huge effect on how these teams will perform at TI8? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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