What We Learned from the AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League

Dota 2 teams battled it out over the past weekend at the AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League LAN Finals, setting the stage for what’s to come in the weeks ahead in both online qualifiers and the preceding LAN tournaments to be played in Dota 2’s latest patch.

With that said, it’s time that we take a look at some of the things we learned from the AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League LAN Finals.

Team Liquid Are Still the Best Team in the World

TL Wins Dotapit

We are the DotaPit Minor Champions!🏆🏆🏆

Posted by Team Liquid on Sunday, November 5, 2017

You know you’ve been successful for so long when anything but a title is considered a disappointment, which is exactly what happened with Team Liquid when people started to “doubt” them after they failed to win their sixth straight LAN title.

Let that sink it for a moment.

Team Liquid, who spent much of the first half of the past season struggling to qualify for a LAN tournament, have won six straight LANs, dating back to the Starladder i-League Invitational #2 tournament back in May. Their run of dominance has included successful title defenses at EPICENTER 2017, DreamLeague Season 7 and the Starladder i-League Invitational #3 Minor.

Most important of all, Team Liquid punctuated their recent string of success with a decisive sweep of Newbee at the Grand Finals of The International 7.

Only a few teams have done what Team Liquid have over the past six months or so. However, by winning the AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League Minor, Team Liquid have made it clear that they’re out to make history as the first Dota 2 team to win TI twice.

Right now, Team Liquid are on the right track as they are the first reigning TI champions to win multiple LAN titles before the turn of the calendar year. And, with at least 3 more Pro Circuit tournaments between now and December 1 — Team Liquid reportedly declined an invite to the Perfect World Masters Minor — they have a chance to secure themselves a direct invite to The International 8 well before the event even starts.

Major Tournaments Are Very Important

AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League

Image via ESL

While it certainly makes sense to try and make deep runs in as many Pro Circuit LANs as possible, we are now at a point in the season that we can firmly say that Majors are far more important than Minors.

Case in point, most of Virtus Pro’s Qualifying Points (2,295 QP) come from their win at the ESL One Hamburg Major. Not only that, but Team Secret are in 2nd place (1,440 QP) despite not having won a single LAN this season. Meanwhile, Team Liquid, who’ve won two Pro Circuit LANs, and Mineski, who won the PGL Minor earlier this season, are in third and fourth place with 1,350 QP and 720 QP respectively.

With more and more Pro Circuit tournaments forgoing the 8-team format in favour of including more teams, expect top-tier teams to put more emphasis on Majors going forward while leaving the Minors for the Tier 2 and Tier 3 teams, which was pretty much the goal of Dota 2‘s new competitive system.

Mineski Need to Start Receiving Direct Invites

AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League

Image via Mineski

Notably absent from the AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League LAN are Mineskiwho dropped out of the tournament due to “important family matters”.

So far this season, Mineski have secured all but one qualifier tournament in Southeast Asia. And, while Mineski have done well representing the region in the Pro Circuit LANs they’ve attended — they placed 2nd at the Starladder Minor and 1st at the PGL Minor — we have to remember that the main purpose of holding qualifier tournaments for each of the six competitive regions is to give teams a fair chance to qualify.

It’s simply not fair, however, when you’ve got Mineski, who have yet to receive a direct invite to a LAN tournament, policing the region.

Mineski have built a strong case to be a Top 5 team. Some would even argue that they’re in the Top 3. Either way, the fact that such a high-caliber team has yet to receive a direct invite to a Pro Circuit LAN this season is just unfair for the rest of the region.

Fnatic Desperately Need a Roster Shakeup

AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League

Image via Fnatic

It’s one thing to fail to qualify for any Pro Circuit LAN when you have Mineski beating everybody in your region down to a pulp. It’s another thing to get free passes to the ESL One Hamburg Major, as well as the Dota Pit Minor and not do anything noteworthy about it.

In both Pro Circuit LANs, Fnatic failed to impress and only managed to win a single game. Sure, that one win was against Virtus Probut still, when the team has gone 1-7 overall in Pro Circuit LANs so far, a win like that can easily be considered a fluke.

Whatever is wrong with Fnatic’s latest lineup, it’s clear that something needs to change and they need to work on it fast.

Vici Gaming Are Legit-ish

AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League

Image via Dota Pit

So it was one tournament, so what? Well, for Vici Gamingthe AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League LAN wasn’t just any tournament; it was the tournament where they would redeem themselves after going 0-4 at the Starladder Minor.

A talent-laden lineup composed of some of the best Dota 2 players in China, Vici Gaming fell flat on their face in their first LAN together. Ren ‘eLeVeN’ Yangwei, in particular, got most of the flak, especially from angry Chinese Dota 2 fans, after his uncharacteristically sloppy performance throughout the entire tournament.

It was only fitting, then, that eLeVeN be the catalyst that helped Vici Gaming take down tournament favourites Virtus Pro and Newbee, as well as come one game shy of sweeping Team Liquid in the Grand Finals of the AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League LAN.

It was just unfortunate for Vici Gaming that Team Liquid apparently still had a higher gear as the presumed best Dota 2 team in the world proceeded to reverse sweep the talented Chinese Dota 2 squad with each game not even going past the half-hour mark.

Either way, even with the loss, Vici Gaming have shown that they are the real deal and that the earlier hype surrounding the squad was warranted.

AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League Final Placings

AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League

Image via Dota Pit

1st Place — Team Liquid (??? / 150 QP)
2nd Place — Vici Gaming (??? / 90 QP)
3rd Place — Newbee (??? / 45 QP)
4th Place — Virtus Pro (??? / 15 QP)
5th-6th Place — SG e-sports / OG
7th-8th Place — Immortals / Fnatic

With the win, Team Liquid are now firmly in third place of the season standings, with Team Secret (1440 QP) in second place and Virtus Pro (2295 QP) far ahead in 1st. Mineski round out the Top 4 with 720 QP for the season.

What do you think was the biggest takeaway from the AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League Minor? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below. 

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