What We Learned from the GESC Jakarta Minor

Hosting eight teams with “only” 300 Qualifying Points up for grabs, the GESC Jakarta Minor fell under the looming shadow of the much larger Bucharest Major. However, even though the bigger teams chose to give the tournament a pass and not participate, it still does not mean that we didn’t learn a thing or two from Thailand’s first ever Dota 2 minor. Especially since we saw a couple of teams make their Pro Ciruit debut in the tournament, such as Rex Regum Qeon, Digital Chaos, and the Final Tribe. 

Evil Geniuses Are Scary Good

Dota 2 is all about amorphous lanes these days. The teams who can keep their opponents guessing which heroes are going to which players and which lanes are the ones who usually win big. Evil Geniuses’ latest roster, with Clinton ‘Fear‘ Loomis going back to the carry position and Syed Sumail ‘SumaiL‘ Hassan, are the latest to find success by embracing lane-switching.

With Andreas Franck ‘Cr1t-‘ Nielsen back to displaying the same prowess as a a position 4 as he did with OG two years ago and a strong captain like Rasmus ‘MISERY‘ Filipsen in tow, not to mention Kanishka ‘BuLba‘ Sosale as their coach, Evil Geniuses’ flawless win at the GESC Jakarta Minor looks like it’s just a start of something great.

Competition in China is Tight

As in economics, competition brings out the best in everybody. The same can be said for the different regions in Dota 2, especially in China.

Where in other regions there are one or two teams firmly entrenched on the top of the ladder, China has a couple vying for that spot. Newbee gets the nod based on their 2nd place finish at The International 7 and two Pro Circuit titles so far. However, ViCi Gaming and VGJ.Thunder are not too far behind. Although both teams have yet to win a Pro Circuit tournament, they have each come close more than a couple of times. VGJ.Thunder, for one, recently finished in 2nd place at both the Bucharest Major and the GESC Jakarta Minor. Their pick up of Leong ‘ddc‘ Fat-meng is easily one of the most underrated acquisitions this previous shuffle.

Behind these three teams is a long list of wishfuls who are a win or two away from a breakthrough. This includes the likes of LGD Gaming, LGD.ForeverYoung, Keen Gaming, and EHOME, among others.

With so many skilled teams playing in the region, look to China to break up the rankings in the coming tournaments.

The Mini Patches Aren’t Working

GESC Jakarta Minor

Image via Wykrhm Reddy

It seems that the critics were right when Valve first announced that they were going to change up the patch schedule and introduce a mini-patch every two weeks. Because of the meta’s tendency to change every so often, teams are now keeping it safe and playing mostly only heroes that are within the meta as opposed to sticking to what works best according to their own preferences and playstyles.

Case in point, Gyrocopter was among the pick/ban leaders at the GESC Jakarta Minor. To be exact, the hero was second, tied with Death Prophet. Surprisingly enough, Chen was either picked or banned in 97% of the games. Though this isn’t the same as Gyrocopter’s 100% pick/ban rate in previous tournaments, it’s still a very unusual thing in Dota 2.

Valve did say that this bi-weekly patch schedule was just an experiment. So, maybe, just maybe, they’ll change the schedule just before TI comes. Until then, however, we’re going to see teams pick only from a handful of heroes as opposed to seeing the meta evolve over time and teams continuously experimenting to try and figure out how to outplay each other.

Viper is a Lowkey Scary Pick

Viper has always had value for the hero’s stability and for counterpicking purposes. CIS also tends to play the hero like a glass cannon Sniper, but with better crowd control. But, for some reason, teams have yet to recognize just how flexible the hero’s scaling can be.

Viper’s main problem was that the hero lacked any late-game potential. Although the hero could win lanes against pretty much anybody most of the time, Viper lacked the scalability to keep up with other heroes late in the game. So this meant that for teams picking Viper as a core, they either had to play fast and finish early or slowly transition the hero to a more support-oriented core with Pipe of Insight and Shiva’s Guard. However, Viper’s level 20 and 25 talents has the potential to change that.

Mariano ‘Papita‘ Caneda showed Viper’s late-game potential in Infamous’ best-of-one game against Natus Vincere during the group stages of the GESC Jakarta Minor. As Natus Vincere focused most of their efforts on controlling Alonso ‘Kotarō Hayama‘ León and his Morphling, they failed to notice just how much more of a problem Papita had become because of Viper’s push potential (Level 20 talent: Poison Attack Affects Buildings) and high physical attack damage (Level 25 talent: +12 damage).

As more and more teams realize Viper’s true potential, expect the hero to get picked up more often. If that happens, the hero could go from a niche pick to a highly contested hero real quick.

Final Thoughts

Chen was the tournament’s highest picked and banned hero at 97%, but we still have our reservations. After all, this could just be a one-time thing. It’s not like teams picking Chen enjoyed much success anyway (25% winrate in eight games).

Finally, the latest Dota 2 patch didn’t really affect how the eight teams played at the GESC Jakarta Minor. At least not much anyway. e even saw Natus Vincere and Fnatic go at it for over an hour just as it was implemented. Although this is probably because it came just ahead of the playoffs of the tournament. But, going forward, expect to see the buyback changes severely affect how pros play. Hopefully, this means we’re going to see more heroes played instead of the same old deathball-esque ones.

What do you think was the biggest takeaway of the GESC Jakarta Minor? Do you think Evil Geniuses are ready to beat Team Liquid, Virtus.Pro and Team Secret in a series? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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