What We Learned from the PGL Bucharest Major 2018

The PGL Bucharest Major 2018 was a neat reminder to Dota 2 fans from all over the world of how the game is in such a great place today. The way the tournament turned out is proof of how close the game’s top teams are; not a single Dota 2 team stood out from the rest throughout the entire tournament until Virtus.Pro finally emerged victorious to become back-to-back Major champions at the end of it all.

Below are some of the things that stood out the most from the PGL Bucharest Major 2018.

VP and RodjER Are a Match Made in Heaven

PGL Bucharest Major 2018

Image via Virtus Pro

It’s understandable that there was some doubt surrounding how Vladimir ‘RodjER‘ Nikogosyan would fit in with the rest of Virtus.Pro’s roster. The guy he replaced and got swapped with Ilya ‘Lil‘ Ilyuk was a founding member of the CIS organization’s Dota 2 team and was pretty much the team’s poster boy. Both also played professionally right around the same time, with Lil having achieved so much more already. But, after playing a key role in both of their wins at ESL One Katowice and the Bucharest Major, it’s clear now how much better Virtus.Pro is as a team with RodjER in the roster.

From his ballsy initiations to his timely saves, RodjER enables Virtus.Pro’s signature aggression in ways that Lil never could.

With the current Dota 2 meta heavily favouring Virtus.Pro’s playstyle and RodjER still adjusting to his new teammates, something tells me that they have yet to reach their peak.

This is a scary thought for opposing teams going forward.

You Can Be Both Memey and Professional

Just to sidetrack a bit from the Dota 2 matches at the PGL Bucharest Major 2018, can we take some time to congratulate PGL for a job well done?

From the memey, slightly cringe-worthy team segments to the other content that provided valuable insight to the lives of prominent esports personalities, to giving Dota 2 casters who are on the up-up a chance and taking a chance at switching things up in the Grand Finals, PGL gave viewers something worthwhile to watch.

PGL’s efforts definitely did not go unnoticed, though. Peak viewership reached more than 7M. Even when you take out the Chinese viewers, constant viewership of more than 200k+ at a time is still something.

Dota 2’s Meta Is Becoming Stale

Stale probably wasn’t exactly the word in IceFrog’s mind when he decided to switch things up and bring in biweekly updates. However, that’s exactly what has happened to Dota 2 in recent weeks. Gone are the versatility during drafts, especially when it comes to picking cores. Case in point, it’s all about Gyrocopter, Razor, Dragon Knight, and Terrorblade now. Although it was nice to see Luna finally getting some run at the PGL Bucharest Major 2018.

Right now, cores need to have the following attributes: can push lanes and take towers fast, can team fight, can at least break even in the lane, can save allies or himself, can move quickly, can scale late-game, and finally, can clear stacks fast. This need for jack-of-all-trade heroes has made those who specialize in one or a couple of those aspects essentially obsolete. Case in point, ganking specialists like Clinkz, Slark and Ursa have little place in the current meta. The same goes for team fighters such as Magnus, Invoker and Silencer, as well as tower pushers like Drow and Leshrac. The late game hero Spectre has also felt out of place for quite some time now.

Ironically enough, the game’s emphasis on versatility in lanes has affected drafting and hero viability, making the game less versatile. This doesn’t just affect the cores either but supports like Dazzle, Disruptor and Jakiro have become somewhat redundant as well, making the game feel stale and boring.

Maybe it wasn’t so much that the meta becoming stale but teams playing safe because of the unforgiving tournament format? In any case, here’s to hoping that we see this change in the next four weeks with at least two patch changes scheduled until then.

Gyrocopter Needs a Nerf

PGL Bucharest Major

Image via Hawkwarts

Speaking of Gyrocopter, the high-flying, aircraft riding old timer has found himself at the top of competitive games while winning more than half of the time. Again. In fact, the PGL Bucharest Major 2018 saw the hero getting picked or banned in all of the tournament’s 51 games.

This shouldn’t come off as a surprise, though. Given the emphasis on the current meta on cores that can win lanes or at least break even, farm neutrals fast, move quickly, can succeed in pretty much any lane, and scale well into the late game, Gyrocopter simply checks all of the necessary boxes.

With that said, what kind of nerf does Gyrocopter need? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what, but something that at least reduces the range of Flak Cannon (from 1,250 radius to around 900-1000) to making Homing Missile easier to destroy, at least early game, and a slight cooldown to his Level 20 Movement Speed talent (from +50 to +30/40), should make the hero less viable without completely making him unplayable.

Dark Willow Isn’t That OP

PGL Bucharest Major 2018

Image via EvilMontage

Played in five games with a 40% win rate, Dark Willow wasn’t nearly as impactful as most people initially thought. Sure, the hero made for some nifty plays at the PGL Bucharest Major 2018, but none exactly that warranty the “OP” label that most thought she’d be entering the tournament. But then again, the sample size might just be too small or teams just weren’t up to experimenting; the best-of-one Swiss format and single-elimination playoffs gave little room for error.

Regardless, we’ll likely see more of Dark Willow in the tournaments coming up this month.

Final Thoughts

The tournament was a sad one for fans of Mineski, OG and ViCi Gaming. Considered as powerhouses of their respective regions, neither one made it past the group stages and into the playoffs. But, if it’s any consolation, the PGL Bucharest Major 2018 did see a few teams on the up-and-up get a chance on the spotlight, with TNC Pro Team and OpTic Gaming making it to the playoffs and VGJ.Thunder advancing all the way to the Grand Finals.

As for the meta, it’d be nice to see status resistance reworked, or at least limited to just Tiny and the item Aeon Disk. The way things are right now, it’s hard to estimate just how long you can keep a hero locked down, especially when up against strength cores. This had made Disruptor such a must-have. Not only because he can disrupt team fights with so little farm, but because his disables Glimpse and Static Field are not affected by status resistance.

Ultimately, though, Dota 2 is in a good place. A patch or two and we could see the meta shifting yet again. Hopefully, this means that we’ll see teams draft according to less to that of the meta and more to their actual playstyles and strengths.

What do you think were the biggest takeaways from the PGL Bucharest Major 2018? What kind of changes do you expect to see in Dota 2 going forward? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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