With the mighty roar of the fallen CIS bears echoing throughout the Yuanshen Gymnasium in Shanghai, the China Dota2 Supermajor and the inaugural Dota Pro Circuit came to an end. With it, also signalled the start of the final stretch for The International 2018.
Before anything else, though, congratulations are in order for Team Liquid for winning the China Dota2 Supermajor. They have finally done it. After trying twelve times — they failed to qualify for the Boston Major — Team Liquid can now finally add a Major to their stacked trophy case. Not that it’s not any more significant than winning TI, which they did last August, but it’s a big achievement all the same. That it came against Virtus.Pro, who many presumed to have overtaken Team Liquid’s status as the best Dota 2 team in the world, made it all the sweeter.
Of course, not to be overshadowed by what could have easily been one of the best matches in Dota 2 history are the many storylines that developed all throughout the tournament.
OpTic Gaming, for one, saw their hopes of receiving a direct invite to The International 2018 squashed. In the end, they were only just a series win and 135 points short. This gave a struggling VGJ.Thunder squad enough of a reason to stay together and try to sort things out. At the same time, Mineski, ViCi Gaming, and Newbee all secured their slots at The International 2018 some time during the tournament.
Having said that, let us proceed to get into the meat of things of the China Dota2 Supermajor, which was easily the best tournament of the season.
Team Liquid Are Historically Good
Kuro ‘KuroKy‘ Salehi Takhasomi has accomplished a lot throughout his decade-long career. He is the first player to ever reach 1,000 career wins. He has been to a TI grand final, and he’s also won the whole thing. He’s even gone from being one of the best carry players in the world in his younger years to being one of the best captains, with a near-seamless transition in between. However, for all of the accolades that KuroKy has earned throughout his career, the glory of winning a Major has eluded him.
That “drought” ended yesterday with Team Liquid’s win against Virtus.Pro in a tightly contested series in the Grand Finals of the China Dota2 Supermajor.
The win now propels Team Liquid into unique territory as they are now the only Dota 2 team ever to have won a Major and a TI. That’s not half-bad for a lineup that already owns the highest winning percentage (69.59%) of all lineups that have played at least 300 games together.
Given Team Liquid’s success, it wouldn’t come off as a surprise if they end up overtaking the original Alliance squad’s record of having played the most games together at 651 games.
OpTic Gaming Prove Their Case
Consider any criticism that OpTic Gaming merely benefitted from a wonky format at ESL One Birmingham now null and void.
Their performance at the China Dota2 Supermajor should make them one of the early favourites to go on a dark horse run later at The International 2018. And yes, we’re already declaring that they’re going to qualify, because, why wouldn’t they?
OpTic Gaming are the only team invited directly into the North American regional qualifiers and the region received three slots for The International 2018 — the most of all the six competitive regions. Even if VGJ.Thunder, who had a relatively lacklustre showing at the China Dota2 Supermajor, and Evil Geniuses, who were even worse, end up qualifying, that still leaves one spot left for OpTic Gaming, who are easily the best Dota 2 team in the region right now.
Of course, a lot can still happen between then and now. Two months is a very long time. Case in point, two months ago, OpTic Gaming were arguably closer to disbanding than contending for a TI invite. But, whatever happens, consider us believers of Peter ‘ppd‘ Dager and the rest of OpTic Gaming.
The Meta Is In Good Shape
Save for the “brokenness” of Io, the Dota 2 meta is in relatively good shape. Almost every hero feels viable now. This includes everyone from team fight specialists like Warlock, Tidehunter, and Sand King to single-target lockdown experts like Skywrath Mage and Bane. Even niche heroes like Huskar and late-game carries like Spectre have found their place in the current meta.
Only two heroes — the incredibly nerfed-down Alchemist and the easily kiteable Ursa — went unpicked and unbanned at the China Dota2 Supermajor, further serving as proof that the meta is in good shape.
Hopefully, the two months between now and The International 2018, as well as the numerous patches in between, don’t mess things up too much.
The TI Cycle Might Finally be Broken
For seven straight years, the east and west have taken turns hoisting the Aegis of Champions.
First was Natus Vincere from CIS, followed by Invictus Gaming from China, then Alliance from Europe, then Newbee from China, Evil Geniuses from North America, Wings Gaming from China, and finally, Team Liquid from Europe.
It shouldn’t take an expert in Dota 2 to tell that nobody has ever won a TI twice. This is a fact that could finally change come TI8.
While PSG.LGD are looking mighty strong, Virtus.Pro and Team Liquid both seem to have their number. Not to mention the many other Dota 2 teams that could potentially emerge from the west and rise up to challenge the prophecy that this year is supposed to be China’s turn to win TI.
The International 2018 Is Going To Be Fun
Never before has there been this much build up leading to The International 2018. We’ve had some semblance of a structure in the past. This season’s isn’t even perfect, but it is something.
During the first half of the season, we saw Team Secret, Team Liquid, and Virtus.Pro take turns asserting their dominance over the scene. Months later, Virtus.Pro edged out both by winning three more Majors. However, that wasn’t before they also saw the emergence of PSG.LGD and Mineski. Then, for a finale, we saw Virtus.Pro attempt to win a fifth Major, only for Team Liquid to deny them by winning their first in team history at the same time.
That’s just all of the top Dota 2 teams mind you.
Throughout the season, we saw various teams take their shot at disrupting the hierarchy. Some succeeded, if only briefly, while others crashed miserably. The TI7 runner-ups Newbee were inconsistent, but they spent some time on the top, or at least near it. The ultra-talented ViCi Gaming never could fully pull themselves together to win a tournament, but they came so close so many times that you can’t exactly knock on them for trying. For a time, many even thought Evil Geniuses and OG were just a win away from a breakout. They may have come close, but ultimately, that breakout never came, and now, they’re both playing with new rosters.
It’s been a lot of fun, to put simply. Expect the final weeks leading up The International 2018 and the event itself to be even more enjoyable.
PGL Deserves At Least One Major Next Season
If PGL doesn’t get to host at least one Major next season, expect the entire Dota 2 community to be up in arms. The same goes for Perfect World and EPICENTER.
These three organizers deserve all the credit in the world for the work they put into their events. This season just wouldn’t be the same without them.
It’s an unspoken and yet fairly obvious secret that the inaugural Dota Pro Circuit was an experiment. Valve simply threw in a barebones structure and hoped that it would settle itself. It never truly did. However, that’s not to say that the season was a huge loss or disappointment. It wasn’t. It was an incredibly enjoyable roller coaster of a season that culminated in what is easily one of the most memorable matchups in all of Dota 2 history.
There’s no doubt Valve will try and rectify this. Dota 2 makes them too much money for them to just let the scene grow by itself. The structure they’ve already set for next season proves as much. But, as they say, we’ll be leaving tomorrow’s problems for tomorrow’s me.
For now, with the China Dota2 Supermajor already over, our eyes are all set on The International 2018, which is already looking like it’s going to be one for the ages, especially if we see Kyle ‘kyle‘ Freedman casting the Grand Finals with Toby ‘TobiWan‘ Dawson.
What do you think were the biggest takeaways of the China Dota2 Supermajor? Do you think the current meta is in good shape? What improvements would you like to see? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.