The 4th competitive week of Dota Pro Circuit 2021 Season 1 China Upper Division is underway and the situation is totally different from what everyone predicted at the start of the tournament. The region’s supposedly strongest teams might miss the Singapore Major while two of the underdogs are sitting at the top of the rankings table with perfect scores. Let’s have a look.
The Situation Prior to DPC 2021 Season 1 China
The competition began on January 19th. Prior to it, two teams were always in the Grand Finals of regional events: Elephant and PSG.LGD. Occasionally, EHOME and Vici Gaming made an appearance and tried to stay close to the top teams. But the first two captured most of the attention.
Elephant was created on October 1st 2020. And immediately, just based on its roster, people could tell that one day, this team would win important tournaments and dominate the region. Every member of this squad, with the exception of RedPanda, who still needs to prove himself, is among the best in the world and their respective role. Eurus is probably the best carry, not just in China but globally. Somnus is a phenomenal midlaner, Yang is the type of offlaner that everyone wants on their team. And fy is as good as KuroKy, Puppey, and all the other formidable captains that dominate the professional scene.
With these players, Elephant needed just 2 months to start winning trophies. They finished 1st at China Dota2 Pro Cup Season 2 and then won the very next tournament they went to: OGA Dota PIT S4: China.
Given that these competitions took place just 4-6 weeks prior to the start of Dota Pro Circuit 2021 Season 1 China, it’s obvious why everyone expected Elephant to shine in this competition. And that didn’t happen at all. The team is currently ranked 4th with a record of 2 wins, 2 losses and just 3 matches left to go. The situation is quite risky and the only thing that improves it a little bit is the fact that China has 4 available tickets for the Singapore Major. Like Europe, they’re in a favorable position thanks to the results they got in the last several years at The International.
This is another team that showed great promise prior to DPC 2021 Season 1 China. Even though they completely changed their roster in Autumn last year, the players that were brought in quickly proved that they can perform as well as the old squad and even better. Since the middle of September 2020, when the change occurred, PSG.LGD played in 5 Grand Finals of regional events, winning 3 of them. That is very impressive.
The players’ names give you a clear idea of what to expect: Ame, Faith_bian, and y` are world-class competitors with huge results over the course of their career. And since they confirmed their strength and playstyle compatibility in the months that followed their transfer to PSG.LGD, it was perfectly logical for people to regard their team as one of the best in the region. But when the ongoing DPC 2021 Season 1 China began, things just didn’t click anymore. PSG.LGD is now sitting at number 5 with 2 wins and 2 losses. Like Elephant, they too have 3 more matches left to play and the situation looks dire.
The current results look like this:
- 1st place: Invictus Gaming: 4 W – 0 L
- 2nd place: Team Aster: 4 W – 0 L
- 3rd place: Vici Gaming: 3 W – 1 L
- 4th place: Elephant: 2 W – 2 L
- 5th place: PSG.LGD: 2 W – 2 L
- 6th place: EHOME: 1 W – 3 L
- 7th place: Team MagMa: 1 W – 4 L
- 8th place: LBZS: 0 W – 5 L
As was predicted, Team MagMa and LBZS proved to be much weaker than the rest of the pack. But the real shock was provided by Invictus Gaming and Team Aster. Both of them had to qualify to play in this tournament. And in spite of being among the underdogs, they are now at the top with perfect scores. Which is a complete shock to everyone, most likely including themselves.
iG’s crew has been very stable in the last 18 months. With 0 roster changes made during this period, the team certainly had time to find its winning formula. But they hadn’t, until the start of DPC 2021 Season 1 China. Of course, I’m excluding here their 4 Grand Finals from 2020. If we look at their results in the 5 months that preceded this ongoing tournament, they looked like one of the weakest tier 1 competitors in the region. And just look at where they are now. So far, they defeated EHOME, Vici Gaming, Elephant, and MagMa.
The team’s roster is not terrible, but it’s not amazing either. Its strongest player is Kaka, a former Newbee member and TI finalist. Apart from him, iG’s crew is full of no-names. Or at least, of players who hadn’t shown prior to this event some clear signs of exceptional ability.
Team Aster is the other dark horse in this race. Although, to be fair, their results in 2020 did suggest that the potential for greatness is there. The team finished 2nd at China Dota2 Pro Cup Season 2 at the end of November and then 2nd again at Huya Winter Invitational, at the end of December. With these results, Aster looked ready to do battle with the region’s giants. But nobody would have predicted that they were actually going to win every match.
Unlike Invictus Gaming, Aster has another advantage: their roster includes quite a few spectacular players whose past results are impressive: LaNm, Xxs, and Monet.
Week 4 of Dota Pro Circuit Season 1 China resumes on February 26th. There are 3 matches left to be played this week and their results will determine a lot.
- LGD – Invictus Gaming
- EHOME – Elephant
- Vici Gaming – Aster
For PSG.LGD, this is their last real chance. If they lose this match, their odds of qualifying for the Singapore Major go down dramatically.
Elephant is likely to crush EHOME, as they have done several times before in the last few months.
Vici Gaming need to prove themselves against Aster if they want to be safe. In principle, they should be able to do it. But it’s tough to make a prediction when VG’s roster is so much stronger than Aster’s while Aster’s current form is so much stronger than VG’s.