DreamLeague is delivering some high quality Dota. There are unexpected group outcomes, reinvigorated hopes and even some new, cautious meta developments. Today we would like to discuss the group stage of the tournament and figure out what to expect from the main event.
Na’Vi is back?
Na’Vi took first place in their group and if we are not mistaken, it is the first time this team is going to start a DPC tournament run in the upper bracket. It wasn’t a weak group either and Na’Vi had to win both Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid in a bo3 to get to the top. The latter were also forced to start the tournament in the lower bracket.
This is great news for all fans of the legendary organization and Na’Vi currently represents the region’s best hope. Their compatriot, Virtus.Pro, ended the group stage in the last place, falling to both Alliance and Reality Rift, the third qualified SEA team.
Speaking of SEA: for some reason both Fnatic and TNC Predator found themselves in the same group. Even more interestingly, these teams didn’t have to play against each other at all, with TNC getting quickly forced into the lower bracket by Nigma and Aster.
Fnatic took second place in Group A, right behind Nigma, preventing Aster from starting in the upper bracket. Aster is going to be the only Chinese team to start the tournament from the lower bracket, with Invictus Gaming taking a convincing first place in group C and Vici Gaming taking second place in group B.
A total of 92 heroes were contested during the group stage and 88 different heroes were played in the tournament so far. This result is far from ideal, naturally, and we hope that there are still some pocket strategies saved by the teams for the playoff stage.
On top of it, six heroes had a contest rate of 80%+. No hero was at a 100%, which is good, but both Slark and Doom got incredibly close with 93% each.
Lich, Rubick and Disruptor became the most picked heroes of the group stage, but this popularity is only justified by the last hero: Disruptor has a 70.59% win rate so far. Lich is at exactly 50%, while Rubick seems to heavily underperform with his 35% win rate.
Tiny and Wist became the most successful consistent picks with 76.92% and 75.00% win rate respectively. While their pairing is incredibly scary, turns out Tiny does work as an independent flex hero who can be both a position four support and a pretty decent late-game core.
The return of the ultimates
The beginning of the patch was chaotic with frequent changes to both old and new game mechanics. Our initial impression and statistics showed that the game got shorter: there were more resources on the map, there were more objectives to fight for and that meant you were better off picking heroes with high teamfight potential who could come online fast.
While for the most part it still holds true, the latter changes to how Outposts and Bounty Runes behave tamed the pace of the game. Yet the habit remained and only now do we see teams break out of their comfort zone with picks which would be rightly deemed unviable at the start of the patch.
We’ve already seen Faceless Void do decently well, despite his 160-second cooldown ultimate. We’ve also seen an Enigma pick and the only big teamfight ultimate hero yet to be picked is Tidehunter, who will undoubtedly squeeze his way into the tournament during the playoffs.
We believe DreamLeague still has a lot to show us: there are some incredible teams, who will have to start the tournament run in the lower bracket and they undoubtedly have some spicy strategies prepared for such occasions.
On top of it, there are unexpected teams in the upper bracket and teams like that typically get ahead by going against the grain: when you acknowledge that you might be slightly behind the enemy in terms of pure skill and team coordination you start to think hard about how to get an advantage and that usually leads to some very unconventional picks.