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    1 month ago

    Disturbed Wizard

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    9 months ago

    Vici Gaming’s coach, Bai “rOtK” Fan sat down for an interview with the Chinese outlet and discussed the impact of the Outlanders gameplay update on the professional scene and casual players. He expressed his concerns with the new patch and explained what the coach’s duties are, besides what fans see on the big screen during the tournaments.
    He also answered a few questions related to VG’s performance at MDL Chengdu, the first Major of the season, but also gave a few insights on his team’s performance at TI9 and what differences OG, the back to back TI champions, from other teams. The English translation of the whole interview was possible courtesy of Blair Zheng and Yuhui Zhu.
    ***
    What’s your first impression of the Outlanders update, how are the players getting used to it?
    Since there are items dropping in the jungle now, it feels quite interesting, like a different game. We are all enjoying it. Some items are from previous patches, so as long as we get used to the new mechanics, it’s easy for the players to adapt to it. But of course, we need to work on our understanding of the new items.
    Do you think that this update has made the threshold of the game higher for new players or for the casual ones?
    Yes, for sure, especially for new players. Over 60 neutral items were added on top of the original ones, so there are too many items for them to learn.
    How will neutral items influence the game?
    I think the “randomness” is what influences us most because the drop of some items can be so important that it may change the outcome of a team fight or even the tempo of a whole game. But some items can be super useless. I feel this level of randomness has made the game more imbalanced.
    Dota 2 is a hardcore competitive game after all, so I think Valve will do something to balance this randomness later. However, for Vici Gaming, we haven’t been influenced much, because even after the update, we are still playing strats from the last patch. During the early stages of a new patch, most teams will still use their most familiar strategies and their own playstyle from before the update.
    In which aspects are the updates influencing the professional teams?
    In training mostly, we need a lot of practice to find the right direction, to find the tempo and the game plan that fits us on a new patch. Then, we need to make corresponding training plans and discuss together what play style suits us the best. And at last, I need to integrate all those ideas and polish them in scrims. Updates are like the change of rules in traditional sports, so we need to adjust and adapt ourselves to them through training. Matches are more like a reflection of our training result.
    Is it possible for a weak team to take down a strong one because of the release of new patch?
    I can only say that apart from players’ individual skills, a more important characteristic of stronger teams is their game-sense and coordination, which has nothing to do with a patch.
    To maintain a good form requires lots of training. Lessons you learned and strategies you developed through training are more important than the matches themselves. Perhaps some teams can find a cheese strat to upset stronger teams when the patch just got released, but as time goes on, you will find that strong teams are still strong and that weak teams are still weak. A patch just can’t fill an actual gap in skills.
    So, how do you see the fact that OG hasn’t been influenced by so many updates?
    First of all, we must recognize that OG is indeed really strong. Secondly, I think the result of tournaments will actually affect how Valve balance the game in the next patch. They will, for example, nerf combos which they saw and were deemed too strong in tournaments. However, OG are smart because they don’t expose their own strats in pre-TI tournaments. They hide their ace card during those tournaments and only bring it out on TI, so they don’t get nerfed. Of course, the reason they are confident enough to do this is because they believe in their skills.
    Then why don’t Chinese teams adopt such a pattern?
    I think we are more straightforward. As long as we are playing, we only aim for the championship. We don’t think that much.
    Every time Valve releases a patch, the community will meme about it being a completely new game, what do you think about it?
    I think the players are just complaining about Valve’s slow speed in releasing new patches. However, each update did change game mechanics a lot, so we can see a lot of people calling Outlanders “DOTA 3.” It’s normal, these are just memes.
    It’s a pity that you finished runner-up at the last Major, MDL Chengdu. Was it due to players’ burn-out from last season?
    We don’t have any excuse. It was simply because we were in a bad form on the final day and TNC played better. We didn’t deliver our best performance on that day. We are sorry about it, too.
    A lot of people think that the Chinese coaches are simply scapegoats to take the flame when team loses. What do you think?
    A lot of fans think the only job of a coach is drafting for the players in the booth. This is not really true. I think the value of a good coach resides in the daily training, they need to figure out questions like how to lead a team, how to make training more effective, what needs to be done so that the players can learn more from scrims. These are more important tasks for a coach.
    The fact that Valve allows coaches to participate in the drafting phase on stage is a recognition of our value. However, drafting is still decided by the team together, and in most cases, the draft is not the only reason for a loss. Some high-skilled audience may know what’s the root cause for a loss, while others may not. But as long as they don’t make things up blindly, I’ll accept their opinion.
    How does public opinion impact you?
    It’s been many years, and I’m already used to them. I know how to adjust my mindset. Luckily, I’ve still got a lot of fans, and they stand up for me from time to time. I’m really grateful for those fans.
    What’s the goal of Vici Gaming this season?
    We wish we can go far at TI. In the previous season, it was really tough for everyone. I think the main reason that we decided not to make any roster change was that our players didn’t think they were in their best form at TI8. We could have done much better. I hope this year we can make effective adjustments and present you with a better performance from Vici Gaming!

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    9 months ago
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    9 months ago

    Philippines have dominated the international scene in Dota 2 with TNC always turning up big for WESG. Come to the Southeast Asian Games, it was Team Philippines again who took the gold! The winning roster is the roster that competes as Team Adroit, a Filipino team who managed to make it to the first DPC Major of the season, but stumbled in the second set of qualifiers. The two substitues are from Cignal Ultra. This is the roster that took the gold:'
    The Team Philippines roster that took the gold (image: Liquipedia)
    The event started with eight teams and two groups. The top team from each group got a place in the upper bracket while the team that finished second got a place in the lower bracket. Thailand may have ended up second in their group to Vietnam, but they had a strong showing the knockout stages where they defeated Vietnam 2-1 to take home the Silver. Vietnam had to settle for the Bronze.
    The grand final was close series which the Philippines took 3-2. In the last game with the series tied at 2-2, Team Thailand had a 11k gold lead 27 minutes into the game and they were leading 20-3 in kills! But Team Philippines’ Phantom Lancer came online to save the day and they managed to turn the game around eventually to win the gold.
    The event took place in Manila, so the home crowd must be elated by the win. Even though Team Adroit didn’t qualify for either the second DPC Major or Minor, they will be more than happy to have won the gold for their country.

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    9 months ago

    Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida’s 2019 competitive year was plagued by injuries. At the very beginning of the year, he was forced to take a few months break after he suffered a humerus fracture in February during a
    From February to May 2019, Faith_bian took the coaching duties for EHOME, while the team coach, Zhang “xiao8” Ning, stood in for him. And the history repeats itself as EHOME announced Xiao8 to join the active roster once again to replace Faith_bian, who needs to recover from a tendon inflammation this time.
    EHOME are expected to play tomorrow, December 11 in the WESG China qualifiers. They also have a couple of games scheduled to be played this month in the China Dota2 Professional League Season 1. According to the official announcement made by EHOME on Weibo, Faith_bian is expected to return to the team by the end of this month.
    EHOME don’t have any Dota Pro Circuit matches scheduled for the beginning of 2020, after they lost both the Major and the Minor qualifiers. Apart from the WESG qualifiers and the DPL matches from this month, the team is expected to play at the beginning of February 2019 in the third round of DPC qualifiers, counting for the ESL One Los Angeles 2020 Major and the Minor preceding it.
    EHOME current roster:
    Liu “Sylar” Jiajun
    Cheng “NothingToSay” Jin Xiang
    Zhang “xiao8” Ning (stand in)
    Zhao “XinQ” Zixing
    Zhang “y`” Yiping

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    9 months ago

    The eight teams that will compete at WePlay! Bukovel Minor next month have been determined.
    The dust has finally settled from the second wave of DPC 2019-2020 season qualifiers. Those that didn't make the first cut to participate in the DreamLeague Season 13 Leipzig Major continued the battle for a spot in the WePlay! Bukovel Minor and a second chance to seize the last coveted spot for the Major.
    Most of the teams are familiar this season, having already participated in either the Dota Summit 11 Minor or the MDL Chengdu Major. For three teams it will be their first DPC event of the season. Nigma esports finally came back to competitive play after a break following their spectacular TI9 run where they clinched the runner up status. Most fans were disappointed with their return performance. Disjointed, sloppy and sub-par, the team failed to qualify for the Major and then struggled in the playoff brackets for the sole European spot for the Minor. In the grand finals, however, they finally seemed to find their groove and shut down their opponents with ease. Fans will need to wait a bit longer to see which version of the team will show up to play or get shut down next month.
    WePlay! Bukovel Minor Teams
    CIS Gambit
    CIS Team Spirit
    Europe NiP
    Europe Nigma esports
    United States Fighting Pandas
    China Royal Never Give Up
    Malaysia Geek Fam
    Brazil FURIA esports
    WePlay! Bukovel Minor format
    Group Stage:
    Two GSL groups
    All games are Bo3
    Top two teams advance to the Playoffs
    Bottom two teams are eliminated
    Playoffs:
    Double elimination bracket
    All games are Bo3
    Bo5 Grand Finals
    WePlay! Bukovel Minor prize pool and point distribution
    Place Prize Pool Points
    1 $72,000 140*
    2 $60,000 120
    3 $54,000 110
    4 $42,000 90
    5-6 $24,000 60
    5-6 $24,000 60
    7-8 $12,000 40
    7-8 $12,000 40
    *Since the minor winner also gets to participate in the major, they will only get points for the event in which they placed better (e.g: If they place last in the major, they will only get 140 points for winning the minor. If they place 8th instead, they'd get the 450 points for the major but not the 140 points from the minor)
    WePlay! Bukovel Minor
    Between January 9-12th, eight teams determined via qualifiers will battle it out in Bukovel, Ukraine for the lion's share of the $300,000 prize pool and 660 DPC points as well as the highly coveted spot at the DreamLeague Season 13 Leipzig Major taking place in Leipzig, Germany January 18-26th.

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    9 months ago

    The 15 qualified teams for DreamLeague Season 13 Leipzig Major have been determined and only one spot remains open for the winner of WePlay! Bukovel Minor.
    Merely four days after the conclusion of MDL Chengdu Major which crowned TNC Predator the champions of the first Major of the DPC 2019-2020 season and two days following a game-changing patch, the next wave of qualifiers began.
    The open qualifiers for DreamLeague Season 13 Leipzig Major and WePlay! Bukovel Minor was played out on the new patch and that meant it was anyone's game. Several of the big teams and veteran players were relegated to the open event due to lack of any DPC points so far to grant them access to the regional qualifiers. PSG.LGD, Nigma esports (ex-Team Liquid), Team Secret were signed up with high expectations of securing their first DPC event. OG's new project, OG seed, were on hand and ready to rumble as was Midone's new stack SEA Monkeys. Unfortunately, some will be sitting another turn out as OG seed, SEA Monkeys and LGD failed to survive the brutal eliminations. To add salt to the wound, their failure to advance to even the closed qualifiers means still no DPC points and another set of open qualifiers awaits them for the next wave. A heavy price to pay for taking a break? Or a fair compensation for their decision?
    Either way, after several days of entertaining officials featuring new heroes and potential new metas, the fifteen teams to compete in Germany January at Leipziger Messe January 18-26th have been determined. Nine of the teams will be two-time Major participants so far this year, having already competed at MDL Chengdu Major. Most of the new additions are no surprise to fans. After a disappointing finish at the last event for the CIS region, the regional fans will have two new representatives to cheer for.
    SwedenAlliance
    Europe Team Liquid
    Europe Team Secret
    China Vici Gaming
    China Team Aster
    China Invictus Gaming
    Russia Virtus.pro
    Ukraine Na'vi
    SouthEastAsia Reality Rift
    MalaysiaFnatic
    Philippines TNC Predator
    United States Evil Geniuses
    United States Chaos Esports
    Peru beastcoast
    Brazil paiN Gaming
    TBD
    DreamLeague Season 13 Leipzig Major format
    Participants:
    Fifteen Teams from Regional Qualifiers
    At least two teams from each region
    One team as the champion of WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020
    Group Stage: - January 18th-19th
    Four GSL groups
    All games are Bo3
    Top two teams advance to the Upper Bracket of the playoffs
    Bottom two teams advance to the Lower Bracket of the playoffs
    Playoffs: - January 21st-26th
    Double elimination bracket
    Final three days will be in front of a live crowd.
    First round of the Lower Bracket is Bo1
    All other games are Bo3
    Bo5 Grand Finals

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    Commented subject Why Dota needs drama.
    9 months ago

    Professional Dota has it all: amazing plays, pro's with an interesting backstory, drama, success, hate, friendship. Our Position 6 host Daniel Offen took a closer look at how drama can add to storylines and the excitement of games.
    My family, who are unbelievably supportive, occasionally listen to the podcast I produce weekly – Position Six – in which I interview DOTA 2 players, coaches and broadcasters. My mum tells me that she enjoys it as an insight into the habits of people who are highly successful in their field as well as a telling of personal stories. I suggested that she watch the excellent Red Bull documentary about OG winning The International 2018, and she raved about it to me. She said that she was energised and intrigued by the narratives and emotions that unpinned that victory – an underdog story, a lifelong struggle, a broken friendship. She remembers Johan 'BigDaddyN0tail' Sundstein and Sebastien 'Ceb' Debs and will occasionally mention them to me and was pleased to hear that they had once again beaten the odds to win a second international. My mum is not a gamer, she’s told me that she was briefly addicted to Tetris, which in her language means that she once played it for half an hour straight. She would find a game of DOTA 2 totally incomprehensible and yet the core building blocks for her to the esport are there.
    I’ve often thought of sports as story generators, the excitement in any sport comes from engagement in the narrative behind the gameplay. The footballing event that will be most remembered from the 2010s will most likely be the Premier League won by Leicester City. They were given 5000-1 odds at the start of the season and in the past 20 years the league had only been won by 4 different clubs. Their manager had just been fired after his son participated in a racist orgy, their best player, Jamie Vardy, was a bit of a nut case who tweeted things like “chat **** get banged”. Their new manager was Cladio Raneri, who few had any confidence in – since his last tenure in the league he’d achieved little and had even managed to lead Greece to a defeat against the Fareo Islands. But somehow, though smart signings like Kante and Marhez, they started winning and then never really stopped. I remember everybody talking about Leicester – even anti-sport bores, who say things like “oh they’re just kicking a ball” were forced to concede that, in this instance, the narrative behind the ball kicking had elevated matters. Yes, in terms of quality of play, that season was probably the worst the league had been for some years.
    I’ve frequently rankled with the suggestion that the best DOTA 2 events are those which have a crowd who are entirely non-partisan and just want to watch ‘good’ DOTA. Sure, it’s fun to watch Sumail 'SumaiL' Syed Hassan dodge stuns and Xu 'BurNIng' Zhilei hit a ridiculous GPM – but the moments that prompt discussion and make an event great are somewhat separate from the mechanics of what a player would describe as perfect play. The International 2014 final featured two teams that played a measured tactical masterclass and it was as boring as ****. Newbee and Vici Gaming were of little interest to the Western scene and we were aware of no notable rivalries or narratives between them. Newbee had allegedly acted with racism towards the Malaysian players from Team DK, but DK had crashed out of the tournament in 4th so that angle was dead in the water. When people speak about what could have been for the TI4 finals, they don’t wish that Chen 'Hao' Zhihao had dodged a few more Sleight of Fists, or that there had been a base race – they wish for some drama, something to cling onto. They wanted the East vs West narrative of EG vs DK, they wanted to see a super team fulfil their promise, they wanted a brash unknown carry, Mason 'mason' Venne, to show his haters what he’s really made of. Instead, they got the technically best DOTA. Sure, the meta was stale and boring, but I believe that even if those games had been exciting, they would have been largely forgotten and would have not registered outside of DOTA's hardcore audience.
    One of the questions I asked Kevin 'Purge' Godec, when I had him on the podcast, was about the difficulty of attracting new viewers to DOTA. His answer was that it’s not possible to do this without first increasing the player base, and that if they want more people to watch The International Valve could do a lot worse than improving the new player experience. Purge wasn’t wrong, and this would undoubtably help, but I think it’s not the only thing that we need.
    When I speak to my friends about DOTA 2, as a way of explaining the scene that I’m pouring hours of work into, they find it difficult to connect with talk about the complexity and openness of the game. Generally, what gets people closer to the understanding that I’m not wasting my time is a mention of the money involved, talk about the complexity and depth of the preparations that players do before tournaments and talk about the specific histories of players that I’ve interviewed.
    Esports players are, in my opinion, much more interesting than footballers; Jamie Vardy is generally spoken about as one of the PremierLeague footballers with the best story, he played in the lower leagues, wearing an ankle monitor after being charged for assault, before gradually dragging his way, fuelled by dubious energy drinks, up to the top of league. However, most top footballers became part of an elite academy at a young age, mixed football with their studies and then gradually through well guided hard work either made it into the first team – or were transferred elsewhere. I love Marcus Rashford with all my heart, but the only thing interesting about his story is that he broke into the first team much faster than anybody expected him to. Other than that, he’s a boring ordinary boy who has simply done exactly what he was told to do for 12 years. All DOTA players are a little more like Jamie Vardy, they’ve dragged themselves to the very top of a discipline that few in mainstream society believe is close to legitimate. They’ve been through interpersonal turmoil, betrayals, community attention and outrage – that they must manage most of by themselves. There is a wealth of information there, but we rarely scratch more than the surface.
    DOTA 2 content, at events, is often focussed around player experience rather than the professional Dota that the events are meant to showcase. At the most recent summit (which was a brilliant event), the sketches on show were either film parodies or jokes riffing on the experience of being a person who plays DOTA. At Majors, interview and story telling content often takes a backseat to game analysis. Panels will talk about how teams play, and the mechanics of a draft, but rarely about what motivated the ten people on stage playing and the stories of how they got there.
    There is of course a requirement for audiences to understand the mechanics of the game, but this can easily be covered by tutorials and run-throughs of the basics of play and the heroes involved, which can be outlined in the breaks between games. What will energise people new to the esport to keep on watching, is not an understanding of the game itself, but an understanding of the scene. The rivalries, why certain matches matter more than others, who players have played with, who are their friends and their enemies. It often feels like there’s a fear about talking about and bringing out this narrative on analyst desks. People feel safer talking about another Kunkka pick, when they could be using that time to tell stories about the players and make the game have a more personal element, which may energise more casual viewers.
    I think DOTA is an esport that is perfectly poised to attract this audience – most other esports do contain the same dramas and narratives but the players are more sanitised and stage managed. DOTA has a culture of player freedom, of the kind of short term thinking that leads of fractured friendships and drama. I don’t think the NoTail and Tal 'Fly' Aizik beef could have happened, so publicly, anywhere else. Traditional sports are also sanitised and boring in a way DOTA naturally isn’t – think of the furore that the minor scuffle between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez has caused. There will be discussion of this across national press and office breakrooms. DOTA has got oodles of stories like that, at every tournament. We need to bring them out, the negative and the positive.
    I’m not saying DOTA 2 broadcasters need to become drama hounds, and I do think that the scene has done a reasonable job telling player stories occasionally. However, the problem is that these stories are often relegated to being additional content, shown in the periods between games when fewer people will be actively listening, least of all new viewers who are not already engaged in the esport. Interviews are also often either entirely focussed on the mechanical, strategic element of the game or hopelessly simplistic. “Who’s the funniest member of the team?” is about as deep as we delve emotionally in the most mainstream content outside of TI loser interviews. To attract new listeners, we need these stories to be front and centre. We need to drag in casual, or occasional viewers with a story. Something they can believe in, and cheer for.
    It’s also true that the community do talk about drama and interpersonal conflict, a lot, but what the community talk about is not accessible to new players. Somebody curious about the esport is not going to start their journey by reading drama threads about EE on Reddit, they’re going to watch a few games and a few panels. Tournament broadcasts, not the community on Reddit and Twitter, are the battleground.

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    9 months ago

    LGD Gaming is celebrating today, the 9th of December 2019, its 10 years anniversary. It all started back in 2009 when LGD founded their organization and created the first DotA team.
    They’ve been a dominant force in the esports space ever since. LGD currently hosts teams in Dota2, League of Legends, Overwatch, PUBG, Clash Royale, Honor of Kings and CrossFire. In 2018, their Dota 2 division partnered with the giant European football club Paris Saint-Germain and announced a new logo.
    During the festivities held today at their arena in Hangzhou, China, LGD Gaming announced a new rebrand for the company and introduced a new logo for the organization.
    Players from all their esports disciplines attended today the 10th years Anniversary Celebration event, including some of the Dota 2 legends that crossed paths with LGD over the years and have been a part of the LGD legacy.
    LGD’s Gaming Dota 2 division became extremely popular worldwide and hosted multiple teams over the years. They missed the very first International back in 2011, but since TI2 to present days, the LGD organization has always been on the TI stage and can be regarded as the most successful Chinese team.
    From eight The Internationals which they attended, LGD placed top six at six different editions. For the past three years, from TI7 to TI9, LGD were top three, making a historical achievement for the Chinese region.
    LGD Gaming achievements at The International
    The International 2012: 3rd place
    The International 2013: 9th-12th place
    The International 2014: 5th-6th place
    The International 2015: 3rd place with LGD, 2nd place with CDEC Gaming
    The International 2016: 9th-12th place
    The International 2017: 4th place with LGD, 3rd place with LFY
    The International 2018: 2nd place
    The International 2019: 3rd place

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    9 months ago

    Did you miss anything from the last week in esports? Swamped with work or school? Staying AFK because the Christmas holidays are approaching and you just feel like chilling? VPEsports’ Stories from the Week brings you all the biggest headlines you might have missed.
    Every major patch like the Outlanders update is bound to change the game drastically and the Leipzig Major and Bukovel Minor qualifiers became the first Petri dishes of the new meta.
    CM, Rubick and Puck came out as the clear winners of the patch with extremely high pick and winrates alike. Venge and Doom are also back in the meta after being ignored at TI9 and even Kunkka keeps it up, despite a brutal succession of nerfs. Check the link below of the full meta snapshot.
    Void Spirit and Snapfire were the two new heroes introduced with the Outlanders update and they lasted just about a week before they got nerfed.
    Snapfire’s changes affect her Lil’ Shredder ability, while Firesnap Cookie has been buffed — perhaps an attempt from the dev team to make Snapfire more a support (as she was designed), instead of the carry role many have been playing her in.
    As for Void Spirit, he’s gone from underwhelming, to the bane of all players, to perhaps being balanced now. Dissimilate deals less damage now and the Level 15 talent that buffs Resonant Pulse has also been nerfed.
    In a tournament which saw Astralis face Liquid in what many thought would also be the grand final, ESL Pro League (perhaps surprisingly) came down to a Mousesports vs. Fnatic showdown at the end. A clean series played by mouz saw them sweep the series 3-0 (16-11 Inferno, 16-10 Train, 16-11 Mirage) to lift the trophy.
    This is now the third LAN gold for IGL Finn “karrigan” Andersen since he left FaZe Clan and the second in the last two weeks, after mouz also conquered CS:GO Asia Championships.
    “This victory means the world to me, been a f***king hard year for me and to end it with this, I’m so freaking proud of everyone believing in the process,” karrigan said after the win.
    South Korea is known for being good at many games, but CS:GO isn’t one of them. Then again, if there’s an org that can finally make a difference on the international stage, it might be Gen.G.
    The Korean org signed former Cloud9 trio of Damian “daps” Steele, Timothy “autimatic” Ta, and Kenneth “koosta” Suen, needing just two more players to complete their roster (said to be signed “in the coming weeks”.
    “Our goal is to bring home another Major to NA,” Gen.G tweeted. As for Cloud9, they’ll have to rebuild almost from the ground up, with the org having achieved little to nothing since their ELEAGUE Boston Major championship.
    After teasing for days on end about an “unnamed team”, OG finally confirmed they too are entering CS:GO. The two-time TI-winning org assembled a team of well known names (most of whom were sitting on the bench of their respective teams) and are ready to contest championships.
    The roster will be led by former ENCE IGL Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen, together with veteran Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt. Valdemar “valde” Vangså (ex-North), Issa “ISSAA” Murad (ex-HellRaisers), and Mateusz “mantuu” Wilczewski (ex-ALTERNATE aTTaX) round up the line-up.
    All the drama surrounding Griffin seems to have finally ended, but it’s left the once promising team in disarray. With their star mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon and support Son “Lehends” Si-woo gone — not to mention the departure of head coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho — Griffin scrambled to fill the vacancies. And for the head coach position, they went for none other than Jin Air Green Wings’ former head coach Han “H Dragon” Sang-yong.
    Griffin will now look to stay on top of the LCK with a head coach whose career has been mostly marred by failure. In the last two LCK splits, JAG stood out as the worst team in the league and the team ended up relegated out of the LCK. Therefore, one has to wonder, how high can Griffin actually fly in 2020?
    LoL off-season shuffle continues
    It’s still a wild roster shuffle season for League of Legends, as most of the teams are yet to finalize their rosters. While many LEC and LCS teams have confirmed their starting fives, the LCK and LPL are still very much open.

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    9 months ago

    Nigma’s first showing for the new Dota 2 Pro Circuit season had not started in the best way as the team fell short in the DreamLeague Season 13 Major qualifiers but they had one more shot with the WePlay! Bukovel Minor qualifiers.
    After we witnessed Vikin.gg take down Nigma yesterday, Kuro ‘KuroKy’ Salehi Takhasomi’s squad would have to survive the lower bracket to get a rematch against them. While they had not been playing at their best and possibly still figuring out the latest update, it seemed as though Nigma had finally found their footing. A fairly straight-forward 2-0 victory was the opening for the day for Nigma as they made their way past Team Singularity and set themselves up in the grand finals versus Vikin.gg, with the winner claiming the European slot at next year’s first Minor.
    In a best-of-five series for the rematch, Nigma got off to a fantastic start, taking the first game in little over 20-minutes before crushing any hope their opponent had with a strong second game win too. With series point, Nigma went into the third game ready to close things out as they quickly rushed into a sizeable lead. There was no turning things around for Vikin.gg as Nigma destroyed them, getting their revenge for yesterday’s defeat and qualifying for the WePlay! Bukovel Minor too.
    While Nigma may have slumped out the Major qualifiers, they now will have a shot at reaching Leipzig through the Minor, should they be victorious. Until the WePlay! Bukovel Minor takes place, it’s unlikely that we will see much from Nigma but the team will surely be practicing hard to return to their highest form and coming out strong in 2020.

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    9 months ago

    Ninjas in Pyjamas and Fighting Pandas will be the teams representing North America at the second DPC Minor of the 2019-2020 season, which is the WePlay! Bukovel Minor. Ninjas in Pyjamas were the first team to qualify from NA, after wins against Team Xolotl and J.Storm. The road was a bit trickier for Fighting Pandas, who initially lost 2-1 to J.Storm in a best of 3, but in the best of 5 rematch, came back strong to win 3-0.
    NiP will be heading to their second straight DPC Minor. In the first Minor of the season, which was the Summit 11, they failed to make it out of the group to the play off stages and will be hoping to do a lot better this time. Fighting Pandas and J.Storm had both qualified for the Chengdu Major, but failed to make the cut for the Leipzig Major. Fighting PandaS will at least have a chance to make it to the Major, but they will have to win the Minor for that. For J.Storm, it is a time of no activity and a chance to go over what went wrong in these qualifiers.
    With the NA qualifiers for the WePlay! Bukovel Minor wrapped up, the eight teams for the tournament have been decided. Gambit Esports and Nigma are the two teams that will probably be the favorites at the Minor, but DPC events tend to bring out the best in all teams, so it’s hard to say what will happen.
    The WePlay! Bukovel Minor will start on the 9th of January 2020 and will be the first DPC event of 2020. The winner of the tournament will get the final slot in the Leipzig Major (or DreamLeague Season 13) which will be starting on the 18th of January.

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    9 months ago

    Patch 7.23 was released a little over a week ago and the balance patches that have followed have brought us to 7.23c already. Patch 7.23c brings changes to Outpost XP, the XP talents and a lot of neutral items and heroes. We’ll take a look at and discuss the prominent changes. The entire changelog can be found .
    GENERAL
    Outpost XP reduced from 25 per minute to 18
    A big change as the each minute, the effect of reduction will keep compounding. This change will curb teams who have map control from snowballing because of the XP gained from Outposts. Outposts propel the team in control to higher levels; more so if heroes have XP talents.
    Level 10 XP talents reduced from 20/25/30/40 (most were 25/30) to 20%
    Level 15 XP talents reduced from 35/40/50 to 35%
    This patch was the best thing to happen for heroes with XP talents who were having a good game. Imagine a Tusk, who earlier had a 40% XP talent at level 10, having both Outposts controlled for a majority of the game. Or a core Weaver with 35% XP gain at level 10 – he would probably get to level 30 before the other heroes were at 25. It was definitely broken, and this change in the 7.23c patch rightly curbs the XP gain.
    Glyph duration on creeps reduced from 7 to 4
    A duration of 7 seconds was a lot to abuse when pushing the high ground. If the enemy used their glyph, an offensive glyph would render it completely useless. This change now gives the defending team 3 seconds to get rid of the enemy creeps before the defensive glyph ends. Given the tower multi-shot during glyph, those 3 seconds should be good to clear the air.
    Innate Damage Block now works against player units again (same rules as regular damage block now)
    Innate Damage Block changed from 100% for 8 block to 50% for 16 block
    Innate Damage Block no longer stacks with damage block instances
    Melee heroes can rejoice again, as the damage block is back. It might be left more to change now, but when it does trigger, it will block 16 instead of 8, which is quite a bot of damage in the laning stage, especially against the like of Nature’s Prophet and Brood Mother. Time for more support Lifestealer?!
    Courier items that are locked will now not be delivered nor will they be returned to the stash
    Courier base movement speed increased from 275 to 280
    A small increase in courier speed, although not a significant amount. Slow couriers can get really irritating at the beginning of the game.
    Neutral Items no longer roll if there is an enemy of the killer within 600 AoE of the dying unit
    No change of an Anti-Mage blinking in and stealing that Repair Kit you were desperately looking for.
    ITEM CHANGES
    The two prominent item changes are the removal of Third Eye and reduction in the silence duration of Mind Breaker. Orchid Malevolence has a 5-second duration. A random item found while killing neutral creeps having nearly the same silence duration seems a bit unfair. A 2-second silence makes Mind Breaker a lot more balanced.
    HERO CHANGES
    The two big changes for heroes come for Magnus and Treant Protector. For Magnus, it’s a nerf while for Treant, it’s a buff.
    Magnus
    The DPC qualifiers for the second Major and Minor saw Magnus’ Scepter upgrade abused time and again. And as it removed the mana cost, Magnus could keep spamming it. Now the mana cost with Scepter will be 40, which even though isn’t too high will prevent Magnus from spamming the skill. Kipspul will be very happy with the nerf. She was someone who had voiced hero concern over the hero’s Scepter ability.
    Treant Protector
    The second big change is to Treant Protector, who in many ways has been reverted back to what he was before the patch. Walking through trees, Living Armor being global and Nature’s Guise invisibility (level 10 talent) have all been brought back after an outcry from the community which was lead by OG’s Sebastian ‘Ceb’ Debs. He’ll surely be happy seeing patch 7.23c. The only slight downside is you cannot be invisible in lane, which used to be a major surprise factor for Treant. Can’t have everything though.
    The other changes are mostly balance changes. One that stands out among them is that Crystal Maiden now no longer gets magic resistance from Arcane Aura.
    The additional armor during Freezing Field and the Magic Resistance made it quite difficult to deal with her in the absence of a stun.
    Patch 7.23c will be on display at the ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational Singapore, which starts on the 17th of December and will have the likes of Team Secret, PSG.LGD, Virtus.pro, Evil Geniuses and Na’Vi compete for a prize of $500,00 USD. There might be a few different heroes played, but there will surely be a lot less of Magnus.

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    9 months ago

    The Dota 2 patch 7.23 (the Outlanders Update) was released in the last week of November. The patch, like most patches at the start of a season, changed the game drastically with the introduction of Outposts and neutral items amongst numerous other things. Since the release, there have been three balance patches that brought us to 7.23c. The first set of professional action we got to witness on the new patch were the qualifiers for the second set of DPC Major and Minor – The Dream League Leipzig Major and the WePlay! Bukovel Minor. A total of 389 games were played for the qualifiers for the six regions (North America, South America, Southeast Asia, Europe, CIS and China). As we head into a month without any more DPC action, let’s take a look at how the pro teams are perceiving the new patch.
    Most played heroes
    Looking at the stats in the image below, it seems Crystal Maiden, Puck and Rubick are the clear favorites of the 7.23 patch till now. All of them have been picked in more than a third of the games and show win rates higher than 50%. Crystal Maiden may see that pick rate go down a bit with the nerfs in the balance patches, but Puck and Rubick should continue to be strong picks. CM and Puck both received sizable buffs in the Outlanders Update, so their popularity is understandable. But Rubick was barely changed in the patch, so his high pick rate comes as a bit of a surprise.
    Tiny with his permanent tree is fast becoming popular as a safelane carry, although the low win rate is indicative that teams still need to figure out how exactly to proceed with his build and whether he better as a position 1 or position 2 hero. There have been Tiny picks in the qualifiers that have gone for a very early Moon Shard or Mask of Madness or ones that have gone the stats way with Sange and Yasha. The patch is still fresh and eventually, the perfect build for the stone giant will improve his win rate.
    Two other winners of the new patch are Vengeful Spirit and Doom. Both the heroes were completely ignored at TI9 and 7.23 gave them the buffs they deserved. The change to Vengeful Aura, which now provides attack range for ranged heroes and additional primary attribute (instead of damage) makes her an amazing support in lane and later as well. Doom’s new Scepter upgrade is all the rage, with the ability to keep a hero permanently broken with Infernal Blade. The earlier Scepter, which provided break for Doom, was not bad, but was situational. The new Scepter also provides a 1.75 second stun for Infernal Blade, which has a 4 second cooldown. It’s going to be an item Doom gets every game now.
    A special mention goes to Kunkka, who has been getting nerfed every patch for the last few months and still continues to be a top pick and maintain a high win rate. The new Kunkka does have a cool Scepter ability (torrent Storm), but that doesn’t change the core hero in any way. IceFrog is going to have a hard time keeping the admiral down.
    Most contested heroes
    Certain heroes don’t show up in the most picked list because they get banned in nearly every game. Here’s a list of the 10 most contested (picked and banned) heroes from the DPC qualifiers for the second Major and Minor. A lot of overlapping names in this list and the most picked list of heroes. Razor and Io don’t make it to the most picked list because they were banned out too many times. Support Io has returned!
    Tiny – 304 games (78.15% of the games)
    Puck – 298 games (76.61% of the games)
    Venomancer – 258 games (66.32% of the games)
    Templar Assassin – 224 games (57.58% of the games)
    Kunkka – 212 games (54.50.15% of the games)
    Razor – 208 games (53.47% of the games)
    Abaddon – 204 games (52.44% of the games)
    Io – 200 games (51.41% of the games)
    Crystal Maiden – 197 games (50.64% of the games)
    Rubick – 184 games (47.30% of the games)
    Heroes with the highest win rates
    Let’s take a look at which heroes had the best win rate in these qualifiers. In this analysis, only heroes that were picked in more than 10% of the games were considered; so heroes with at least 40 games under their belts in the qualifiers. Razor, Omniknight and Bloodseeker sit pretty at the top with a 60% win rate. Razor and BS were heavily buffed in 7.23 and this solves the mystery as to why Razor was banned a lot in the games. Morphling and Kunkka, even though nerfed in 7.23, make the top 10 list for win rates, showing that they will need more than a few changes to keep them down. Morphling can now get a Scepter and pair up with Magnus to create the same havoc he did with Earthshaker earlier. Granted, the Magnus Scepter was nerfed in 7.23c, but it is still not a bad upgrade.
    Unpicked heroes
    While a lot of heroes are rejoicing their new found success (or Kunkka and Morphling continuing it from last patch), there are others who were not picked a lot or not picked at all. The list below shows all heroes that were picked less than 10 games. A lot of them have received buffs in 7.23c, and we might see a bit more of them in the weeks to come. The only three heroes that were not picked at all (picked 0 games) were –
    Clinkz
    Medusa
    Techies
    Medusa has had her time in the spotlight and Techies probably never will make it big as a pro hero (a hero in pro games, rather). But Clinkz has had a lot of injustice done to him. The nerfs and change of abilities after TI8 (that’s right, more than a year ago) had a major effect on the Bone Fletcher and he hasn’t recovered from it. Hopefully, as the days go by, we see more of him this season.
    Game durations
    Every new patch ushers in a new playstyle which depends a lot on the general changes, more than the hero and item changes. Patch 7.23 is no different and the 389 games played in the recent qualifiers show that the game durations have shifted to the left (shorter game durations) with the new patch. This is primarily due to the Outpposts, which provide a snowball effect for the team dominating earlier and prevent the chance of comebacks, something we saw a lot in the 7.22 patch, especially at TI9.
    A good metric for comparison is the last set of DPC qualifiers on the old 7.22 patch, which is the qualifiers for the Chengdu Major and Summit 11. The number of games in the two sets of qualifiers is quite similar, which make the data sets good for comparison. In the 7.22 patch, more than 35% of the games went above the 40 minute mark. With 7.23, that has gone down to about 26%. About 30% of the games are ending between the 20-30 minute mark, which makes the current meta unsuitable for extreme late game heroes like Medusa and Spectre.
    The new patch has surely made the meta fresh and the game enjoyable. Neutral items still make it a bit RNG based, but IceFrog and Valve have limited that with a limit to neutral items. The next tournament on the horizon is the ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational Singapore, which starts on the 17th of December, where we will get to witness some of the top teams trying to decipher more of the new patch.

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