It took a bit, but OG is back on top! The European elites are the MDL Macau Dota 2 Minor winners, taking a 2-0 victory over TnC Gaming in the grand finals.
Anyone that is surprised seeing those two teams listed as the top finishers is justified in feeling so. OG, despite being an on-paper juggernaut in the EU region, has struggled mightily in the 2017-2018 season to this point, often failing to qualify for Dota Pro Circuit events and finding no success on the off chance it makes the cut. TnC has been even worse off, seemingly stuck in Southeast Asia’s third-place spot behind Mineski and Fnatic, who have taken the SEA spot for every Major and Minor event thus far.
The absence of the dominant Team Liquid and Team Secret blew the doors wide open for a number of fringe contenders, though, and when Virtus Pro struggled behind a substitute captain, that threw the doors open for everyone to contend for the top spot. TnC and OG made the cut in a highly competitive group stage, defeated Natus Vincere and VP, respectively, in the playoffs and earned their spot in the finals.
Once they were there, however, the action was remarkably lopsided as TnC fell behind early in both games and did little to challenge OG’s offense. The result was a clean sweep through the playoffs, and a new lease on life, for the four-time Valve event winners.
This is a much-needed first-place finish for OG. While it owns one of the best pedigrees in the history of Dota 2, with four of its five current members taking first-place at the Kiev Major and Boston Major, it had yet to post any points in the Dota Pro Circuit this season. The MDL Macau Minor not only shoots them directly into the top-eight, but also gives them some much needed momentum as they head into a hectic winter season which will see Tal "Fly" Aizik lead his team in at least three more tournaments over the next two months.
A Corner Turned?
The 2017-2018 season is three months old now and the growing pains seem to be done. With that comes a change in approach to the new DPC format from a number of top teams, which was on full display at the MDL Macau Minor.
As touched upon, Liquid and Secret (who have placed first- or second- in nearly every tournament in the season thus far) were noticeable in their absence. That starts becoming a trend this December, however, as both sit out The Summit 8 while Liquid is MIA for Captains Draft 4.0 in January.
The reason for this is fairly straightforward.
As the midway point to the season approaches, high-yielding teams will start to become more discriminating with which tournaments they compete in as their direct invites to The International 2018 become more and more secure. Even after just seven tournaments, Secret, Liquid and Virtus Pro are approaching the threshold that will mathematically guarantee them spots in the biggest esports event of the year.
That’s great news for fringe contenders (especially ones in Europe), who won’t have to constantly contend with possibly the two best teams in the game, Though Major events will likely lure them in with exorbitant prize pools, expect Minors to be highly competitive from here on out.
DPC Standings After MDL Macau Minor
Not much changed on the scoreboard following the MDL Macau Minor (make sure to check out and bookmark Liquipedia’s Dota Pro Circuit guide). As stated, OG debuts on the rankings at No. 8, courtesy of the 150 points each player scored as the first-place finishers. They wrest the eighth-place spot from the team they beat in the playoffs, Na’Vi, who now sit at ninth with 315 points on the season after taking in 30 points a whack in Macau.
TnC’s 90 points each for second-place (270 points total) is good, but not quite enough to position them in the top-eight. Finally, the four full-time Virtus Pro members that attended the MDL Macau Minor will receive 22.5 points each. They receive 22.5 points instead of 30 due to a penalty stemming from their playing with a substitute but with so many points already notched by the Russian team, those 7.5 are just drops in the proverbial bucket.
With seven tournaments on the board at this point, teams are starting to become cemented in their spots, with VP, Secret and Liquid sitting comfortably as the top-three teams. The upcoming Dota Summit 8 and Captains Draft 4.0 will likely result in some minor shakeups in the coming weeks, but don’t expect things to shift too hard at the top until the Galaxy Battles Major in January.