Just a month ago, Team Secret was going through a tough first-place drought in Dota 2 LAN tournaments, going almost two years without a gold medal. Now? It has two top finishes in as many tournaments, courtesy of its victory at Captain’s Draft 4.0 in Washington, DC.
While that may not sound surprising, given how Secret was the clean-cut favorite to win the event, it was a stunner for those who actually watched.
Facing Vici Gaming in the grand finals, Secret posted four consecutive sloppy games to open the match. That should have made for a clean, easy win for VG but in Games 1 and 4, Secret managed to mount absurd comebacks that forced a Game 5.
That opened the door for a “cheesy” victory for Secret built around Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard’s last-pick Meepo. Though Secret’s previous wins were wild comebacks, the series-ending win was an absolute thrashing, with Vici simply not being able to contend with Secret’s fast-farming lineup.
On one hand, this was a phenomenal comeback by Secret. Moreso, this was an epic collapse by Vici.
Despite being one of the best teams on the planet (they entered the tournament as the No. 2 team in China, and No. 5 worldwide on Inven Global’s Dota 2 rankings), the team is quickly carving itself out a nice as Dota 2’s foremost bridesmaids. This is the third time in the 2017-2018 season where Vici Gaming has finished second-place in a Dota Pro Circuit LAN, and the second time where a grand finals loss was defined by squandered leads.
Vici Gaming is an excellent team, but it’s getting harder and harder to not look at the team as choke artists.
Overshadowing Captain’s Draft…
The highlight of this weekend for Dota 2 fans is Captain’s Draft 4.0. The lowlight? The controversy surrounding the Galaxy Battles Major.
On Thursday, Valve made the sudden announcement that January’s biggest tournament was losing its Dota Pro Circuit support. The prize pool was cut in half. The DPC qualifying points were removed completely. A number of teams pulled out as a result.
The reason, reading between the lines of Valve’s statement on the matter, was the testing for recreational drugs as a condition to enter the Philippines, where the event was to be held. ESPN.com’s Paolo Bago obtained a statement from the Philippines Games and Amusements board, who handle sanctioning for sporting events in the country that seemed to confirm this.
There are plenty of words that can be said on this, ranging from the impact this will have on esports in the Philippines to the absurd nature of the drug testing and more.
The biggest thing to note, however, is how poorly this situation has been handled by Valve.
The Galaxy Battles Major has been on the books to take place in the Philippines for months now, and teams built their schedules around the event. Waiting for this long to act hurts the tournament organizer, hurts the teams that were slated to compete and hurts the fans that were looking forward to watching or attending this event.
▲ There was plenty of silliness outside the game. Inside? Pretty much a normal Dota tournament.
Alternate Game Modes in Tournaments
While some fans harrumphed about how Captain’s Draft 4.0 wouldn’t use the standard Captain’s Mode drafting system (and instead used the titular Captain’s Draft)...it really didn’t make all that much of a difference in how the tournament panned out.
Vici Gaming and Team Secret were the most logical favorites to win the tournament, and they both wound up in the grand finals. The least likely teams to win, Team Empire and Pain Gaming, were both handed first-round exits. At least here, it’s hard to argue that playing outside Captain’s Mode diminished the competitive integrity of the tournament.
Unfortunately, while many were hoping that playing a different game mode would result in some wacky game team compositions, Captain’s Draft 4.0 wasn’t too different from any other tournament.
No Pudge. No Techies. Plenty of Medusa. One surprise Meepo pick.
There was plenty of silliness to be had outside the game...but not much to speak of inside.
Dota Pro Circuit Standings After Captain’s Draft 4.0
The first tournament of 2018 resulted in some modest shakeups to the top-eight for the season.
Most notably, Team Secret expanded its lead over Team Liquid and Virtus Pro on the top of the standings by taking 150 points for each player. It now has a huge 1400-point lead over its rivals, a deficit that calls for a 450-point. That pushes the team closer to clinching an invite to TI8, and gives them a large enough lead that it would require multiple minor victories from either Liquid or VP, or a complete collapse at a Major by Secret.
With Mineski, OG and Vici Gaming all taking home points from Captain’s Draft 4.0 (90, 30 and 30, respectively, for every player on the teams), Evil Geniuses was forced down from fifth place to seventh. Mineski and VG, currently tied on the season, took that No. 5 spot while OG gains a bit of wiggle room in terms of maintaining that precious No. 8 spot.
The Galaxy Battles controversy slows down the DPC for the next few weeks, with two more more Minor tournaments on the horizon, don’t expect things to change much for a good while.
Disclaimer: The following article was written freely based on the author's opinion, and it may not necessarily represent Inven Global's editorial stance.