2017 flew by for us here at Inven Global and 2018 is shaping up to be the same, judging from January’s Dota 2 schedule! After a short Christmas break, the first month of 2018 was jam-packed with non-stop Dota 2 action.
Some of it was “drama,” with fans butting heads with tournament organizers, tournament organizers butting heads with Valve and players butting heads with teams. Still, there were three noteworthy tournaments that took place in January (and one that started right at the beginning of February).
With that in mind, it’s time to update Inven Global’s Dota 2 Rankings for the month of February 2018!
1. Evil Geniuses
2. CompLexity Gaming
3. Animal Planet (NR)
4. OpTic Gaming
5. Is GG
What Happened in January?- A compelling new team, Animal Planet, was formed around three-time Valve Major winner MoonMeander and TI5 champion Aui_2000 and have looked solid so far. Immortals, meanwhile, lost offlaner Forev and carry QO, leaving their roster in chaos. Finally, VGJ.Storm are independent once more and competing under the name Is GG.
Trending Up- Evil Geniuses shook things up in a big way by booting out enduring offlaner Universe, but those changes are already paying dividends. EG looked strong in both Galaxy Battles 2 and ESL One Genting, which allowed them to reassert their status as the best team in North America.
Trending Down- Immortals went from being the No. 3 team in North America to unranked in January with the losses of QO and Forev. They have since added Velo and Ryoya but it’s hard to buy into them until they turn things around.
What to Watch for In February- OpTic Gaming is one of the most talked-about teams in North America...but they haven’t really done much in-game to warrant it. That said, they have the chance to make a big statement at the ESL One Katowice Major.
2. PaiN Gaming (+1)
3. SG E-Sports (-1)
4. Mad Kings (NR)
5. T Show
What Happened in January?- Sacred went to the Summit 8, got romped, went home for Christmas and broke up right after. Not a great holiday season for them!
Trending Up- South American qualifiers are no longer a two-horse race. Now they’re a three horse race, courtesy of PaiN Gaming.
Trending Down- Pretty much everyone else! Infamous, PaiN and SG E-Sports all struggle at LANs on a consistent basis and every other South American team consistently struggles to beat them. The outlook for this region remains bleak.
What to Watch for In February- Infamous will be competing at both ESL One Katowice. Will they be able to finally post a good performance? Probably not, but hey…
1. Team Liquid (+1)
2. Team Secret (-1)
4. Team Kinguin
5. Planet Dog
What Happened in January?- Nothing particularly noteworthy happened rankings-wise, save Liquid taking first-place over Team Secret after taking second-place at ESL One Genting and first at the latest StarLadder Minor. There was, however, an interesting new team that came together in Echo International, which includes former Digital Chaos support Saksa, two-time Valve Major winner Ana and TI2 champion ChuaN.
Trending Up- OG is officially done with its struggles from early on in the season. Despite not posting any particularly high placements in January, the former Green Team is quietly creeping back towards elite status.
Trending Down- Even before losing Keyser and 33 to Echo International and OpTic Gaming, respectively, Planet Dog’s ceiling seemed to be that No. 5 spot. Needless to say, having two empty roster spots doesn’t help that…
What to Watch for In February- Poland’s Team Kinguin is set to compete on home soil at ESL One Katowice. Will they win? Maybe, maybe not, but they’re the team to watch at this tournament.
1. Virtus Pro
2. Natus Vincere
3. Team Empire
4. Vega Squadron (+1)
5. Team Spirit (-1)
What Happened in January?- Virtus Pro and Na’Vi posted solid performances at ESL One Genting, but failed to reel in any Dota Pro Circuit points.
Trending Up- Vega Squadron hit their stride in January after looking weak in 2017. The team hasn’t played in any LANs yet, but a second-place run in the highly competitive ESL One Katowice qualifiers was followed by a first-place finish in the PGL Bucharest Major qualifiers. With VP and Na’Vi both being frequently invited to tournaments, they could become a regular presence at LANs going forward.
Trending Down- The flipside to Vega’s rise is a struggling Team Empire. While the CIS staple remains in the third place spot, they’re on the edge of a cliff following a January that saw it bumped from two big qualifiers by random stacks and fizzle at StarLadder last week.
What to Watch for in February- Effect could jump up a long way by putting on a strong performance at ESL One Katowice.
2. Vici Gaming
4. LGD Gaming (NR)
5. Invictus Gaming (-1)
What Happened in January?- China took home top-four spots in nearly every noteworthy tournament, with Vici Gaming coming in second at Captain’s Draft 4.0, VGJ.Thunder taking first at Galaxy Battles 2 and Newbee taking first and third at ESL One Genting and StarLadder, respectively. Oh, and there were also a lot of roster changes!
Trending Up- VGJ.Thunder’s run at Galaxy Battles 2 was something of an eye-opener. After a relatively slow start to the season, Thunder reestablished itself as an international-level team. It will continue to struggle for consistency in the stacked Chinese region, but if it makes its way to the big stages, they’re a legitimate contender.
Trending Down- It’s getting harder and harder to not label Vici Gaming as a “choker” at this point. After going from 60 to 0 in the grand finals of the Dota PIT Minor and Perfect World Masters, VG gave away first-place at Captain’s Draft 4.0 to Team Secret despite having multiple opportunities to seal up the win. They’re elite for six days of the week. But when Sunday rolls around, they just seem to shut down.
What to Watch for in February- The shaken up LGD-Gaming team is off to a hot start and have a big opportunity to make noise at ESL One Katowice.
3. TnC Gaming
4. Execration (NR)
5. Clutch Gamers (NR)
What Happened in January?- Roster changes, and lots of ‘em. Longtime EG offlaner Universe is now a member of Fnatic, 1437 is out of TnC Gaming, Clutch Gamers has an all-new lineup and other regional-level teams got shaken up in other ways.
Trending Up- Mineski started the 2017-2018 season white hot, but then took a month off that seemed to kill its momentum. January, however, saw the team finish top-four at Captain’s Draft 4.0 and ESL One Genting and re-cement itself as both one of the best Dota teams on earth, and the best one in Southeast Asia by a comfortable margin.
Trending Down- While it initially seemed like Southeast Asia might have been an incredibly deep region, this winter (well, summer for them) has not been kind. Previous teams to watch like WarriorsGaming.Unity, Happy Feet, Geek Fam and Clutch Gamers have all struggled or been rocked by roster changes. Unless something crazy happens or the new Clutch takes off, this is a two-team region.
What to Watch for in February- Outside Mineski, pretty much everyone in Southeast Asia is a mystery to some degree. Qualifiers for tournaments like the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 and DreamLeague Minor will be important for gauging how good each is.
1. Team Liquid (+1)
2. Team Secret (-1)
3. Virtus Pro
5. Vici Gaming
7. Evil Geniuses (+1)
8. OG (-1)
9. LGD Gaming (NR)
10. Fnatic (-1)
Above is the worldwide Dota 2 top-10 rankings. For the most part, things didn’t change very much since the previous installment, but things are poised to shake up in a big way.
The ongoing roster changes weren’t limited to low- and mid-level teams, as Virtus Pro, Na’Vi, Evil Geniuses, Fnatic and tweaked their lineups to varying degrees. Chemistry and hot streaks have long been more important than pure talent in Dota 2 and with so many winning formulas being tweaked, it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen.
The next Dota 2 Major, ESL One Katowice, will go a long way towards determining that.