The champion will be crowned this weekend and with a whole week to prepare and study their opponents, we feel like the level of competition in the top four this year should be exceptional. This format might not be to everyone’s liking, but the tension is palpable, the stage is set and it is time to look at the four best Dota 2 teams in the world.
The only non-Western European squad left in the Top Four. Team Aster is known for performing very well in their own region, but failing on the international stage.
Has the curse been finally broken? Not only has Aster managed to 2:0 Team Liquid in the upper bracket first round, but they also eliminated PSG.LGD — one the tournament’s favorites.
We think it is still too early to tell. On one hand, the team is definitely exceeding expectations. They are the strongest Chinese team this year and the region’s only hope. On the other, they will be facing Team Liquid in the lower bracket grudge match.
Their road to the lower bracket semi-finals was pretty short, compared to their opponent. Liquid had to go through the whole lower bracket to get to where they are now and they are a very different team right now.
Aster didn’t need to adapt as much and their victory against PSG.LGD was somewhat expected, given how they always perform really well against Chinese teams.
With three Western European opponents to beat, we feel like Team Aster might be in a very disadvantageous position. It is also their best chance to forever silence all the naysayers and finally get the international recognition they deserved for the last two years.
The last ride for MATUMBAMAN and one of the most improved teams of the International. Their road to this lower bracket semi-final was long and painful, so they won’t go down easy. That is, if they do go down.
After crushing the hopes of the South American region in one of the best bo3 series in the history of Dota, it felt like Liquid were unstoppable. However, will the momentum of it carry over the long break we had?
On the other hand this break might have helped them as well: they more than double the average map count of their opponents, with ten games played during the playoffs. Perhaps resetting and refocusing allowed them to get some rest and analyze how and why they were so successful.
The team is in a historically unique position: at this point they have the most “the International” experience and none of the usual fatigue associated with it. “Upper bracket is for losers” still seems to be the motto of the organization.
Team Secret has been on a year-by-year upward trajectory, so it is not surprising to see them doing so well. What is surprising, is the absolutely soul-crushing dominance they stomped through the upper bracket with.
Two consistent victories against Thunder Awaken and an absolute stomp that sent PSG.LGD into the depth of despair were marvelous, but now they will have to face Tundra: a team they were crushed by during the group stage.
They do have experience on their side, which is a very important factor right now. With how effortless their run was so far, playing against an opponent you don’t match up well against would be a death sentence for anyone, but Team Secret.
With Puppey at the helm, a whole week to prepare and absolutely supercharged core players, Secret will definitely prove more problematic. They also have a chance to make a mistake and still remain in contention, which can come in very handy.
We feel like it is safe to say that Tundra are the favorites of the tournament right now. They are yet to lose a series and they’ve only lost a total of four maps throughout the whole tournament.
Tundra is a team that is also very easy to root for: they have players from all over the world and are coached by a very lovable former TI Champion. They’ve also been quite consistent throughout this DPC, with the exception of the Arlington Major, raising questions of whether their loss there was strategic.
Currently, the only team Tundra lost a map to still in contention is Team Aster, which is an interesting bit of info. Theoretically, Aster is Tundra’s most awkward opponent, but Aster will have to go through a very long series of challenges to get to them, at least in theory.
For Tundra, doing what they did and not changing course would have been the best strategy, if it wasn’t for the tournament break. They might be a team that other opponents prepare the most for and perhaps having an extra couple of aces up their sleeve will be necessary.
Much like Secret, they will have another life even if they lose their opening series after the break, but they also have a massive target on their back. Their Arlington Major fiasco could have fooled other teams initially, but no one in the top four will underestimate them.
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