Dota 2 Beta Power Ranking
Putting the April rankings together was perplexing. In the past, we have had 2-3 tournaments at most to judge a team by, which made it relatively easy to see who succeeded and did not. Yet, March gave us the finals of The Defense and Brawl, It’s Gosu Montly Madness, The Team Dignitas Invitational, five joinDOTA Masters tournaments, and a barrage of StarLadder matches to digest.
Most teams played 15-20 matches in March, nearly double the amount of matches they played in February. If you could imagine a matchup, you could watch it in March. You’re thinking, “Isn’t it best if everyone had played each other because it means we have facts on who was better?” In theory, yes would be the answer, but in reality it is a resounding no. The reason? Parity. In a perfect world, team A will always beat teams B-Z and team B will always lose to A but beat C-Z. This is not the case in Dota 2. It is less of an alphabet and more of Alphabet Soup. All of the letters are swirled around making sorting surprisingly nuanced. Triangle logic goes out the window.
On a team by team basis, ranking was challenging. When you step back and look at the scene as a whole in March, three overarching lessons were clear. This is what March taught us:
Southeast Asia can beat you, but they can’t beat ping
Southeast Asia is back, at least in a sense. The SEA teams have been quiet in recent months with not nearly as many regionally-hosted tournaments to showcase their abilities as their Western counterparts could. Fortunately, joinDOTA was kind enough to host two of their Masters tournaments, III and IV, for the region. Perhaps as a sign of gratitiude, they came out and impressed viewers in what people thought would be a coming-out party for the Chinese.
Both MUFC and Zenith were able to beat Absolute Legends in a Masters’ best of three final with a level of play and style that proved to be on par with NA/EU Dota 2. What had us most worried about SEA teams in prior months was their difference in playstyle. The teams looked content to play a patient farming/trilane style of game which has been left behind in the Western scene in favor of aggression and fast pushing. At some point since the Premier League ended, SEA had adjusted.
Their style and skill looked to be every bit as effective as their NA/EU counterparts, but yet they remain on the lower half of the rankings. This can be explained in two ‘P’s: participation and ping. It is difficult to favorably rate these teams that have such a limited body of work. Therefore, it hinders our ability to evaluate the probability of each win. At the same time, when these teams played against any EU teams, they struggled. Much can be attributed to 300+ ms pings, but the fact remains that most tournaments are not on LAN. Fair or foul, if you can’t win under the expected conditions of play, you can’t rise in the rankings. Hopefully, this will begin to change when Dota 2 goes full retail. For now, SEA has to keep fighting an uphill battle.
Briefly lift your foot off the pedal of innovation and teams will race past you
Yes, we are looking at you compLexity. The upstart Americans held the second spot in our rankings for two months straight on the back of near flawless team play. coL initially brought a fresh style to the scene with their creative use of mid-tier items and smooth team coordination, but this month they faced a harsh reality: teams learn.
The same goes for previous standout teams like Quantic and Western Wolves. In the last month, both teams seemed to be lagging behind the current trends. There is no doubt they have the talent to compete at a level above their respective rankings. Uninspired drafts coming from a drop in training schedules or tournament play have hindered their progress.
Nothing is ever certain
We learned this on several fronts this month. If you were a player on Fnatic, MYM, or Next.Kz in March then you learned sponsorships are not guaranteed even if you’re a top ten team (ex-Next.Kz). Most of these teams should be able to find a new home soon enough, but sponsor instability is a real and present threat to a player’s ability to stay in the scene - bills have to be paid.
On the other hand, there is team Evil Geniuses. Talk about a lack of certainty. Rumors swirled all month about roster changes in one way or another despite their generally strong play. To end March, EG lost what was seemingly a certain win vs youBoat - embarrassing. Then they started April by blowing a two rax advantage (claiming the first in 15 minutes no less) against Na’Vi in a game where EG had both Tinker and Nature’s Prophet - unthinkable. So even though they are fourth this month, their place in the rankings is delicately balanced. Nothing is certain for them in April except that things will change. This will not be the same team in May, for better or for worse.
Dota 2 Power Rankings
One does not simply oust Natus Vincere from the throne with a single series win. Not until you can boast the consistency and accolades of this team. Not until you can command the fear and respect of every other team in Dota 2. Not until you are the team to beat. (Hyon)
AL have risen to the second spot in our rankings this month due to solid performances all around. During March Monthly madness, they 2-0'd their way all the way to the finals, including a victory against Na'Vi, and during the finals they overcame the intense competition that was CLG. This team has a lot of talent, and they're a serious contender for the top spot. (Galliani)
Counter Logic Gaming
CLG have been performing like rock stars lately and their newest pick-up in smulgullig has proven to be a huge blessing. Win after win, they've started to find their rhythm and groove as a team now. Just put Pajkatt on the hard carry role and you are guaranteed that a top-tier team will show up to play. (Hyon)
We've seen it all from EG in the span of a month - a LB loss to Quantic in the Defense, a victory in the first joinDOTA Masters, confused throws in StarLadder and everything in between. When things seem to work, they work well - but not at the level one would expect, given their pasts. Now rumors of an impending breakup? The rollercoaster ride for these talented players continues. (Gum)
These guys are ranked second in StarLadder with a 7-2 record and have have beaten their all-time rivals M5 on their way to a seven-game winning streak. Doom Bringer is making his way into competitive play once again thanks to their captain prodigy - Artstyle. Their new tactic - mass auras - may be a welcome twist to the metagame. Who knows, only time will tell. (Shevkoplyas)
Next lost their sponsor this month - but not for lack of results. Taking down teams like EG, Darer, Quantic and even Na'Vi, ex-NEXT (ex-kz?) has had a very good month, all things considered. Thay also managed 2nd place finishes in both the Dignitas Invitational and the joinDOTA Masters II. Adding Black to their official roster now, they still look very strong as a team, and hopefully will find that needed sponsor soon. (Burden)
Quantic have really struggled in the few matches they've played in March. Still, it's difficult to count them out too much because of their absence in tournaments during the month. After a shining series that ended in a 3-2 loss to Na'Vi in the Defense grand finals, Quantic have appeared lackluster at best in the rare match they've played. The team is still strong, but they need to get back in their prior tournament form - the five teams behind them are circling like sharks. (Aram)
It's Gosu definetely overtook Complexity as the top all-North American team this month. Strong performance all-around, with the crown jewel of their first Dota 2 tournament win, It's Gosu is another team that's had a good time this March. With the addition of Korok to their roster and a seemingly new found drive, the question on everyone's mind is: Can BuLba and friends keep rising as a team? or will they fade back to the mid-tier muck? (Burden)
As for now, M5 could be a very potent team in the near future, but the Russian community are once again producing non-stop jokes about pgg and the team's perceived instability, like "Oh snap, we lost this game! [expletive deleted] this [expletive deleted], lets disband!" Their roster consists of very good players of personal skill, though I think WEK would fit better then McDeath. People should not mind their personalities and just watch their furious plays. (Shevkoplyas)
For every crazed game you hear of Mouz winning or narrowly losing, they seem to lose two quietly. There's no doubt they have the skills, but more placings would help their cause. (Gum)
compLexity simply lost every competitive game that mattered this month. The NA standouts suffered a huge fall from grace in the rankings this month due to underwhelming performances. Teams seem to be catching onto their playstyle and it will be on coL's shoulders to rejuvenate themselves or burn out whilst trying. (Hyon)
After a bizarre stint playing with hyhy and MYM, MUFC have returned. In joinDOTA Masters III their victory over aL proved that SEA is not without hope in Dota 2, and beating Zenith put them on top of the region's pecking order. (Aram)
Dignitas is another of the quiet teams you don't seem hear much about, but a current 7-3 record in StarLadder placing them second behind Na'Vi is nothing to dismiss. Still, they face Na'Vi, CLG and EG in the last few StarLadder matches, all some of the toughest teams today. Underrated? Possibly. But what's the last tournament they've placed first or second? (Gum)
This team shows coordination and creativity, but they need to prove themselves by picking up some important wins if they want to see a higher spot. Nevertheless, they did show promise in the joinDOTA Masters series, where they took wins over coL and WW, so mTw no doubt deserves a spot on the rankings. (Galliani)
Despite recent roster changes and dropping their MYM sponsorship, they managed to pull off a surprise win against AL in the final of joinDOTA Masters IV. The addition of iceiceice, xfreedom, xy into the team and Chuan playing as an extended substitute definitely improved their style of play which suits hyhy, who is known for being an aggressive player. I'm expecting Zenith to perform even better this month but the only downfall is that when Chuan decides to stop playing for them, who will replace him? (Psy)
It's good to have SEA tournaments with which to judge SEA teams, and we've seen Orange take second in the best-of-one finals of a Razer tournament at the beginning of the month. Orange was also shut down in the first round of both joinDOTA Masters III and IV, but both times against finalists of the tournaments. Overall, they've fallen in the rankings based on lack of impressive results and a lot more rising talent around them. (Burden)
While Western Wolves have kept their own pace for the last few months the others surging around them are leaving WW in the dust. Case in point: the surge of SEA teams after a few tournaments to plead their case. In recent weeks WW have looked reactionary in both drafting and play. WW need to reclaim the initiative if they want to contend. (Aram)
It has been a month of ups and downs for Mith. The win against Chinese powerhouse DK would've propelled them higher into the list if it weren't for their losses in the two consecutive joinDOTA Masters to eventual finalists AL and Zenith. They've never reached their full potential in a tournament. Hopefully, more tournaments show up in the region so that Mith can finally show the world what they're capable of. (Psy)
Mineski got off to a flying start in the month of March by winning the Razer Dota 2 tournament. Since then, things haven't been so great for the Pinoys. Due to the lack of tournaments offered in the SEA region, they've not played a single game and their disqualification in joinDOTA Masters IV certainly didn't help their cause. However, as soon as tournaments start popping up, there is no doubt that Mineski can challenge the top. (Psy)
The Tough Bananas
Calculus is back, and is fielding a team that could break into the top. They've blasted through the "up-and-coming" ranks in JeeDota and StarLadder ProSeries, but have yet to make that breakout performance to rocket them into relevance. A 1-1 split with Darer is nice, but let's look for some solid victories so another Danish DotA power squad can enter the scene. (Burden)