DAC 2017 in a nutshell; five things to take away
1. Chinese Dota is at the forefront again
Photo: TI6 courtesy of Valve
Everyone has heard the memes and utterings on social media that Chinese Dota is dead, with the possible exception of Wings Gaming, which seemed to be the only Chinese team that could snatch a championship title on the international tournament circuit in the last year. The results at WCA 2016 in December were also held up as proof of life remaining, but, well, it was a Chinese event that featured three top tier Chinese teams and six lower tier International teams and that’s not a fair fight or assessment for anyone.
The point is however, that live on the DAC 2017 stage in front of the home crowd, three Chinese teams occupied the top four places in the event - with Invictus Gaming holding the championship title and trophy. Flashy plays, intense battles, aggressive strategies, the ability to turn things around on a dime, adaptability and discipline were at the forefront of the Chinese performances.
Conveniently we will just sweep the China vs The World match under the rug and look the other way on that one.
2. You don’t have to play the role to be the best solo mid player in the world
Speaking of Paparazi, the Chinese wonder went head to head with some of the best mid lane players in the world, - Syed Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan, Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi and Song "Sccc" Chun - and had them for breakfast. While it’s widely accepted that 1v1 tournaments are not indicative of performance in the role in a team setting they are still a great way to display personal skill and reflexes.
Interestingly, Paparazi is a carry player, and his victory makes us nostalgic for when Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang won the 1 v 1 solo championship at TI3, defeating Chai "Mushi" Yee Fung and earning himself the crown of being the best solo mid in Dota 2. For the record iceiceice is also a carry player.
3. Even TI champions can fall
Yes, its true. Even those at the top can fall and can be sent packing early on.
Both Evil Geniuses (TI5 champions) and Wings Gaming (TI6 champions) tumbled from the summit of championship title holders. Evil Geniuses ended their defence with a sub par 6th place finish while Wings Gaming had a devastating early demise as the second team eliminated - ending with a 9-12th place blemish on their history page.
Part of it couldn’t be helped. Both teams had disappointing runs in the group stages and were seeded into the lower brackets. Their results forced them into battle royales right out of the gate in the brutal and unforgiving best-of-one elimination round.
It was EG that would take the wind out of Wings’ sails, resulting in their early exit. But their survival had only been postponed. The boys in blue didn’t have long left themselves following that triumph, as Newbee knocked them out of contention 2:1 in the Round 3 of the lower brackets.
4. BurNIng is back
In the early years of his Dota 2 career (circa 2011), carry player Xu "BurNIng" Zhilei could boast about winning several carry awards and international championships. He has been regarded as one of the best and most experienced carry players in the world, but his results in recent years have been less than remarkable.
Then things changed at DAC 2017, and many impassioned fans claimed the legendary player was back in his prime. During the group stage alone, he boasted an average GPM of 623 and KDA of 11.44 in his 10 games played. DAC marked BurNing’s first championship title in three years - since his win in April 2014 at StarLadder StarSeries Season 9 with Team DK.
5. Surprises always make for best Dota
Really. Everyone loves an underdog story - it captures the attention, inspiring and speaking to the heart of fans and aspiring professionals. Whether it’s the little guy taking on the giants and emerging victorious or home town heroes carving out a place for themselves on an international circuit - it resonates with the audience and gives them something to rally around.
Team Empire’s history has always been speckled with inconsistent results and marred by periods of instability. Fanning the flames of hope as victors of the CIS qualifier, Empire arrived in China on fire. The team left opponents and fans dumbstruck in the aftermath of their group stage journey as they slid into the second place spot, before utimately taking a notable 5th place at the event.
Team Faceless, who couldn’t clinch a single victory in the group stage, was able to come to the main event with some of the most splendid performances of the tournament when they upset Team Liquid in a thrilling elimination match. The team was dialed in and as cool as a cucumber despite the precarious situation they found themselves in. In the next round they were wiped out by Evil Geniuses 2:0, but what will remain in the fan’s memory and hearts will be no doubt their triumph over one of the event’s favored teams.