Alliance seize first title at DreamLeague Season 12
Title image courtesy of Dreamleague
A grueling five-game series ended with Alliance taking their first title of the new season at DreamLeague Season 12.
Demon Slayers defied the odds and laughed in the faces of the collective raising of eyebrows when they first showed up to DreamLeague Season 12. A ragtag group from NA, playing with a stand-in, never having scrimmed before and showing up without a sponsoring organization, Demon Slayers were the clear underdogs.
When they went 0:4 in the group stage the community nodded their heads saying 'yep, just as expected'. They were placed into the lower brackets and set up to face regional rivals J.Storm as their expected last performance in the event. If they were beaten, the narrative would have played out perfectly and the team would have gone home $12,500 richer and some LAN experience to draw lessons from.
But that's not what happened.
Instead, Demon Slayers went on to dominate the lower brackets, upsetting and demoralizing every team that stood in their way. First it was J.Storm, then a convincing sweep over Team Liquid and a shocking overpowering 2:1 victory over NiP. They headed to the grand finals.
On the other end of the spectrum was Alliance. The newly formed and signed roster was one of the clear favorites going into the event. Their show-stopping performance in the first DPC 2019-2020 season qualifiers had already put them at the top of the conversation in the Dota 2 circles. They were expected to show up with the same energy and plays. They were expected to lift the trophy.
Alliance did not disappoint. Their group stage run was flawless. They didn't drop a single game and multiple times their players ended with zero deaths. They looked unbeatable, insurmountable.
Things didn't slow down for them in the playoffs. Pitted against NiP who also went undefeated in the group stage, Alliance dismantled their opponents, making it look like a staggering skill gap between the two. They were on a whole other level and waltzed into the grand finals already making plans on where to display their new trophy.
This is where it all went down. This was the moment of truth. What was expected to be a cakewalk for Alliance turned into a five-game series where their flexibility, adaptation, and skill was put to the test.
Demon Slayers wasn't even supposed to be there. They had destroyed the European dominance narrative and were now the dark horse that had emerged from the shadows, charging forward and threatening to take the title.
The first two games stunned the Dota 2 world. Demon Slayers had already proven their strength and resilience in the lower brackets, but Alliance was supposed to be an entirely different beast. The NA team now had two wins. Two convincing victories gained using two very different approaches. Their aggressive playstyle, running straight at Alliance and objectives threw the Europeans off-kilter. Demon Slayers had perfect rotations, beautiful synergy and mesmerizing combos.
They were up two games, one win away from seizing the title. They had nothing to lose and everything to gain, in contrast to Alliance who now was looking down the barrel of a dark loss with everything to lose.
In the third game Alliance went with their comfort heroes and adjusted to Demon Slayers style. The cores did everything they needed and everything went according to plan. By only 24 minutes in, it became too difficult for Demon Slayers to take any fights, and valiant effort to hold on only came to the inevitable end shortly after.
Alliance had taken their first win and with that, the tides had turned. The Swedish based team continued to adapt and only grew stronger and more solid under the leadership of their captain. Their movements became precise, their focus became more honed in. They took another win tying up the series.
The last game of the series. A best-of-five had now become a best-of-one. Winner takes all. Alliance had figured out Demon Slayers and the NA team was starting to crumble under the pressure. A team that wasn't expecting to come this far now suddenly wanted nothing more than to clinch the win and take it all. That kind of stress wreaks havoc on emotions and mentality. Alliance was now fueled with the momentum of two back-to-back wins and the confidence of playing under mounting pressure in LAN settings and tight spots in the past. Each of their players was no stranger to the gut-wrenching moments. They had the upper hand.
Demon Slayers gave it their all and tried desperately to stave off defeat. Alliance always had the lead and edge, but were never safe from losing it. 40 minutes of ups and downs ended with a thrilling destruction of the ancients after a valiant all in effort by Demon Slayers didn't pan out.
Alliance had done it. In a reverse-sweep, they took the title and lifted the trophy as originally expected. And Demon Slayers? They go home with $60,000, a ton of LAN experience, a plethora of new fans and the feel-good storyline of DreamLeague Season 12.
DreamLeague Season 12 Teams:
DreamLeague Season 12 Format
- Group Stage
- Two groups of three teams each
- Bo3 round-robin
- Top team from either group advance to the Upper Bracket of the playoffs
- Bottom two teams advance to the Lower Bracket of the playoffs
- All games are Bo3
- Bo5 Grand Finals
DreamLeague Season 12 prize pool distribution
|3rd||$40,000||Ninjas in Pyjamas|
chart courtesy of Liquipedia
DreamLeague Season 12
DreamLeague Season 12 Rotterdam took place from October 18-20th with $250,000 on the line at Rotterdam Ahoy in the Netherlands.