Dota 2 - ESL One Hamburg Recap
Alliance and EG were in Hamburg last week as a preliminary test run for their rosters before the Kuala Lumpur Major. Unfortunately, due to Visa issues, Suma1L was unable to attend the event and EG had to play with a stand-in. Despite EG playing without their star mid-laner they still took a game off every other team in their group, many of whom will be at the Kuala Lumpur Major with them. It’s a great sign that even with a weakened roster, EG was still a very real threat to the teams in Hamburg. To put this in context though, EG is coming off their 3rd place finish at TI8, they are undoubtedly one of the best teams in the world and their performance in Hamburg with a stand-in only further reinforces the idea that they are indeed one of the best teams in the world. Their play in Hamburg itself was varied in style and strategy with EG running Drow strats, Io + Gyrocopter, and a multitude of unique hero picks that we haven’t really seen much of during this patch.
It was no secret that EG was using ESL One Hamburg to test the limits on their ideas before the all-important Major on the horizon. EG ended up finishing 5th/6th out of the 12 teams competing — a respectable finish which also had them beat fellow NA competitors, compLexity, in one of the fastest games of the tournament. With Game 2 taking only 15 minutes to close out, EG advanced in round one of the playoffs 2-0. Evil Geniuses would lose to the eventual tournament winners, Secret in the following series.
Aside from EG, Alliance was also present and using the opportunity of playing in Hamburg to prepare for the Major. Alliance is a much less experienced team than EG, with four of the five players getting their first real taste of top tier competitive Dota on Alliance. This makes the importance of Hamburg undeniable and the fact that they tied against two teams who will be in Kuala Lumpur with them for the Major, EG and Pain, gives them a real confidence booster. While they didn’t advance from their group, they most certainly used the time they had at the event to gain ever-valuable LAN experience as a unit.
CS:GO – ESL Proleague
Running alongside ECS the ESL Pro League has also gotten back to business with its eighth season, which started a couple weeks ago at the beginning of October. Team Liquid and Envy compete among twelve teams in North America, while Fnatic and Na`Vi are among the fourteen in Europe. All with the same goal for this online marathon: to qualify for the offline finals that will be held in Odense, Denmark, in December.
On the West side of the Atlantic, Team Liquid have taken care of business, though in a less dominating fashion than in ECS. Currently standing at 11-7, they had a handful of difficult matches against some of the heavy hitters in the league but nonetheless stand in a strong 4th place. They’ve been playing on a solid number of maps and doing well no matter what the map pick seems to be, they’ve even had multiple wins where their opponents never reached double digits. This means that the American lineup still floats towards the top of the ranking, sitting in fourth place after the first two weeks. Two teams have already booked their ticket for Denmark, and Liquid should be among the other four teams that will join them across the ocean to represent their continent at the Pro League Finals. Their remaining matches are against compLexity and Ghost. Two teams that Team Liquid should have no trouble putting away. The newly sponsored Envy team is sadly out of contention for the LAN finals but are on an upward trajectory as they managed to take down C9 in back to back games, if they can close out the season strong they will secure a direct invite to Season 9’s league and avoid facing relegation.
On the European front, Na’Vi have simply outclassed the whole field, only dropping four maps out of 20. And no, these weren’t two losses to Astralis, as Zeus and the crew managed to trade maps with the currently acknowledged best team in the world. A strong performance fueled by the usual suspects, Oleksandr “S1mple” Kostylev and Denis “electronic” Sharipov, who respectively boast a 1.33 and a 1.27 average rating for the league, establishing themselves as the first and third highest rated players of the whole league so far. Currently sitting tied in first place with Astralis, nothing should bar the road to Odense for Na’Vi, as they already faced and bested the favorites, and only middle-of-the-pack teams remain in their league schedule.
Fnatic currently sit on the outside of the top 7 looking in, needing to win at least three of their remaining four series in order to have a chance of making it to the playoffs. The good news is that of their four remaining opponents two of them hold the bottom 2 positions in the league, the other two teams are also in the middle of the rankings with them and Fnatic has already defeated BIG who currently sit in third place. Fnatic is known for their strong performances, especially when it matters most, so you can never count them out, especially not when they should be favored to win most if not all of their remaining games.