EU Dota is finally back! Grouped with CIS (think former Soviet Union) for online play, this is strongest region in the world, with only China coming remotely close.
Recap from 7/26:
Will be added once games are finished
In lieu of a hero of the day, I’m going to do a tournament preview, as this is the first time any of these teams have played since I’ve been doing this column. One thing worth noting is that all of these teams have been off for nearly a month, most over a month, and none of them have played an official game on the new patch. Much could have and probably has changed since the last time we saw these teams.
VP.Prodigy are the “2nd” team in the Virtus Pro organization, designed to be their youth team. However, after first forming in mid April, VP.Prodigy quickly showed that they are in fact one of the top teams in Europe themselves. They even took down the VP main team in the Grand Finals of Epic Prime League Season 1, sweeping the series 3-0. The only top team in Europe they’ve yet to beat is Team Secret, who are not in this tournament. This team should contend for a title.
OG are the 2 time defending TI (Dota worlds) Champions, cementing their status as the greatest Dota team ever by being not only the 1st team to win back to back titles, but 2 titles at all. However, every year after TI the team goes their separate ways so as not to get burned out. Ana goes back to Australia to dominate Australia pubs with his friends, Ceb takes a step back, and this year Jerax announced his retirement to focus on other things. With TI pushed back so has the “getting the band back together” stage of OG’s yearly progression. However, as of Saturday, it was announced that Sumail would be leaving the team, MidOne would be moving to carry, and Ceb was back. This brings OG back to 3/5 of their TI winning team (Ceb, Notail, and Topson). It’s almost impossible to upgrade your team by having Sumail leave, as he is arguably the most individually talented player in the world, but the real upgrade for OG comes from moving MidOne, who had been attempting to learn offlane, to position 1, where he should be more comfortable. Ceb will step back into the offlane and his presence on the team in general should be a big boost. It may not be apparent immediately as they could take a little time to gel, but it’s safe to say OG will be much improved from their disastrous (by their standards) spring. This tournament will come down to how fast MidOne gets comfortable on Pos 1. If it’s quick, OG should crush the competition here, if it takes some time they may make an early exit. I’d lean towards the former.
Nigma are another TI winning roster in this tournament. Technically they won as Team Liquid, but 4/5 players are the same. They won TI back in 2017, and this roster of 5 finished second in 2019, losing 3-1 to OG in the finals. However, Kuroky, their captain and leader, is missing this tournament with an arm injury. rmN, their coach, will stand-in for him. Nigma will sorely miss Kuro’s leadership, and we should keep our eye on their game lines to see if Vegas isn’t properly factoring in his loss.
Navi are a3rd in this tournament that won a TI. Their win though was way back in 2011, at TI 1. Every player from that roster is long since departed, with Dendi being the last holdout, and this team has been unable to reclaim their former glory. Most recently, they’ve parted ways with their mid-laner, Magical, and pos 4 So bad and brought in Young G and Immersion, respectively. Young G had most recently been playing with Winstrike, who have been a mid-tier team within CIS. I haven’t seen a ton of tape on him yet, but what I have seen I don’t think he’s a huge upgrade (if he is one at all) over magical. Immersion had been playing for Team Spirit this season, and while the team hadn’t been great he is one of the better position 4’s in the CIS region. He’ll also be captaining for Navi, which could be a decent boost for them. Even so, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an early exit here from Navi.
Alliance are the 4th and final team in the field to have won a TI, winning TI 3 back in 2013. Like Navi, this is an almost totally different roster than that TI winning squad. S4 has returned to the team, though he now plays offlane instead of mid like he did on the TI winning team. Unlike Navi, they’ve had a fairly successful season. They finished 2nd in the ESL One Birmingham 2020 – online EU and CIS tournament that had all the best teams in Europe. For the most part though, they’ve finished in the 3-8 range, as they are clearly in the 2nd tier of teams in the EU and CIS region. With how strong the region is that’s still very good, and this team has shown they can compete with and beat just about anyone.
Ninjas in Pajamas are another team that has struggled, yet to finished better than 5-6th in an event since the online only play began. They actually dropped their entire roster and signed a new one in late April, but frankly it hasn’t really helped, as they’ve continued to struggle with the new squad. Most recently, they let Sonneiko, who had been their captain and position 5 go, and are having Cr1t- stand-in for this tournament. I haven’t seen anything about Cr1t- leaving EG, so I think this is just a temporary stand-in situation since Cr1t- is in Europe. Cr1t- is one of the best supports in the world, although he normally plays Pos 4 not Pos 5, so this should be an upgrade for them in this tournament.
Vikin.gg have quietly had themselves a very nice season. They’ve dominated the T2/3 circuit in Europe, winning 8 tournaments in 2020 alone. When they step up to the big boys and compete with the T1 teams they’ve managed to hold their own, finishing no worse than 7-8th in fields of at least 10 teams and up to 16. While I don’t expect this team to win this tournament, they’ll be a tough out for anyone who plays them.
FlytoMoon rounds out the teams in this tournament. Much like Vikin.gg they have had a pretty strong year, even beating VP to win a CIS only tournament back in late March. They have also held their own in larger tournaments with T1 teams, showing they can beat anyone except the very top teams. Fortunately for them, Secret is not in this tournament and Nigma is missing Kuro, unfortunately for them, OG and VP.Prodigy are still here. Like Vikin.gg I expect them to be a tough out for whoever they play but don’t expect them to contend for the championship.
On to the 1st day of games!
The OGA Dota Pit Europe/CIS is a double elimination tournament, all series until the Grand Final are best of 3 series while the finals are a best of 5. On Monday we have the opening games for all teams, the first round of the upper bracket.
VP.Prodigy (-235, -1.5 maps @ +140) vs
Navi (+165, +1.5 maps @ -190) 5:00 am EST
The tournament opens with the matchup between 2 CIS teams. These teams have met once since VP.Prodigy formed, a 2-1 victory for Prodigy back on May 3rd. It remains to be seen if the roster changes will help Navi, as no one but their scrim partners have seen this new look. Even if it does in the long, run their may be some growing pains in this series. I expect VP.Prodigy to come out and take care of business, but I will be going fairly lightly this whole day, as so much has changed since any of these teams last played.
VP.Prodigy -1.5 maps @ +140 (.5 units)
Alliance (-240, -1.5 maps @ +135) vs
Ninjas in Pajamas (+175, +1.5 maps @ -185) 8:00 am EST
Since NiP entirely changed their roster in mid April, these teams have met 4 times. Alliance is 3-1 in those meetings, with a map score of 7-2. While NiP got an upgrade in skill with the addition of Cr1t- for this tournament, the coordination and cohesion may not be there. Overall I’d expect about the same performance we’ve been seeing out of NiP and Alliance, who haven’t made any roster moves since we last saw them in June. I expect Alliance to take this series, but think the odds are fair, so I’ll be staying away.
OG (-170, -1.5 maps @ +175) vs
Vikin.gg (+125, +1.5 maps @ -245) 11:00 am EST
These teams have met 4 times since the start of April. Over that span, the series is tied a 2-2, with OG up 6-4 in map score. That said, I am essentially throwing all of that out the window. Ceb is now back for OG, and beyond his play as an offlaner, his presence in the booth (well, gaming room for online play) should give OG a huge boost. Ceb’s relentless positivity and confidence are infectious, and I expect an instant improvement in OG’s play.
This is much less of a recent numbers play than I usually make, but if you look back at the last 2 TI’s, when OG has it’s full squad they are nearly unbeatable. They’re 3/5 of the way their now, and I think that’ll be plenty to make quick work of Vikin.gg.
OG -170 (2 units)
OG -1.5 maps @ +175 (1 unit)
Nigma (-175, -1.5 maps @ +170) vs
FlytoMoon (+130, +1.5 maps @ -240) 2:00 pm EST
These teams have only met once recently, a 2-1 victory for Team Nigma back on June 26th. That was with Kuroky though, and as I mentioned above Kuro is sitting out with an arm injury. I think this will really hurt team Nigma, as Kuroky is one of the best captains and shotcallers in the world.This makes this game a complete toss up for me. Given that FlytoMoon has plus odds, I’ll be taking a small shot on them here.
FlytoMoon +130 (.5 units)
FlytoMoon G1 +110 (.25 units)
FlytoMoon G2 +110 (.25 units)
That’s all for the slate, I’m excited to watch some EU Dota!