Rematches among DPC leaders in Eastern Europe

Alisa Barladyan
19 Jul 2022
11:44

The Eastern European DPC Summer Season is over and there are now three teams that will represent the region at the upcoming Arlington major. Both Team Spirit, Natus Vincere, and Outsiders lost only one series each during the entire tournament, leaving all their division rivals behind. Replay matches between all three leaders have been introduced to determine the exact league places. According to the place, the prize money and DPC points will be distributed. So on Friday 16th July, spectators were able to enjoy a mighty showdown between the top teams from Eastern Europe. Our editorial team also followed the replay and is happy to share their impressions and game results.

The teams played a round robin format BO1 against each other. It took three matches to determine the strongest team in Eastern Europe. The winners of the third season of the DPC League were Outsiders, with Natus Vincere in second place and Team Spirit at the end of the top three. How did the teams get there? Read below.

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Rematches among DPC leaders in Eastern Europe

The performance of Silent's charges was a real disappointment for the fans of Team Spirit. In their two head-to-head encounters with their opponents, the Dragons looked disparate, and the lack of a cohesive game plan was evident. Yatoro was dying at one corner of the map, with Collapse already getting pressured in the opposite corner. Team captain Miposhka assembled supports into semi-carries out of desperation. With few exceptions, the team doesn't use the smokes for attacks, doesn't make forays to Roshan, and has never even approached the enemy base. Does this look like a TI10 championship game, where Team Spirit managed to turn an entire series around at the slightest mistake of their opponents? No. Is this a concerning issue on the eve of the U.S. major? Absolutely. Why was the replay so fruitless for this team?

Let's start with the draft stage. On both maps, Miposhka opted to take Zeus in the midlane. By far this is a meta hero with great damage from abilities, he can farm and hold the line safely. In Eastern Europe, he is often picked both for the midlane and as a support. But Team Spirit specifically has rarely practiced the hero throughout the league, taking him 3 times in 15 maps.

Team Spirit drafts in replays
Team Spirit drafts in replays

The risky decision was also dangerous because the hero does not match TORONTOTOKYO's playstyle. The Team Spirit midlaner is used to performing with strong heroes, who can farm well and participate in team fights. Playing Zeus implies being separate from the team. The hero can deal all of his damage from any part of the map, so the four teammates can use smoke and fight at any time, while Zeus can do damage even from the base. The peak of the strategy is after getting Aghanim's Scepter and Aghanim's Shard - the hero's movements become not only meaningless but also dangerous.

The Dragon's captain would ideally have picked four heroes with good fighting potential, but Miposhka decided to re-invent the wheel. For the map against Outsiders, he drafted heroes to dominate the lanes and start pushing faster, and took Faceless Void as carry, who ended the game against the Bears with 0-13-4. The opponents constantly killed heroes all over the map, and it was Yatoro who suffered the most from the Outsiders' actions. It could be blamed on feeding the world's best carry and a poor game, but Team Spirit played a very alien strategy.

Collapse spent the entire first half of the map farming their key items. TORONTOTOKYO was also busy farming and didn't enter the fights. All the attention of the Outsiders' midlaner gpk was focused on Faceless Void. In the second half of the match, the Bears' lead became so big (or rather, the Dragons' gap became critical) that even a couple of errors in the beginning didn't prevent them from confidently finishing the meeting in their favor.

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In the second meeting against Natus Vincere, Zeus was still in the draft, while Timbersaw and Naga Siren were taken for Collapse and Yatoro respectively. The problem of imposing fights was still there, and the pickoffs became even greedier. The Born to Win methodically found Team Spirit's scattered players and thwarted their momentum, and there was no chance for The International's champions to get back into the game during the entire map.

Yatoro played the two worst matches of his career. He only managed one frag during the game day, and died a total of 20 times! This happened to a player with an average KDA of 9.4 in the tournament. TORONTOTOKYO was almost absent in the game, Collapse ceased to be a threat in the first serious clashes. Miposhka and Mira failed to make an impact on the team's early play in their roles, and they shared the damage of their opponents with their teammates in the mid-game. In the history of the current roster no one has seen them so broken, uncoordinated and helpless until this day.

We want to believe that it was picking Zeus as midlane that had such an impact on the team's results in the replay, and that there are no moral or gaming tensions inside the squad. Perhaps the team treated the replay as just another practice session, and decided to try some new strategies. But Team Spirit's players were slower than their rivals, the lanes were lost, and no decisions were made to turn the situations around. And that was certainly not the dominance that Silent's charges had shown throughout the season.

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Solo's team was finally able to compete for the top places in the regional league again and reach the world events. The No[o]ne turned out to be a phenomenon in the summer DPC league season, the newcomers swedenstrong and laise are handling hard lanes and everyone's praising the captain's form is once again. V-Tune, who had just happened to enter NaVi, perfectly matches the aforementioned players with his balanced and sometimes unusual carry playstyle. Today we can already say that the reshuffle was good for them.

At the replays they also played their two maps well, but unfortunately they couldn't become first in division. Natus Vincere are now trying to play the laning stage aggressively and seize the map advantage through picking off their opponents’ heores. Solo has come up with arguably the most mobile pick in the game while playing against Team Spirit. Nature's Prophets teleported under any point on the map under Bounty Hunter, then Io+Tiny's relocate, and Dawnbreaker's ultimate - it was an awesome sight to behold. The Born to Win picked the heroes against Outsiders for a steady start and a good teamfight in mid-game.

Natus Vincere drafts in the replay
Natus Vincere drafts in the replay

The clash with Team Spirit went fairly easily for Natus Vincere. With level 6, the entire team flew in for any chance of a frag anywhere on the map. The Dragons couldn't hide from the opponent's pressure, and the Born to Win gradually took over the opponent's forest. V-Tune on Nature's Prophet had time to collect every penny and join every attack. The teammates made a merry-go-round for their opponents throughout the entire 30 minutes, only occasionally making minor mistakes that didn't affect the outcome dramatically.

You could say the Natus Vincere carry played at the highest level, and if there was an MVP award in those games, he could easily claim the title of the best player. Even in the game against Outsiders, he showed a very confident game on Lifestealer, without dying once. In general, Solo's team played well in the lanes, gradually started pressing on the easy lane, and the team was pressing not only in the game, but also in morale. While laise and swedenstrong were killing RAMZES666 on the map, No[o]ne and V-Tune frayed the nerves of the enemy's carry. And the most popular quote in the game chat was Roman's old phrase from his channel, "Five majors won, eh?"

The Born to Win kept picking off their opponents, but couldn't break through economically in any way. In the end, after a disappointing 31st minute and battle for Roshan, the initiative completely passed to the opponents, and all the pressure of Natus Vincere throughout half an hour was converted into the fall of their throne after 10 minutes from the ill-fated comeback.

It cannot be said that the team as a whole played below their abilities or below the level of other teams in the replays. The team's drafts were interesting, and there were no outright weaknesses. Individual errors couldn't be avoided, but there were no outright failures either. Yes, No[o]ne didn't play against Outsiders at the usual level of grandmaster, but even that wasn't the main reason for Natus Vincere's second place in the summer DPC season. The crucial factor was the players mentioned below.

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In the first few rounds of the league, Outsiders were the talk of the town. "Disbanding is coming", "unpromising tier-3 players" - after the devastating defeat by NaVi, the Bears received all sort of comments. The team's game just wasn't it: all the maps were the ones gpk carried solo, the forced replacement of Pure by RAMZES666 seemed to weaken the squad, and there were no prospects for a sudden boost. But in mid-July they are celebrating a victory in the league and in D2CL, and analysts see them as the new tier-1 representatives from the CIS.

Outsiders are expertly farming on all three cores without losing space on the map. gpk still plays at an incredible level, doesn't yield midlanes, tormenting every opponent across the map in every confrontation, and there's nothing any Eastern Europe team can do about it. With him, even the not-so-prime (but no less dangerous) RAMZES666 always has items and confidently ends games in favor of his team. Under DM's greedy playstyle yamich started to confidently initiate fights, and there were practically no issues with the "tier-3" support Xakoda. The team skillfully exploited their strengths and managed to defend their weaknesses.

Outsiders draft picks in the replay
Outsiders draft picks in the replay

As for the match against Team Spirit gpk can safely say that it was their finest hour. It was as if he was looking for the lone YATOROGOD and never left him alone for a moment. He completely turned off his opponent's carry and was useful until the last minute of that map. Alone, with a support or with the team - no matter where, or how - the Outsiders' midlaner played poor Dota and only allowed his carry to come when there was pushing of Roshan and the opponent's throne.

And against Natus Vincere, the Bears decided to play as number two, buying two Hands of Midas to enter the late stage. And no matter how many times the Born to Win tried to take the lead in frags, the teams went toe-to-toe economically. While the supports and gpk were taking the blows of their opponents, RAMZES666 and DM were picking up the necessary items and preparing for the decisive battle. After winning the fight on Roshan there was no doubt that Outsiders won, as they efficiently finished the map.

What was the key to the team's victory? There are many factors. It’s the phenomenal play of gpk, and the almost unnatural speed of RAMZES666’s farming. DM once again skillfully combined farming and activity. Xakoda did his best to protect his carry, and yamich showed his progress in the 4th position, leading the game as a playmaker in the laning and mid-game stages. Individually, all the players simply looked better than their counterparts. We must also take into account the variability of their game plans: they can play both aggressively and hold the lanes, if necessary. The team makes the right decisions and doesn’t allow their opponents to thrive on their mistakes.

And lastly, the confidence of the current squad plays a big role. The boys added winning the summer season DPC league to the D2CL victory, and now they will go to the major as the best team in the region. And it all came after an unfortunate disqualification from the previous DPC cycle and a forced replacement, heaps of bullying and moral pressure. We hope that the Outsiders’ players will get in the zone to the cheering screams at the tournament in Arlington. And then Roman will probably win his sixth major!

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