The Chinese wall is down: a recap of the PGL Arlington Major 2022

Alisa Barladyan
16 Aug 2022

The third major of the season in Arlington has come to an end. The winner was decided, and the teams distributed the DPC points. The top twelve teams from the PGL Arlington Major 2022 will go directly to The International 2022 in Singapore.

At the Texas tournament, the teams surprised us with their drafts and strategy, and some players showed off their original play style. By the end of the season, the teams were in good shape, and the spectators enjoyed some quality play at the event. How did the spectacle end in Arlington? We'll tell you in this piece.

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The Chinese wall is down: a recap of the PGL Arlington Major 2022

Team Spirit won the PGL Arlington Major 2022. Miposhka's team confidently completed their matches in the group. In the playoffs, they lost the series to the overwhelming Chinese players of PSG.LGD is only in the upper bracket final. The teams met again in the grand final, with the "dragons'' taking three maps out of four in a rematch. Team Spirit received $200,000 and 820 DPC points for winning the major.

The total division of places in the tournament is as follows:

PlaceAwardDPC PointsTeam
1200000$820Team Spirit
375000$670Team Aster
5-625000$515Entity, beastcoast
7-812500$360BOOM Esports, Outsiders
9-12--Fnatic, Team Liquid, Royal Never Give Up, Evil Geniuses
13-14--Talon Esports, Natus Vincere
15-16--Tundra Esports, Thunder Awaken
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In the major, the teams set a vector for the meta of the upcoming TI. Now the role of the offlaner has changed from strictly initiatory to the third position with a high networth. The player must make the most of a difficult lane, prevent the opponent's carry from getting initial artifacts at perfect timings, and get into peak form starting from midgame to try and push the opponents to their base.

Beginning with TI8, which featured greedy heroes on a difficult lane like Weaver, Wraith King, and Vengeful Spirit, the teams increasingly pushed their offlaners to gain artifacts. Comparing the meta of the first tournaments with the most recent ones, there has been tremendous progress in the pros' understanding of the game. Previously, a player in a difficult position was left alone on the lane against two or three heroes. They would get an ultimate and go around the map to initiate fights. The popular heroes at the time were Tidehunter, Sand King, Batrider, and Earthshaker. It was enough to buy Blink Dagger for these characters, and they would already make an impact until the end of the game.

As the game evolved, the role of the initiator was extended to more than just the offlaners. The 2018 meta, with supports tied to the complex lane, taught players to act as three equal core players, prioritizing farming for the carry and midlaner. There was another change in the 2022 meta. Now the carry and the offlaner are trying to collect many items, while the midlaner has to entertain the whole map with the supports.

The OG players are a prime example. The offlaner ATF likes greedy Slardar, Timbersaw, Viper, and Bloodseeker. Together with Yuragi they farm a lot from the lanes and use a good start as an aid to further gain peak power. Against this backdrop, bzm has been looking for frags on active Puck and QW Invoker since the early minutes. In the major, they upgraded team-wide farming so much that even a five (or a four) Ceb could take up to 160 creeps for a game!

There is, however, another example. Entity with SabeRLight- in the first position. The Czech plays in TSM FTX on a difficult lane, but in an emergency, agreed to help the European team compete in the major. Fishman ended up taking the usual offlane heroes for the stand-in. However, similar heroes were also taken for Tobi on a difficult lane, and Stormstormer often played the farming Tiny from the midlane. The German midlaner was responsible for the final demolition of towers and the throne.

Progress in professional Dota 2 just keeps happening, but now the requirements for players of a particular role will be much broader. A carry can not only pound creeps and finish the game but also set the pace by their actions. And now, even the upcoming global patch will not change the trend of greed in matches and the skill to disrupt the opponent's tempo.

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Just under two months remain before the main event of the year. Traditionally, this is when teams from China begin to play at their full strength. The Chinese teams achieved an amazing result in the USA. PSG.LGD failed to win the series only in the Grand Final, and Team Aster was one of the top three teams in the tournament. Relatively poor performance by Royal Never Give Up players, taking 9-12th place, but in their excuse, we can point out the unlucky play of a stand-in.

It was like xiao8's team never lost its form after failing in the TI10 final. They played confidently in the domestic DPC leagues and were prevented from going to the major by a coronavirus. In July, the Chinese teams started to leave the country and immediately PSG.LGD won the Saudi Arabian tournament, terrifying everyone at the PGL Arlington Major 2022. The casters admired the play of XinQ and Faith_Bian, and the team's players looked prepared at every stage of the match. Over 27 maps, PSG.LGD used 57 characters in drafts, the most among the major's participants.

Team Aster can finally boast its first success at international tournaments. The organization has always had a stellar roster but failed every major and TI series tournament since 2018. But the team arrived in the U.S. in good shape, while many participants were forced to play with substitutes. In the group stage, Team Aster was less likely to give a map to its opponents, coming to the playoffs from first place. In the decisive stage, only Team Spirit prevented the Chinese final. The game of LaNm's wards is built on the old traditions of the region. There is a strong carry in the person of Monet - he likes to farm a lot on a hard carry and do a lot of physical damage. The supports and the active midlaner and off-laner create space for him. The typical 4+1 style and iron discipline worked well up until the encounter with the "dragons".

No team from other regions can compete with the Chinese teams. Before The International, the two teams from China were at the top of the major and were also selected directly for Singapore. Another team is guaranteed to come from the closed qualifiers. In Arlington, the Chinese clearly showed the weaknesses of teams from other regions. But after the major, there was one team that could undermine the Chinese hopes for the Aegis.

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A month ago, Team Spirit hopelessly lost to the Outsiders and Natus Vincere in DPC replay matches. Players were dying one by one while trying to free their lanes, team actions didn't stick, lanes were lost. Mira reassured the fans by explaining that they aren't fighting and looking for their game in a tough moment for the team.

As a group, the "dragons" didn't look like potential tournament winners in the United States. The mistakes against Evil Geniuses overshadowed a successful streak against Tundra Esports. Miposhka's team was lucky with their group opponents: everyone except Team Aster and Entity played outright badly. So it wasn't too difficult for the reigning TI champions to earn a slot in the top bracket of the playoffs.

The Arlington major playoffs show that if Team Spirit meets the Outsiders and has a fiery series with them, then the team can seriously contend to win the tournament. That's how it was at TI10, and the same happened in the United States. In the first round of the upper bracket, the CIS derby was the most competitive confrontation, and the "bears" didn't look like easy prey for their opponents on the third map. The "dragons" barely made it to the semifinal of the upper bracket, where they effortlessly outplayed Team Aster. In the upper bracket final, PSG.LGD showed their full power and sent Spirit into extra practice against their compatriots.

After defeating Team Aster once again, Team Spirit and PSG.LGD faced off in the grand final of the major. The Chinese are strong in mechanical actions, but the moment on the second map completely broke the morale of xiao8's wards. In an epic battle for Roshan, YATOROGOD got a rampage, Team Spirit defended their base and forced their opponents to spell "GG". PSG.LGD players then failed their drafts and lanes on the third and fourth maps. With a score of 3-1 in the series, Team Spirit won the PGL Arlington Major 2022.

The "dragons" have the advantage of not sticking to certain patterns while keeping the game organized. TORONTOTOKYO, Yatoro, and Collapse can take the lead on the map. True, the former is comfortable playing on spirit heroes, while the latter is gaining form throughout the tournament. Therefore, the team's key player is almost always a carry who can create space for himself and farm more than others. The team can create the right action from uncomfortable situations on the map and turn the game in their favor, as it happened on the second map in the major's grand final.

In the United States, only Team Spirit has a positive win rate against Chinese teams. The International's statistics show that there was always a team from the Celestial Empire in 8 out of 10 tournaments in the grand final. Therefore, Team Spirit's ability to play against them makes them one of the contenders to win in Singapore. A repeat of OG's success is possible if Silent can find a way to keep the players in shape until October.

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