EPIC League Division 1 is set to begin tomorrow with ten teams across Europe/CIS competing for a total prize-pool of $500,000, for a scene that is currently starving for a DPC tournament.
We'll be witnessing tier 1 teams dish out their best performances culminating over the next one month in an EPIC battle!
Can Team Secret bounce back to win their 9th title following their defeat at the hands of Team Liquid, or can Team Liquid carry over their recent form that led them to victory at ESL One Germany 2020, or better yet, are we going to have a new contender with their eyes on the title?
Well, to make it easier for y'all we reached out to few industry personnel who were kind enough to share their thoughts regarding the event.
Braxton "Brax" Paulston, Professional Player:
"I think Mudgolems look like the most exciting team in Epic League. They've definitely had some impressive victories in the other EU tournaments (Summit13/ESL). 100% the team to look out for!"
Murielle "Kips" Huisman, Professional Dota 2 Coach and Analyst:
"The upcoming EPIC League is probably one of the most competitive tournaments we’re going to see this year. Team Secret’s win-streak has been broken by Mudgolems, and it was proven to not be a fluke after Team Liquid put the final nail in the coffin of their ESL Germany run. Puppey’s drafts have been showing some weaknesses and at times, star player Nisha’s play has seemed… uninspired? Don’t get me wrong—they are still the team to beat—but the end of their invincibility opens a window for other contenders to take over as top dog. And there are many.
There aren’t going to be any “easy” wins in this group stage. The qualifier teams have played a long bracket and are more in-tune with the flavor of the week (read: mid Snapfire and offlane CK) than the invitees. OG and Nigma have had rough times recently but we all know they can do better than that. The two CIS squads, Na’Vi and VP, are playing sharp.
Two weeks ago I would’ve tapped Alliance to take the throne, but since then two tournaments have crowned their winners. ESL Germany was won by a hot-streak Team Liquid (flying by the seat of their pants); a week later, Liquid had to concede the finals of The Summit EU Online to a Vikin.gg that had returned to their previous steady form.
In terms of style, this feels like Vikin’s patch. The current top carries (Faceless Void, Drow Ranger, Spectre, Naix…) read like a Shad signature list. And in a patch where most favor 4+1, their natural inclination to fight as five outpaces most EU opposition. CIS not so much, but that is where their discipline can make the difference. They’re my favorite to make it far."
Jared "Nomad" Bajina, Professional Commentator:
"Honestly, Epic League is shaping up to be the closest EU contest of the year. For me, it's spilt between FIVE teams:
Team Secret, previous reigning champions, show down once and hungry for revenge.
Team Liquid, Winners of ESL Germany, should be considered the current mainstream leader if it wasn't for those meadling ...Vikin.gg! These guys took down Liquid in the Summit and should not be underestimated as a force at this event!
NaVi got quite frankly embarrassed by Team Liquid in the finals of ESL Germany, yes they took a game but the rest of the games were not close. This team has something to prove.
Mudgolemz have been improving at a terrifying rate, the upcoming team of the year for me. Definitely the dark horse in this race.
And of course we have VP returning to our screens with something to prove, Alliance have been good and could be great, OG whilst weaker online can always pull out some magic when we least expect them too.
My god the only team I'm not expecting to do well is Nigma, due to the ill health of their captain. This could go in any direction folks, strap yourselves in!"
Jack "MoFarah" Williams, Professional Commentator:
"All eyes are going to be on Liquid after their fantastic victory in ESL Germany 2020. With success comes added pressure from the community after finishing top of the pack. The flexibility of their heroes between positions has shone through recently and must be a huge pain to draft against.
Personally, I can't wait to see how well the 'new' VP team do after transferring to be the main roster. With an average age of 19, they have so much room to grow still and could go on to become a real force if they hit the skill ceiling that they're capable of.
I personally want to see Viking keep progressing though, I'm a big fan of the team and would love to see them keep improving and pushing further. After a good start in ESL Germany they fell flat on their faces towards the end of the playoffs!"
Dan "MrBigJams" Offen, Dota 2 interviewer:
"I think Team Liquid have the propensity to do well this event, they're coming off of a win at ESL Germany and second place at The EU Summit, and from what Insania has told me they've hugely increased their work rate and application to the game in recent weeks.
They've been a developmental squad for a long time now, and while they have shown some good results over the past few years, there's a degree to which it's coming to the time when they have to start becoming a serious force before questions start being raised. I've got a lot of faith in the guys, I think they're very talented, and I hope their renewed focus will see them continue to impress."
Luke "Fluke" Pate, up and coming Commentator/Host:
"This tournament will feature most of the teams that took part in ESL One Germany so I think this will be a really good indicator of how the "tier 1.5 tier 2" teams are fairing in the EU scene right now. After hearing what Blitz has said about his boys on Team Liquid, I'm really looking to see if they can keep the form they have and get another top 4 finish. But he has also said that he is taking a break from coaching the team and Jabz will be the main coach for this tournament.
I'll be looking closely at them to see if much changes between their ESL One Germany form and now. I think one of the biggest story lines for this tournament is now Team Secret shouldn't be thought of as the untouchable gods they once were. Don't get me wrong those guys are insanely good and still considered the best in Europe but they have certainly shown some weakness and that they can be beaten by the right teams.
Also this is the first tournament of the new main roster of Virtus Pro. They were the old VP.P squad and had some really good results so I'm hoping that they continue that as the main roster for VP.
This tournament will also be most likely the final BIG EU tournament before the new hero patch in a few weeks so I'm really excited to see how the EU scene finishes on this patch considering how close the field was during ESL One Germany[2:08 PM]My picks for top 4 would be Team Liquid, VP, Team Secret and Navi. Also somewhere close to the top will be Mudgolems."
Judging by the comments above, EPIC League is certainly looking set to have an epic competition.
Feature Image Credits: EPICENTER
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