The ONE Esports Singapore Major is just around the corner and it is the first Dota 2 LAN event after nearly a year ever since Covid-19 hit the globe and brought activities to a standstill.
Before we begin, it is important to note that Beastcoast and Natus Vincere have withdrawn from the tournament owing to Covid as well as travel issues. Many teams will also be playing without their original line-up and use stand-ins in their stead for the aforementioned reasons.
Scheduled to be held from March 27 to April 4, 2021 at the Fairmont Singapore Hotel, the Major will be divided into three legs, namely:
1) The Wildcards
2) The Group-stages, and
3) The Playoffs
The Wild Card
From a personal perspective, I’m eagerly looking forward to see how the Wild Card teams plays out. Not only is this group stacked with some strong teams, it is also filled with brimming up and coming talents like T1 and AS Monaco Gambit. Not to forget, this leg employs a single elimination, best-of-two, round robin format.
Only three out of the six teams will advance to the group-stage while the rest bid adieu to the event.
Europe is perhaps the strongest region in the pack and for good reason. The entire region is stacked with top tier teams and the competition has been nothing short of a blood-bath. Even TI Champions, OG, missed out on attending the first Major and that speaks volumes on the region’s relative strength. Liquid and Nigma are two rosters stacked with a lot of individual prowess and history that might work in their favour.
Enters China, a region that has an innate infrastructure supporting esports. Despite undergoing roster changes PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming both have had plenty of time to practice and hone their skills, and become a cohesive unit.
The viewers will certainly flock to see China vs. Europe battle but we may also have some dark horses in AS Monaco Gambit and T1. Gambit and T1 deploy an unusually chaotic gameplay as part of their strategy and there’s one thing that an opponent never likes – chaos, even though T1 is using a stand-in in place of Kuku.
China and Europe look strong, and it all likelihood they’ll be the ones advancing to the next stage.
Three teams from the Wild Cards will join the existing six teams in the Groupstage. These eight teams will play each other in a best-of-two, double elimination round robin format. Top two teams advance to the upper bracket of the playoffs, 3rdto 7th place teams advance to the lower bracket of the playoffs, while the last placed team is eliminated from the tournament.
The groupstage has a wide variety of teams that have fought tooth and nail to secure themselves a place in a bracket that gives a second chance due to the double elimination format. Alliance has been one of those teams displaying consistency and solid improvement.
Team Aster boasts of an interesting line-up with a mixture of veterans and new talents alike. They have Money, Xxs and LaNm that have played on the biggest stage plenty of times and can aptly guide the other two members in a LAN setting. Aster is known to take advantage of any space that is handed over to them by the enemy team as they prioritize playing around Monet on the position 1 role.
Thunder Predator is one of those South American teams that displayed near dominance in their regional DPC league with the only losses coming against Beastcoast and Infamous. However, their chances of advancing to the playoffs look dicey solely based on the fact that there are a lot of better teams competing out there.
Natus Vincere, Neon Esports and Quincy Crew won’t be playing with their full strength and that may affect their performance heading into the tournament. If we were to breakdown their performance region wise, Quincy Crew and Neon Esports have been nothing but outstanding and rightfully cementing their places as one of the top teams in North America and Southeast Asia, while Na’Vi have show some glimmer of excellence.
(Image credit: Team Secret)
Here the level of difficulty jumps up manifold and needless to say it is the most dangerous stage of the tournament with the best-of-the-best residing here. Behemoths like Team Secret, Invictus Gaming, Fnatic, Virtus.Pro and Evil Geniuses await to display their skills that they’ve been honing since Covid disrupted activities around the world.
All eyes will be on Team Secret as people and to be fair, the community is more excited to see Puppey and co. lift another trophy and what could be better than being crowned as the champions in the first Major of the new Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season? Everyone will be looking to bet their money on the winning horse and Secret is most likely to win owing to their sheer dominance in the European region and due to the versatility and prowess their line-up actually possesses.
It’ll be really interesting to see as to which team gives Team Secret a run for their money. Can it be Evil Geniuses with the recent addition of Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang that has bolstered their armory? While EG does have an incredible line-up to boast of, it is still dicey if they’ll be able to hold up against Secret.
Fnatic and Virtus.Pro are another lot that are relatively on par with each other. They all consist of one or two individuals that can single handedly turn around games in their favour such as DJ from Fnatic and GPK from Virtus.Pro. But will that be enough to beat the best? Doubtful.
The team I’m most excited to see perform is Invictus Gaming – the Juggernauts – hailing from China. Their playstyle has been nothing short of exemplary and it is evident from their games during the Chinese league. Their only loss came against Team Aster, that too in closely contested games. The duo of JT- and Kaka is one of the most interesting duos to watch. The overall aggressive playstyle IG deploys in their games is one of the few things other teams should carefully consider.
The winner of Singapore Major will set a precedent for the upcoming season and as LAN events and cross-region competition seem few or scarce until Covid settles down, teams will be most eager to prove themselves by winning the Major and getting one step closer to qualifying for TI10 with the much-coveted DPC points.
Let the battle begin!
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