It's in the bag.
As Dota Summit 13 Online has ended, Dota 2 fans have the finest teams from Europe and CIS to look forward to as Epic League starts up, beginning on November 12, 2020. The closed qualifier has just finished, with two lucky teams joining the eight direct invites. Some people will think that this tournament is the sequel season of the OMEGA League, but technically, EPIC League will not be the sequel as the previous tournament organiser WePlay is not involved in the new tournament.
There are two Divisions in EPIC League - Division 1 and Division 2. But which teams in Division 1 should we keep an eye on?
TEAM SECRET - THE RAID BOSS IS OFFICIALLY DETHRONED, CAN THEY RECLAIM THE THRONE?
It's pretty clear that Team Secret will be picked as the heavy favourites as they are nominated as “The Raid Boss” with their dominant performances, including a clean sweep 3-0 Grand Finals in eight tournaments. But the title is no longer relevant as their streak was halted in its tracks after getting clean-swept 2-0 by Mudgolems, and eventually eliminated by the actual champion Team Liquid at ESL One Germany 2020 Online. Their first match will be the team's chance to redeem themselves, as they face up against Mudgolems yet again.
TEAM LIQUID - THEY'VE DONE IT BEFORE, WILL THEY DO IT AGAIN?
Having been crowned as the champion of ESL One Germany 2020 Online over Natus Vincere by beating them 3-1 in a 'best of five' grand final, surely Team Liquid will be picked as one of the favourites to win EPIC League. Aydin “iNSaNiA” Sarkohi and company will surely want to claim their second title after they were named runner-up at Dota Summit 13 Europe and CIS after they were defeated by Vikin.gg with a 2-3 score in the grand finals. Unfortunately, in their first match of EPIC League against Natus Vincere, iNSaNiA were beaten 1-2 after a dominating performance in game one and a close third game.
VIRTUS.PRO - THE PRODIGIES ARE NO MORE AS THEY RISE TO BECOME THE MAIN TEAM FOR ONE OF THE CIS JUGGERNAUTS
On November 5, 2020, Virtus.pro officially promoted their prodigy squad under the name of VP.Prodigy to their main team, after the previous squad were unable to achieve notable results. The new main squad has just also recruited Danil “gpk” Skutin from Gambit for the mid lane role, and Illias “illias” Ganeev from Natus Vincere for their position five support. This tournament will be a test for them to prove that they are worthy of being promoted for the main squad and the direct invite.
This will be their first debut tournament in the EPIC league, and so far they have shown a promising solid first result with a victory against OG Esports in a fascinating 2-0 victory.
MUDGOLEMS – HOW MUCH CAN THEY SURPRISE US?
In terms of the list of the teams on Division 1, Mudgolems are considered to be one of the underdogs in the tournament. Considering that the roster was formed for just two months, I’d say they are a promising team based on their recent results, as they were the first team who ended “The Raid Boss” Team Secret's dominant streak after four months. Currently, their highest placement was a top-three finish at ESL One Germany 2020. After all, they have earned the spot in this tournament after they crawled from the closed qualifier and earn one of the spots. This tournament will be another challenge for Adrian “Fata” Trinks and co. This team still has a long way to go.
Their latest result in this tournament was a victory against Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev’s newly formed CIS new stack team, Just Error, with a 2-1 score.
VIKIN.GG – SLOW AND STEADY, THE VIKINGS ARE UPGRADING THEMSELVES TO TIER 1
After several months of a steady climb and consistent results, Vikin.gg received a direct invite to this tournament with the bigger names. They have been rising to the top after they won their first title by claiming the Dota Summit Online 13 trophy after an enormous five games in the grand finals against Team Liquid. In this tournament, I will consider them as the dark horse as they will have to show that they deserved the direct invite. Their first match will be against Team Liquid, and with it a chance to prove their latest victory was not a fluke. Hopefully, we will see a great match from them. May the better team win.
JUST ERROR - REUNION OF THE VP OLD GUARDS AND SUMAIL
In GGRecon's previous article where we reported RAMZES666 moved into an inactive role in Evil Geniuses, it was confirmed that he will be reunited with his previous Virtus.pro teammates Alexey “Solo” Berezin and Vladimir “No-[o]ne” Minenko. The team also consists of Bakyt “W_Zayac” Emilzhanov and Syed “SumaiL” Sumail Hassan. At first, they did earn the spot by winning the closed qualifier. This came after they received a controversial direct invite for the final playoff match in the closed qualifier against Yellow Submarine. So far, they have only played two official matches. Considering the history of the players, they won't be seen as underdogs. However, it's still too early to pick them as favourites, as they never played against the bigger teams in this tournament.
Their latest result was a 3-1 victory in a 'best of five' against Yellow Submarine in the final match of the closed qualifier, and a recent 1-2 loss against Mudgolems. We will see them perform again against Natus Vincere.
Image via EPICENTER