What’s Next For Dota 2 Fans? The Manila Masters

With the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 2 tournament now behind us, and Team Liquid crowned as the first winners of the spring Dota 2 season, there’s only a couple of days to rest and prepare for the next big tournament: The Manila Masters.

Hosted in the Philippines, the Manila Masters has a different format from StarLadder. Instead of a group stage into a single elimination bracket, the organizers of the Manila Masters have assigned the eight teams to spots in a double elimination bracket. Double elimination seems to be widely (but not universally) preferred for Dota 2 tournaments as it allows teams to have a second chance, and in my mind, to overcome a bad day/bad match-up/bad luck/other non-skill-based reason to lose a series.

The first six best-of-threes will be played two at a time off-stage on day one, so the first day in the Mall of Asia Arena (May 26th) will feature the upper bracket final and the first round of the lower bracket — also the first round in which teams will be eliminated from the tournament. Games are scheduled to start at 10:30 GMT+8 on May 25th. I can assure you that after a tournament in Shanghai, this sucks for viewers in my time zone, even if it is completely reasonable of the organizers.

Teams are playing for their share of a 250K USD prize pool — first place will receive $125,000 while the two last place teams will each receive $5,000. And, as will be the case for every big tournament between now and the announcement of invites to the International 7 (Dota 2’s largest, most valuable annual tournament), the top team will surely make it onto Valve’s short list for possible direct invites.

Of the eight teams attending the Manila Masters, only three attended StarLadder: Faceless (7–8th), Newbee and Invictus Gaming (both 3rd-4th). For Newbee and Faceless, this is their last shot at winning a LAN final before TI7 invitations. Invictus Gaming has potentially another two tournaments — ZOTAC Cup and EPICENTER — to shine. Clutch Gamers, the Philippines qualifying team, has qualified for another two tournaments, and will be making their international debut at the Manila Masters, in front of a hometown crowd.

The other four teams each have a second tournament after the Manila Masters and are (relative to Clutch Gamers) well-established as brands, so perhaps face less pressure to perform. However, other than OG who most recently won the Kiev Major, these teams are undoubtedly hungry for a win.

For Evil Geniuses, a win here would secure their status in the upper echelon of teams. They’ve only competed in three tournaments so far this year, taking first place at Dota Pit League Season 5, then 5–6th at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017, and 3–4th at the Kiev Major.

Team Secret had a roster swap earlier this month, losing their position 4 player, pieliedie, and picking up YapzOr, formerly of B)ears. With this roster, they’ve qualified for both EPICENTER and for DreamLeague Season 7, but the team pre-YapzOr hadn’t placed first in a finals since November of 2016 when they won the ROG Masters. The latter took place in Kuala Lampur and featured a variety of SEA and Chinese teams — perhaps the SEA crowd agrees with them?

NP, the final team to compete in Manila, also had a roster change earlier in May. They have swapped in FATA- (from B)ears) to the mid-role, and pieliedie (from Team Secret) to the position five support. This has resulted in captain EternalEnvy moving to carry, and Aui_2000 to the position four support — roles with which both players are certainly familiar, though not what they’d been recently playing for NP. Other than qualifying for a couple tournaments (including the upcoming Summit 7), this team hasn’t posted huge results this year, placing 9–12th at DAC 2017, and 5–6th at ESL One Genting 2017.

The Manila Masters is notable for several reasons other than its sizeable prize pool and potential significance for TI7 invites. The tournament had both an SEA Qualifier (Faceless) and a Philippines Qualifier (Clutch Gamers), giving extra recognition to its home region. The tournament will also be the first after the TI7 roster lock, so these rosters are officially the ones fielded by these teams in their bid for invites. It’s also the second tournament on the 7.06 patch, with a few hero tweaks from the 7.06b release on May 21 — you know, just to keep things interesting.

The most successful teams at StarLadder, Team Liquid and TNC, will be absent, but will the most successful heroes make notable appearances? For heroes played more than five times at that tournament, Sven and Batrider both had the highest win rate at 85.7%. In the 7.06b patch, the scale for Sven’s God’s Strength bonus strength was reduced, and his base attack time was very slightly increased. Batrider, however, flew into the patch unscathed. Broodmother and Monkey King, neither picked at StarLadder — two of 24 heroes who were ignored completely — , both received slight buffs. Perhaps the slightest of buffs. Not featured in the 7.06b patch were Jakiro and Dark Seer, who were the most contested heroes, picked or banned in 68% of games. They both had <50% win rates.

In about three days, we’ll get a good look at some teams we haven’t seen play in a month or more, at new(ish) rosters, and at a team unfamiliar to many outside of the SEA region. The Manila Masters’ meta may take some cues from StarLadder, or perhaps the teams will show off quite different heroes and different strats for the fans.

Remember to tune in at 10:30 GMT+8 May 25th (or the evening of the 24th, depending on your time zone) to watch the Manila Masters kick off with OG vs NP and Newbee vs Secret!

Source : https://medium.com/@chelsea.jack/whats-next-for-dota-2-fans-the-manila-masters-abf9aee6955f

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