GoDz Chinese Power Ranking & Sina Cup Grand Final Preview
Talk to any caster, player, or even fan about Dota and you’ll quickly find yourself on the topic of rankings. Who is the best solo mid? Who is the best team in a certain region? Is Na`Vi or Alliance the best team in the world? It’s a commonly debated topic which is so incredibly subjective these discussions turn quickly to debates and even quicker into full-blown arguments. People joke about testing friendships by playing Dota together, well even just talking about Dota together creates turmoil.
This piece will look to narrow down the criteria and focus on a specific region. It’ll make things more clear cut as these teams regularly compete in tournaments, and they’ve had 2-3 months since TI3 ended to stabilize their new rosters, compete in Sina Cup #1, WPC-Ace, NEST, D2L, and concluding tonight: Sina Cup #2. However, the big anomaly is the 6.79 patch which basically issued a huge “fuck you” to all order in the Dota 2 scene. No longer can one confidently state Alliance are the best team in the world. No longer can one predict the outcome of many tournaments.
Of the 4 teams who attended Dreamhack to compete in the Dreamleague, you’d be surprised to realize only ONE of those 4 teams even made it out of the group stage of MLG Columbus, a much bigger and more international event. Now I bring this tournament [MLG] up because while it’s not entirely relevant to the Chinese power rankings, it has made the task of creating said power ranking infinitely more challenging. More on that later.
So let’s focus on China.
WPC – Ace Dota 2 League has been the main event in the Chinese scene with an intense 9 week group stage. The tournament was led by DK who started out their campaign going 16-0 until Tongfu beat them on the new 6.79 patch.
Other events include Sina Cup #1 which took place before WPC began and was won by iG 3-0 over Tongfu in the Grand Finals, NEST where surprising DK were knocked out in the group stage and LGD.cn went on to win the Final 2-0 over iG, and the D2L group stage where LGD went undefeated followed by iG, VG, then DK for the top 4.
The final piece in the Chinese puzzle is the second Sina Cup, whose Grand Final will take place tonight between Vici Gaming & LGD China. These are your past results. The facts that have gone down, but the power rankings that follow will be based on perceived strengths in the teams currently.
1. LGD China – The results speak for themselves over the past few weeks. LGD have a game score of 40-9 on the 6.79 patch. That’s an 81.6% win rate. Most of those losses come in series they either won the Bo3 in, or got a draw because of the nature of the WPC Bo2 format. The only series LGD have lost is a WPC match-up against iG (0-2) and the recent Sina Cup series against VG (0-2). Now that I’ve thrown all kinds of stats and numbers in your face to overwhelm you, here’s the impressive tournament results to go with it: Undefeated in D2L, qualifying for the LAN finals in Las Vegas. 1st place in NEST without losing a series, let alone a game. And tonight, they play in the Grand Finals of SinaCup. Not only are they winning, but they are winning recently. By now, surely you agree with me with all the stats and results thrown in your face! If not, then stop being such a DK fanboy!
We can look at the reasons for their success. LGD’s support duo has always been rock solid with DD & DDC going deep at TI2 with this team, but they’re never the standouts or catalysts for victory for LGD. Xiao8, the director, has proven himself time and time again to be the best captain in China, and in the current 6.79 version, the best drafter. Combine that with the new carry addition in Xiaotuji who has been playing out of his mind, this team is looking very strong. However, I have a niggling feeling that they won’t stay at the top in the months to come. iG and VG pose big threats once they adapt to LGD’s playstyle as they have much deeper individual skill and more play-making ability.
2. Vici Gaming – I think what I like most about this team is their potential. Now, before you jump on my ass about giving them #2 based on potential, I like them because they have the potential to be the best team in China and a top TI4 contendor, without even having any “superstar” names. Their potential didn’t get them #2 on this rankings, their ability to kick ass did. Recently beating LGD in a convincing 2-0 in SinaCup #2, and with recent wins over DK as well this team has everything you need. Fy and Fenrir have been the standout support duo since TI3, with both being huge play-makers, keeping even the heavily-nerfed rubick a huge threat to their opponents, and being even scarier with visage which is almost a must ban hero against VG. They had some turmoil when Tutu got sidelined for Sylar, but end of the day, they’ve just come back stronger than ever. RoTK’s playstyle is incredibly suited to the 6.79 patch once you put a Timbersaw or BB in his hands. Super has been consistent in the mid lane, and unlike 6.77/6.78 it’s no longer the case where you need that shining star in the mid lane to dominate the mid game which seems to help out this experienced veteran. I can only see this team getting stronger in the coming months.
3. Invictus Gaming – Holy shit. “Where are DK? You forgot them you fucking idiot GoDz?” You know. When I went about making this power rankings, there was a clear top 4 in my mind. Adding order to that top 4 was the hard part. While iG aren’t the same iG of 2012, after adding Hao and Banana it’s definitely a reinvigorated team. Hao is looking like one of the most formidable carry players over in China (funnily enough I’d put him and Xiaotuji as the two best carries in China at the moment… How far players like Burning, Sylar, & Zhou have fallen since 2012 where GGnet & TL ranked them in the top 3 I believe) and this is the team which brought BristleGod into the 6.79 meta-game, which now sees it getting picked up by far more teams in China.
4. Team DK – Okay, the question you asked. Where are these guys? So why are all these other Chinese teams higher than DK? While losing to iG 2-0 in D2L, DK did beat iG 2-0 in WPC – Ace. There is one factor which ultimately determined DK not making it into the top 3. The Tongfu Factor. DK struggle against Tongfu. Constantly. And Tongfu look pretty constantly bad against everyone else. Maybe it’s a match-up problem, Tongfu do run cheesy push strats and some unconventional heroes (See: Centaur), but they are a team who does not look very strong currently. It’s not a one-off struggle it’s a constant battle to even break even with Tongfu which DK haven’t managed to even be able to do. If we look at the Chinese scene on it’s own, DK are currently the 4th best team there.
Now let’s go back to the tournament we brought up in the introduction, MLG Columbus. At this point based on the rankings laid out, the fourth best team in China, competed in the biggest International event of the year after The International, and got second place, including a 2-1 victory over Na`Vi, and a close grand finals defeat, which was definitely affected by fatigue and jet-lag. The 4th best Chinese team can do that?!? Surely they deserve to be ranked higher you might say. After the results of TI3 and just general performance of the Chinese teams in WPC – Ace, it became visible that the European scene was noticeably stronger than the Chinese scene which was where things weren’t adding up. So I’m going to try explain MLG Columbus although I’m not sure exactly how much this is accurate. I’d love to hear your guys input and what you think.
DK at MLG Columbus: DK stepped up and played their best Dota for two and a half days using a play style that matched up very well against the Western teams (yet doesn’t against Chinese teams) and combined with their LAN experience managed to win some big matches.
You guys tell me. I dunno. DK looked bloody amazing at MLG. But I just can’t justify putting them higher than #4 on a Chinese power rankings. I don’t understand it either.
5. Tongfu – I really wanted to put LGD.int higher than Tongfu, just because of the sheer disappointment of this lineup and their just general showings. I think I just expected LGD.int to suck ass, so when they occasionally did passably well I was pleasantly surprised. With Tongfu, I expected decent showings. So when they played some of the worst games and did some of the most questionable strategies ever (YES EVER). At the same time, they’re a fun team, taking out DK on regular occasions using necrobook push strats with Pugna, creating innovative strategies around XTT’s Centaur, and just making weird drafts work. But they’ve also lost 3 games ina row to LGD.int recently, had DT.Club take a game off them, and lose a game to the hopelessly struggling RisingStars. This is not a team I’d ever bet my rares on.
Honorable Mention – LGD.int – They come close. Occasional moments where they surprise people with an upset, but still heavily lack consistency and real direction with the drafts or play. This is a team with tremendous individual skill, but they just don’t feel at any point like they are unified team, it always seem more like a team of 5 individuals.
Sina Cup Grand Final – Vici Gaming vs LGD.cn Bo5
In a lot of ways this is the Grand Final between the current two strongest teams in China. They met in the WB Final where VG defeated LGD 2-0. My heart tells me VG has the flair and pizzazz to defeat LGD a second time in a row. Had I written this power rankings tomorrow, I might actually be changing the 1st and 2nd place order of the teams.
The big X-factor on the LGD side is going to be capitalizing on rOtK’s aggression, and also preventing him from getting heroes like Bristle-God that he’s most comfortable with (unless they get some great heroes in exchange). As for Vici Gaming, their supports are the big play makers who can take control of the game if VG ever get off to a good early start.
Prediction: Vici Gaming 3 – 1 LGD China
Match begins tonight at 19:00 SGT (GMT+8) on Beyond the Summit
Please let me know your thoughts on the rankings, how you feel about the current strength of the Chinese scene, and direct all your DK-fanboy flames and tears to @BTSGoDz on Twitter
Disclaimer: I’m actually a loooooong time DK fan myself.