$215k iG vs DK (Bo7) Grand Final kicks off the New Year

This is it. 2013 was a big year, but from day 1, 2014 promises to have countless firsts. We will get the biggest prize pool for a tournament outside of the International decided in the biggest single cash match in Dota or Dota 2 history outside of The International.

1,300,000 RMB is at stake in the first ever Dota 2 Bo7 series in the WPC – Ace Dota 2 League Grand Final between Invictus Gaming and Team DK. With a total prizepool of 1.5mil RMB, WPC stands out as the biggest league in Dota 2 history, followed by Perfect World’s Dota 2 Super League at 1mil RMB. This Grand Finals also marks the first Bo7 to be played in a premier Dota 2 tournament. 2014 truly is a year for firsts.

The two Grand Finals teams
The two Grand Finals teams

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WPC Prize Pool Breakdown:

  1. ¥ 1,000,000 (~$165k USD)
  2. ¥ 300,000 (~$50k USD)
  3. ¥ 100,000 (~$17k USD)

All teams placing 4th-10th will get ¥ 20,000 (~$3.3k USD) for participating.

For ACE’s sponsors you get the big headline, 1 million RMB first place prize, but for the teams, you get disappointment if you don’t somehow finish in that top 3. For LGD’s China squad who narrowly lost to iG 3-2 in their Bo5 semi-final and then immediately afterwards had to play their bo5 against Vici Gaming to determine third place, it’s an incredibly sad story. They were inches away from being in the Grand Final and guaranteed at least 300k RMB, but instead walk away with less than 7% of that with their 4th place finish.

Aside from their 3rd place match not being played on fair conditions (as Vici Gaming had a day to rest and also watch the bo5 between LGD and iG), the prize distribution is suspect to begin with. Bottom placers Tongfu.WanZhou who lost all 36 of their group stage matches walk away with the same purse as LGD. Similarly, disbanded team Rising Stars and struggling HGT both finish with that same 20k RMB prize. LGD would be right to feel hard done by.

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Tournaments and Fatigue

Playing lots of games is tough and wears you down. Dota is a stressful game, and fatigue affects decision making as well as just the basic mechanics and reaction times. Looking back to MLG it’s easy to notice a decrease in the level of play by the times the Grand Finals came for both DK and Speed Gaming, especially DK who were also experiencing jet lag, leading to more mistakes out of them. DK poured everything into their bo3 against Na`Vi and had 3 games, multiple of which went well beyond 60 minutes in back-and-forth action, to make it to the Grand Final. They then have to somehow come off this, and play another full Bo3 against Speed Gaming. This is the nature of tournaments, especially LAN tournaments which last 2-3 days and have a set schedule, teams need to be able to deal with this.

But for WPC, when the schedule and league had gone on with a 10 week group stage, and multiple week playoffs, it completely flabbergasted me when I found out there was TWO bo5’s on the same day for a team, with this much prize money on the line. For whoever lost that game 5 in LGD vs iG, the 3rd place decider against Vici Gaming (who should have been underdogs regardless of opponent without Sylar playing for them) was just a death trap. Vici Gaming 3-0’d LGD. Any other day and in any other equal conditions, LGD would have been heavy favorites against VG if they didn’t have Sylar playing. But, VG had more rest, more time to prepare, and more time to study their opponents.

But what about for the winners?

iG go into the Grand Final having played an exhausting bo5 against LGD. While they have had a night to rest and sleep it off, they haven’t had time to take a breather, study their opponents and just talk things over to get mentally prepared for the final match. While they may be physically rested, DK will have a mental advantage in terms of mindset as well as just pure strategic advantage with more time to prepare.

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The Grand Final – DK vs iG @ 10:00 SGT (GMT+8) on January 1st, 2014 w/ LD & WinteR

Dk won their first significant Dota 2 title last week, 3-0’ing Tongfu, but it wasn’t a true “championship”. Not on the scale of iG’s G-league victory over LGD.int, or LGD’s G-1 League victory, or Vici Gaming’s EMS title. DK are still looking for that first big title. This is a team of experienced veterans who all have countless championships in their time, so by no means is it a mental block for them or something which I think will give them added nerves. In fact, “it’s just a matter of time” seems a more appropriate way of describing the situation. Everyone has been expecting a DK title, it was going to happen inevitably, and even if it doesn’t happen tomorrow, people will expect on in the future, but the timing doesn’t seem any more right than now.

Let’s not take away from the prestige of this match. It is the biggest match for these teams in history outside of The International in a lot of ways. DK didn’t go into MLG as favorites, and while it was a prestigious tournament for them to try win on foreign soil, for the Chinese teams, proving themselves against each other often comes first. WPC issues aside, this is a match not to be missed, and to be remembered for a long time to come.

Prediction: Team DK 4 – 1 invictus gaming

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The live bo7 starts at 10:00 SGT (GMT+8). There will be a short break after the third game of the series. 

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Bet on the match – Dota2Lounge
Watch the match live – BTS Stream

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by David Parker, on December 31, 2013