This DPC season has been anything but straight forward. The Lower Division saw four disqualifications across four separate regions, with Dalanjing Gaming, 0-900, Burjui, and Jiang Hu all going home under dubious circumstances. We also saw a number of upsets in the Upper Division leading into the many surprises we’ve had at the Singapore Major itself.
Fy’s Team Elephant were sent home early, not managing to clinch a spot at the Singapore Major in their tiebreaker series against PSG.LGD. European powerhouse and two-time winner of the The International, OG, were also denied a place at the Major, placing 5th in the regional standings after two losses to Team Liquid in their tiebreaker matches.
Europe’s Poor Performance
At the beginning of the DPC, most people were heralding the EU region as being easily the strongest. With teams like Secret, Liquid, Nigma, and OG, and the European region’s general success in Dota 2, there was a lot of reason to be confident. Once the Singapore Major began though, it became obvious that things were not so clear-cut.
During the Wildcard round-robin, Nigma were defeated 2-0 in every single one of their series, save their last against Vici Gaming, which they tied 1-1. As the bottom rung on the Wildcard ladder, they were eliminated from the tournament, along with AS Monaco Gambit and T1.
Things only got worse for the EU region as the group stage began, with Alliance taking a 2-0 loss to Aster in the first series. Alliance would go on to have a very lacklustre performance for a team that has looked reasonably strong this year, taking the bottom spot in the group and being eliminated from the tournament before the brackets began.
Liquid took 5th place in the group stage, and therefore managed to squeak into the lower bracket of the Singapore Major. This was short-lived however, as they were quickly dispatched by Vici Gaming in two, fairly one-sided, 35-minute games.
With Alliance, Liquid, and Nigma all knocked out of the tournament, this has left Team Secret as the last hope for European fans. Secret automatically qualified for the upper bracket at the Singapore Major after crushing the competition in the regional round-robin. Things haven’t been quite as simple at the actual tournament however.
After a convincing victory over Thunder Predator in the first round, Secret were knocked down to the lower bracket after a 1-2 loss to PSG.LGD. There they defeated OB Esports x Neon to continue their tournament life, but will face Invictus Gaming in a best of 3 series to continue their run at the Major.
With many considering Secret to be the strongest team in the world, seeing them in the lower bracket of the tournament is certainly one of the bigger surprises at the Singapore Major.
South American Dota Is Here
One of the biggest surprises at the Singapore Major has been the performance of Thunder Predator. After a strong second-place finish in the South American regional qualifiers and against all the Dota 2 odds, Thunder Predator made it to the group stage of the Singapore Major. Here was where many thought they would falter, coming up against teams like PSG.LGD, Team Aster, and Team Liquid, who all appeared stronger on paper.
Thunder Predator quickly proved doubters wrong, winning 2-0 against Liquid and Aster in their first two series, and later securing a 2-0 victory over PSG.LGD as well. The Peruvian squad, made up of Mnz, Leostyle, Frank, MoOz, and Mjz, proved to be a force to be reckoned with, topping the group and earning a spot in the upper bracket of the Singapore Major.
After being knocked down to the lower bracket in a close series against Team Secret, Thunder Predator continued to surprise, defeating Aster once again and moving on to kick Virtus.Pro out of the tournament in a 2-0 victory.
Finally being taken down in a close series against IG in the lower bracket, Thunder Predator’s run was ended. Having said that, most people watching at home won’t remember this loss as their defining moment. Instead, South American fans will be proud that Thunder Predator pulled out one of the biggest surprises at the Singapore Major, showing that SA is a region to take seriously.
EG Showing Up For the Major
While Evil Geniuses have been a strong team for a long time, they often struggle to have a consistent performance in the early stages of big tournaments. At the Singapore Major, however, they are looking dominant.
With a shaky start during the DPC, having to play tiebreakers against Quincy Crew and Undying, teams that many considered considerably weaker, EG seem to have finally acclimated to their new squad and are playing like a top tier team.
Starting out with a swift 2-0 over Fnatic in the upper bracket of the tournament, EG looked clean and confident in their play. Their drafts also seemed more convincing than at past tournaments. Cr1t overperformed on his Earth Spirit in game one and his Pangolier in game two helped to secure RTZ’s farm, as he split up the map with a comfort-pick Naga Siren.
Abed played signature play-making heroes, Storm Spirit and Void Spirit, and the team’s synergy seemed at an all-time high with Iceiceice as offlaner.
Evil Geniuses looked even more confident in their series against Invictus Gaming. RTZ showed why he is still regarded as one of the best carries in the world, with standout performances on Alchemist and Terrorblade.
It remains to be seen how they perform against PSD.LGD, but if they keep up their current level of play, fans can expect an incredible series.
More to Come at the Singapore Major
Dota 2 is a constantly evolving game. The meta of the game will often shift multiple times throughout a single patch, and shift even more during a tournament. We can surely expect many more surprises at the Singapore Major in the coming days, with teams like EG, Secret, and PSG.LGD always giving us exciting series to watch.
The Singapore Major will run until the 4th of April, with the grand final starting at 11pm PST/6am GMT. Full matches and VODs can be seen over at the OneEsports Twitch channel.