OG’s TI reign has ended as Dota 2 trundled along for another semi-satisfying year for fans. The pandemic made it nearly impossible to recreate the esports experience we all know and love, which left us with more of the problematic parts of the scene to take the limelight, even with the innovative and high-level gameplay on display.

Another underdog story at TI

All hail Team Spirit! What a story, right? Well, maybe it lost its luster, the team no one expected to win and struggling in the group stages finding wings in the playoffs, dispatching OG and absorbing their powers to go all the way. It wasn’t quite the TI we all wanted it to be, without crowds and with limited hype, but the $40 million benchmark was duly hit and the usual storylines regarding The International continued to flow.

Is it the best approach to have such a top-heavy event? Why on Earth would you not ban Monkey King? We will never know for sure.

Dota: Dragon’s Blood feat. Marci

Arcane is all the rage nowadays, but you might remember that Dota had its own successful series released all the way back in March (which kinda feels like three years ago, to be honest), with successful integration with the main game. We’ve seen cosmetics, but the arrival of Marci is the big one, and she’s already… well… quite impactful.

There’s an interesting argument made over on Dotabuff about how the post-Reborn hero releases have proven to be too versatile for their own good. Vector targeting is a heck of a thing, people. Perhaps there’s such a thing as too many Dota 2 matches featuring the same heroes.

Competitive integrity OMEGALUL

So, about Omega Esports. We’ve seen before that not even a TI win can guarantee anything for an org in the long run, with Newbee falling afoul of rules recently despite their previous glories. The latest high-profile match-fixing story involved Omega Esports, who were replaced in the upper DPC division by an awesome bunch in the form of BOOM Esports.

It goes to show that Valve still has a lot more work to do to clean things up in competitive Dota 2.

Dendi’s oddball tale: so who owns the DPC slots?

Even when things are supposedly above board, players and teams can still make a mess of things. Consider the B8 situation, where the team’s DPC slot was in jeopardy after their merger with XactJlepbI as Nofear technically owned the spot as the registrant (despite being paid for it). Well, he proceeded to kick Dendi, and Valve had to eventually step in to sort matters out. The setup still stands: the controlling admin creating the team slot owns the slot, except when they don’t, which is when Valve decides to act.

Over in CS:GO-land, the majority of the players “own” the slot at the biggest event, meaning any three players of a five-man lineup can essentially hold it hostage. There’s no optimal solution here, just a difference in philosophies: do you want the players to be beholden to their org, or the other way around? It’s odd to see this inconsistency inside the same company, but there are good arguments for both approaches.

Get ready for an even more lopsided DPC season

Were you one of us who couldn’t really get the hang of how everything revolves around one tournament in Dota 2 esports and how strong and consistent performances during the regular DPC season basically amounted to nothing? Well, you’ll (not) enjoy the new system Valve introduced this November, where the early events and results in the circuit earn fewer points.

This is clearly intended to combat the phenomenon where teams racing to an early lead will just sit back and do little to nothing in the circuit later on, safe in the knowledge that they’d qualify for the annual mad cash dash. It will also mean that the eventual TI winners will be decided in an even more form-based form based on showings in an even narrower window than before. Yay.

Here are a couple of bold predictions for 2022…

  • Team Spirit will win TI11 (yes, I’m going there)
  • Team Nigma will fold by the end of the year
  • B8 will have to rebuild their team from the ground up again at some point during the year
  • Na’Vi will make it to TI11
  • EG will not make it to TI11