The newest iteration of the Summit comes with a lot of expectations behind it. All 8 teams that are preparing to scale up it’s double elimination bracket were invited to The Boston Major and all eyes are on them to see who’s going to emerge as the favorites to take down the seemingly unstoppable Wings Gaming. Here’s some storylines to look at as the Summit approaches.
6.88 – Balance in All Things
While there have been mini patches to tweak heroes since TI6, when the illusion-heavy meta created by EHOME and TNC ran rampant, the meta keeps on evolving and changing as players figure out better and newer ways to take on their opponents. For example, the most recent LAN, the Northern Arena BEAT Invitational, had heroes like Warlock and Spirit Breaker, as some of the most contested picks, and previously unpicked heroes like Omniknight, Centaur Warrunner, and Pugna coming back into vogue with certain regions and lineups. This balance patch seems to have more tricks up it’s sleeve, something that’s heartening in the leadup to the Summit 6 and the Boston Major; a diverse meta with a deep pool of viable heroes is to everyone’s benefit.
Who can stop Wings?
Honestly, at this point, Wings seems unstoppable. They beat out IG and Newbee to win the Nanyang Cruise Cup, and won the BEAT Invitational in spectacular fashion, coming back from an almost impossible deficit in Game 1 against Team NP. Along the way they’ve continued their blatant disregard for the meta and preferred hero picks, picking heroes like Clockwerk, Shadow Fiend, Nightstalker and Necrophos, which have all but been forgotten by the rest of the world.
The few times Wings have looked vulnerable in their post TI high is in the Chinese online leagues and against EHOME’s unconventional Pudge and Pugna strategy. They’ve also said that out of the Western teams, EG and OG, both of whom are at the Summit 6, look the strongest. With EHOME, EG, and OG, at the Summit 6 maybe we can see Wings start to falter.
Team NP’s Second Chance
One of the fan favorites coming into the tournament, with their love for anime and their video blogs showing the team’s antics, Team NP is hard to place. The Canadian team recently lost to Wings at the Northern Arena event and will be looking for revenge in this tournament. Team NP faced some uncertainty in the past, and have been bestowed the moniker of ‘Cloud9 2.0’, with the same tendency to throw giant leads and worm their way into the hearts of fans everywhere. But they have shown themselves to be a strong team, with wins against EG, EHOME, and Ad Finem. The Summit 6 will be their chance to show the world that they’re truly a force to be reckoned with as they’re matched up first against Wings Gaming.
Faceless, but not Nameless
Team Faceless is the newest SEA powerhouse, full stop. With 4 TI attendees, xy-, Nutz, Black^ and IceIceIce, Faceless has the experience to take it to the top. Their newest player, Jabz, has quickly proven himself to be one of the best mid players in Southeast Asia and rounds out the all-star team. The team is currently at an incredible 96% lifetime win rate, even though it’s mostly wins in their home region the team is showing incredible performances and plays along with some surprising hero choices.
The Summit will be Team Faceless’ first international LAN. They’ll be coming in hot off a 23 game winstreak in the SEA region and will want to ride that high to victory. With Fnatic and MVP starting to flounder and lose their footing, Team Faceless looks like the best hope for SEA going into the Summit 6 and the Boston Major.
Critical Times for EG
The MDL champions hit a large snag over the past weekend, being unceremoniously dismissed from the tournament by NP, after losing to EHOME 2-0. Before this, they seemed like one of the favorites for the grand finals, coming off of a large winstreak in the Dotapit America qualifiers, and Moonduck Studios’ Elimination mode. This is somewhat worrying for a team that has traditionally been stable and high performing despite roster changes, maybe signaling that there are some problems with how the team is meshing with their new captain Cr1t.
Their first hurdle in the tournament will be Team Faceless, which will be a challenging matchup. Faceless is currently riding high on a series of SEA victories while EG is trying to recover from their disappointing Northern Arena loss. They’ll need to make a strong showing in the tournament to look in shape for the Boston Major.
EHOME’s Shaky Foundation
EHOME seems to be equal parts hot and cold since TI6 ended and iceiceice left the team. They’ve struggled to qualify for some events, ripped through others with ease, and even managed to take a game off of Wings Gaming before losing 2-1 to Team NP. The team’s two new players Sylar and Garder are good additions to the team; the other three players, oldchicken, Lanm and Eleven, have been playing together since September of last year, and there’s no one player that seems to be completely to blame. Whatever the reasons for their inconsistency, EHOME has the potential to be one of the shining stars of the Chinese scene. They’ll need to channel that potential and keep it together if they want to snatch victory at the Summit.
Virtus.Pro, Winter Soldiers
Virtus.Pro is in a similar situation to Team Faceless. This CIS team has been running away with all of the qualifiers in EU, taking first in the ESL One Genting qualifiers, Dota Pit qualifiers, Summit 6 qualifiers, and placing second in the Boston Major EU qualifiers. By all standards, the team is one of the best teams in the entire European region. What the team doesn’t have right now though, is any real international victories.
They’ll be working on fixing that at the Summit 6. EHOME is their first matchup, and it’s definitely not going to be easy. Despite their inconsistency, EHOME is still one of the best teams in China, and Lanm one of the most experienced players in Dota 2. Furthermore, EHOME’s strong defensively minded drafts, focusing on protecting the highground and counter initiating any aggression can prove problematic for VP, who rely on breaking the enemy through strong ganks and teamfight.
It’s hard to describe Digital Chaos. The major problem with the roster is that they don’t have many games played at all. Since TI6, they have played a grand total of 7 games. A 2-0 loss to NP, a 2-1 win against CompLexity, and a 2-0 win over Kaipi, with all of these games played during Moonduck’s Elimination Mode tournament. These results aren’t all that inspiring, with the team having trouble against NP and CompLexity teams that they ostensibly should put away with ease.
What should give DC fans hope is that they’re facing up against OG first. DC’s new offlaner, Moonmeander, was a former OG player and should have a strong knowledge of how the team works and strategizes, giving DC the upper edge in this matchup. This combined with OG also turning in a shaky post-TI performance, makes DC the favorite going into this match.
OG: Cracks in the Armor
OG is coming into the tournament with something to prove. The two time Major winners turned in a disappointing 9-12th place at TI6 falling 2-0 to MVP and TNC. In the time since they’ve gotten a respectable 3rd place at MDL but have also failed to qualify for ESL Genting 2016, losing to VP 3-2. Like DC, they haven’t had many matches, dropping out of Dreamleague, losing to Team Empire early in the FACEIT Invitational, but getting invited to both the Summit 6 and the Boston Major.
If history is any indicator, OG fans should be worried. Teams that don’t have many official matches underneath their belt by the time a Valve event comes around often have poor results at the major. Thankfully the Summit is here for OG to cut it’s teeth and show the world that it’s ready to take it’s place as a three time Major champion.