The Storylines of the Boston Major
The Wait is Over. The Major is Here.
Majors are the checkpoints of the Dota 2 competitive scene on the road to The International. They are when the best of the best convene and duke it out. The majors are where we see all four regions slug it out for pride, each with their own twist on the meta. One year ago, we witnessed the first ever major, The Frankfurt Major. Such a system was new, and it brought the scene closer to a more structured circuit. It also brought the roster lock system, Valve's attempt at protecting players from being kicked from teams without warning or before major tournaments.
The Fall Major: The Start of it All
The Frankfurt Major was rich with storylines. There was Team Unknown, the only Peruvian squad to ever play outside of the continent on LAN. While delivering an unimpressive performance in the group stage, they gave their homeland their greatest victory thus far; the ragtag South Americans defeated Hao's NewBee in a lower bracket best-of-one match. Then there was Cloud9's last stand; a thrashing by the hands of the reunited Alliance. There was the newly formed OG, who made a monster run through the lower bracket and ultimately won it all.
And finally, there was my personal favorite storyline: the winners bracket finals between Evil Geniuses and Team Secret. Both teams were in their prime. PPD's EG had some of the tightest team play at the time, and a core one-two combo that was greedy, but could find the farm they needed because of the space creation given to them by the three and four positions. With a master drafter and captain at the helm, EG was second to none.
Then there was Team Secret. If EG was order, then Secret was chaos. Puppey began again after TI5 with a completely new squad, gambling on three former Cloud9 members (EternalEnvy, Misery, and PieLieDie) and W33ha, the Romanian pubstar infamous for his Meepo. Secret's play style was the complete opposite of EG, focused on the individual. They were five players working towards a common objective, like a pub, if you will. Yet, they had the skill and flexibility to pull it off. The series went the full three games, a slug-fest from start to finish. The tempo in games one and two was determined by EternalEnvy's four rapier purchases, and game three was determined by Secret's innovative Tiny+Huskar+Dazzle combo. This series will go down as one of the definitive matches of 6.85, and as one of the best games of 2015.
The Boston Major's Highlight Storylines
Can Wings Gaming stay on top? Have a little Faith (_Bian)
The winners of The International historically have not stayed at the peak of the Dota competitive scene. Some, like Newbee, drop off almost instantly. Others remain at the top for a while, like EG from TI5, who stayed at a competitive level until after the Shanghai Major. The moment they won TI6 and decided to stick together, Wings was put on the clock, ticking down to their final defeat and fall from the top of the competitive world of Dota 2. So far, they've proven to be very successful, most notably with a first place finish at the BEAT invitational in November. Perhaps Wings could follow in EG's footsteps by continuing their dominance into 2017.
Then came The Summit 6. It was in Los Angeles where Wings proved that gods could bleed, by losing 2-0 to Virtus.pro. What could counter Wings's fantastic team play and aggression? More aggression. And who could do aggression better than the kings of aggression themselves: CIS Dota. If it bleeds, it can be killed, and Wings was eliminated at The Summit 6 by Evil Geniuses. Wings now seek their redemption and the throne once more at Boston.
OG: Europe's New Hope
The Major Qualifiers were not kind to the favorites of the European continent. With VP taking the second slot behind a dominant Ad Finem, fan favorites Team Liquid and Alliance were left to watch the main event unfold from afar. Heading into The Summit 6, things looked grim for OG, falling to VP in the ESL One Genting qualifier.
OG actually surprised many at The Summit, placing second. While VP stomped them in the final, OG took down both Digital Chaos and Evil Geniuses. Since they didn't face any Chinese opponents, OG's title potential still isn't spectacular, but the momentum gained from The Summit may be enough to power them through some inevitably difficult matches.
Digital Chaos: The team With the Most to Prove
A second place finish at The International is a feat only four teams in history can lay claim to (Na'Vi did it twice after a first place finish), and DC is in some very good company. There's only one small issue with the DC "legacy" up unitl now: that's basically all they've done. Digital Chaos placed fifth/sixth at The Summit 6. At any 16 team tournament, it's not a bad preformance. But, at an eight team tourney where the team didn't win a single game, it is. Digital Chaos is still a good team, and picking up Moonmeander in the offseason isn't a bad move. Boston is a critical point for the team; if they do well, they prove to the world that TI6 was not a fluke, and they are championship material. If they don't, perhaps DC will be more active in the impending shuffle post-major.
Virtus.pro: CIS Dota is Back On The Menu, Boys
The International 6 was brutal to the European scene as a whole, but it was particularly devastating to the CIS scene as well. The CIS scene completely shuffled, and tried to bring in new blood to reinforce knowledged veterans. So far, the standout team from the CIS scene has been Virtus.pro. At The Summit 6, we witnessed a resurgence of classic Russian aggression. Seeing VP pressure and crush their opponents throughout the early game was a thing of beauty. Their insistence on picking fights at every stage of the game was an unprecedented breath of fresh air. Some have them as the favorites to take the major, but I think we should wait and see if the teams attending can adapt to the crushing play style of Virtus.pro.
If you want to know more about VP's performance at The Summit, check out VampAurora's article on their win here.
The Team NP Season 1 Finale
With an unabashed passion for anime, EternalEnvy's Team NP has come a long way over the past two months. They have made great progress; so much so that you could say their story plays out like the plot to a sports movie, or an anime.
Picture this: a lone captain, standing in the cinders of his old team, on a quest before his journey even begins. He scours the continent, and brings together a ragtag group of like-minded individuals seeking greatness. This merry band of weebs (and position four player SVG) trains hard and finds success in the high risk, high reward play style pioneered by the Cloud9 of days past. They qualify over compLexity in three straight best-of-five qualifierfinals, before finally getting their first shot at a LAN: The BEAT Invitational in their home country of Canada. After a miracle run through the bracket, it was time for the mid-season boss: Wings Gaming. Wings made quick work of the young stack, and Team NP was beaten back, but not defeated. They valiantly tried again at The Summit 6, but would fail there too.
Will the stack acheive the glory they set out to reach, or will they be chewed up and spit out by Dota's finest onto the streets of Boston?
The Boston Major will begin this weekend with group stage action. Then, the event will go on a short hiatus before action resumes on Dec. 7.
Who are you rooting for at Boston? Let us know in the comments or tweet at us at @GAMURScom.
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Carno's Twitter is where you know when new articles are posted as soon as they're done, so be sure to follow him and the official GAMURS Dota 2 twitter: @GAMURS_Dota2. The GAMURS Dota 2 twitter is where you can keep up with the latest Boston Major news.