Mars Dota 2 League 2016 Preview

Learn what the stakes are for teams attending the first event of the Fall 2016 Dota 2 season.

Back in Business

The Mars TV Dota 2 League 2016 LAN finals (MDL) will be the first Dota 2 LAN since the Sept. 18 roster locks, marking the beginning of the Fall season. Taking place in Shanghai, the LAN will give attending teams the opening remarks as they try to make a case for an invite to this year’s Fall Major. 

Evil Geniuses: Third Time’s A Charm? 

On Sept. 15, Evil Geniuses announced that Clinton “Fear” Loomis would retire from active play for the Dota 2 roster, moving to a coaching position for the team. The real surprise came the following day, when EG announced their new roster. Evil Geniuses is now:

  1. Artour “Arteezy” Babev
  2. Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan
  3. Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora
  4. Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg
  5. Andreas Franck “Cr1t-“ Nielsen (Captain)

On Sept. 16, EG also announced that the captain of the former stack, Peter “PPD” Dager, would move to an administrative role within the organization, adding to the shock of seeing Arteezy return for his third tenure under the EG banner.

Ultimately, what’s at stake for EG is proving that they can keep up the level of excellence maintained under PPD. Ensuring that both Arteezy and Sumail both have sufficient resouces through the early and midgame may be a major factor to capturing the first tournament of the season. 

OG: A Green Dream Team?

The International 6 was not the best tournament for European teams across the board, but it ended particularly poorly for OG, who suffered a major upset at the hands of TNC Gaming. Consequently, major changes were to be made, with Amer “Miracle-“ Al-Barkawi, David “MoonMeander” Tan, and Andreas Franck “Cr1t-“ Nielsen all leaving to seek opportunitites on other teams. OG post-shuffle is:

  1. Johan “N0tail” Sundstein
  2. Anathan “ana” Pham
  3. Gustav “s4” Magnusson
  4. Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka
  5. Tal “Fly” Aizik (Captain)

This iteraition of OG Dota 2 is an interesting one, not only because of the addition of JerAx from Team Liquid, but also because of the addition of Ana. Ana made his professional Dota 2 career debut with Invictus Gaming in March of this year as a sub for Ferrari_430, with two finals appearances at two Chinese LANs. What’s more interesting about the Australian is the fact that he’s playing mid on a team with S4 on the roster. I’m curious to see how he does with some international competition. 

Team Secret: SEAcret

Secret was another team that was essentially humiliated at The International 6. Secret, the historical “all-star” team in the Dota 2 scene, has seen two straight disappointing TI finishes with two squads that were strong on paper. Perhaps this is the flaw in the concept of a team like Team Secret; the team (both with W33/Misery and Arteezy/EternaLEnVy/BuLba) play like five extremely talented individuals working towards a common goal, instead of a unit working towards such a goal. As has been tradition for the team with Puppey at the helm, a full restructuring of the roster was in order after TI6. The new stack is:

  1. Pyo “MP” No-a
  2. Zheng “MidOne” Yeik Nai
  3. Lee “Forev” Sang-don
  4. Clement “Puppey” Ivanov
  5. Johan “pieliedie” Åström

Upon recovering form the surprise of seeing three players from South East Asia under the Secret banner, the first question that comes to mind, naturally, is communication. Will this team be a continuation of the five player approach to professional Dota, or can the team avoid the issues that have plagued the banner for two years?

China: Homegrown Hopefuls

Being a Chinese LAN, it’s expected that MDL will have more teams than any other region. Here’s a quick rundown of them:

LGD.Forever Young: The legendary Xiao8 seeks to start fresh with a fresh stack of CN vets, including Super and Yao.  

iG Vitality: A rather untested team internationally, comprised of players from Chinese secondary teams. 

Vici Gaming: fy and DDC will remain under the Vici banner and work with new talent to see if they can match the performances of Vici.Reborn. It should be noted that they are a replacement team for the LGD gaming main squad, who withdrew from the event. 

Newbee: With only Kaka and Kpii remain from the fearsome stack that attended TI6,  as Newbee seeks glory without Hao. 

Last, but not least: MVP Phoenix

With MP and Forev leaving for Secret, and another disapointing result against Fnatic at The International 2016, MVP rebuilt thier squad in September:

  1. Kim “QO” Seon-yeop
  2. Kim “Febby” Yong-min
  3. Kim “Velo” Tae-sung
  4. Lee “Reisen” Jun-yeong
  5. Kim “DuBu” Doo-young (Captain)

Another team adds an Austrailian to their roster. Across all eight teams, there are three playing under three different banners. Velo has the least experience, with only one LAN attended, the MPGL Southeast Asian Championship, which occured just two weeks ago. 

Which organization do you think now has the best Dota 2 team? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom

Sources: Liquipedia (Event Page, and Player Profiles)