The EPIC League Group Stage Recap – Division 1 & 2
Since early November, the EPIC League has run its course of intense group stage matches. From the clash between notable teams in Division 1 to the underdogs fighting over at Division 2, the matches have been outstanding.
As we head into the playoffs later this week, here’s a recap of the insanity that took place.
CIS powerhouses dominate the group
It’s been a while since the Dota 2 player base last witnessed a prominent CIS team. Even Virtus.pro that was once renowned as the Major Kings faltered in today’s standards. That is until they finally picked up their sister team’s line-up, VP.Prodigy.
With the new blood’s arrival, Virtus.pro has had a significant shift in their performance and expectations as they continuously crushed Team Secret every time they fought. Although Team Secret hasn’t been in their prime at the EPIC League, there’s no denying that Team Secret still posed a threat to many opponents.
Alongside Virtus.pro, was another giant from the CIS scene, Natus Vincere. Navi, who coincidentally picked up a new roster from team FlyToMoon, has also been stomping their matches in the groups, securing them a commendable third-place and an upper bracket spot in the playoffs.
A Mexican Standoff
While the CIS favorites enjoy their upper bracket spots, a four-way tiebreaker over the last upper bracket spot took place. The four participants were Team Secret, Nigma, Team Liquid and Team OG, who initially held the spot for having the highest overall scores. However, in terms of win-loss ratios, the four teams shared a similar value of 5 victories and 4 losses.
Unfortunately for OG, they immediately lost their privilege in the upper bracket spot after stumbling in both matches versus Nigma and Team Liquid. Whereas, Team Secret had the alternative outcome, and proceeded to the upper brackets.
A fresh start in Division 2
Three teams from the Division 1 fell to the ‘weaker’ iteration of the EPIC League, Division 2. The teams are Alliance and mudgolems, who lost their shot versus Just Error in a three-way tiebreaker to determine who gets to stay in Division 1.
Although team Just Error survived the three-way, it wasn’t long before Yellow Submarines defeated them in the Play-in games, earning themselves Just Error’s playoffs spot. While the Division 2 felt lacklustre in terms of excitement and expectations, team Chicken Fighters still managed to send mudgolems out of the tournament. To Chicken Fighters’ credit, the players are quite notable, as pub stars in the European leaderboard.
Even so, a bigger fish, the Spider Pigzs ended their run right after. Spider Pigzs previously had a round with Team Liquid for the Play-in stage but never stood a chance. However, the Division 2 might just be the ideal hunting ground to practice.
Frankly, Europe and CIS teams have grown exponentially since the start of the year. From having most tournaments dominated solely by Team Secret to a sight where Team Secret themselves are having a tough time staying afloat. As competition rages on, perhaps we might see teams such as Spider Pigzs or Chicken Fighters make it into the tier-1 scene.
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