Team Zero winning Summit 13 perfectly captures a troubled NA Dota 2 scene

Since the introduction of online leagues in early Spring 2020, the North American pro scene hasn’t been in good shape. The lack of large tournaments and financial support for the region has never been so severely felt.

These days, NA pro teams have to share the same field with their South American counter-parts. Plenty of teams fight over relatively small tournament prize pools and very limited sponsorship interest. Over at BTS Summit 13, Team Zero or 4fun, a stack formed from by EternalEnvy and the remnants of team Business Associates, suddenly becomes the North American powerhouse.

Team Zero wins BTS 13

© Beyond the Summit

Team Zero’s debut

Being a team in the North American region can’t be easy in 2020. Teams are really just a stack of friends playing together with no sponsors for the most part. As of October 5, there was not a single sponsored pro team in North America. With CR4ZY disbanding their NA roster and Evil Geniuses moving to EU exclusive tournaments, the rest of NA is running out of consistent funding to keep their team together.

Team Zero only debuted two weeks ago, just in time for the Summit 13 Americas. Disregarding the unfamiliar team name,  the line-up is packed full NA talent, none of whom are strangers to the NA Dota 2 community. Most notably, Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao, having participated in multiple Internationals events, serves as both captain, mid and main drafter on the team. Hes among the only pro players to take such responsibilities on himself, and for this past few weeks he prevailed and proved the naysayers wrong.

The American scene has changed exponentially over the year with constant talent and roster shifts. Quincy Crew, 4 Zoomers, and Evil Geniuses are the squads that remain fighting over what little is left.

EternaLEnVy and his 4fun stack are just the latest addition to the stack. With The International 10 anticipated for early 2021, it’s good to know there are enough teams to at least fill a decent bracket on the path to 40 million USD.

From Zero to Heroes

What really baffled analysts is EternaLEnVy’s persistence in playing the hard carry role. Many fans have questioned the players’ recent performance as a carry player, a role often reserved for prodigies and young blood.

Jacky kept on grinding pub matches, first-picking the role and in the end made it work well. Of course, with his allies’ support. Ryoya has always been a consistent player, to say the least. Having played alongside Evil Geniuses as a stand-in during the lockdown period, Ryoya really stood out as a seasoned carry. Brax and Moo have also become staples of the new team.

Being teammates during their time in Business Associates just means that they gel pretty well together. Of course, there’s Sneyking, who has followed EE-sama throughout the season.

Of course, Team Zero’s victory is gloriously celebrated because this is the first victory the players had experienced in ages. Yet, such triumph in the American scene doesn’t feel great at all when you realized both finalists do not even have a sponsor.

A round with Quincy Crew

Quincy Crew, a NA team, led by the talented Quinn “Quinn” Callahan, is currently proclaimed NA’s strongest team. Yet, despite securing several first-place finishes in recent tourneys such as the BTS Pro Series S3 Americas and ESL One Thailand 2020, Quincy had trouble dealing with the Zeros.

After making it to the grand finals at the Summit 13, team Zero managed to secure a massive lead against Quincy Crew. Two consecutive wins in the best-of-five, and Quincy Crew was on the brim of elimination. However, CCnC’s team wasn’t looking to let go of this title so quickly.

Quincy Crew had a nail-biting base race in the third game and barely held onto the finals. With YawaR from Quincy Crew down, team Zero marched down mid in hopes of ending the game. However, the sneaky CCnC and Lelis had no intention of defending, instead decided to rat the enemy’s throne.

Although it was a roller coaster series, Quincy Crew eventually fell short in game 5. They were utterly out-drafted by Ryoya’s Viper, whose passive ability mitigated all their damage output. Finally, Quincy Crew realized the game was over and called GG for the new champions in town.

In the end, $100,000 divided among teams Zero, Quincy and Infamous isn’t much to go around, but can at least keep the lights on for a month or two.

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NA’s State of Mind and the bigger picture

The overall situation for NA teams hasn’t improved much this past quarter. Players are desperately trying to get Valve to respond to the crisis they are in. With their pro careers on the line, several notable pros have taken it to Twitter for a public outcry.

Back in September, a lengthy tweet by Samuel “Sammyboy” Anderson, read about how his official games are feeling stale at this point. Having encountered their one and only rival, Quincy Crew, in yet another grand finals, everything just feels stale. Worse yet, teams in Americas are competing for a fraction of money that the European/CIS tournaments offer.

Brian “BSJ” Canavan has not been shy when sharing his views as well. In his opinion, the North American scene brought this chaos upon themselves. The toxic culture and the NA pro players’ attitude towards the game are why the region is not as attractive.

It wasn’t long before BSJ’s comments triggered a massive backlash, especially from NA pro players such as Sammyboy and YaWaR, who called him a failure in competitive NA Dota.

Sammyboy himself however, has often called out EternaLEnVy for feeding down the lane when he doesn’t get the role he wants. EE-sama also has quite a history of beef and dramas with many NA players. Gunnar, for instance, was unreasonably kicked by the latter just days before the Disneyland Major 2019. The same toxic culture the players speak out against, is the one they are constantly perpetuating nowadays.

However, the core issue is still the lack of diversity in competition. North America as a region is hardly getting new talent down the pipeline and all we are getting is the same 30 players rotating around for years upon end. As animosity grows between them, so does ill feelings and toxicity.

Overall, the region is in dire need of financial support and talent pipeline development. It wont be long before the competition between four main teams (Quincy Crew, 4 Zoomers, Team Zero and Evil Geniuses) becomes stale once more.

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