The Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) Division 1 competition for the Winter Tour 2023 edition has reached its conclusion. With a tighter competition schedule, some teams have stepped up their intensity and emerged as major surprises this month.
Bleed Esports and Blacklist Rivalry emerged as pleasant surprises for the neutral viewers when they entered the DPC SEA Div 1, having secured their slot from T1 and RSG Singapore respectively in 2022. In addition, there were also numerous fans who eagerly anticipated Execration’s promotion from Div 2 and the return of Geek Fam, which has now been rebranded as Geek Slate.
For Boom Esports and Fnatic fans, though, they probably wished that they could write this season off and move on to the next season any sooner.
Despite being billed as Southeast Asia’s powerhouses at The International 11 in October 2022, these two quickly turned into major disappointments in the first season of the DPC SEA 2023.
Boom, who retained Yopaj, Fbz, and the coach, Mushi, managed to land the deals for Xepher and Xnova. With the addition of Natsumi, who showed his potential during his stint on Polaris, many have expected Boom to replicate their amazing 2022 runs.
Fnatic, on the other hand, has kept the majority of their lineup since TI 11. They brought Gabbi and kpii to compensate for the departure of Jabz and Raven, who went to Talon and Blacklist respectively.
While these veterans may look formidable on paper, they were unable to live up the hype as the other teams breezed against them in Division 1. Boom and Fnatic were on losing streak. The two already bagged four losses by the start of week two. In the end, Boom was only one point ahead of Fnatic with two wins in their pocket.
Though Xnova stands out as a newcomer who has shown signs of swift adaptation, Xepher and Natsumi’s inability to work together highlighted them as major weaknesses in Boom Esports so far. Fnatic, on the other hand, seemed to have no clear strategy without Jabz at the helm.
Former Boom and Fnatic players continue their winning ways
The league winner, Execration, which has played consistently since the start of this competition, is certainly one of the names to watch out for the next tour. Fans, however, have been paying more attention to underrated names such as Blacklist, Geek Slate, and Talon Esports.
These teams put on serious lineups who have faced some international heavyweights in the past years. And DPC SEA audience quickly highlighted the contributions of former Boom Esports and Fnatic in their respective teams.
Tims, the current captain of Blacklist, has guided the team to some respectable results in their DPC SEA debut. Tims and Blacklist finished fourth in division 1 of DPC SEA as the only team without a coach and instead relying on the insight of Carlo “Kuku” Palad. And had they beaten Talon in the third-place match-up yesterday night, they would have secured a ticket to Lima Major.
Meanwhile, Skem, who joined Geek Slate, will compete at Lima Major after finishing second. Highlighted as Geek’s most important player by fans, he is expected to bring the team to its former glory, where they once hailed as the ‘home of the SEA legends.’
And it was the same result with Jabz, who is playing as captain of Talon Esports at the moment. The former Fnatic captain adapted to the team tactics quickly and helped them to overcome Blacklist in a tie-breaker match to claim third place and secured their spot for Lima Major.
Big uproar in Europe
On the other side of the world, a massive shockwave hit Europe as the two giants of the Dota competition in the region, West and East, are going through crises.
Team Secret, shockingly ended their Winter Tour with only one victory out of seven matches in the WEU DPC Div 1. The result put them in last position in the current standings. Surprise names such as Gaimin Gladiator and Entity, on the other hand, finished in the top three, ousting OG and the TI 11 champion, Tundra.
Viewers said players such as Zayac, BOOM, and Puppey affected Secret’s gameplay in their opening season. But the biggest loss has been star performer Nisha, who left Team Secret at the end of TI 11. Nisha is burning up the middle lane at the unbeaten Team Liquid, who are looking early favourites for the Major at Lima.
Same story in the eastern region, where NaVi were only able to clinch one victory throughout the DPC EEU Div 1 Winter Tour.
Some observers believe that NaVi needs to undergo a massive restructuring to break through its slump. The road to TI 12 is still a long one to go but for the powerhouses, it’s an even longer one with the first step having to navigate out of the Division 2 hell.