The past year has been a great one for fans of Dota 2.
With the addition of the new hero Grimstroke, the biggest International event to date and many other tournaments, it’s been a year of thrills and spills for teams across the board.
Here, we’ll be focusing on the teams and players of North America, and looking back at how the year shaped up for them.
The International 8
With a staggering $25million on the line, everyone was in it to win it at TI8 this year. Envisaging an American team taking home the gold, though, was difficult – of the 16 participating teams in the main event, only three were from the NA region.
Evil Geniuses, VGJ.Storm and OpTic Gaming earned a spot only through the regional qualifiers and had an uphill struggle ahead of them to make America’s presence felt. And though they didn’t manage to make it to the grand finals, Storm and OpTic made respectable 7th-8th place finishes, whilst EG impressed everyone by placing 3rd, winning themselves a cool $2.68million.
With the top two teams of the event being from Europe and China – regions which brought along three and six teams respectively – it’s tough to say that the plucky Americans didn’t put up a good fight.
The USA managed to perform even better elsewhere over the year, though. Evil Geniuses swept the board at GESC: Indonesia. EG made it through both the group stage and the play-offs without losing a match, shutting down Na’Vi and VGJ.Thunder, taking home the first Major win of the year for any NA team.
They cleared up similarly well at the DOTA Summit 9 event in July, smashing through Fnatic and fellow US team VGJ.Storm as they went undefeated in the play-offs to take home the gold.
OpTic, too, managed to win a Major themselves – early in the year when they earned a spot in the StarLadder i-League Invitational S5 and only ceded two matches, one of those in the finals against VGJ.Thunder.
compLexity Gaming, another NA team, were often found in big events but enjoyed less success, while VGJ.Storm took a bit of a beating, but still managed to come in 1st and win $110,000 at GESC: Thailand.
Possibly one of the most heartbreaking moments for the US this year was the grand finals of Galaxy Battles 2. EG continued their dominant performance, cutting through the competition undefeated in the early stage of the tournament. They eliminated VGJ.Thunder 2-0 in the semi-finals, only to face them once again in the title decider after Thunder won the Lower Bracket finals. Despite their previous crushing defeat, EG couldn’t seem to find their footing, and suffered a devastating 3-0 defeat.
Newcomers and Departures
It seems that OpTic and EG are the only teams in North America with much to brag about – and indeed, the US doesn’t have as many teams in the competitive scene as other regions.
But throughout 2018, a few new teams have emerged and may soon make their voices heard. Truffle Salt, a team headed by well-known American caster GranDGranT, was founded towards the end of the year – though with the claim that they’ll only be playing for fun.
Forward Gaming are another new team, created in September, and after incorporating the roster of VGJ.Storm into their ranks, one that may do well competitively.
Finally, J.Storm were formed in the same month, a team that includes former EG star player Fear – and this team managed to get an early start, scoring an impressive 2nd place at the World Showdown of Esports #1, nearly managing to win a Major event the month after their founding.
There are a few who have gone inactive, or left for other teams, however. VGJ.Storm have been incorporated into Forward Gaming. OpTic have been inactive since the International, having disbanded their roster without any news of future plans, and EG’s player MISERY moved on to paiN Gaming.
Overall, the year has been a decent one for the NA region – their teams, though relatively few in number, are on top form, and going toe-to-toe with the best the scene has to offer. And with some new faces in the scene coming into 2019, it promises to be an exciting year for the US.