Shanghai Major Preview – Group B

Shanghai Major Preview Group B
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Shanghai Major Preview – Group B

Alliance (Sweden), Fnatic (SEA), Team Spirit (Ukraine) and Vici Gaming (China) will meet in Group B of the Shanghai Major.

Alliance

Given their current form, they shouldn’t struggle to advance to the upper bracket and finish in the top four.

B_Alliance

Invited directly to the main event, the TI 3 winners are back at the top of the Dota 2 scene after relative obscurity over the last two years. Their Star Ladder win saw their profile hugely boosted and hopes are high that they can build on this success.

They had an awful performance in the Frankfurt Major, finishing 13-16th without winning a single game, but two major wins in Premium tournaments followed. They were:

  • World Cyber Arena – 1st
  • Star Ladder Star Series Season 13 & i-League Season 4 – 1st

Over the past two months, the team have also had an impressive win rate, with 75% in January (6 wins and 2 losses) and 71% in February (5 wins and 2 losses).

Their mid player s4 (440GPM, 471XPM) is arguably the one whose play impacts the team most. What sets him apart from other mid players is that he does not require special attention from the supports and is very team-orientated. This leaves the main farming role for Loda.

The widened hero pool can be seen in the low pick rates of signature heroes Nature’s Prophet and Lone Druid. While a mid, Puck (8 picks, 1 ban, 33.3% pick-ban rate) and Bat Ride (8 picks, 0 bans, 29.6% pick-ban rate) are typical s4 picks, while a hero not so popular in the current meta, Rubick, finds favour in Alliance drafts (8 picks, 1 ban, 33.3% pick-ban rate). Alliance also stay away from some of the most popular heroes such as Invoker (0 picks, 12 bans, 44.4% pick-ban rate) and Dark Seer (0 picks, 12 bans, 44.4% pick-ban rate).

Alliance are famous for their million dollar split pushing strategies, but lately they have demonstrated greater variety in this regard. The recent patch favoured some of their traditional picks such as Lone Druid, Chen and Nature’s Prophet, but apart from these, the team have adjusted well to the current meta, as can be seen by their successful and various drafts.

Despite this, the team have a famous weakness – AdmiralBulldog’s notoriously small hero pool. If he can get his hands on Nature’s Prophet or Lone Druid though, he can be devastating to the enemy.

Fnatic

0.72 Everything you need to know & Teams EU LCS_Fnatic

It is quite possible that Fnatic can make it into the top eight. 

Fnatic comfortably navigated the SEA qualifiers and represent this region’s main hope of success.

Their Frankfurt Major ranking wasn’t particularly impressive – 13-16th – and significant success on the world Dota 2 scene has failed to follow, with the team finishing 7-12th in the Star Ladder Star Series Season 13 & i-League Season 4.

Mushi (578GPM, 529XPM), who is considered one of the very top mid players in the world, set up a new Fnatic roster back in April and assumed the role of a drafter. As the most experienced player on the roster, the role of captain is one that suits him, and his valuable advice plays a major role in the development of his inexperienced teammates. While skill-wise Fnatic are not too far behind the best teams, their drafting phase and teamwork are not good enough for the top level.

Generally, the team sticks with some of the most popular meta picks, but also heroes with whom they are comfortable playing. Two of those heroes are Gyrocopter (10 picks 4 bans, pick-ban rate of 60.9%) and Dark Seer (8 picks, 6 bans, pick-ban rate of 60.9%), while they dislike Juggernaut and frequently ban him (1 pick, 12 bans, 56.5% pick-ban rate). Another popular hero that Mushi drafts is Invoker, while Miduan is very effective with Templar Assassin when given the chance to play him.

Fnatic seem to be in a tough group and it looks like they will head for the lower bracket based on recent form.

Team Spirit

B_TeamSpirit

Team Spirit are going to Shanghai as the second best EU qualifier, a major achievement for such a new team. The Russian-Ukrainian side deserve to be here, having eliminated the experienced Team Empire and the high-flying Vega Squadron on their way to China.

Their recent achievements have not been particularly strong though, reading:

  • MarsTV Dota 2 League Winter 2015 – 9-10th
  • Star Ladder Star Series Season 13 & i-League Season 4 – 7-12th

Team Spirit have played a significant number of games over the past two months, with a 56% win rate in February (9 wins, 1 draw, 6 losses) and 41% in January (9 wins, 2 draws, 11 losses).

Hero choices are typically popular meta heroes such as Invoker (21 picks, 6 bans, 48.2% pick-ban rate) and Bane (20 picks, 5 bans, 44.6% pick-ban rate). The team hate to play against Death Prophet and its pushing potential at every stage of the game (2 picks and 22 bans – 39.3% pick-ban rate).

The team relies heavily on Goblak (293GPM, 283XPM), an experienced drafter who has been part of various line-ups and has had the chance to play with and against a range of playing styles and strategies throughout his long Dota 2 career.

The youngsters in the team – AfterLife, Iceberg and RAMZES666 – have plenty of raw talent and with Goblak and ALWAYSWANNAFLY guiding them, the team have a good balance of experience and new blood.

The roster is entirely made of CIS players and their strongest feature is probably their excellent communication skills due to having the same language and cultural background. They exhibit the CIS trend for aggressive play and early ganking with the purpose of getting an early advantage. The team also usually have some untraditional picks, such as Goblak’s Treant Protector.

It will be interesting to see how far they can go, but the odds are very much against them when facing the likes of Vici Gaming and Alliance. Despite their strengths, their skill level does not match up to the top teams and their recent achievements aren’t that impressive, suggesting that they are likely to finish in the lower bracket.

Vici Gaming

0.74 LPL Spring_VICI

Despite their recent inconsistent play, Team Vici are a top tier Chinese team in terms of skill. In addition, their experience in large forums will be of great help against the younger and less experienced opposition. However, unless they find their form, finishing in the top four seems unlikely.

Invited directly, the TI 4 finalists haven’t won a significant tournament recently, but while they have lost their position of being the leading Chinese team, their performances over the last year have not been too bad.

Still, looking at their roster, questions have been raised as to why this team haven’t been able to make their mark since finishing 5-6th in the Frankfurt Major. Their most recent results include:

  • The Summit – 3rd
  • MarsTV Dota 2 League Winter 2015 – 5th-6th

The team haven’t played that many games recently and have a January win rate of 50% from 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses.

Vici tend to play a wide variety of heroes, which can be both an advantage and disadvantage as while having a larger hero pool guarantees strategic diversity, the lack of signature heroes suggests that they might lack something solid and secure. Their most picked heroes are Gyrocopter (8 picks, 0 bans, 38.1% pick-ban rate) and Vengeful Spirit (6 picks, 1 ban, 33.7% pick-ban rate). Earth Spirit is a hero who has got a lot of attention recently in Chinese Dota and Vici tend to remove him from play (2 picks, 12 bans, 66.7% pick-ban rate).

In a team which have stars like iceiceice and Burning, Super (476GPM, 494XPM) is the one who adds stability to the team with his solid plays. Having been a part of Vici since 2013, Super has gone through good and bad times, seeing it all across the Vici roster. He is a mid player who is known for his large hero pool, providing the team’s drafts with greater variety. Meanwhile, Fenrir and Fy have been a support duo for a very long time and have very good communication between themselves.