Leg 2 of the 2016 Telkom DGL – DotA 2 League reached its conclusion on Sunday the 26th of June with many teams playing the last of their scheduled games. Roughly 190+ teams participated in the DotA 2 League during the second leg across three Divisions, as well as within the ladder (where over 75% of the registered teams actually compete). With only a handful of teams being relegated from each Division at the end of each leg, getting to the top has never appeared a more daunting task. The limited spots, of which there are only six per leg, are in huge demand considering the sheer number of teams signed up for the ladder (with the total number of registered teams shows no sign of slowing down or shrinking). The amount of sheer dedication required just to get into Second Division, which many took for granted in previous years, is at an all time high. The League is split into four individual legs where each leg runs for approximately a calendar month. This means that there are at least 6×4 spots available over the course of the DotA 2 year. Teams being promoted or relegated on a month to month basis is certainly going to be something we all have to get used to.
Ladder, Second Div, First Div., and Prem Div.
New teams that enter the Telkom DGL – DotA 2 League all start in the Ladder (think of this as the old Open Division, but without all the fuss that went with it) where teams will need to organise and play games against other teams on the ladder in order to gain points needed to secure promotion to Second Division. This essentially means that as a team secures victories in the Ladder they earn points, but for every loss they’ll also bleed points to their competitors. The amount of points that are won or lost will vary according to the relative position of each of the competing teams on the Ladder at the start of the match. Teams enter the ladder with 1000 points and can immediately challenge teams within 200 points of their own position. This team that started with only 1000 points could very quickly catapult itself up the ranks by taking victories off teams that have more points than they do, thus collecting larger bounties of points from opposition teams much higher on the ladder than they are. Teams with the right attitude, enough skill, and good synergy could potentially secure upsets and earn a larger “payday” of points (while only being worth a bounty that is much lower should they lose). Over the course of a Leg, this system should ensure that quality teams work their way up through the Ladder and eventually earn promotion into Second Division.
Second Division is the third tier of the formal league structure most of us will recognise from previous years, where each team plays the others in the same Division once in a Best of Three (Bo3) series. There are, however, two independent pools (Pool A and Pool B) of eight teams apiece (equalling sixteen teams in total) which coexist simultaneously in Second Division. At the end of the leg the bottom three teams in Pool A, as well as the bottom three teams in Pool B, are relegated straight back to the Ladder. This in turn makes way for the top six teams in Ladder (these would be the ladder teams with the most points) to move up to Second Division and try their hand at getting all the way to the top.
The teams that finish in the top spot in their respective groups in Second Division at the end of the leg earn themselves a promotion to First Division while the two teams bringing up the very bottom of First Division get relegated to Second Division. With only two spots rotating teams in or out at either end of the log, First Division is now a much more hotly contested second tier of RSA DotA than in the past.
Premier Division is the pinnacle of the Telkom DGL – DotA 2 League and is made up of the top tier of local talent (and not already in Masters). Teams can for the first time go all the way from being a new entry at the beginning of the year in Leg One to an experienced and formidable Prem Div. hypothetical winner by the end of Leg Four. From starting down in Ladder, successful promotion after successful promotion during each leg could well see teams dumped from Prem Div. by relative unknowns if they do not remain ahead of the curve at all times.
Telkom DGL – DotA 2 Wrap up
Premier Division: Leg 2 Results (30 May – 26 June 2016)
eN.eVo are undoubtedly the favourites to win every single leg of Prem Div. this year. They are considered by many to be one of the Big Five teams competing in top RSA DotA. Their pedigree is among the best in the country and they are constantly beating teams like Aperture Gaming in other South African DotA 2 competitions. In the second leg they finish in first position with the maximum 21 points from 7 matches – 7 wins – 0 losses – 92.3% win rate. The high win rate of 92.3% is because they only dropped one match across the entire second leg, against Flipsid3 Academy, to win that series 2 – 1. That series was particularly interesting because eN.eVo looked almost certain to lose the series after losing in the first game and looking like they were going to lose the second game as well. eN.eVo somehow pulled it back and managed to not only win the second game but secure the third as well to take the series. Veteran support ImpacKt was not playing in those first two matches and it really showed, with eN.eVo honestly looking shaky without his commanding presence and on point rotations.
iM Reborn has one of the larger rosters in Prem Div. with nine registered players. As such iM Reborn always has a wide range of quality players to call upon throughout the leg. When some teams may be swamped with a plethora of games and may be feeling the effects of fatigue, iM Reborn can simply rotate in quality players almost like for like in most positions. This certainly works for them as shown by their level of consistency throughout the leg. They finish in second position on 17 points with 7 – 5 – 2 – 61.53%.Their only two losses suffered at the hands of eN.eVo and puLse.Salt.
Sing.VH pick up third spot at the end of Leg 2, ending on 15 points with 7 – 4 – 3 – 57.14%. Sing.VH lost 0 – 2 to eN.eVo and 1 – 2 to iM Reborn, both of whom finished above them. Their only other defeat was the surprise 1 – 2 loss against newly promoted Reversal eSports Full on Jukes DotA 2 team. All in all a good leg for Sing.VH who managed to improve on their position in Leg 1. They will want to continue this run and possibly take second spot from iM Reborn in Leg 3.
Formerly Flipsid3 Tactics Academy Salt, this team was picked up by Pulse Gaming prior to the start of Leg 2. Coming off the back of a very successful Leg 1 in which they only lost to eN.eVo the team was full of confidence. But surprise losses and a greater number of games (including the NavTV Malls LAN semi-final) no doubt took its toll on the new team. In Leg 2 puLse.Salt slips down to fourth spot ending on 15 points with 7 – 4 – 3 – 50%. Losses against eN.eVo (0 – 2), Sing.VH (0 – 2), and Flipsid3 Tactics Academy (0 – 2) come as shocks to the system and push the team into the middle of the table.
One of the two teams promoted from First Division after their great performance in Leg 1 and looking to get off to a great start to avoid demotion. Reversal FoJ end their maiden Prem Div. leg in a respectable fifth position, with 7 – 4 – 3 – 33%. While only losing to eN.eVo (0 – 2), iM Reborn (0 – 2), and puLse.Salt (0 – 2) they have yet to play against Flipsid3 Tactics Academy as this team did not pitch for the scheduled match and Reversal FoJ picked up free points. They also boast a large roster at nine players, giving this team a lot of breathing room if a busy schedule should start to wear on the players.
Tilt were one of two Flipsid3 Tactics Academy teams in Prem Div. during Leg 1 but are now the only Academy team in Flipsid3 Tactics since the departure of Salt to Pulse Gaming. F.3 Academy Tilt finish in sixth spot on 12 points, just slightly above the relegation zone, with 7 – 3 – 3 – 45.45% and 1 forfeit. The series they had to forfeit against Reversal FoJ cost them dearly, at the very least 1 point for the loss or 3 for the win. But it could have been significantly worse had things been closer at the bottom of the table and they needed the points. Their victories against puLse.Salt (2 – 0) and Casualty Online Godz (2 – 0) ensure their survival, but the game they took off when eN.eVo beat them (1 – 2) shows that this team can pull out the stops when it matters.
C.OG were the second team to be promoted into Prem Div. after their great run in First Div. Leg 1 saw them secure a well-deserved promotion. Looking to secure at least another leg in Prem Div. was their goal but unfortunately they struggled to really get going. They end the leg in seventh position with 7 – 0 – 7 – 7.69% and will unfortunately be relegated to First Division for Leg 3. No doubt these players have taken a great deal of experience from their first spell in Prem Div. and will come back stronger than ever. I’m willing to bet a great deal (at least one arcana item) on this team coming straight back up to Prem Div. in Leg 4.
The transfer period is currently open for the Telkom DGL – DotA 2 League and will remain so until the 3rd of July. Leg 3 officially starts on the 4th of July and runs until the 31st of July.And now we have the peculiar case of Volo please Volvo please. Having competed throughout the first leg of Prem Div. and finishing above the relegation zone, Vp.Vp elected to retire at the start of Leg Two. This essentially means that the seed is retired and this team (if they even exist as a team any longer) will only be able to play from the Ladder and work their way back up to the top from there. An interesting choice I am interested to know more about, but I cannot say I imagine any reason you would want to do this. In respect to how this changes things in the DGL, only one team is moving down to First Division from Premier Division (C.OG), but two teams will still be promoted. So either Telkom will let the seed naturally work its way down the Divisions naturally (so First Div. has one fewer team this leg, Second Div. has one fewer team during Leg 4, until the presence of the team withdrawing is back in the Ladder pool) or they will choose to promote an extra team from each Division in Leg 3 to achieve normal competitor levels. We will have to wait and see.
TL;DR – The Shorter Headline
eN.eVo come top but blow 100% win rate to a Drow strat, puLse.Salt biggest movers in the wrong direction, Reversal FoJ make a splash, C.OG the only casualty demoted to First Division, and Volo Pls retire into obscurity.