Ballistix Masters | DotA2 Cup: Playoffs & Predictions

Ballistix MastersYou might have missed it on your news feed recently, but Ballistix Masters is currently hosting a DotA2 online tournament that boasts a casual R20 000 prize pool. If you’re wondering why you might have never heard about the Ballistix Masters tournaments before, it’s because you probably knew them when they were still called the Crucial Cup back in 2015. The rebranded Ballistix Masters tournaments are sponsored by Ballistix, Crucial, Antec, Syntech, and Redragon. The DotA2 tournament prize pool of R20 000 is earmarked to be split four ways, with 1st place taking R10 000, 2nd place taking R5 000, 3rd place taking R3 000, and 4th place taking R2 000. The tournament is well underway, with the group stages completed and the playoff stage of the tournament currently in progress. In total 32 teams registered for the competition and were split into eight groups of four. In these group stages the top two teams progress to the playoff stage, while the bottom two teams are sadly eliminated. Have a look at the final group standings below for a quick summary of how the earlier matches panned out, if you’re not already up to date.

Group 1-4 FinalGroups 5-8 Final

The Round 1 fixtures of the Ballistix Masters DotA2 Cup Playoffs were completed over a week ago and the Round 2 fixtures were played over the course of the last week (5-11 September 2016). The victorious teams progressing from Round 1 to Round 2 were Damage Control, Pulse Gaming Reborn, Pulse Gaming Salt, Carbon eSports, Aperture Gaming, eXdee Gaming, Ventus Academy Pink, and Xperts @ Total Chaos. See a summary of the results from the Round 2 fixtures of the Ballistix Masters DotA2 Cup Playoffs below:

  • Damage Control enjoy a return to winning ways with a grueling 2 – 1 victory over puLse.Reborn;
  • Aperture Gaming once again eliminate puLse.Salt from yet another DotA2 tournament (with an emphatic 2 – 0 display);
  • Ventus Academy Pink narrowly loses to Carbon eSports (1 – 2) but they will surely be happy that they’ve both taken a game off a quality DGL Masters team and that they almost caused a major upset;
  • eXdee Gaming and Xperts @ Total Chaos apparently did not play their fixture, and the match has since been forfeited by xTc. This ultimately gives eXdee Gaming a free pass to Round 3, which is a little disappointing considering how far along in the Playoffs we are at this stage.
Ballistrix Masters Playoffs

Ballistrix Masters Playoffs

If you missed out on some of the Playoff matches and you’d like to watch some of the local action being casted then you can head over to the VODs listed below (courtesy of @JubbaGaming.nAvTV):

Ballistix Masters | DotA2 Cup: Playoffs & Predictions

The teams that have progressed to Round 3 of the tournament are: Damage Control, Carbon eSports, Aperture Gaming, and eXdee Gaming. These final four teams will face off and attempt to outdo the other in the Bo3 Round 4  fixtures over the next week in order to advance to the Grand Final and take 1st place. Damage Control and Carbon eSports meet in the first Round 3 fixture, while Aperture Gaming and eXdee Gaming face off in the second Round 3 fixture. Carbon eSports go into the match against Damage Control as slight favourites. The head to head record for these two teams in both Leg 1 and Leg 2 of the 2016 DGL Masters indicates that DC and Carbon have met on three separate occasions, with Carbon recording 2 – 0 victories on each occasion. Having said that, Carbon have not enjoyed the best run of form during their recent 5th place finish at the end of Leg 2 in the DGL Masters (and in other tournament performances they have been relatively inconsistent). The new transfers that have recently joined the DC team will be eager to pick up a victory here and start a run of form that could potentially earn them a top 3 finish at DGC rAge 2016. Since the new signings have started playing for DC, the team once again looks much more like the menacing side that humbled WRG earlier in the year.

Prediction: Damage Control 2 – 1 Carbon eSports

I am a sucker for a good underdog story. DC are due a win and a change of fortune! There seems to be positive progress at DC after their recent roster troubles, and they’re once again winning games. Carbon eSports are, on the other hand, a little bit of an enigma rolled into an Eidolon that’s been stuffed with dark matter. In other words, it’s just really impossible to predict which Carbon is going to show up for any given competitive match. 

The fixture between Aperture Gaming and eXdee Gaming is about as 50/50 a match as you’ll likely find in the local professional scene. ApG and xD have met on multiple occasions over the course of 2016, although xD were until very recently playing under Energy eSports for the majority of these matches. Many of these past matches have largely been won or lost on the day, with both teams earning victories over the other in tournaments across the country. Most recently the teams met in the Losers Bracket Final Bo3 of the Eclipse Cup, where ApG exhibited some solid play and earned themselves a clean 2 – 0 victory against xD. No doubt ApG will go into this match with a slight psychological advantage with this victory so fresh in their memories. On the opposite end of the coin, xD.eVo have had some narrow 2 – 1 victories against DGL Prem Div. opposition during their Leg 4 campaign that may be some cause for concern. The return of RDK and 225, however, seems to have returned the team to its former strength. No doubt both teams will relish the chance to advance to the Finals, especially as Bravado Gaming and White Rabbit Gaming are both absent from the proceedings. 1st prize is realistically within touching distance for any of these four teams.

Prediction:  Aperture Gaming 2 – 1 eXdee Gaming

I think ApG will narrowly edge ahead of xD to win this series. But it really could go either way. I guess that’s why they call it  a 50/50 coin toss! xD are well aware of what they need to do in order to shut Adastam down, and ApG are at the same time all too aware of the clock when playing against a farming RDK. I’m going to lean with ApG winning this, just because I’ve seen ApG beat the RDK Morphling in competitive play recently. So, really, what can’t ApG do once they put their minds to it?

3/4th Place Prediction: eXdee Gaming 2 – 0 Carbon eSports

The ex-Energy eSports team is looking pretty solid in the run up to these final fixtures, putting most opposition they’ve faced to the sword. While xD.eVo may have dropped a game or two during their DGL Prem Div. Leg 4 campaign, I don’t think these represent serious losses and should not impact the teams drive to beat Carbon. I think that Carbon, on the other hand, are just not enjoying the sort of form of late that they’d like, in order to comfortably take this series from eXdee Gaming. However, who really knows which Carbon team will show up on the day.

Grand Final Prediction: Aperture Gaming 2 – 0 Damage Control

ApG just seem to have DC figured out. No matter what DC do, ApG just refuses to lose a cup tie to them. DC, on the other hand, often appear to have precious few solutions for dealing with a rampaging Adastam. I’m sure Filthy Frank & Co. will have some tricks or pocket strats up their sleeves to torment acg and the rest of ApG with. Either way, it would be a great final to watch as DC are always looking to put one over the Phalanx stack in a tournament setting! One request though, can we please get WilsonXXXL.nAvTV to cast this series if it actually turns out to be DC vs ApG in the final?


TL;DR – The Shorter Headlines

Damage Control, Carbon eSports, Aperture Gaming, and eXdee Gaming are the final four teams left standing as we near the end of the Ballistix Masters DotA2 tournament. Our predictions as to which of these final four teams will win the 1st place cash prize of R10 000, the 2nd place cash prize of R5 000, the 3rd place cash prize of R3 000, or the 4th place cash prize of R2 000 are completely shackled by bias and stored in prejudice!



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About Sargon

Christopher House is an ex-DotA2 competitive player who works as an independent esports writer.