Leg 3 of the 2016 Telkom DGL – DotA 2 League officially started on the 4th of July and is set to run for just under four weeks, concluding on the 31st of July. Now halfway through the DGL running season (with two of the four legs already completed), teams will be looking to cement their dominance in their respective divisions. This is especially true considering that Rage 2016 is just around the corner.
Moving on up
Results from Leg 2 have been finalised and the promotions earned by many hard working teams confirmed. In many established sports when a team secures promotion from a lower division they’re often at their most vulnerable in their first season in a higher division. Odds are usually good that these teams are almost immediately relegated. Here are a few of the teams moving up through the Divisions to keep an eye on who will be trying to avoid immediate relegation.
Described as “the soft breeze growing into a hurricane” by GLHF in an article a few months back, Sector 17 are the new kids on the block who have been raising a few eyebrows in the local scene. Their recent progression through multiple stages of the Gigabyte DotA 2 Challenge, hosted by nAvTV, is no small feat for a team that were still only in Ladder at the time. The three other teams competing that weekend included both Aperture Gaming and Damage Control DotA 2 DGL Masters teams, as well as the Prem Div. puLse.Salt DotA 2 team. Although that weekend proved to be a lesson in humility for Zephyr.VcT they’ve no doubt learnt plenty of lessons from their flirtation with top tier DotA. This will undoubtedly be employed in their upcoming campaign to take top spot in Pool A of Second Division.
It appears that Ventus Gaming has become a little more philosophical of late and clearly feel like there are only two truths in this world. First, you gotta catch them all. Second, DotA 2 teams are indistinguishable from Pokemon. Ventus Gaming are now home to a plethora of academy teams situated in almost every division of the DGL. vA.Orange, for instance, moves up to Second Div. Pool B from the Ladder. In the same group are fellow vA teams (Red and Blue), with vA.Red being relegated from First Div. and vA.Blue finishing in mid table in Second Div. at the end of Leg 2. vA.Pink secure promotion to First Div. after a convincing finish at the top of Pool A in Second Div at the end of Leg 2. Telkom may need to invent a few more colours soon, as the rainbow is running out of them and who knows how many more teams vA plans on picking up. But with this many Academy teams NOT in the ladder, Ventus must be doing something right. And we’re not sure that bodes well for everybody who isn’t in Ventus.
If Ventus Academy teams were the Pokemon that made up the rainbow, then the main Ventus DotA team is the pot of gold. After a pretty shocking exit from Prem Div. at the end of Leg 1 (7-0-7 record), Ventus DotA have bounced back stronger than ever to reclaim their place in Prem Div. I am certain that the significant changes to the roster have everything to do with this turn around as none of the original team seem to remain in the squad that was so listlessly dumped from Prem Div in Leg 1. Ventus DotA finished top of First Division at the end of Leg 2 with an unbeaten record (7-7-0-100%). Their roster also includes Seer, who until recently was with the ApG DGL Masters team. So there is very little doubt as to the quality of some of these players. They’ll be exceptionally amped to stay in Prem Div. and assert dominance across the spectrum of South African DotA 2.
MDK Clouds End are the second team to earn promotion to Prem Div. this leg. MDK Clouds End picked up a convincing second place in Leg 2, only losing a series to eventual winners Ventus DotA. They will be keenly aware that they need to go one better in Leg 3 to improve their chances of staying up in Prem Div. A few of the names in the MDK Clouds End roster should be pretty well known to many players; the roster includes player/nAvTV caster Skaapie, as well as some other household names like Cloud and F3arbender. I expect this to be a tough leg for MDK but they’ve been preparing for it with a ton of practice, picking up a few scrims against ApG recently. No doubt this is in order to study and replicate the unique “Phalanx effect” and truly ensure they get revenge on Ventus DotA in Leg 3.
Teams are roster locked from the start of the leg until the next short transfer window between the 18th and 24th of July. With a significant amount of player movement already taken place prior to the start of the leg it is clear teams are prioritizing strengthened squads ahead of these critical next few weeks. This first week in each of the Divisions will really set the tempo for the rest of the leg and establish a baseline for what we can expect to see at Rage later this year.
Notable Transfers/Squad Changes
Something seems to be brewing over at eN.eVo as RDK (to xTc) and 225 (to Flipsid3 Tactics – where he eventually gets kicked from some days later) are both out while Fon Fon and Wz are picked up as replacements. It is unclear if this move is a long term one, but both players who have left are no longer on the Energy eSports DGL page. eN.eVo players that were asked about the situation weren’t opening up about what was going on so we will have to wait for official word from eN. to know exactly what is going on.
F.3 Academy Tilt appears to have been completely swapped out with the Flipsid3 Tactics Masters team in an internal Flipsid3 change. The change comes after the F.3 Tactics performed dismally in the DGL Masters Leg 1. Flipsid3 also lost one of their Prem Div. teams to Pulse Gaming before Leg 2 started, which surely limited Flipsid3’s ability to respond to the performance problems they faced with their DGL Masters team. Hopefully these big changes can right the Flipsid3 ship rather than further deteriorate its relationship with its DotA 2 players. That being said, F.3 Academy Tilt were not exactly enjoying every success in Prem Div. prior to the swap either. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the near future and how each team adapts to their new environment.
Watch out for the fight for the top spots in First Division this leg. With only seven teams competing (due to the forfeit of the VP Volvo Pls team in Leg 2) this leg the top two spots are going to be very hotly contested. HiVe|DotA2, vA.Pink, and C.OG should all be right at the top slugging it out for those top two spots. I’m putting my arcanas on HiVe and C.OG to secure those top two spots. Take from them everything, lads, and give them nothing!
TL;DR – The Shorter Headline
Leg 3 Begins – Flipsid3 and eN with major last minute roster changes – Promoted teams profiled (Ventus, Vector eSports, & MDK Gaming) – Predictions: HiVe & C.OG top two in First Division.
*UPDATE: 12 July 2016
We were recently contacted by one of the teams profiled in this article (Sector 17 Zephyr “S17.Zephyr”) and informed of an error we would like to formally correct here. This clan had undergone some major structural changes which saw the DotA team move from Sector 17, along with many PC specific teams competing in various titles also from S.17, to the new offshoot organisation Vector eSports as “Zephyr.VcT”. A comment from Vector eSports regarding this change appears below. I hope that this change is a positive one and allows these teams the range of access they need to become a dominant force in the local RSA eSports scene.
“We at Vector eSports have been growing a dedicated and passionate community who have alot of potential and ability to grow eSports in South Africa. Unfortunately when we needed to [make structural changes] to move our community forward [in order] to pick up sponsors and provide an environment that is conducive to growing the quality of eSports, a copyright claim was lodged on the [Sector 17] name and the team that was responsible for running this community for the past 3 years was effectively blocked from being able to make decisions on the brand’s future. So in order to ensure we can abide by our commitments to our players and teams, we had to rebrand to Vector eSports. We have retained all of our PC based teams currently in DGL and look forward to contributing further to eSports in this country.”