Telkom DGL Masters | DotA 2: Leg 2 & Cup

Leg 2 of the 2016 Telkom DGL Masters DotA 2 kicked off on the 4th of July and will run all the way until the 11th of September. The running time of this leg stands at a little over two calendar months during which seven rounds of fixtures are played out. Two of the four scheduled matches have already been played in the first round of fixtures so the second leg is already well and truly under way. The much anticipated 2016 Telkom DGL Masters DotA 2 Cup is also due to take place soon, specifically between 22 and 24 July in Johannesburg. This tournament falls within the Leg 2 calendar and could account for why this leg seems particularly lengthy. The opening fixtures for the tournament have already appeared on the Telkom DGL website, but no further information is available.

DGL 2016 DotA 2 Masters Cup Fixtures

Telkom DGL Masters – General Info & Leg 1 Results

At this point any discussion about the Telkom DGL Masters would necessitate a discussion about what exactly Masters is, how it relates to the general DGL DotA 2 league, and what selection criteria are used when MGOs are invited by Telkom to the elite Masters league. However, there is simply no point even doing that here as the brilliant Good Luck Have Fun recently ran an article doing just that. This is a must read for pretty much everyone, from spectators to players working up the ranks as well as those already in top teams! So move on swiftly if you’ve read the GLHF article (if you have not – I implore you to do so before you continue) and let’s quickly go over the results from Leg 1 of the Telkom DGL Masters DotA 2. With eight teams invited to take part in the DGL Masters there were a maximum of 21 points up for grabs for each team. Bravado Gaming would, unsurprisingly, finish on top of the table with 18 points. Aperture Gaming and White Rabbit Gaming both end tied for second on 17 points apiece, while Damage Control ends in fourth position with 15 points. The bottom of the table is rounded out by Carbon in a surprise 5th position, Xperts at Total Chaos ending in 6th position, Veneration eSports picking up 7th spot, and Flipsid3 Tactics bringing up the bottom in 8th position.

DGL 2016 DotA 2 Masters Leg One Results

Leg 1 seemed to confirm what most people expected, but did provide some new insights into the changing South African eSports landscape. Bravado Gaming is still dominating the local scene, and while this is certainly what people expected, what has become apparent is that the gap between them and the rest is an ever dwindling one. Bvd do not appear to play with their food as much as they used to, and when they do it sometimes threatened to backfire. The huge skill difference is not as clearly evident as it used to be even a year to two years ago. It might be true that Bravado is still the top dog in South Africa, but there are at least three teams (ApG, WRG, Carbon) threatening to be the ones to put Bvd to pasture. And while this might not happen by as early as September, with just a little more time and dedication those three teams can all potentially be at a relatively similar skill level with each other and Bravado Gaming.

The bottom three teams (VnR, xTc, F3) all seem to be in a similar space at the moment and are losing fairly predictably to the teams that, on paper, are just better than they are. Yet at the same time they seem a little further behind  the top teams than they should be for an eight team top tier competitive league. Wedged between these two opposing halves of the table is Damage Control, who feel like they can potentially cause upsets by beating the top teams when on paper they should not. And on paper they themselves should beat the teams below them reliably, but they could potentially be upset by a surprise loss themselves. A dynamic/fluid tier system could be used to better grapple with where teams are in terms of what reasonable expectations we can have for matches. Teams moving up or down one tier would be considered an upset, but not impossible. Teams moving up or down two tiers would be considered a major upset, being significantly less likely an outcome due to the larger gap in skill. For instance, Bravado Gaming should beat (but could lose to) ApG, WRG, and Carbon. However, there is more confidence they will beat Damage Control and it’s a near certainty they will beat vNr, xTc, and F3. This tier system below is loosely how Leg 1 appears to have played out:

  • Tier I – Bravado Gaming
  • Tier II – Aperture Gaming, White Rabbit Gaming, Carbon eSports
  • Tier III – Damage Control, Xperts @ Total Chaos
  • Tier IV – Veneration eSports, Flipsid3 Tactics
Telkom DGL Masters – Predicting Leg 2 Results (w/ Adam “Adastam” Moore)

We got together with Adam “Adastam” Moore (Pos 1 carry, Aperture Gaming DotA 2) to pick his brain on the DotA 2 teams in Masters. We also asked him where he thought the teams would end up by the end of Leg 2, and how things are shaping up for the upcoming Masters cup. 

Bravado Gaming

Bravado GamingBravado Gaming are the current top dogs in local RSA competitive DotA 2, and although the gap between them and the rest of the pack has been closing, there is little doubt they’re still the team to beat in 2016. Adam, what can you tell us about this team and their chances this leg? 

Bvd are the best DotA 2 team in South Africa and have been for the last three years. They win pretty much every damn tournament known to man. Being at the top for so long means they’ve earned a lot of respect, but there is a general feeling of boredom when you watch local competitions. When Bvd play in a tournament everyone expects them to win, and sure as nuts they do! But deep down everyone is looking for an upset to shake things up. Everyone secretly wants Bvd to lose, just once (except for Bvd of course)! They’re still favourites to finish top though.

And what can you tell me about the players specifically?

Cool bunch of guys. But they all deleted me off their friends list on Steam when I joined ApG! Hahahaha.

White Rabbit Gaming

White Rabbit GamingWho do you think will finish second behind Bravado Gaming?

I think the most likely team to have a realistic shot of beating Bvd are White Rabbit Gaming. The team initially formed as a group of friends for the lolz, but after a really strong 2015 DGC showing (where they were underdogs), they quickly became a family that dominated the majority of teams in South Africa. They should easily finish in second place. 

Aperture Gaming

Aperture GamingAlright let’s round out our top three. Who are you going for in third position?

Aperture Gaming, the team I play for, have plenty of potential and I think we have shown a great deal of promise so far. But during crunch times we often fall short of the teams above us and this is probably due to a lack of competitive experience. I think we could always try our hand at professional baseball though, as we’re experts at throwing! Hahahaha. No, in all seriousness, we do strive to someday be the top DotA 2 team in South Africa. 

Carbon eSports

Carbon eSportsYou have put down Carbon in fourth spot. Can you tell me a little about this team?

They’re basically the trolls of South Africa. I used to play under Modase for iFG until he gave me the ol’ classic boot. They are a very emotional team but they can easily outplay most teams if they decide to play seriously. Recently they’ve been in the shadows a bit. Calm before the storm, perhaps? You never know with these guys. 

Damage Control

Damage ControlFifth spot? What can you tell me?

In my opinion, Damage Control are one of the next up and coming powerhouse teams in South African DotA 2. They are starting to show a great deal of promise and shouldn’t be underestimated by any means, especially when you consider their victory over WRG in Leg 1. These guys like to rotate around the map a lot (and with the aid of Stunt they do this pretty well) and like to take initiative. They just really lack the ability to turn early initiatives and pick offs into objectives, which usually ends up losing them games.

Like their games against Pulse Gaming in the nAvTV Gigabyte Challenge?

Yeah exactly. They got the pick offs but then went late game against a farmed Alchemist and lost.

Xperts @ Total Chaos

Xperts at Total ChaosSixth spot goes to?

I think it’ll be xTc. They’re a team that has taken a few games off us in scrims over the past few months. So on paper they show promise, but they always seem to fall short when they are under the pressure of DGL games. They gave a lackluster performance against us in Leg 1 and I do hope to see them play to their full potential in Leg 2. With the Tinker God aka Dota and Die in their lineup anything can happen. RDK is joining their team for the Masters Cup for some easy cash dollar, and will most likely go back to eN. afterwards, but with him in the team I expect them to be dangerous opponents during the LAN event.

Veneration eSports

Veneration eSportsSo that just leaves two teams. Who takes seventh spot?

I think it will be VNR. They only won a single game last leg and finished second from bottom. There just doesn’t seem to be much hope for this team. I’m unfamiliar with most of their players except for Wazoo, who is well known for forming tryhard stacks to queue SA pubs. They might be able to pull off something this leg, unless Wazoo is just getting carried by his stack in pubs! They’ve already picked up a forfeit against us (ApG) this leg, so don’t hold out much hope for a surprise.

Flipsid3 Tactics

Flipsid3 TacticsWell, that really only leaves us with the team in dead last position, Flipsid3 Tactics. Why do you have these guys bringing up the bottom?

They just seem to be in Masters league to milk the 8th place prize pool. They are by far the most underwhelming team in the entire league (even after the Flipsid3 Masters and Prem Div. teams were swapped out) and plenty of other teams could be in Masters in their place. F3 are just extremely predictable, almost exclusively running something ridiculous in the jungle which they get heavily punished for, and unless drastic changes are made they will never achieve much.

How do you think the addition of 225 changes things up for the Masters Cup?

It might change things if he ends up calling the shots. A good player calling the shots and making the decisions could make a huge difference. It’s possible they could cause some upsets.  

One final question. Considering that the upcoming Masters Cup is single elimination (not the standard double elimination) who do you predict will be in the finals and what do you predict the final score to be?

Everyone expects it’ll be Bravado Gaming against White Rabbit Gaming. Let’s change things up. I think it’ll be Aperture Gaming against Carbon eSports in the finals!

Putting your faith in Phalanx and the stack? I like it! Score?

Aperture Gaming 0 – 3 Carbon

What?!

Hahahaha. We’re going to get dumpstered!

You can follow @Adastam on his Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget to give him some of your DotA 2 love and support this weekend. Because if he is right about one thing, it’s that Bravado are long overdue an upset! You can also follow @SargonDotA2 on Facebook and Twitter, if you are at all interested to do so. But you’re probably not interested. And that’s okay. But every like and share via social media brings us all one step closer to Na’Vi winning the International. So it’s entirely up to you…

About @SargonDotA2

Chris "@SargonDotA2" House started writing about competitive local esports in 2016, focused primarily on DotA2 since he played competitively around that time as well. Since then we keep him locked up, churning out DotA2 articles as often as we can make him do it. @SargonDotA2 is sometimes referred to as the Batpanda...