Telkom Digital Gaming League (DGL) | DotA2 Community Shield

04 April 2017 | Results Update

The Telkom Digital Gaming League (DGL) DotA2 Community Shield was in full swing last night as most times played for the first time in the Upper Bracket. Because of the open seeds in the tournament bracket, almost all the teams received a bye in Round 1 and proceeded straight to Round 2 (which was played last night). As such, there were no lower bracket games to be played last night. The Community Shield is the culmination of six earlier wildcard qualifiers where only the very best teams earned seeds to be able to compete for a DGL Masters LAN Cup seed. The top 2 teams from this double elimination wildcard qualifier tournament will join the top 6 Masters team at the upcoming DGL Masters LAN Cup.

If you want to know more about the Community Shield, and the teams playing in it, you can read our Community Shield preview article here. The dates for the entire tournament are already set in stone, so be sure to clear your calendar on the dates below, as select matches are being streamed through the official channels. A shout out to the casters; JubbaSuccubus, and LightRay Casting for keeping us entertained throughout the streams!

The scheduled fixture times for the Upper Bracket are as follows:

  • UB Round 3 Wednesday 05 April 20h00
  • UB Round 4 (UB Final) Monday 10 April 20h00
  • UB Round 5 (Grand Final) Thursday 13 April 20h00

And the schedule for the Lower Bracket is:

  • LB Round 2 Wednesday 05 April 20h00
  • LB Round 3 Thursday 06 April 20h00
  • LB Round 4 Sunday 09 April 20h00
  • LB Round 5 Tuesday 11 April 20h00
  • LB Round 6 (LB Final) Wednesday 12 April 20h00

Upper Bracket Round 1 & Upper Bracket Round 2 | Results

Round 1 Results:

Round 2 Results:

As we’ve already mentioned, most teams passed straight through Round 1 due to there being so many open seeds in this tournament. There were only two series scheduled for Monday the 2nd of April at 20h00, but one of these was forfeited by Sin5 Valhalla (as they pulled out of the tournament). Aperture Gaming Academy (ApG Academy) thus progressed to Round 2. The other fixture was between Ventus Red and AstriXDotAsX, and luckily that one went ahead as scheduled. AstriXDotaAsX qualified as ArmaGeddon, before these players all moved to Ventus Black. They’ve since moved back and renamed ArmaGeddon to something non-Ventus like, but we’re not fooled. Pieter Venter is in control of three teams in this tournament. Two have Ventus tags, and one were all recently in a Ventus team.

Due to the above, I propose we rename AstriXDotaAsX to Ventus Fluorescent Orange (or Ventus FO for short) for the rest of the tournament. On paper you’d fancy Ventus FO to do well against Ventus Red, but the series wasn’t even a close one. It looked like it was an interesting series (if one sided pubstomps are your thing), with some really confusing screenshots of the matches available on the match thread. Both games lasted over 30 mins, and both ended with fairly low kill counts despite outrageous net worth differences between the two teams. Ultimately Ventus Red emerged victorious with a 2 – 0 sweep over Ventus FO and progressed to play Veneration Esports in Round 2.

Veneration Esports (VnR) arguably have one of the scariest lineups in the Community Shield, which was only acquired minutes before the scheduled starting time. Ventus Red must have been fairly surprised to see the Flipsid3 Tactics South Africa (F3) DotA2 team in the lobby come game time. Ventus Red suddenly had a considerably tougher match ahead of them than they’d have originally anticipated. While we didn’t get to watch the matches, or manage to speak to any players and/or spectators, we hear the matches went as expected. VnR ultimately came out on top of this fixture, with a clean 2 – 0 victory over Ventus Red (or so we’ve heard – we’re still waiting for the tournament bracket to update).

Pulse Gaming Reborn (PLT Reborn) showed us some of that precision we’ve come to expect from the team that’s been playing in DGL Prem Div. unbroken since 2016. They played against Sin5 All Stars, who just recently earned promotion to DGL Prem Div. themselves. PLT Reborn welcome their new Prem Div. competitors with smiles and niceties, and then proceeded to give Sin5 All Stars an absolute hiding in a 2 – 0 series that was described to us as, “All Pulse, all the time.” Deathy, in particular, set status feeds ablaze with his Tidehunter play, as he found/made more space in one game than most of us manage in a few thousand hours of DotA2. A spectator told us that Deathy even picked up a rampage on the Tidehunter, which has to earn him just a few reports the next time you see him in a pub! Sin5 All Stars put up a valiant fight, but couldn’t deal with the space creation plays/strats that PLT Reborn currently enjoy running.

ApG Academy faced off against Damage Control (DC) in a fixture that, on paper, you’d have expected the DGL Masters team to easily take. This series ended up going the full three matches, with ApG Academy coming out on top with a surprise series 2 – 1 victory over DC. Although we only caught the back end of Game 3, ApG Academy seemed to play with confidence and were all over the Damage Control team every second of the match we saw. They never really gave DC any space to breath in the deciding match, when DC really needed just a little more time. Ultimately the surprise victory has come as a shock to DC, but this team has fairly new additions/recent changes and these players just need time to find that synergy they so desperately need. It’s unfortunate for them, but that’s the cost of making changes so close to such a critical tournament. Wp to ApG Academy for beating a Masters team, as it’s a fairly huge scalp they’ve claimed.

In the final series of the night Mythic Gaming were pitted against Ventus Gaming. Up to this point one DGL Masters team had won their first series convincingly, while one had suffered a surprise defeat. Ventus would want to emulate the former in their bid to secure one of the two DGL Masters LAN Cup seeds. Mythic Gaming (like Sin5 All Stars) recently secured promotion to DGL Prem Div. in their continuous upward march since the beginning of the year. Ventus, on the other hand, have been unable to maintain a stable DotA2 roster in recent months. They’ve had players constantly moving in and out of the team, even bringing in the majority of the ArmaGeddon squad (through Ventus Black) to cover for them in some DGL Masters games. Ventus haven’t really settled on a group of players for quite some time. For this tournament they made two significant changes (Traxion and Becky in), adding to the three usual suspects from the various Ventus pokemon gyms across the Telkom DGL (veterans like Seer, for instance).

Game 1 saw Ventus draft a wombo no-combo that Mythic Gaming wouldn’t ever let them land, which culminated in a comprehensive victory for Mythic Gaming. Ventus then levelled the series to 1 – 1 by winning Game 2. This match looked good for Mythic Gaming coming out of the draft, but in practice they failed to execute their draft in a fairly poor showing. Ventus made very few mistakes, controlling the pace of the majority of the game and punishing Mythic Gaming for every mistake. This forced the series to a third deciding game. Mythic Gaming opted to revert to what had worked for them in Game 1, while Ventus picked up a pos 1 carry Axe. Ventus probably felt pressured into picking the Axe to counter the 2nd phase Mythic Gaming pickup of Dazzle/TB and Ventus only had their final pick to decide on the Axe or not. Sadly, at that point they hadn’t yet picked up a traditional carry, and thus this decision was a risky one.  The final game was hotly contested throughout, with multiple outrageous team fights that could have swung either way. Ultimately Mythic Gaming’s draft started running away with the final game as precious minutes kept ticking away. Mythic Gaming pick up a Game 3 win, and take the series 2 – 1 against the Ventus DotA2 Masters team. While the Mythic Gaming team worked exceptionally tirelessly and played well, A_Monster on his signature Earth Spirit in Game 3 drew a lot of praise for his stellar performance. For Ventus mid player Becky stood out as a key figure in the series, consistently performing well (even when his team was struggling everywhere else).

Discussion | The VnR Last Minute Switch

You’d probably be surprised to find out that at 18h00 on Tues the 4th of July, VnR had no players in their team lineup. With only two hours until their fixture against Ventus Red, most people assumed a forfeit was in the works. VnR made a pretty logical play, that seemed obvious in retrospect. VnR just picked up the entire F3 DotA2 team (that were for obscure and/or supernatural reasons no longer competing in the Community Shield, even though they had qualified). F3 had come 7th in Telkom DGL Masters Leg 1. After a frantic afternoon of speed dating, the F3 players started appearing in the VnR official DGL team page. Wazoo was the first, requesting to join at 18h48 (only an hour and ten minutes, give or take, before the match). The rest quickly followed. It’s a pretty great move by VnR, as they’ve picked up a functional team (prepacked with synergy) which could potentially earn the MGO one of the two DGL Masters LAN seeds up for grabs in the Community Shield.

It seemed slightly strange that VnR could acquire an entirely new roster after the Community Shield had already officially begun. VnR themselves were yet to officially play a match in the tournament though. In particular this seems to be a particularly huge disadvantage to Ventus Red, who could have easily thought they’d probably be getting a free pass to the next round and had started strategizing/planning for their match against their next opposition. You can’t well prepare for such a critical match if you don’t even know who you’re playing until one hour before the game. All the rest of the teams had ample time to study their opposition and mentally/practically prepare for the teams they were playing on the night. You could say that VnR were under the same constraints, although these discussions between the team/players and VnR certainly didn’t happen as late as 18h48 on the day. Perhaps VnR gave Ventus Red a sportsmanlike heads up once they put their plans in motion.

While Masters teams are not under the same 2 core player restriction/requirement that the non-Masters teams are, there was still some dismay expressed that these lineup changes could happen so late (i.e. an hour before the match). The relevant rules we dug up on the Telkom DGL website we’ve listed below. As per the Telkom DGL Community Shield Specific Rules:

2.1 – Team Line-ups:
2.1.1 – Teams must use at least two (2) of the same players fielded in the qualification stage of the tournament in any match during the Community Shield. This means that of the five players fielded on the server/lobby, at least two of those players must have been a part of the same team during the Emerald or Sapphire Showdown.
2.1.2 – Teams qualifying via the Masters Leg 1 are exempt from 2.1.1 and may use any line-up, provided it abides by the usual line-up Masters regulations.

As per the Telkom DGL Community Shield General Rules:

3.2. Transfer Window

3.2.1. Team captains are not permitted to change their team line-up during the competition. Exceptions to this rule apply during the “transfer window”, where roster locks will be lifted so that teams may modify their line-up. The DGL may block a player transfer if it deems such action necessary.

The DGL Masters transfer window is currently open for incoming player transfer, which means VnR had from the 3rd to the 9th of April to move players into the team. The outbound transfer period was between 27 March – 2 April, so the only team at fault here would have been F3. If one can assume that rumours are true, that F3 have stopped competing in the DGL Masters, then it’d make sense that the F3 players should be free to leave a “dead team.”

Weds 05 April 2017 20h00 | Upcoming Fixtures

Upper Bracket Round 3 Fixtures:

  • Veneration Esports vs Pulse Gaming Reborn
  • Aperture Gaming Academy vs Mythic Gaming

Lower Bracket Round 2 Fixtures:

  • AstriXDotaAsX vs Ventus DotA

Closing Thoughts…

After last night it’s pretty safe to say that the gap between the bottom Masters teams and the top non-Masters teams isn’t as big as it was last year. Both Mythic Gaming and ApG Academy were able to notch up wins against (on paper) superior teams playing at a consistently higher level. But the reality is that both Ventus and DC have a mix of players (some who have Masters experience, some who don’t) that haven’t had all that much game time together. Thus it’s a little unrealistic to expect them to be playing at their best, whereas some of the non-Masters teams have been playing solidly together since the very first qualifier (way back at the end of January 2017).

That the non-Masters teams could take advantage of this and beat Masters teams remains a noticeable achievement, but we might not see them 2 – 0 WRG at the Telkom DGL DotA2 Masters LAN Cup. After last night’s displays however, it wouldn’t be for lack of trying. There was a lot of skill, determination, and teamwork on display in the various games last night resulting in a few upsets thanks to some gutsy non-Masters unknowns. This is great for South African esports in general and we hope teams continue to close the skill gaps. The biggest challenge for many teams on the field of play still has to be VnR. Their combination of individual skill/mechanics and their experience playing together as a team at the Masters level for months already, means they’re going to be the team to beat. These fixtures are only getting more and more interesting/intense and I highly recommend making sure you catch some of these games going forward. Keep your eye on the official Telkom DGL YouTube page for their streams. The Lower Bracket, in particular might be really explosive as a loss there means elimination for the losing team.

A recap on our predictions (with updates):

Our tongue in cheek inaugural Telkom DGL DotA2 Community Shield predictions. We’ll make sure you stay up to date on how badly we called it!

  • Most likely to succeed? Flipsid3 Tactics South Africa. (Although they’re VnR now, it’s the same team we said would win it all – and winning *bigly* they most certainly have so far.)
  • Unlikely outsiders? Mythic Gaming. (Mythic Gaming refer to themselves as the Second Division team with First Division dreams. Somehow they’re still in it. We don’t know how they do it. Probably reruns of the Rocky franchise and an athlete’s diet of bacon banana pizza.)
  • Most likely to emulate the RSA cricket team? Pulse Gaming Reborn. (Like the South African cricket side, they’ve breezed through the early stage matches. Watch this space.)
  • Fan favorite? Damage Control. (They had spectators who were bleak to see them lose. I was one of them!)
  • Prom King/Queen? Constant. (The notorious Meepo mainer and his twin brother were not available for comment.) 
  • First to capture all three starter Pokemon? Ventus Gaming. (Ventus Gaming missed out on a Bulbasaur, while Ventus Red only caught a Pidgey.)
  • The [un]Official Telkom DGL DotA2 Community Shield 1 tagline? “Lose twice and you’re done!” (Cannot confirm as no one has lost twice yet. Check back with me tomorrow. Although we might need to change the tagline to “Infinite Pauses Incoming!”)

TL;DR The Telkom Digital Gaming League (DGL) Community Shield UB Round 1 & 2 Results (03-04 April 2017). Veneration Esports catch Ventus Red on the Flipsid3. Last nights victors: VnR, PLT Reborn, ApG Academy, and Mythic Gaming. Last nights losers: Ventus Red, AstriXDotaAsX, DC, and Ventus DotA. Lower Bracket fixtures commence with elimination imminent!