Telkom Digital Gaming League (DGL) | DotA2 Masters Preview

23 January – 26 March 2017 | Leg 1

The Telkom Digital Gaming League (DGL) DotA2 Masters 2017 season officially gets underway this week. The DGL Masters DotA2 Leg 1 commences on Monday the 23rd of January and ends of the 26th of March 2017. The invite only league has been expanded from 8 to 10 teams this year and the brief off season in South African esports has seen a plethora of unexpected shuffling amongst the premier South African MGOs. The first round of fixtures are officially scheduled to take place sometime after the 23rd of January. As soon as we have more details we’ll be sure to publish them here on Zombiegamer.

MGOs Out, MGOs In, and MGOs Somewhere In Between

The biggest news of the 2017 DGL Masters season is the omission of powerhouse Bravado Gaming from this years program. In an article published on their website just a few days ago, Bravado Gaming announced that they would not be entering the 2017 Telkom DGL Masters program. They give a variety of reasons for this, most notable of which is that they intend to pursue greater opportunities both in South Africa and abroad. Reentry through qualifier cups for each DGL Masters Cup now makes it possible that Bravado Gaming could attend the biggest events in South Africa and abroad, without being beholden to an intense schedule of competitive local games each week. This allows them to focus on events all over the world, rather than just a single program or two in South Africa.

Bravado Gaming were not the only organization to surprise us in early 2017. It appears that Carbon eSports has been swallowed whole by Energy eSports, who have taken the best of Carbon and merged it with the best of Energy in some unholy and altogether calculated move. To be honest, Energy eSports (once rivals to Bravado Gaming) were in danger of falling off of the face of South African esports scene entirely. This move brings these MGOs, and their combined strengths, to bear upon the South African scene. Can Energy reattain its former glory once again?

We’ve now discussed two of the eight MGOs that took part in the DGL Masters during 2016 (Bravado Gaming and Carbon eSports). The other six organizations that have confirmed they’re retaining their spots in 2017 are: Aperture Gaming, White Rabbit Gaming, Xperts @ Total Chaos, Damage Control, Veneration Esports, and Flipsid3 Tactics.

This left just three open spots in the Telkom DGL Masters for 2017. Many had, up to this point, already known that two new spots were being created. But no one foresaw Bravado Gaming pulling out of Masters this year. As such, debate has for months been consuming the local scene as to which two MGOs would be invited up to Masters. Since there were three obvious contenders, few could easily decide between them. It seems we were all right, and wrong, at the same time. I introduce your three new Telkom DGL Masters MGOs: eXdee Gaming, Pulse Gaming, and Ventus Gaming. Congratulations!

DGL Masters 2017 | DotA2 Player Transfers

Aperture Gaming
Players In Players Out
Mark “Filthy Frank” Lehle Rowan “Phalanx” Budhai

Filthy Frank joins from Damage Control to replace Phalanx. I have heard that Phalanx has decided to retire from competitive DotA2 for an indeterminate amount of time. At this time he remains on the Aperture Gaming DGL Masters roster as a reserve. At present, however, he is no longer part of the core 5 lineup.

Energy eSports
Players In Players Out
Wesley “oDu” Rose Mo “modase” Jones
Yun-Kuang “amawing” Cheng

Modase is the only real casualty of the Energy and Carbon merger. Odu joins from Bravado Gaming, which is a huge pickup for the team. Amawing joins from Pulse Gaming, primarily to provide depth as a reserve player.

White Rabbit Gaming
Players In Players Out
None None

No trouble in paradise for current champions White Rabbit Gaming. They make no changes to their roster for the start of the 2017 season.

Xperts @ Total Chaos
Players In Players Out
Dirk “skynet)(” van Velden JC “Marauder” Cloete
Teddy “bluecat” Wang Teodor “Ripinc” Nel
Aidan “DDP” Marshall GW “Heffalump” Annandale

Skynet, Bluecat, and DDP move into the team at the expense of Ripinc, Heffalump, and Marauder. These changes are no doubt an attempt to strengthen the squad ahead of a tough 2017 season.

Veneration Esports
Players In Players Out
Abdur “Habibi” Kamdar Kyuubii “KyuuBii.88^” Yeung
Liam “Porsche” Berrill Carlo “Cy” Colarossi
Christopher “Anthem” Lake Jeffrey “EmeroR.G6” Fung
Tameer “TKC~” Chicktay Charl “Thanatos” Kleyn

Habibi is the second of the old Bravado team to move into another RSA MGO at the start of 2017, find a home at 2016 disappointment Veneration Esports. He is joined by TKC, Anthem, and PSL in an attempt to turn around Veneration Esports disastrous DotA2 fortunes. On the way out are the majority of the 2016 squad.

Damage Control
Players In Players Out
Reggie “Mr Potatoe Head” Mogorosi Mark “Filthy Frank” Lehle
Haroon “Maple” Gool Jonathan “Callisto” Cameron
Ernest “Ihsahn” Halberg Dirk “skynet)(” van Velden
Gavin “faded” Walden
Dalen “Popoman” Govender

The Damage Control DotA2 squad that started off 2016 so well is essentially gutted, with only Stunt remaining. Filthy Frank has joined ApG, Callisto has joined Pulse Gaming, and Skynet has joined xTc. Faded and Popoman also exit the team. They’re replaced by Mr Potatoe Head, Ihsahn, and Maple.

Flipsid3 Tactics
Players In Players Out
Mikhail “1337” Nicholls Marc “cRitzEEE” Pollard
Juandre “panda737” Rentzke

Critzee is the only casualty at the start of Flipsid3 Tactics’ 2017 season. Although it was clear he was already out of the team by the time the MTN Mega8 invitational rolled around in December 2016, when Muzzy joined the team. The only new additions then are 1337 and panda737 in an early attempt to strengthen one of the weakest Telkom DGL Masters DotA2 rosters.

eXdee Gaming
Players In Players Out
None Jean-luc “Fonfon” Roels
Wesley “Solarion” Hellmer

eXdee Gaming drop their reserves Fonfon and Solarion now that they’re in Masters. This leaves the original 2016 roster intact. eXdee is certainly going to be one of the most formidable and fierce teams in the RSA scene, especially considering their stability going from the 2016 to 2017 seasons.

Pulse Gaming
Players In Players Out
Robert “rAgeBos” Huckle Yun-Kuang “amawing” Cheng
Tristan “Aghanim” Kiefer Christopher “Anthem” Lake

Amawing doesn’t join the rest of his former team in Masters, instead joining Energy eSports as a reserve. Anthem doesn’t join his former team either, opting instead to join up with Veneration Esports. They’re replaced by the infamous rAgeBos, as well as Aghanim.

Ventus Gaming
Players In Players Out
Abraham “Joram” Cronje Tameer “TKC~” Chicktay
Damian “Rock Lee” Dangubic

Ventus combine the best players from both their Red and Green teams together for the inaugural Telkom DGL Masters campaign. From Red: Seer and Abyss. From Green: Arreat, 3, Nightwraith, and Clunge Plunger. TKC heads to Veneration Esports instead of joining his former teammates in the new Masters team. Former teammate Rock Lee also leaves Ventus Gaming (they were both part of the successful Ventus Red team).

DGL Masters 2017 | DotA 2 Leg 1 Round 1

Round 1 fixtures are scheduled to start sometime after the 23rd of January. This probably means that between Wednesday and Sunday we’re going to our first clashes of the opening week of Telkom DGL Masters DotA2 action!

Round 1 fixtures (dates and times tbc):

  • Xperts @ Total Chaos vs eXdee Gaming
  • Flipsid3 Tactics vs Damage Control
  • White Rabbit Gaming vs Pulse Gaming
  • Aperture Gaming vs Ventus
  • Energy eSports vs Veneration Esports

TL;DR Ten MGOs announced for the Telkom DGL Masters 2017 program. Bravado Gaming are out while Ventus, Pulse, and eXdee are in. Carbon and Energy perform fusion to become something even more powerful.