Telkom Digital Gaming League (DGL) | Masters DotA2

31 January –  05 February 2017 | Round 2 Results

Last night saw the final two series of the second round of fixtures for the Telkom Digital Gaming League (DGL) DotA2 Masters take place. Each team has now played two matches a piece and the power vacuum that Bravado Gaming left in South African DotA2 is starting be filled by the top MGOs. Although the competitive DotA2 landscape has shifted, some things remain unchanged in 2017, as the top 3 South African DotA2 teams assert their dominance. These teams are full of all too familiar faces.

Telkom DGL Masters DotA2 Round 2 Results:

Damage Control (DC) faced off against Aperture Gaming (ApG) this week in a series about as one sided as many of you would expect. After their defeat in Round 1 against Flipsid3 Tactics South Africa, DC looked like they’d be destined to struggle for the rest of the Leg. ApG, on the other hand, have gotten off to a flying start. ApG managed to easily run over DC 2 – 0 in this fixture. Both games were under 30 minutes and were fairly one sided affairs. Even though DC managed to ban out key picks (such as Adastam’s Lone Druid) they couldn’t stop a rampant ApG at any point, in either of the matches in this series. ApG are the only team who seem to be successfully running Vengeful Spirit as a carry at the moment, and Adam is absolutely fearsome on this hero.

Elsewhere, xTc Gaming (xTc) managed to earn a well fought 2 – 1 victory over Pulse Gaming (PLT). With each game in the series getting subsequently longer, and significantly harder fought with each game, it was clear both teams sought victory. Neither team looked willing to back down in Game 3, both absolutely desperate for the win to turn around their poor start to Leg 1 of the Telkom DGL DotA2 Masters. It was ultimately xTc who secured the victory, which was honestly well deserved on their part. Pulse Gaming came close and were barely edged out. They’ll no doubt want another crack at xTc in the future to turn this result on its head.

Flipsid3 Tactics South Africa (F3) started off their series against Energy eSports (eN) with a bang, winning the first game in the Bo3 series. This result was surprising because eN once again started a match off well, only to fail at exploiting their early game advantage. They would eventually throw a 15k gold advantage down the toilet, giving Muzzy on Tinker enough time to start hitting like thirty seven brick walls. Once the Tinker found enough farm, there was very little eN could do to break the F3 base. With a 1-0 lead, F3 were sitting pretty.

Game 2 and 3, however, were all eN. They performed really well in Game 2 and 3 of the series, to bring the series back their way. A notable omission from these games was any Invoker or Tinker pick for Muzzy. This allowed eN to easily manage the heroes F3 picked for their mid. In a peculiar move, it was F3 who actually banned out their mid players best hero Invoker while in the same game eN removed the problematic Tinker from the pool. F3 Opted instead for the Sniper pick on Muzzy, who subsequently failed to make any real impact in the game at all. eN eventually won the series 2 – 1 against F3.

The 2016 Telkom DGL Masters DotA2 Champions White Rabbit Gaming (WRG) played against a buoyant Veneration Esports (VnR) team in Round 2. After their dream start to the 2017 season, this would prove a gruelling test for VnR. Castaway had added a cheeky suffix to his name for this series, calling himself the Bugatti mid in preparation for his mid matchup against Volkswagen of VnR. These mind games must have worked, because Castaway fared well in both of these games. WRG would easily despatch VnR in a 2 – 0 clean sweep where neither match lasted longer than 25 minutes. Although, to be fair, the second game was a tad bit closer than the first.

The final match of Round 2 saw eXdee Gaming (xD) up against old Premier Division rivals Ventus Gaming (Ventus), in an epic rematch of the 2016 Telkom DGL DotA2 Championship. Anyone who watched that match would be able to tell you that while Ventus certainly pushed xD back in 2015, xD were never really in danger of losing a series to anyone in Premier Division. And to be fair, I didn’t hold out much hope for Ventus here either. It isn’t that Ventus are bad, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s only that xD are that good, that this series was so one sided. xD would indeed recreate history with another victory over Ventus. They brushed aside Ventus in a enjoyable 2 – 0 series that was never really close.

It’s important to note that this is only the end of the second round of fixtures in Leg 1 of the Telkom DGL DotA2 Masters. As such, it’s highly unlikely that these teams will stay in these positions. In most cases the top teams have yet to face off against each other, so things can change up nicely in the coming weeks. With that being said both Aperture Gaming and White Rabbit Gaming have put in absolutely dominant displays thus far and look to be the main contenders to watch out for at the upcoming Telkom DGL Masters LAN later in the year. eXdee Gaming also look to be in fine form, but have been guilty of messing around in one or two games/drafts when they’ve felt a victory was a sure thing. In competitive titles around the world, this can often come back to a bite in a team if they get too complacent. These three are, for the time being at least, the teams to beat.

The middle of the pack is made up of Flipsid3 Tactics South Africa, Energy eSports, xTc Gaming, and Veneration Esports. These teams have at times looked either really solid, or alternatively hopelessly lost. Sometimes appearing to be two separate teams, in the same series! It’s clear there is a bit of a gap between these teams and the top 3, that much is sure. As for the bottom of the log, three teams languish with only two points apiece. These teams are Pulse Gaming, Ventus Gaming, and Damage Control. These teams have been a little unlucky in whom they’ve faced thus far in Leg 1, and I’m sure they’ll manage to put together significantly better performances in the future. However, they really need to work on their game if they’re to challenge the likes of White Rabbit Gaming. From what we’ve seen so far, this appears unlikely to occur anytime soon. But we’re holding out hope that these teams manage to turn their luck around, and soon!

With Round 3 fixtures just around the corner, do you expect the log to shuffle much? Or will ApG and WRG extend their lead at the top of the log? In my opinion both these teams look like they’re on fire and it’s going to take something special to stop them in their tracks. And if either of these two teams falter, you can bet xD will be there to mop up what’s left and take their places at the top.

TL;DR Only Aperture Gaming and White Rabbit Gaming still sitting on a 100% win rate, at the top of the table after Round 2. Damage Control, Ventus, and Pulse Gaming round out the bottom of the log.