Telkom Digital Gaming League (DGL) | Masters DotA2

21 February – 26 February 2017 | Round 5 Results

On Sunday night (26 February 2017) a Telkom Digital Gaming League (DGL) double header brought Round 5 of Leg 1 to a close. We’re now well past halfway through this first leg of the year and things are really starting to heat up as 10 Masters MGOs fight over just 6 spots to the Masters LAN event. While the top 6 MGOs secure a direct seed to the Masters LAN event, the bottom 4 teams will have to try to qualify in the Community Shield event. But, as only 2 seeds are up for grabs in the Community Shield event, at least two Masters MGOs are going to be bitterly disappointed by the end of Leg 1. We’ve heard that the Telkom DGL LAN event is going to be in Cape Town. We’ve also heard that an announcement regarding Bravado Gaming’s DotA2 team are close, but it seems that they’ll not be part of the Masters LAN event (as these Sapphire events are the last way to qualify for the Masters LAN as far as I’m aware – but Telkom changes things as and when they want). As such, these last few weeks in Leg 1 are going to be critical for all the teams involved.

Telkom DGL Masters DotA2 Round 5 Results:

It’s been a great first leg for White Rabbit Gaming (WRG). Better than we even expected, to be honest. At the end of 2016 the top 4 teams in the country looked to finally have reached a point where all of them where in the same skill tier, teams trading wins instead of just one MGO dominating. We had expected this trend to continue into 2017, but it appears not to have turned out that way. Facing off against another of their main competitors in the Telkom DGL in the form of eXdee Gaming (xD), the WRG team showed us once again why they’re now the undisputed force in South African competitive DotA2.

WRG would walk away with what was, if we’re honest, two fairly easy victories over xD. Neither match was long, with WRG taking 29 minutes to win Game 1 and only 21 minutes to win Game 2, thus resulting in a 2 – 0 series victory for WRG over xD. WRG ensured that xD just never really go to play their game, either banning Pudge (as in Game 1) or playing aggressive pickoff DotA of their own to control the tempo on the map. xD really just couldn’t find the space other teams let them have, and WRG heavily punished any mistakes they saw. With time, however, I’m certain xD are going to bounce back from this and adapt to playing against what must see a monstrous WRG team.

xTc Gaming (xTc) recently announced their acquisition of Adam “Adastam” Moore after the player was forced to leave Aperture Gaming. This is a move that makes very little sense to me (and much of the community, considering the responses we’ve seen online). But it’ll be a move that xTc must be grinning from ear to ear about. Although xTc at this point in time cannot use Adastam in the Telkom DGL current Leg due to transfer restrictions, they’re still performing strongly until such time as the transfer window lifts post-Leg 1. There are talks in progress regarding Adastam being able to play earlier, as there are with many MGOs who desperately need to make player transfers happen. Even though Masters MGOs clearly need mid Leg transfers periods (even a day would suffice), it appears Telkom are demanding ridiculous monetary penalties from the MGOs to help them in anyway. We have an article sitting waiting to be published on this very issue, among others plaguing the competition at the moment, but we’re waiting on an official Telkom response before we go ahead with it.

Returning to DotA2, xTc faced Damage Control (DC) this week. The match went pretty much as expected, with the DC side unable to stand for long against the disciplined and ruthless xTc squad. The series culminating in xTc walking away with a 2 – 0 victory. While game 1 between these two lasted some 43 minutes and was close for small portions of the match, xTc realistically just took their time sieging the base and securing the win. Game 2 DC crumbled, succumbing before the 30 minute mark and getting absolutely romped by xTc. DotA and Die on Timbersaw finished that match 13/0/7 and bluecat on KotL had a ball finishing 4/0/15. KotL is seeing a lot more play lately and xTc are clearly aware of these international trends.

Aperture Gaming (ApG) and Pulse Gaming (PLT) faced each other in a match that two weeks ago I would have called in favour of ApG. Yet, with the removal of Adastam from the lineup PLT must have felt that the time was ripe for them to sink their teeth into ApG and walk away with an upset. It’s thus unsurprising then that PLT not only clearly prepared a lineup to do just that, but executed it so well that ApG were clearly caught sleeping. Match 1 would be a 56 minute epic that had very few kills, but had the intensity of a TI7 final. PLT would manage to shock ApG, winning Game 1 with all around superior play. Match 2 would have as much intensity as the first game, but ApG had a slightly better draft and a much better early game start. While PLT managed to fight ApG off for much of the game, and looked likely to possibly come back at another part of the game, ultimately they lost after 47 minutes.

The deciding Game 3 lasted only 25 minutes, with ApG completely outdrafting PLT. As if that wasn’t enough, ApG also absolutely dominated the laning phase from the first few minutes and after that there was just no coming back for PLT. While the match was particularly one sided, it’s the closest this team has coming to upsetting a Top 3 DotA2 MGO. There are a great many positives to take from this for PLT, and no doubt they’ll be studying this series in earnest to figure out why Game 1 went so well and why the others didn’t.

Elsewhere, Energy eSports (eN) were in for a shock when an all new Ventus Gaming (Ventus) lineup appeared in the lobby for their Telkom DGL scheduled fixture. Their surprise was mirrored by everyone else, with the game taking some time to start as people figured things out. We have an article coming out on this as well in the coming days, but once again we’re waiting for comments from Ventus and Telkom DGL before we post that in the next day or so. Suffice to say that Ventus claimed that this all new lineup belonged to their Sister Team (something I know you’re not aware of and we’ll be dealing with in that article I mentioned). For now, let’s ignore this claim for the sake of keeping your mind intact and merely discuss the match itself.

The eN lineup has had a hard time gelling together this season and it showed again in this fixture. While their individual play is fairly solid (and the cores get a lot done in lane) they fail to really hammer home any advantage they have in the critical transition phases of the match. As such, and as we see in Match 1, they take longer than they need to hammer down a victory (almost 40 minutes in Match 1) that they really should have had sooner. While Ventus played decently (a lot of the non-Masters players in this lineup are old hands in the scene) they never really looked like they’d win it. That all changed in Game 2, however, which was a significantly tighter affair either team could have won at various points in the game. It’s the first time in a while I’ve seen a Tusk pickup anywhere, let alone on oDu. The pick off heavy eN squad struggled at times to deal with the team fight Ventus put out (who were more coordinated anyway), but would eventually barely win Game 2 to settle the series 2 – 0 in their favour.

Telkom DGL DotA2 Masters Leg 1 Round 5 | Log

WRG are the only unbeaten team in the Telkom DGL DotA2 Masters thus far. This eerily echoes performances made by Bravado Gaming during their years of glory. Even the main opposition teams, ApG and xD, have suffered pretty heavy defeats to WRG. This doesn’t dispel the the image of WRG dominance. In 2nd place is xTc, who one could argue have been flying under the radar and doing the best to put in great performances and let those do their talking for them. While 2nd to 4th place all have 13 points, their win rates are what orders them. 3rd and 4th, both on 13 points as well, are ApG and xD. But unlike xTc, they’ve both played WRG already and so shouldn’t lose any more points. Ultimately your top 4 should stay this way going forward, unless something absolutely crazy happens.

In 5th place is PLT on 9 points and a 50% win rate. They’ve been putting in great performances and have really stood out at times. In 6th place is eN on 9 points and a 41.66% win rate. Although they’re still struggling to really come together as a unit, their individual skill still helps them grind out results against the other Masters teams. This is where the most change could occur over the coming weeks to the top 6 spots in the Telkom DGL DotA2 Masters, as teams compete for the direct seeds to the LAN event.

7th to 10th places are rounded out by F3 (9 points, 33.33% win rate), DC (7 points 20% win rate), VnR (6 points 22.22% win rate), and Ventus (5 points 0% win rate) in that order. Ventus and VnR in the bottom spots have no real chance of now making the top 6, and so it’s unsurprising these teams will focus on changes to the squads. Once again, we’ll discuss Ventus in the coming days, as their actions have been pretty outrageous of late. VnR, on the other hand, had a very scary lineup (i.e. Toyota Prius in mid) and only managed to pick up a win in Round 1, but after that crumbled as they failed to find any real synergy. Many of the players in this team are well known as difficult to work with, so it’s unsurprising cooperative teams with arguably lower skill keep beating them.

Telkom DGL DotA2 Masters Leg 1 | Round 5 Stats

Slardar remains one of the most significant picks in South African competitive DotA2. His win rate is still high enough that picking him translates into a huge advantage for skilled teams. Slardar is followed closely by Lone Druid, who has a lower win rate (probably because he is a harder hero to master). Underlord has an abysmal win rate, but this is because he has only been picked up in just 6 matches. Shadow Demon finally beats out Rubick as the most contested support, but it’s interesting that Rubick still has a higher win rate. And everyone’s favourite Goku cosplayer rounds out the most contested 5 heroes in the South African competitive scene, with almost a 68% pick/ban rate and an above average win rate of 59%.

The player KDA ratios are starting to normalize as more games are played over a greater amount of time. Thus it’s still important to note that Adastam’s value of 10.69 is inflated (but doesn’t preclude him from this list). Hopefully he is playing again soon and can add more data to this table to silence his critics. Travis “Castaway” Waters has a ridiculously high KDA, as does his support teammate Nicholas “Schlinks” Dammert. They’re on 9.90 and 8.23 respectively. Rounding out the 5 highest KDAs are DDP (Depi) and DotA and Die, both from xTc Gaming. DDP is sitting on 7.97 while DotA and Die is on 7.13.

Other interesting stats are:

  • White Rabbit Gaming have issued a restraining order against Weaver, banning him in 7/10 competitive matches so far.
  • After 54 competitive matches in the Telkom DGL DotA2 Masters so far, there is still no word on a support Viper for HellbirD or a zoning Techies for Jubba. For shame!
  • Skynet)( decides to one up his teammate bluecat, by having the highest assists so far with 179.
  • A leading agency claims that serial carry DotA and Die has killed 113 of his enemies, the most recorded so far.

Please note that these stats were taken from the main table at the time of writing the article over a two day period, thus they’re not always representative of the final values at the end of each round (unless otherwise stated).

TL;DR A week of intrigue in the Telkom Digital Gaming League (DGL) DotA2 Masters for player/team movement. WRG almost sure to go unbeaten for the rest of the Leg 1 to secure a 1st seed spot and the upcoming Masters LAN. xTc Gaming sitting in 2nd and looking to stay there.