ESL One New York is just around the corner, with the first round matchups having been set in stone ever since the bracket was released last week. None of the teams in the first round matchups have played against each other on the new 6.82 patch yet – it all comes down to who adapted to it best. So without further ado, let’s look ahead at the upcoming series.
Evil Geniuses (26-5) vs. Alliance (17-12)
One of the marquee matchups of the tournament, these two teams have not met since TI4. Since then, EG.Fear recovered from his injury and took the place of Mason. Alliance, on the other hand, lost s4 and EGM, and are now playing with Misery and Chessie (although Chessie is actually missing ESL One due to a back injury). Like Cloud 9, Alliance is coming to ESL One from WCA, where they placed third, although EG has not been particularly active as of late, only playing one match against M5 in the past 10 days.
- Pretty much all of EG’s most picked heroes
- EG’s most banned hero is Skywrath Mage but Alliance are 2-5 with the hero – EG should look to ban Visage
- Naga will be pivotal in this matchup – EG is 7-0 with the hero while Alliance is 5-1 with her
- Jakiro will play a big role in the draft. While both teams have had success with the hero, EG is especially reliant on a Jakiro pick – EG is actually 3-4 when Jakiro is banned by the other team
- Alliance is 0-4 against Vengeful Spirit, 0-3 against Naga Siren and Brewmaster
- Four of EG’s five losses involved an enemy Death Prophet
These are the two highest-touted names not only in Dota but in eSports, and they have plenty to prove. Alliance has been playing considerably more official matches in the past couple weeks, even attending a LAN. Meanwhile, we’ll get to see what Fear and company have been cooking up in their downtime and if it’s enough to throw off Alliance without their full roster.
Natus Vincere (39-23) vs. Vici Gaming (50-18)
The second big matchup of the quarterfinals. Much like EG and [A], these two teams have not faced each other since TI4 and have gone through some major roster changes. Na’Vi’s drafter and support players, Puppey and kky, both left the team to join Secret Team, and were replaced by Fng, formerly of Power Rangers, and VANSKOR. Vici Gaming, on the other hand, has added fan favorites iceiceice and Black^ in the wake of rOtk’s retirement and Sylar’s departure. Both these teams also competed in WCA, and while Navi had an early exit in the first round of the lower bracket, VG placed fourth, beaten out by Cloud 9 in the third round of the lower bracket.
- Navi is 9-1 with Legion Commander, Lifestealer and Ogre Magi, and 9-2 with Rubick
- VG is 9-2 with Enigma, 9-1 with Sand King, 8-1 with Tiny and 8-2 with Drow and Visage
- Navi has banned Centaur Warrunner ten times but may need to ban him heavily against VG as they are currently 15-3 with him. In fact, opponents win 58% of the games against VG when they ban Centaur
- Mirana is one of Na’Vi’s most picked and banned heroes. If VG can find a way to utilize a Mirana pick, Navi has shown weakness playing against the cat lady, going 1-4 against her in the past month
- Seven of VG’s 18 losses in the past month came against a Naga and/or Jakiro
Even though both of these two teams attended WCA this past week, they did not actually meet. The winner of this series will have a chance to redeem themselves and might even face another WCA attendee – Alliance or Cloud 9 – in the grand finals.
Cloud 9 (29-22) vs. Sneaky Nyx Assassins (35-25)
This matchup sees two teams coming off some impressive placings. Cloud 9 just had an impressive run at WCA, placing second behind Newbee. SNA, on the other hand, convincingly took out fellow ESL One contender Na’Vi.US 3-1 in the grand finals of the Dota 2 Canada Cup.
- Centaur Warrunner might play a key role in this match – C9 are 11-4 when they ban Centaur Warrunner against teams, while SNA are 1-4 when he gets banned
- Brewmaster is one of SNA’s top picks, but they only have a 38% win rate with the hero. While Brew is pretty much always a great ban or pick on most occasions, they might want to look at also denying Death Prophet and Sand King, two of SNA’s most successful heroes. In fact, those two heroes, particularly Mu’s DP, played a significant role in Cloud 9’s loss to Newbee at WCA
- SNA is 6-1 against Batrider, C9’s second-most-picked hero this month
- In the past month, C9 is currently 8-1 with Mirana, 4-1 with Wraith King, 7-3 with Bane, and 5-2 with Beastmaster
A look at SNA’s most-picked heroes reveal a team that highly values teamfight combos. However, Cloud 9’s recent performance has reminded us how good they are at efficiently utilizing the map and defending against (feeding?) the Deathball. Either way, this matchup might be one of the more interesting as C9 are coming from China to New York in a relatively quick turnaround while SNA are essentially on home ground with plenty of practice.
Na’Vi.US (33-15, 69%) vs. Secret Team (17-3, 89%)
Two of the newer top-tier teams in Dota face off in the last series of ESL One’s quarterfinals. Na’Vi.US was formerly known as the North American Rejects but were picked up by the Na.Vi organization when they qualified for TI4. Secret Team was formed in the wake of the post-TI4 shuffle and is reminiscent of what Team DK was post-TI3: a seemingly unbeatable all-star team. Though they boast the highest win percentage in the past month, they have also played the least amount of games.
- Na’Vi.US currently has an 83% win rate with their third-most-picked hero, Earthshaker. Unfortunately, Secret Team has only banned four heroes more than four times, and Earthshaker is one of those heroes
- Na’Vi.US is 13-0 when banning or picking a Pugna and 9-0 when banning or playing Shadow Shaman
- Secret team is undefeated with six of their top nine hero picks: Brewmaster, Io, Razor, Enigma, Nature’s Prophet, and Tidehunter
- Io might play a pivotal role in this matchup. Wisp is the most banned hero against Secret Team, and with good reason. Meanwhile, Na’Vi.US has struggled when an Io pick is taken away from them, going 3-13 when Io is banned against them and 0-3 when playing against a Wisp
- Na’Vi.US are currently 2-6 against Enigma, and considering Secret’s flawless record with the hero, Enigma might be a high-value pick or ban in this series
- 12 different heroes were used against Team Secret in their three losses. The only heroes that Secret have lost to more than once are Earthshaker (2-2), Mirana (2-3) and Faceless Void (2-6)
Secret make their LAN debut at ESL One New York and their fans have high hopes for their performance. On the other hand, Na’Vi.US have had roster problems. Both 1437 ann Brax have not played with the team in the past three weeks, leaving only Sneyking, Fogged, and Korok from the original North American Rejects roster. Overall, things don’t look good for Na’Vi.US, but perhaps they can pull an upset and give Secret their second loss against a Na’Vi roster.
To watch these epic games, tune in to the ESL One New York Twitch channel on October the 9th and 10th live from the Theater at Madison Square Garden! Alternatively, if you want to attend in person, make sure to grab yourself some tickets!
You can also find some of our other ESL One New York coverage below:
- The top five games from the ESL One New York qualifiers
- “Dota 2 is reaching a new level of visibility, tournament numbers and competitivity”: we interview Na’Vi as ESL One approaches
- “Dota 2 is my special lady, and I don’t front”: an interview with Jacob “SirActionSlacks” Kanner
- “Everything feels more epic at a live event”: an interview with Austin “Capitalist” Walsh