The Dota2 EPIC League, an European event organized by the Russian Epic Esports Events is finally over.
After 6 days of intense Dota 2 action in 2 divisions, we have finally crowned two new champions. The ending of EPIC League marks the ending of big Major tier 1 Dota 2 tournaments for this year. As we close 2020, teams in EPIC League have been rewarded with $550,000 in prizes for their efforts and placings.
EPIC League Division 1 was one of the two biggest tournaments this year. Featuring a $500,000 prize pool for Division 1, it was one of the most watched and hyped tournaments lately. In this online tournament, 10 teams were competing for the glory and the title of the best European (including CIS region) Dota 2 team right now. With such a prize pool you must have all the best teams in one place. And we had just that. The best 10 teams in the regions entered this tournament’s group stage.
While it was again expected that Team Secret would take another championship, it just didn’t go their way. They ended in 4th place in the group stage, barely able to qualify for the upper bracket in the playoffs. OG did disappoint too, as they’ve ended up their group stage run on a very low 7th place, right behind Team Liquid. The most dominant team in the group stage was Virtus.Pro. With 7 wins and just 2 losses (vs Liquid and Vikin.gg), they took 1st place in a dominant fashion. One of the hottest teams in Europe recently, Vikin.gg were ranked right behind them, in 2nd place with 6 wins and 3 losses. Without teams like Nigma, Liquid or OG in the top 4, playoffs had a really interesting bracket.
And once again, Secret disappointed. 0-2 vs Virtus.Pro in round 1 of the upper bracket, 0-2 vs Liquid in round 2 of the lower bracket and they were out. From there, it was all about Virtus.Pro. With 2 clean victories, they’ve found themselves in the grand finals, where they’ve managed to lose their first 2 maps in the playoffs. They beat OG with a 3-2, who had an amazing run throughout the lower bracket, to win the championship. Against all odds, Virtus.Pro was crowned the best team in Europe right now. Just recently assembled, and they’ve already managed to win a tier 1 major Dota 2 tournament. On the way, crushing all relevant EU squads and winning $200,000 for the 1st place.
The biggest disappointments were definitely Team Nigma and Team Secret. Nigma was the first team to drop out of the playoffs, in round 1 of the lower bracket. Let’s mention Alliance too, who weren’t even able to qualify for the playoffs. They’ve dropped to Division 2 where they were looking for their way back to the top.
Oh my, oh my what a mess that was in the Division 2. Division 2 was played at the same time as Division 1, just with a much smaller prize pool of just $50,000. 10 tier 2 Dota 2 teams were able to get into the Division 2 group stage throughout the qualifiers. Let’s just say that these teams were the best of the best that tier 2 EU / CIS Dota can offer right now.
Teams like Ninjas in Pyjamas (who left the organization along the way), Gambit, newly formed squad Live to Win were big names on the tier 2 scene. However, the group stage was dominated by one team, Yellow Submarine. The CIS squad managed to shock almost all squads in the group stages of Division 2 and with 8 wins and only 1 loss, they managed to take the 1st place dominantly. They lost only to Spider Pigz which was a really surprising loss for them. Their aggressive play and unknown patterns of draft and ingame style managed to surprise all their opponents. In 2nd place with the same number of wins and losses was Live to Win. The newly born CIS squad showed that they are a squad with a great potential with ex Virtus.Pro, Gambit and Natus Vincere players.
These two teams were definitely the favourites for Division 2, while for example Ninjas in Pyjamas surprised us all, well, in a negative way. They were expected to be on the top, but instead they’ve ended in 5th place in the group, barely managing to get into the playoffs.
Playoffs were a special story, as we had the best 6 teams from the group stage of Division 2 fighting the worst 2 teams from the Division 1, which were Alliance and Mudgolems.
Live to Win were impeccable in the playoffs, two 2-0 results until the grand finals where they needed to face an amazing Alliance who had an incredible run in the lower bracket. 4 matches, 4 straight wins showed that none of the Division 2 teams were on their level. In the amazing back and forth grand finals, Alliance managed to take the win over Live to win with a close 3-2. What a road for Alliance that was. Dropping out of Division 1, fighting throughout the whole lower bracket in Division 2 to be crowned the champions. Winning $20,000 on the way was just a big bonus for their amazing performance and showings in the last couple of days in the league.
This tournament definitely showed that competition in European Dota is getting higher and tougher by each day. Team Secret is not unbeatable anymore, as they have fallen into the abyss of mortality. After 7 tournaments won in a row, they have been eliminated and there are some new kids on the block right now.
Virtus.Pro is one of them. These young talented CIS players showed that they have a big future in front of them and that they are currently the best squad in the Europe. Able to continue their form into 2021, they can be one of the strongest EU contestants on The International stage.
On the other side, Alliance is back. After a month or two of bad games and showings, they showed that they still have the power and chemistry to be able to get to the top. NikoBaby is just too good and he is showing us how important players like him.
Holidays are here, a new patch is coming out, and it will be very interesting to see how teams will prepare for the new, 2021 season and the new Dota 2 patch meta.