Can Liquid continue their run? Will the newcomers manage? Is Nigma back? And more to be figured!
The DPC 2021/22 Season is coming back after a short break, and the second and hopefully a full-fledged DPC tour is about to start: DPC WEU Division I, better known as DreamLeague Season 17, launches tomorrow, March 15. The Participants will compete for precious points and prize money, concluding the online league in Stockholm at a LAN event, our first live-audience tournament for god knows how long.
But we're here to talk about the league, right? As always, the online part lasts a month and a half, in this particular case, six weeks. Eight teams will compete in the Bo3 format, the first four places will receive direct invites to the Stockholm Major, and the 7th and 8th places will be relegated to the second division.
Unfortunately, there was no Major last season, though the tour ended with online playoff finals. While Team Liquid has won the league, Gaimin Gladiators were victorious in the finals. Although, it was a shock for everyone that Alliance had dropped down to the second division. Yet, there's no need to be upset: Alliance's new roster has already been assembled, and it looks formidable with w33 in the mid-lane, so their return to the upper division is only a matter of time. The other team to drop was Coolguys, the group of TI vice-champion Funn1k.
We will have a very close fight for survival and an even more intense struggle to get to the Major in the second tour. So the DPC points are never superfluous! Let's run through the list of teams, lineups, expectations, dramas, and motivations—and we've also set up five questions to be answered during the league.
Team Liquid's Spring DPC Roster:
The team had an excellent Winter season, finishing first in the league. Though, they haven't been overpowered and unbeatable, as most of their wins were comebacks or equal fights. They played well in the regional finals but could not win due to pick-ban stage errors.
Question #1: Can Liquid Learn And Sustain?
Here's where things get interesting: Team Liquid didn't attend the Dubai Invitational tournament, so we don't know how they're playing on the new 7.31 patch. Also, it remains an open question whether they have learned their lessons from the previous season. If so, they can take the top lines of the league. If not, top-5 is their max. However, they also have 430 DPC points and Gaimin Gladiators. All their rivals Rankings-wise are in deep chaos, so TL might be calm unconsciously when speaking of motivation, leading to insignificant results.
Expected result: Top-3.
Gaimin Gladiators' Spring DPC Roster:
Nobody expected such speed and resounding success from the former Team Tickles, who Gaimin Gladiators signed towards the end of the first tour. But, motivated by new opportunities and a bright future, they were able to win the regional finals. Indeed, not without luck and mistakes made by Liquid in the finals, but a victory is a victory.
The gang that ImmortalFaith put together is incredible. Many doubt their ability to play distance, but there is a feeling that the discipline for which the coach is famous will not allow them to relax and play poorly. Nevertheless, the guys are on the rise; they felt the taste of success, so we can expect average results with pretension to get to the Major and, with a little bit of luck, even the highest positions in the league.
Expected result: top 5.
Tundra Esports Spring DPC Roster:
The only team with roster changes in the Upper Division, after Fata left, arguably the most important player on the team (and their captain), there was a feeling that they would slowly slide down. Nevertheless, at the Dubai LAN tournament, Tundra proved the opposite by showing high-quality Dota: they beat absolutely everyone on their way only stumbled in the Grand Finals by Boom Esports.
And here, the main risk opens up before us: with the departure of Fata, they've lost not only their captain but their leader. Sneyking is an outstanding player, but he may lack the charisma and willpower to help the team get through difficulties. Of course, we would love to be proven wrong, but only time will tell. Perhaps LAN in Dubai could rally the team, and they will perform well without a leader, working all together. Still, stability is needed at a distance, and now there are many severe competitors in Div I.
Expected result: Top-6.
OG's Spring DPC Roster:
OG went to Dubai with a stand-in: Chuvash, the team's coach, played instead of Misha. So it's hard to say anything specific about OG right now. But, yes, we can see that N0tail and Co have gathered dudes with unmistakable OG DNA: a very aggressive-provocative style of play and behavior. Moreover, all three cores are potentially massive stars, but they are still younglings right now. And nothing has changed in the last couple of months. Courageous during their first-ever bid DPC season, the situation can change drastically.
Although, on the other hand, after a LAN, the team, on the contrary, had to unite, learn and work through all their past mistakes. However, you should not expect them to win the League or even proceed to the Major. Currently, OG is at the stage of forming a future line-up.
Expected result: Top-6.
Team Secret's Spring DPC Roster:
The most incomprehensible top team of recent months. On the one hand, their line-up is terrific on paper and perhaps the strongest in the division. But in fact, they're not even close to the Secrets that destroyed any opponent throughout the online era of 2020. And in the first tour of the season, it was clear that iceiceice is still not an equal replacement for Zai, who in Liquid shows an even better game than what he had in Secret. And now, and most likely, Sumail and Nisha have exchanged positions.
Indeed, Nisha has not been impressive as pos1, where he played after the departure of MATUMBAMAN. His biggest strength is laning solo down the middle, where his most significant impact is.
Question #2: IceIceIce's Last Chance
If Daryl continues playing the same as in the previous season, there will be no Major for TS. This team could tear the division apart if they bring him to his best level. Now is the time for 3ice to get back to what he does best. Otherwise, Secret may need to change after the online league.
Expected result: top-4.
Nigma Galaxy's Spring DPC Roster:
Oh, how well Nigma Galaxy performed at their home tournament in Dubai! Those were happy times for the fans. Their well-coordinated teamplay, correct calls, clever Kuro, usually-astonishing Miracle, brave MC, cunning GH, perfect iLTW… What else do you need to win? It’s a pity they couldn’t, though, but they played wonderfully, claiming for a victory.
But as always, Nigma's problem is that Kuro and Rmn (coach) once in a while try to invent a bicycle but with square wheels: the pick-ban stage turns into such nonsense that it couldn't be saved by anything. Of course, such random can help when it's a substantial map, your enemy is super-prepared, and you need to surprise them, but the online league is all about distance and scoring with the help of simple tactics. You don’t need to invent anything, just play the classics and win in classy ways–Nigma is incomparably skilled.
Question #3: Will This Be The Time For Nigma?
It's hard to predict their result, but they should play well if you consider their LAN performance and motivation to get to the Major.
Expected result: top-4.
Entity's Spring DPC Roster:
Crystallis is very good, and Fishman sometimes gives brilliant moves. The expectations for Entity are low. They will probably fight for survival. Last season they outperformed strong opponents, surprising most. Holding on for a top-6 position is a likely outcome.
Expected result: top-8.
Brame's Spring DPC Roster
It's rare in esports to have an entire team from the same country. Having made three substitutions in the off-season, SsaSpartan has assembled a team of Greeks and intends to fight for survival in the first division. But, of course, the situation is ambiguous: how will they prove themselves, given that the team is almost completely renewed?
Expected result: top-8.
DPC WEU 2021/2022 Tour 2: Division I starts March 15. You can watch the DreamLeague's official Twitch channel.