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Approaching the Equator: The First Ups and Downs in DPC 2021-2022

21.12.2021, 03:36

The new Dota Pro Circuit season is nearing its equator. Teams in all regions are already fired up. Now, three weeks later, we can get a first impression of the DPC league, talk about the results, expectations and disappointments, surprises, and underdogs.

The round-robin system in DPC 2021-2022 is quite objective, considering that the matches are in bo3 format. Each team plays each other, and it gives you the opportunity to form an opinion about them and figure out the reasons for the defeat or the advantage over your opponents and talk about the future prospects after some time.

North America

Disappointment at the start

I don’t think it’s any secret if I say that Kidney that Evil Geniuses look like the region’s biggest disappointment. Everyone was so looking forward to JerAx’s return. Everyone was very hyped when Jesse announced his comeback. EG fans and JerAx fans alike wondered how Jesse would handle the fifth position. After all, we all know this player is used to shining in a more active role.

2022 North America Season 1 Upper DivisionNorth America
$205,000Prize Pool
Quincy Crew
2nd Place
Evil Geniuses
3rd Place

Also, many fans, including those from Eastern Europe, were waiting for Nightfall to perform in the new role. The move to North America was supposed to be a new stepping stone for Egor in his evolution as a player. Yes, we know that a similar experiment with RAMZES666 ended sadly and had an outright failure. But who said it would be the same this time? Team coach Sam “Bulba” Sosale exactly knew what he wanted because this is not the first time EG has taken on an offlaner player carry position from Russia. This meant that EG had to do some work on their mistakes and work through every step of their strategy. Every little detail in the game with Egor had to be significant. Moving to a new position, learning new characters, removing the language barrier. Apparently, EG did not consider any of these factors. Nightfall’s individual play is good, but EG’s team play is more like a highly ranked public.

The only one who seems to stand out with stability is Abed. He always dominates his lane. He is the playmaker for the team. Arteezy continues to get mostly late-game-oriented heroes like Morphling and Terrorblade. Perhaps this type of playmaking style makes the Evil Geniuses performance a bit of a mess. In the past, EG had a lot of hopes for iceiceice as a playmaker. Daryl carried a lot of responsibility on his shoulders in the game. Now they’re trying to put that responsibility on Nightfall’s shoulders, but he doesn’t seem to be ready for that yet.

The fantastic thing is that Evil Geniuses has not lost to the most vigorous opponents. That’s the correct version of the phrase, and to put it more bluntly, EG is just throwing games to clear outsiders and stacks of matchmaking friends. First, Evil Geniuses lost to Black N Yellow. We can take a look at their roster, which will show us what level the Evil Geniuses team is at now.

Black N Yellow roster

  •   Diego “Rises” Nicolás Ortas Rodríguez
  •   Muhammad “high_shaggy” Saad Ali Ghaznavi
  •   Daniel “zero” Yun
  •   Kaue Gabriel “dunha1” Camuci de Lima
  •   Andrew “Jubei” Evelyn

I’m sure even the most ardent North American Dota 2 fan won’t recognize a single player other than Jubei, who has assembled this team around him. The captain even commented on the level of play of Evil Geniuses on one of the streams on Twitch.

It’s not that World Evil Geniuses just don’t play well. They play really badly. That’s two big differences. Everybody on their team is a goddamn millionaire, but they’re losing to the homeless.

After losing to Black N Yellow, Evil Geniuses lost to a team from the lower division, Wildcard Gaming, by a 0:2. Only at the beginning, Evil Geniuses were able to beat Arkosh Gaming, a team that came from the Lower Division with a different lineup — now played with team name Arkosh Gaming with famous analyst Kyle Freedman on the mid lane. Obviously, this team is only needed to make some money by selling team bundles.

At the same time, Evil Geniuses had not yet met their main rivals in the DPC – season. But there are only two places on the Major, and three teams are contenders. Right now, Team Undying and Quincy Crew are showing great results. Both teams have won three series each. It’s quite predictable because Undying didn’t change their roster, they completed the program at least for TI10, and Quincy Crew was strengthened by an experienced player in the person of KheZu. Their wins over weaker teams look logical.

Evil Geniuses’ performance has fans worried. If Team Undying and Quincy Crew don’t accidentally lose an unpredictable series to some weak team, EG will left with very little hope of making it to the Major. Evil Geniuses will once again make the same mistake they made the season before last by poaching carry from Virtus.Pro and putting him on the offlane.

North America’s second division doesn’t look attractive at all. Unless KBU.US can make Russian-speaking fans happy by selling their bundle. KBU is something of a franchise of Russian streamer and analyst Yaroslav “NS” Kuznetsov.

Yaroslav allowed Kirill “Sunlight” Kachinsky, a player from Belarus, to use the team name to sell bundles. Sunlight is the only representative of the EEU region in KBU.US. So far, the team has won one series and lost two.

Western Europe

Has anyone seen Nigma?

We’re starting to talk about the situation in the region again with disappointment. This time we’re talking about Western Europe. Team Nigma Galaxy has become the equivalent of Evil Geniuses in their region. This team couldn’t play at The International 10, and they didn’t change their lineup during the transfer window. To date, Nigma Galaxy has lost three series.

2022 West Europe Season 1 Upper DivisionEU
$205,000Prize Pool
Team Liquid
Team Tickles
2nd Place
3rd Place

Of course, the competition in the Western Europe region is off the charts. This situation is very different from that in North America. However, the instability of the Nigma game can be seen with the naked eye. Nigma Galaxy even started the season playing with substitutions. Coach Roman “-rmN” Paley replaced the team’s mider Miracle. It is noteworthy that the team did not want to change roles, such as swap rmN and gh. Apparently, Nigma Galaxy hoped that iLTW would win solo. Aside from the lack of a full-time midlaner, Nigma Galaxy had some coordination problems. The team played its third and fourth series already with Miracle. This was the only bright spot on the team. We could see that Amer was getting active heroes and making great rotations around the map. Team Nigma Galaxy’s mider moves well in the mid-game. Perhaps Nigma Galaxy can still get together and catch up because they did not look hopeless in the game against OG. This is what separates Nigma Galaxy in their current form from Evil Geniuses.

Young and bold

I think you’ve already guessed from the block title that we’re talking about OG. These guys show just a crazy game. So far, OG has won two series and lost one. By the way, they lost to Team Liquid in a very tough fight. Perhaps that was the most spectacular and intense match of the division so far.

1Lose streak
41%30 d. winrate

Oh yeah, OG isn’t just any team. They’ve already succeeded in showing us bad manners by dropping the Mantle of Intelligence from their inventory every time. You can tell that N0tail and Ceb have found worthy receivers. They resemble the 2018 OG, only they’re much younger and seem even more reckless.

Oddly enough, their recklessness is quite controlled and moderate in the game. Their game doesn’t feel like pub chaos. The young players have an arsenal of finely calibrated and thoughtful strategies despite their age. For example, Yuragi’s carry Templar Assassin. OG also often uses carry Razor in their drafts. Generally speaking, Yuragi and ATF stand out a lot when it comes to players. Ammar is unreal with his signature heroes. Sometimes he just seems to be unstoppable on the lane. Sometimes it seems like Ammar is more likely to play second position than third. This style of play is common to some offlaners. If a team knows how to use it, it can stand out from the rest. Apparently, OG knows that.

I’d also like to mention the strategic preparation, for which OG fans can thank Mischa and Chu. By the way, OG coach Chu already got a visa and flew to Lisbon for the bootcamp.

The synergy and understanding between the captain and coach at OG can be seen immediately. So far, OG doesn’t look unbeatable, but such an upbeat start looks promising especially when we consider the undiscovered potential of OG’s young talent.

Results of the changes

Many Dota 2 fans weren’t sure about Team Liquid. What will happen to them after such a change in the team? As we can see, Liquid is more than okay. They’ve won four series and haven’t lost a single one. Boxi is doing a great job as a soft support. Ludwig is as steady as ever on his lane. Team Liquid’s game plans are working. You could say that the organization has finally put together a truly competitive team.

Team Secret has slightly worse results. They lost their first series against OG but then won two series in a row. It feels like Puppey decided to play a joke on OG and took some very strange heroes at the draft stage. OG easily handled Team Secret in that series. It generated a massive amount of memes on Twitter. It culminated in Ammar’s post-match interview.

The team that was able to surprise

Perhaps we can say that Team Tickles is the team that surprised everyone at the start of the DPC season.

Gaimin GladiatorsEU
1Lose streak
53%30 d. winrate

Team Tickles roster

  •   Anton “DyrachYO” Shkredov
  •   Miroslav “BOOM” Bičan
  •   Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard
  •   Erik “tOfu” Engel
  •   Melchior “Seleri” Hillenkamp

The remaining players lost the organization but kept the winning slot in the first division, which secured the team’s core. The team has recruited the right players. Former Team Secret player Ace joined the team. Marcus is known for his very extensive playing experience. He held the carry position on Team Secret at the peak of his career, but now Ace plays the offlane position. Indeed, the professional scene is in desperate need of highly skilled offlane players right now. Using his experience, Ace has quickly mastered the lane. Since the start of the DPC season, the team has played four series with Alliance, Nigma Galaxy, Coolguys and Team Liquid. The former beat all but one team. The series with Team Liquid ended in a 1:2 loss. All other teams The Tickles defeated confidently with a score of 2:0 in the series. At the time of writing, the team was in second place in the WEU DPC.

Alliance. It’s too bad

Team Alliance is showing terrible results after the start of the DPC season. They have lost all but one of their series. In the winning game, they beat the Coolguys 2:0. The Swedish organization dropped all of their other games by a score of 0:2. The reason of the defeats are drafts and lack of quality team play. Alliance often takes Nikobaby’s signature heroes like Wraith King and Medusa, who are heavy core heroes. This means that Alliance is primarily focused on the late game.

7Lose streak
-30 d. winrate

However, they have a lot of trouble communicating in the mid-game. Their ganking looks voidy. It feels like players just can’t find their place on the map. Once Alliance even tried to play through Shadow Fiend with a physical damage build, but they lost in 25 minutes. This suggests that the Alliance team is also unable to play flexibly. Most likely, if Alliance will be close to relegation or even relegated to the Lower Division, the team is waiting for a change in the roster.

A few words about the second division of WEU

There is a real chop in the second division in Western Europe. Perhaps the teams that stand out the most are Brame, Chicken Fighters, and Entity. These teams have the most prospects to fight for two slots in the Upper Division. If we take a look at the teams’ lineups, we can also spot Team Bald Reborn.

Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe has three slots in Major. One of them is Wild Card. Of course, too many teams are willing to fight for a trip to the main tournament of the season.

No one expected

Hardly anyone expected PuckChamp to start seriously smashing almost everyone in their path in the DPC season. We don’t see any great names or titled players if you look at the roster. Throughout 2021, PuckChamp has evolved into an organization with centralized management, sponsors, and bootcamps.

1Win streak
67%30 d. winrate

PuckChamp roster

  •   Alexandr “krylat” Krylatov
  •   Nikita “young G” Bochko
  •   Abdimalik “Malik” Sailau
  •   Genadiy “Astral” Motuz
  •   Andrey “Dukalis” Kuropatkin

Few Dota 2 fans may know young G, who showed up at a few official games in Na’Vi, but had no real success. Nikita showed his full potential with PuckChamp. His play on the center lane is noted for its accuracy and stability. It is noteworthy that all the guys from PuckChamp still have room to grow and develop because the squad has very young players. This means that PC retains the team’s developmental prospects. The loss of Artstyle last season should have been a blow to the team, but we can see that the team is developing very well even without a coach.

By the way, what about Artstyle and his Natus Vincere? They lost the series to PuckChamp with a score of 0:2 without a chance. The young guys also crushed Virtus.Pro, Team Empire, and AS Monaco Gambit. PuckChamp only lost their series to The International 10 champions Team Spirit. They already have four wins in the overall standings.

So far, without a loss

Team Spirit has an expectedly good result. The team had a streak of 13 wins in professional matches since the end of TI before losing to Tundra Eposrts at OGA Dota Pit Season 5. There’s not much to say about Team Spirit’s play other than they’re outclassing most teams so far. In the DPC EEU, Team Spirit has not lost a single game.

Team HellRaisers has the same result. Three series and zero losses. Also, like the Spirit, HR did not give a single game to their opponents. Before the start of the season, HR hired a new sports director, Maria Gunina, the former manager of Alliance. Gunina also pulled her husband, professional player Alexander “Nofear” Churochkin, into the coaching position.

Obviously, this tandem gave a boost to the team’s development. Maria is a very ambitious manager who wants to repeat the success of DKLana and Korb3n at The International 10.

Region Outsiders

Yes, there are clearly fewer surprises in the DPC Eastern Europe because no one expected Unique to play well. The miracle did not happen. The team lost all their series, getting a technical defeat in one of the maps. Team Unique didn’t look like a team, more like five random guys from the public. I guess there’s really nothing to discuss here.

Team Empire also has 0:4 stats so far, without winning a single series. By the way, they’ve even managed to change the roster a bit. Instead of young Shisui, the experienced Iceberg came to the midfield. I think Bohdan has already accepted that he will miss this season, but Team Empire gave him a chance, and he must be the engine that will lead the team. Bohdan is not the most outstanding mider even in his region, but he has a huge amount of experience and knowledge. He understands exactly how the team should be built and where the team game should start. Recently, Team Empire has lost two very experienced managers in Dota 2. One of them is Korb3n, who, with DKLana led Team Spirit to the Champions’ Aegis. The other is their director Alexander “StrangeR” Solomonov. Team Empire is going through some tough times right now.

AS Monaco Gambit can probably be classified as outsiders, but they have one win and three series losses. I think Gambit can still fight for the Wild Card, but they still have to face very difficult opponents, such as Team Spirit.

Legendary tags have not lived up to expectations

The name of the block speaks for itself. Obviously, in this block, we will talk about Virtus.Pro and Natus Vincere. The oldest organizations in Eastern Europe are still playing very mediocre. Yes, Na’Vi has only one loss, but their game leaves a lot to be desired. They even gave one card to the outsider team, Team Unique. For example, in the parallel tournaments in OGA Dota Pit, the Ukrainian team doesn’t show good results either. In the lower bracket of OGA Dota Pit Na’Vi played against Tundra Esports and left the tournament in the first round. In the third game of the series, ALOHADANCE played at Weaver and had a horrible 0:15 statistic.

As for VP – they also play very unstably. You can see that the team does not have a clear-cut leader and captain, which was Save-. The center lane gpk player cannot reach his full potential without quality coordination. VP’s wins do not inspire confidence because they have not played the strongest teams in the DPC EEU. Ahead of them awaits a battle with Team Spirit and a non-obvious encounter with Na’Vi.

Lower Division EEU: What you need to know

So far, Lower Division in Eastern Europe looks very competitive. All Eastern European fans predicted an easy exit to the second division for CIS Rejects. However, the Kyrgyz team HYDRA, in which Blizzy, dream, and Zayac play, as well as V-Gaming disagree with them. The teams go with a very close score to each other – 3:1 in the series. The second squad of Gambit plays a little worse, although initially there was a lot of controversy in the community: was the correct squad of Gambit sent to play in the Upper Division? As we can see, the organization was right. And, traditionally, we turn our attention to Dendi and his team. Looking at the B8’s game, we can hear only a sad trombone.

What’s going on in China

The Chinese DPC season has its own dates and is not tied to the others. Matches in all regions run parallel in both the Upper and Lower Divisions, but China has taken a different route. Upper Division games won’t start until January 3rd. The Lower Division, on the other hand, has already ended. Of course, Xtreme Gaming’s exit was not a surprise to anyone. The team had no problem taking first place in the region. Aster.Arise and CDEC Gaming, on the other hand, did not do well. The latter left the division and now they will have to play the open qualification.

Xtreme GamingChina
1Lose streak
57%30 d. winrate

The second team to make it to the Upper Division was Team Magma. They don’t have any big names, but Chinese Dota fans may remember Tzy, who played on Team Cavalry in various qualifications in 2017.

Southeast Asia: Everything is predictable


In Southeast Asia, the favorite teams have had phenomenal results. BOOM Esports, who happened to be on the Upper Division roster, has already won four series.

BOOM EsportsIndonesia
1Lose streak
46%30 d. winrate

They haven’t lost a single game. T1, who kept their lineup after The International 10, also showed a high level of play, so far without losses. In the middle of the table, we can see Fnatic, Team SMG, and Motivate Trust.

Disappointment of SEA

Perhaps the only unpleasant surprise was the result of TNC Predator. Febby and company had nothing to show for four series. At that time, TNC couldn’t win a single card. If the team suddenly drops out of the Upper Division – it will mean a complete failure of this roster.

SEA Division II

Southeast Asia’s Second Division is extremely interesting to watch. Nigma Galaxy SEA is leading without losses so far. Talon Esports is not performing at its best, but they have lost only two series, winning one. They still have a chance to fight for first place.

By the way, they lost their series to Nigma Galaxy SEA by a score of 2:1. In this series, Fly and his team showed a hard fight. I think they will gain momentum by the end of the season and advance to the Upper Division.

Stability in South America

Who would have thought the South American region would have stability. As analysts have suggested, the SA region has at least one stable tag: Beastcoast. They are playing without a loss.

beastcoastUnited States
1Lose streak
44%30 d. winrate

Thunder Predator put together a new lineup, but it seems to be working! The team is also, like BC, going undefeated. They have played four series and won them all without giving up a game.

Brazilian teams still can’t please their fans with the beautiful game. The teams from Peru stand out positively with their performance in the division.

In the meantime, all Dota 2 fans are waiting for the first Major of the new DPC tournament series. It will take place in two months, and the teams that have four winning series under their belt should already start thinking about visas. But where to? Maybe we’ll find out soon enough.




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