Welcome back to the Dota season, everyone! A special welcome to those of you who aren’t on the CSL Discord and only read these recaps (which is hopefully only a handful of you by now). January is typically a rocky period for teams, as players are starting new semesters and have to reassess the balance between school and Dota 2. Teams that do well in this period are either good teams that stayed good over the break, or teams that learned something new while they were away. Based on the performance of professional Dota 2 players and this writer’s own experience, the game is really starting to get “figured out,” which is great for teams with a lot of practice or intuitive captains. Let’s take a look at some of those teams.
In the West, only one series has been played since November: the series between University of Colorado Boulder vs California State University Long Beach, which resulted in a 2-1 victory for Boulder. Both teams are in the bottom half of their group, which means they both have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to try and break into the top half. The next few weeks will be volatile for said top half, as teams with identical records compete for a better position or even a shot at the number one position, which is currently held by UC Santa Cruz.
Northeast, our delightful Group of Death, saw three series played this past weekend. Stony Brook University defeated Northeastern University 2-0, increasing their record to 9-0 (18-0 in games). University of Maryland College Park defeated New York University 2-1, which breaks the stalemate for second place in the group, while Rochester Institute of Technology defeated Purdue 2-0. There are a lot of games that have been postponed in this group, which makes the fate of some teams uncertain. What is certain is that SBU is trying for another undefeated regular season run, which would be impressive to say the least.
The Canadian group, aka the North, played most of their games this past weekend, with the notable exception of Carleton University and the University of Toronto’s upcoming match. The top 3 teams of this group are pretty much locked in at this point (unless they all suddenly forget how to play Dota), so the other teams are likely battling for fourth at best. York University can fall from grace if they lose a series or two, but this writer believes that to be incredibly unlikely. Wait, I said I wouldn’t curse any teams this season…
Much like the North, the East group has two teams well above the rest, with three teams jockeying for position below the two giants. The strength of these team appears to have intimidated the rest of the competition, which is always a sad sight to see. Every year, some schools play against teams that are much better than they are, teams that have played for years or have very highly-ranked players that elevate the rest. When newer schools are absolutely crushed by these elite teams, they lose hope and give up, painting a sad picture for schools that may be considering joining the league. There are still six weeks of games to be played, which means that we’ve just passed the halfway mark of the season. This writer doesn’t like to entertain the possibility of hypotheticals when it comes to competition, but to be honest, anything could happen in this group.
For some reason, Central didn’t play any of their games this past weekend, so nothing has changed for them. If you’d like to our thoughts on the existing standings, please refer to previous articles. Hopefully next week we’ll see some developments from this group, since there is a lot that can still happen before the end of the season.
This concludes another week of CSL Dota 2. I’ve been told that next week, UIC will be featured on our Monday night broadcast, which should be very exciting. See you all next week!