There’s Baloney in our Slacks

Ben Steenhuisen
3 min readJun 1, 2021

As @scantzor said in his preview I think some teams will perform better/worse if they are hungry for the TI slot or have it secured already. This definitely makes it more difficult to predict with all this shifting around — but it’s take a stab at it anyhow.

IG are hurt in a substantial way by the lack of Oli, which helps both Secret’s and Vici’s odds. I think Nigma probably should be placed ahead of them even. I would be very surprised by Gambit advancing given their players being poached, however Execration could surprise — but it’d be a very big upset for them to beat 2 out of Secret/Nigma/Vici/Nigma, which means that the group probably needs other upsets for them to advance. The wildcards will definitely feel the most brutal pigeon-hole-principle situation (until we get to TI Regional Qualifiers for EU of course), since only Secret/IG are locked for TI and there’s only two advancing slots for the Wild Cards.

For all the images:

  • dark green means locked
  • lighter green means effectively locked (would take some sort of miracle for them to not make it)
  • yellow means a small amount of work required (top ~6/8)
  • lighter/darker orange for moderate/lots of work required(top ~4/2)
  • red means you need ~top 1/2 and maybe even some luck

Groups have a lot of strong teams — it’d be a mega premium tournament even if none of the playoff teams were involved. I don’t have that much faith in SEA (but happy to be proven wrong here), so I imagine TNC will be eliminated by such a strong field (along with Spirit) — . Any of the bigger teams slouching could get eliminated here (Secret/EG for example are already qualified so care less, even beastcoast could drop here and still be fine — although this is their chance for LAN practice pre-TI).

The draw for the playoffs will be massive — especially if {T1/NoPing} draw each other or {Liquid/Vici}. NoPing are in the weirdest position in my eyes, I have no idea how their style will work against other teams with different styles — I’m being conservative and putting them towards the low-end but it’s done so with high uncertainty. Beastcoast, like NoPing, are difficult to place simply because they were unable to attend the previous major and we haven’t seen them on the international stage in so long. Thunder Predator were the only SA team last major and their all-out aggression was their key to success. Beastcoast play a more balanced playstyle, though to call it ‘conservative’ would be misleading. Their style has totally succeeded in the past (top 8 at TI9 was huge for them and for the region), and that counts in their favour — however a lack of motivation (they’re on 800pts already) and lack of recent LAN experience might count against them.

Overall it’s quite clear I favour LGD/VP at the top, with Secret/EG/Aster just a smidgen behind them. I think Nigma, should they survive the wildcards, will be a strong contender in the next tier — along with Liquid (who need a top 3 finish to lock in a TI slot), Vici (who need top 8 at the minimum), and beastcoast — however it all boils down to how the Wildcards pan out. These tiers represent very narrow skill differentials — and the draw is going to be so important.

- Noxville

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Ben Steenhuisen

Dota 2 statsman and occasional caster | runs @datdota