Having 2-0’ed Team Secret and Digital Chaos in the group stages, and their recent return to form which garnered them with a Direct Invite to the Manila Major, Na’Vi were looking like a strong contender in Valve’s latest seasonal tournament. Much like last patch, Artstyle and Na’Vi as a whole seem to have a good grasp on the top hero picks for 6.86 and they are playing to their strengths. A loss to OG, arguably one of the favourites to win the tournament, has placed them in the lower bracket wherein they faced Alliance.
Dota’s “El Clasico” was an exciting 2-1 clash that left Na’Vi victorious this time, snuffing out Alliance’s hopes for a top spot, especially since they too have seen a surge in success with their TI3 winning roster once more combined in a single team. Na’Vi’s next match is against Team Liquid, who are currently ranked number 1 on the GosuGamer Ranking’s system. Na’Vi are sixth. Having won 7 of their last 8 encounters, Na’Vi should be confident but wary in the coming match up. I feel that Liquid are a team who have very much earned their top spot. They have had a top 3 finish in all but one of their tournaments in 2016, plus many more besides in 2015.
Now onto less journalist-y type matters. I would like to stop the hype train for Manila and talk about how nice it is to be a fan of Na’Vi again. As I have mentioned, one of my favourite teams until recently were Virtus Pro, but with the loss of DKPhobos and Lil, much of my interest for the team waned. Lil was an unbelievably entertaining addition to professional Dota, his Visage play obviously being the standout. I felt that, in the position 4 role, how was just as aggressive as he needed to be for the way Virtus Pro play, and, depending on the hero, finds solo kills on over the oldest professional Dota players by being able to perfectly lure them in. I liked Silent as a carry but his recent absence from the team has left me uninterested in many of their games.
The tremendous quality of Dota on display elsewhere at the moment is filling that gap though. Chinese Dota has found some resurgence, North American teams are actually competitive and some teams that I openly dislike are impressing me greatly, Liquid and Digital Chaos for example. While I want to support Na’Vi in every engagement, I find myself more willing to root for teams that, only a while ago, I thought were uninteresting or hadn’t even heard of. Newbee is probably the best example. Agressif will always have my favour in his games, but Newbee’s recent streak that brought about their whirlwind rise in results recently has had my attention for a while. Chinese Dota is so much more entertaining with Newbee in pole position.
The Manila Major has been an enthralling tournament so far, and I would be excited to see a final with almost any of the teams still in the tournament. My favourite to win is probably Newbee or OG.