The embattled region is on its quest to find its best representatives on the international stage.
With the wild shake-ups that have befallen the North American region of the Dota Pro Circuit, the scene there has spiraled down into borderline chaos. There was only one team from NA on the main stage at The International, and that team couldn’t win a single game despite having qualified for the upper bracket. Now, the continent's top organization has migrated south, and although there's some good talent available, there's a clear scarcity of up-and-coming players in the pipeline. Here’s how things stand after the first week of games.
North America DPC Tour 1 Table 16/1/23
As in almost every region, NA has had 9 series played over the course of the first week. Given the matchups that took place, it’s no surprise that the table stands quite starkly divided, though one suspects that will change in the coming weeks. With two wins for each, 5RATFORCESTAFF, nouns, Shopify Rebellion and TSM occupy spots 1 through 4 on the table, with 5RAT being the only team to have dropped a game out of the quartet. Shopify Rebellion looks the strongest among these four, but TSM and nouns aren’t too far behind.
Wildcard gaming stands in fifth place with an important win, and ALPHA, B8, and Thuith Gaming are yet to win a match — although B8 has taken two games off of their opponents. Wildcard looks semi-decent and B8 looks like they are a few steps shy of actually winning a series, but Alpha looks pretty weak, and Thiuth honestly look like they might even get relegated from Division 2. With the standings out of the way, let’s take a look at the matches.
For the sake of an easier read, we’ve split the matches up by date.
After crashing out of The International 11 at the bottom of their group, TSM began this season with a statement victory over Wildcard. Game 1 saw them take a bit of an early lead, only for Wildcard to take over until the mid-game, but once TSM took the lead back there was no looking back. Game 2 was much more one-sided, with TSM absolutely imperious throughout the game, which — like the first one — lasted less than half an hour.
Thiuth putting up a slight fight against Rebellion in the first game between them may have led some to believe that they were going to be a more dangerous side than they’ve turned out to be, with the underdogs making the game go into the 39th minute before Rebellion could close it. However, the second game was an absolute squashing, with Rebellion picking up a ridiculous 43 kills over the course of the 21-minute game.
Despite a relatively close early game, ALPHA were butchered by nouns afterward, with the kill score standing at 35 to a measly 7. At no point did the newcomers look convincing, and they’ll have to work hard on themselves to stay in the division. A similar result followed in game 2, although ALPHA had a couple of decent teamfights there. The first game of nouns’ season was a walk in the park.
The second series of the second day of play was just as one-sided, with TSM picking up their second W by dominating Thiuth. There’s not much to be said about the games, except that Thiuth failed to reach double figures for kills in either game, and that Game 1 was the shortest game of this NA DPC Tour so far.
Anyone who didn’t have very high hopes for 5RATFORCESTAFF was undoubtedly silenced seeing them rip ALPHA apart. The first game was a short, low-kill 27-minute affair, while the second was a more conventional but dominating win for 5RAT nevertheless. The next week will bring bigger challenges for this new side, and such tests will tell if they’re the real deal or not.
B8’s move to the NA region, as well as a revamping of the team, seems to have given them the ability to take single games off of teams. B8 gave us the first (and indeed second and only two) three-match series of the North American season. In Game 1, B8 looked rock-solid and had a sizable advantage till the mid-game, but one poor teamfight resulted in them losing any semblance of a hold on the match. Game 2 was a surprisingly methodical win for the CIS-turned-NA side, but Game 3 was dominated by Wildcard as they closed out the series.
Apparent regional whipping boys Thiuth were back, and their performance against nouns did them no favors as far as changing that fact is concerned. The only noteworthy thing that happened over the course of the two matches is that things just went from bad to worse for the newbies, and nouns got another win.
Although Shopify Rebellion had been expected to win against Wildcard, few would have predicted that it would happen in such a brutal manner. Wildcard could only manage a total of five kills over the course of two games as SR ran riot in both, securing an important win against an otherwise decent team.
The only other exciting, close matchup of the week was between B8 and 5RATFORCESTAFF. The latter won Game 1 after a sudden power spike following 40 minutes of relatively close battles. In Game 2 , B8 did almost exactly what they did against Wildcard by taking a slow and methodical path to victory, but once again, they were subpar in the series decider. This was a better third game than they had versus Wildcard, but it was still way too one-sided for them to take anything out of it.
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