A recap of the first week of DPC action from one of the most Dota-crazy regions on the planet
After a long break, the Dota Pro Circuit is back, and for the region of South-East Asia, it couldn’t have come any sooner. Teams from the region had a horrid last season, with no team being able to pull off a decent performance at any sizable tournament, Major, or The International. With a tumultuous post-TI shuffle finally behind them, the teams have embarked upon a 3-week long journey to determine which teams can earn bragging rights, a decent amount of money, enough DPC points to make it to the upcoming Lima Major, and the right to stay in the division.
South-East Asia DPC Tour 1 Table 14/1/23
A total of nine series have been played thus far, and while the table is far from its final state, things have begun to get interesting. Newly formed superteams Blacklist International and Bleed Esports currently sit at the top, although the latter has played and lost one series more than 3rd-place Execration. Fourth place Geek Slate has also played and won both of their matches, but unlike Execration, they dropped a game.
In the bottom half of the table, Talon Esports have been good and bad, with a win against BOOM Esports and a loss to Execration. BOOM themselves have been a shadow of their former selves with two losses out of two, and Team SMG are sharing their fate at the moment. The real loser of the proceedings so far has been Fnatic, who seem to be playing in a dazed state considering their results. As of the time of writing, they are winless after three series.
We’ll be dividing up the games by date for an easier reading experience.
The DPC began with Execration versus Talon, but the latter were in trouble right from the start in Game 1 as they just never seemed to get going. Execration dominated the favorites in the matchup, and despite some back-and-forth in the mid-game, were able to close things out pretty comfortably about 35 minutes in. Game 2 was much more interesting and stayed competitive until the mid-game, but once Execration took control of the map with their more pragmatic draft, it was only a matter of time before they ended the game.
The second match also went against the grain of the odds, with Geek Slate beating Fnatic 2-0. In the first game, the former only lost one tower, not allowing Fnatic to gain map control and eventually choking them out of the game despite things having stayed pretty close until the mid-game. The second was an absolute frag-fest with 85 kills in 56 minutes. Fnatic were leading for almost the entire game, but Geek Slate came back with some beautifully-worked teamfights. The game ended up in the latter’s favor 56 minutes in with Fnatic still holding the kill lead.
The first Game 3 of SEA’s 2023 DPC season took place courtesy of Bleed and Blacklist. The first was a slow-paced game that was mostly even until Blacklist managed to grab the advantage, but Bleed came back swinging and never looked back, finishing things off in the 45th minute. Game 2 was a methodical choke-out by Blacklist, but the third was where things really took off. Despite a considerable amount of action, the game was pretty much dead even until the 35th minute, when Blacklist took charge and slowly finished things off bit by bit.
Speaking of things taking off, the matchup between Execration and SMG, although a 2-game series, contained some blistering action. Game 1 was absolutely dominated by SMG for the vast majority of its duration before Execration pulled off a miraculous comeback (partly assisted by SMG’s overextension and complacency). The second game was a roller-coaster ride, with both teams running at each other and battles galore (93 kills in 52 minutes). In the end, Execration held their nerve and managed to win it.
The second series of the day was no less exciting, if less brutal. Bleed got off to an early lead and held on to it until the mid-game, when Fnatic’s power spike gave them a decisive edge for a while. Just when it looked like Fnatic might be able to seal the deal, however, Bleed came back with a decisive couple of battles and closed it out. The second game was almost identical to the first game, with Fnatic being 23k gold ahead at one point. Once again, Bleed came back near the end and ended the game in the 65th minute.
The last series of the day was unfortunately much more one-sided, with Talon blowing up BOOM slowly but cleanly. Both games involved an even early game, steady rise for Talon through the mid-game, and a methodical map-domination leading to a smothering finish. Considering how entertaining their engagements had been last year, this was nothing short of an anticlimax.
The first game of January 13 made it look as though BOOM had finally found their groove as they demolished Geek Slate, but the latter had other plans. Game 2 was an exciting affair, with Geek’s considerable gold advantage not allowing them to end the game. It took 70 minutes and many drawn-out fights for them to finally crack BOOM. The third game was shorter, but also very tense until about the mid-game, when Geek took over the driver’s seat and reverse-swept their opponents to keep their winning streak going.
Bleed vs SMG Game 1 was one of the best games of the season so far, with more twists and turns than a Hollywood thriller. Neither team wanted to give in, but in the end it was SMG that had the last laugh despite still being behind as far as kills go. The second game, sadly, was a flat, unilateral cruise for Bleed. Things picked up again for the last game as the two teams wrestled close together for a while before Bleed was able to take a decisive advantage and eventually emerge victorious.
The last series of the day (and indeed the week) involved three relatively boring beatdowns. First, it was Fnatic absolutely massacring Blacklist, then it was the new team butchering the old. The third game showed some signs of life by comparison, remaining contested into the mid-game, but once Blacklist grabbed it by the throat, there was no going back and it was all over shortly after.
Keep an eye out for our recaps of other regions, and make sure to check out our wide variety of other Dota content.