Hello everyone, welcome to another groups prediction where I make sweeping generalizations about how I expect the groups to go (and am completely accurate with my predictions). I must have been a watchmaker in a previous life, I’m just that good. The second half of the season will start up again on the 14th. Before we look at the new groups, I cannot emphasize enough that we are in a new era of Dota 2 and the results of the first half of the season mean less than they normally would. The teams that were good in 6.88 should still be good in 7.01, but we’ll just have to see how true that is. So now without further ado, let’s take a look at the new groups.
Group 1 has UC Davis Aggies, University of Connecticut, McGill University, and Georgia Tech as teams to “watch out for” as their records would clearly indicate. Each team only dropped games to the teams that lead their respective divisions, and even then some of the series were pretty close. These teams aren’t just teams that will likely make it to the playoffs, they are playoff favorites that should make deep runs lest they encounter shenanigans. University of Arizona, Tennessee Technological University, Harvard University, and University of Utah will be hard pressed to make top 5 and get to the playoffs in this group.
Group 2 has Cornell University, University of Maryland College Park, California State University Long Beach, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to look out for. I expect Cornell to make top 8 in the playoffs, UMCP will likely make top 16 at least, and Illinois and Long Beach are no slouches either. When I saw this group at first, I almost declared it as the strongest group, but I felt there’d be some other group that is just unfair. Vanderbilt University, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of California Santa Cruz, and York University will likely be fighting for the #4 and #5 spot in this group, since top 3 will be all but unattainable.
Group 3 was going to be fun to watch, but I have heard that University of Michigan, Ann Arbor are disbanding. Pending a formal announcement, we will have to assume that they mean to compete as normal. Michigan State University and University of Texas at Austin are two of the strongest teams this season, and are playoff favorites so they should make it out of this group with ease. University of California Irvine, Princeton University, McMaster University, and Drexel University will be fighting amongst each other for the remaining playoff seeds.
Moving on to group 4, we see University of California Los Angeles, University of Toronto, University of Wisconsin – Madison, and University of Colorado Boulder as the favorites. To be honest, it’s more accurate to say that UCLA and Toronto are the favorites. UCLA have Leafeator providing meme-y (yet somehow effective) strats, and Toronto are as frightening this season as Texas in group 3. Wisconsin and Boulder have surprised many and shown themselves to be forces to be reckoned with, so I’m sure they’ll be fine. Carnegie Mellon University, University of Texas at San Antonio, and Virginia Commonwealth University had better hit the ground running if they want any chance at making top 5 in this group.
So when I almost declared group 2 as the strongest group, group 5 is the reason I stopped myself short. University of British Columbia, Stony Brook University, University of Denver, and University of California Berkeley? That’s just ridiculous. I feel sorry for every team in this group, the games are going to be brutal every week. Whichever team comes out on top of this group will almost certainly make it very far in the playoffs. Purdue University, University of Delaware, Ryerson University, and Columbia University, good luck guys.
Last but certainly not least, is group 6. With University of Tulsa, University of Waterloo, Rutgers University, and Rochester Institute of Technology, this group appears almost as fearsome as group 5. I’m excited to see Rutgers and Tulsa perform in a more balanced group setting. Robert Morris University Illinois, University of Pittsburgh, and University of California San Diego might end up fighting amongst each other for that coveted 5th playoff seed, or they could surprise me and those in their group and completely crush the competition. We’ll just have to see how things turn out.
In closing, I’d just like to say two things. First off, each group has at least 2 teams that were in a previous group together, and half the groups have 7 teams as opposed to 8, both of which are unfortunate but unavoidable. Maybe next season we’ll have so much interest in CSL Dota 2 that we’ll have 8 groups or even 10 groups!
Second, 7.00 changed so much in Dota 2 that the game didn’t feel like Dota 2 for a solid week. Remember that everyone played the first half of the season in 6.88, one of the longest running patches in the history of Dota 2. Almost everything was figured out when you played the first half of the season, most of it was just execution and fitting the parts together. 7.00 is still way too new to be figured out; there are certain things that click, but it’s still anything goes, especially when it comes to the CSL meta. I expect the first 2 weeks to defy expectations. Good luck and have fun!