Recap: SAE Dota League Germany Season 2
After the conclusion last week, it is now time to look back, analyse and see just what made this season of the SAE Dota League Germany so exciting and special. Taking a look at the pathways of the top teams, their key matchups and unique attributes will grant a better understanding of how they made it to the very top. Afterwards, the general trends of the league as well as the meta game will be examined to find out how the players and teams played throughout the season.
Chills Landschildkröten started the league known as EraseME Gaming and had high ambitions. With a talented lineup and an organisation to back them up, they had their sights set for a good finish in the league, but the first scheduled matches proved very rough for the squad around their carry Chill. With a series against PENTA Sports, their path began in very difficult terrain. In this matchup they could not quite convince and take home a victory, putting them on the back foot at the very beginning of the season. In two 40 minute games they failed to overcome a very strong PENTA squad, but definitely made them fight for it. At this point in time it was unclear just how strong PENTA was, so the slow start was a rough adjustment for CLk and put them under the radar for the coming weeks.
With consistent victories over potentially weaker opponents, CLk managed to keep up with the best in the league, all the while not really becoming a part of the favorites to win the whole thing. Continuously mentioned as one of the teams with the cleanest record, but somehow quietly advancing, they did not give up a single game to a team that was below them in the rankings. In fact, their only losses were to PENTA in the beginning and one game against each Team Saphira as well as Meow111, who they both played in the last two weeks of the season. In their key matchups, they not only managed to draw, but do as much as they needed to stay on the podium in third place. An incredible achievement considering the intense competition. In hindsight, it was their biggest strength to consistently beat teams when they are the favorites and consistently put up hard fights in games where they weren’t.
The most important series they played was probably the direct battle against fourth place finisher Team Saphira. Especially in the first game of the series CLk showed incredible trust and coordination and earned their place in the top three. With Saphira still in great position to reach first place after last year’s victory, they seemed like the close favorite to take home the whole series. But it quickly became clear, that Chills Landschildkröten and their namesake Chill were ready to take them down. With great plays on a mid lane Tinker and a safe lane Weaver, they overcame an initial gold deficit of 5k at 10 minutes, pulled back the game and walked away with an insanely important victory. Gaining map control through Nightstalker and split pushing while Tinker defends the strong push of Saphira was their game plan from the beginning and they executed it perfectly. Even falling in the second game to an incredibly powerful Saphira lineup could not cloud their moods as it turns out that this was the game that secured them third place.
PENTA Sports were the biggest and the baddest beast of the league in the first weeks. Not only dominating any opponent that came their way, including Chills Landschildkröten, but also making a name for themselves outside of the SAE Dota League Germany quickly gave them an air of invincibility. Coming into the season as a strong but in the league unproven team, they overpowered any opposition with ease. Until the last two weeks of play, they remained unbeaten and unchallenged in their games. While barely missing the playoffs of the Regional Qualifiers for The International 2017, which they were directly invited to, they made it clear, that they are in the league to win the title and nothing else.
Maybe already preparing for the big showdowns against Meow111 and Team Saphira, they faced Kuschelecke about two weeks before the conclusion of the season. Kuschelecke at this point were in last place, unable to beat any noteworthy team thus far. It seemed like a walk in the park for PENTA, who were the overwhelming favorite, but maybe that exact thought was their downfall. Before knowing what is happening to them, Kuschelecke already took down their throne and PENTA had to readjust to a completely unknown situation for them. In an incredible 34 minute game, Kuschelecke made it look easy as their carry Sniper took down the base without dying a single time. The sign of a great team is not only great gameplay, but maybe more crucially, a great mindset. Instead of being shaken by the unexpected outcome, PENTA rallied the forces and struck back with vengeance, finishing the second game in only 18 minutes. In the end they were still in a powerful position to take the title, but the crack in their armor was showing.
In a championship defining series against Meow111 they against faced a quick and powerful start from the opponent. In similar fashion as against Kuschelecke, PENTA fell far behind in the laning stage and was unable to recover, getting team wiped multiple times in the course of a few minutes. Unlike the previous series, they couldn’t recover and strike back in the second game. With a strong Meepo and Silencer performance, Meow111 could edge out the win in an incredibly tight game that lasted only 33 minutes, but featured racks destroyed on both sides. PENTA had to suffer quite devastating losses in the last days of the league and certainly hoped to take first place, which now was out of their reach.
In their last series, PENTA could finish the season with a great outcome nonetheless with a win over Team Saphira. Both squads were tied third place at this point and a 2-0 victory would mean second place finish for either team while the loser drops to fourth. One final series to show their mindset and stamina, their will to win – and PENTA used their chance. Playing their successful Abbadon carry in both games, they were able to overpower last seasons champion Team Saphira with great coordination and strategy. It might not have been the flawless season PENTA was hoping for, but they certainly showed what they are capable of. Only dropping games to the champion and the lowest scoring team in the league, maybe speaks to their problems and potential, as a single game made the difference between first and second place.
Meow111 won the SAE Dota League Germany by beating the best and being consistent throughout the whole season. They managed to peak at the right moments and beat their direct competition. It is hard to say which of their games had the biggest meaning for the title win, instead it seems appropriate to highlight their incredible ability to perform when it is necessary. Drawing three series total, against Chills Landschildkröten, DotaRunners and Topf Voll Ott, they were never bested in a series all season long. Most notably beating both Team Saphira as well as PENTA Sports 2-0 in their direct matchups shows their motivation and dedication to be the best.
When looking at their record, the most impressive statistics are their results against the other favorites. Going 5-1 against second to fourth place this season makes it hard to argue that Meow111 was the best team in the league and deserves the title. This becomes even more clear when looking at the games they actually lost. With an average game time of over 55 minutes, all their losses were very hard fought and competitive games, once again reaffirming their will to win and powerful mentality. Maybe it was the second place finish in the previous season that gave them even more fuel to take home the title this time around. It will be a pleasure to follow this team further, as their talent and dedication is unquestionable.
Looking at general trends this season reveals the rising level of competition and work that the teams put into the game. With only very few games decided in less than 20 minutes and a wide range of teams battling it out past the 50 minute mark, the stats show the quality of every team in the league has risen. With players like Mambos from Team Saphira, Lexam from Topf Voll Ott or Ryujin from champion Meow111, the league has featured some amazing talents with bright futures in the Dota world. But not only the best teams have shown their potential. Teams like Crash and Burn with their mid player eClix, who averaged the highest lasthits of all players in the league, might not have scored amazingly on the table, but certainly showed promise for future seasons. With 15 draws, the second season of the SAE Dota League Germany was more competitive than it has ever been. With new teams coming up from the second division, the next season promises to only build on this level of excitement and competition.
Even though some teams have played very well throughout the whole season, there are no defining hero trends. This speaks of two things – the balance of the game and the versatility of the players. As it stands, Earthshaker was the most picked hero with 43 matches, but only a 42% win rate. In second and third place there are Silencer and Sand King with a much higher win rate of 55% and 56% respectively. Slightly skewed by the preference for Silencer of Meow111, these statistics show the emphasis teams in the SAE Dota League Germany put on versatility and options during the draft. With a wide variety of heroes used in multiple positions, the ability to leave the opponent in the dark was highly valuable for the captains.
One noteworthy hero with a lot of showings and an incredible 87.5% win rate is Ancient Apparition. The icy support was able to turn win the big majority of its 16 games played and seems to be an unexpected mention for one of this seasons most successful heroes. Perhaps it is the big team fight and turn around potential the hero provides that enables it to be especially successful in the competitive and hard fought battles of the league. Also interesting are the 100% win rates of Death Prophet and Sven, who were both only played a handful of times, but are currently prime picks on the biggest stage of Dota at The International.
At this point, we at LIONSKY would like to say congratulations and thank you to all the players and fans that have made this season of the SAE Dota League Germany so very special. It is our distinct pleasure to make the league possible for you and deliver the best experience for all involved. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without our partners at SAE, who have supported us and all the players with their incredible commitment and passion. The broadcasters of SaphiraTV, all the admins and the LIONSKY team work hard to advance our vision and bring esports closer to all of you. We are looking forward to the future and hope to see you all when the SAE Dota League Germany returns.