We are a mere six days away from history, Dota fans. For the first time ever, the Dota-passionate country known as the Philippines will play host to a handful of big name, top tier international Dota squads — in an event called ESL One Manila. This will mark the very first international championship awarded in the Philippines, and is the Dota world’s gift to the Filipinos — known for their incredible love of the game.
The tournament will feature eight teams from around the globe, one of which will be a Philippine representative. The first day will feature a GSL-style group stage, where the top two teams of each group will advance to the playoffs. The bottom two of each will be eliminated, so it’s imperative that teams get off to a roaring start.
Without further ado, let’s preview the teams participating at ESL One Manila!
Team Secret — 2/1 — bet365
EHOME — 9/4 — bet365
Fnatic — 7/1 — Betway
Team Empire — 33/1 – bet365
Team Liquid will be at Manila with the same lineup that they ran at Shanghai. For the most part, their roster works really well — they just seem to have some problems closing games out at times. KuroKy especially seemed to choke at the end of their grand final series against eventual champions Team Secret.
Knowing this, we’re a little hesitant to say that they’re surely going to win this tournament. Team Secret’s new lineup is even more frightening than the previous one, thanks to Arteezy and UNiVeRsE being added to the mix. They’ve also had plenty of time to build chemistry with the new roster since Shanghai, making communication problems unlikely. Team Liquid are certainly capable of going toe to toe with them in the grand finals (Liquid are likely going to get there anyway), but with Secret’s beefed up squad they’re going to have a terrible time of it.
CompLexity have really shown what they’re capable of lately. Under the awesome leadership of team captain swindlemelonzz, the Swedish-American team have reached heights rivaled only by EG when we’re talking about the NA scene. Now we know that might not be saying much, but the improvement is clear — taking top 6 at Shanghai and top 4 at DotaPit were much better results than most people expected them to post at those LANs. There’s also the hot streak they’re on right now when it comes to online qualifiers, so if you’re looking for a team with momentum on their side (other than Secret, of course), look no further. Their team dynamic has really flourished over time, and they’re no doubt looking at this event as another rung on the ladder to climb.
A 12/1 price combined with the fact that they’ve improved makes this an attractive bet. CoL are no longer a team that should be underestimated, and in this group they have a very realistic chance of getting out safely anyway. While it would still take a huge effort for them to win it all, we recommend this bet for those that want to roll high for this event. Otherwise, avoid — as they have a history of either choking or underperforming towards the final stages of tournaments. If anything CoL can be a side bet to accompany a safer one.
The favourites. Bar none. With a horrifyingly strong lineup and the momentum from the previous major, Team Secret are looking to make everyone fear them once again. ESL One Manila will be the first test for Arteezy and UNiVeRsE in their new uniforms, and we think at least one of them will impress at the event. Puppey’s drafting is just as good as ever, and with 1437 behind them as coach, they’ve got all the cards they need to take the trophy.
Their 2/1 odds will tell you everything else you need to know. This of course makes them the safest bet at the tournament, so if you’re looking for a near-guaranteed win, then Secret will more than likely have your back.
As the “winners” of the Chinese spring roster shuffle, EHOME have a nice shiny new roster to work with as well. Former ViCi Gaming players Fenrir and iceiceice were brought on board at the roster lock, both players being placed in the support roles. This allowed them to move the king of versatility LaNm to the carry position, something he was in back in the early days of Dota 2. old chicken and ELeVeN stay in their normal roles.
While iceiceice has yet to prove himself as a support player, Fenrir needs to prove nothing. If they’ve gotten their post-lock chemistry on point, Fenrir should not have a difficult time settling into the role that he’s already used to. Losing KaKa might be a bigger deal than it looks on paper, though, as he was the team’s dedicated Earth Spirit player whenever they had the chance to pick the hero up at the drafting phase. This team has a solid lineup nonetheless and they should make it out of their group — but since this lineup is still unproven at this point it’s hard to recommend them.
Bookmakers have chosen to price Fnatic up at 7/1, which is somewhat indicative of their performances as of late. They’ve been on a roll in online tournaments, such as the ESL One Frankfurt SEA qualifier, BTS Southeast Asia #4, and the SEA Kappa Invitational. They also posted a top 6 finish at Shanghai, proving that their improvement hasn’t been limited to online affairs only.
Hometown hero DJ is the star of the show, and will definitely appreciate love and cheers from the Filipinos attending the event. If he can channel the energy given to him at the venue, he could turn in a monstrous performance — which in turn could help boost his team to an appearance at the playoffs if they make it out of their group. Their final opponents in Group B will most likely be EHOME, in a battle for second place. We can definitely see their chances at advancing from the group stage, but the pressure of a single elimination best of 3 could get to them. If anything, their foremost advantage is the complete lack of jet lag, as they play in the exact same timezone as the venue. However if you’re going to bet on a team that isn’t assured a grand finals appearance, you might as well just pick CompLexity given their returns.
Wings Gaming, Mineski, Team Empire
These are the three teams that are highly unlikely to even get past the group stage, unfortunately. Wings Gaming don’t have the results backing them up, while Team Empire went through a total roster change in the shuffle which in turn may cause significant communication problems at the event. It’s also sad to say that Mineski, the Philippine representatives, are going to have a very difficult time here despite the cheers going their way. Perhaps their new mid player Ben could show the international guests a thing or two, but realistically they’re going to find themselves in the bottom half of the group. Avoid betting on these teams.
Team Secret to win outright with bet365 at 2/1 (3.00)
CompLexity Gaming to win outright with Ladbrokes at 12/1 (13.00)
Team Secret is the obvious safe bet, giving some decent returns for the relatively low level of risk attached to betting on them. So long as they don’t slip up (or have someone other than Puppey drafting) in the semis, they should be a lock for the grand finals. Whoever they face in the championship round will have a whole mountain to climb. On the other hand, CompLexity Gaming is the high roll option, giving better returns than Fnatic for a team that realistically has more or less the same chances of winning as Fnatic themselves. We’re expecting them to play some fantastic Dota at Manila.