It is only fitting that the final chapter of our Manila Major 2016 preview series will focus on the host region, Southeast Asia. For a long time in Dota 2, the SEA region was seen as the weakest out of the four major regions, sitting very close behind North America. CompLexity’s captain swindlemelonzz once said that SEA and NA would become the strongest regions some day, and while it did hold true during the 6.86 era, these days they are more within the middle of the pack.
There is, however, one team out of the three that might just shatter expectations once again. If you’ve been following the scene at all, you’d know exactly who we were talking about.
MVP Phoenix (22/1 bet365)
Yep, it’s MVP Phoenix we’re talking about. Now, we know what you’re thinking — 22/1 on a team that’s supposed to surprise everyone at the event? We probably won’t even be the first to tell you not to let those odds fool you, as they are probably that generous for a good reason. MVP Phoenix is based in South Korea, a country whose Dota 2 servers were closed by Valve in November of last year. This forces them to play online tournaments with higher ping than usual, which would explain why they don’t perform well in such events. This can be seen in their results at the Summit 5 and StarLadder qualifiers, which they bombed out of against fellow SEA team Fnatic.
Give MVP Phoenix a LAN environment, though, and everything changes. Suddenly they will sneak up on people and end up looking like raid bosses in an offline tournament. This fact was seen most recently at WePlay Season 3’s LAN finals, where MVP blitzed through Evil Geniuses in the grand finals 3-0. This tells us that the Koreans don’t have any coordination or teamwork issues whatsoever, and that they are limited mostly by the latency they experience online.
What does this mean in the bigger picture? It means that the aggressive, in-your-face playstyle that MVP are known for will serve them well in Manila. Without any network issues to contend with, they will be free to assert dominance over their opponents. Make no mistake — this team will likely be a top threat in the field, and at 22/1, they might just make someone a hell of a lot of money.
Fnatic (20/1 bet365)
Fnatic won’t have too much to prove in Manila other than their ability to stay cool and composed throughout a long event. They were knocked out of ESL One Manila the last time they were in the Philippines, but considering that they lost to the eventual champions, it didn’t turn out to be a really big issue. They still put on a pretty good run at that event, and if everything goes according to the hypothetical power rankings in Manila we should see them finish in the top 6.
The thing is, DJ was recently moved into the 5 support position, which may present some problems when it comes to adjusting. Should this indeed be a hurdle they have to get over before even focusing on actually executing their usual strategies, it could spell major trouble. On the other hand, if they take it one game at a time in order to give themselves the space to adjust, they could make a deep run. As outright winners, though? We’re having a hard time seeing that happen short of all five players suddenly unlocking hidden powers or something similar. They simply don’t have the talent or longevity that it takes to win a long event like this.
Mineski (200/1 bet365)
It’s going to be another rough time for the Filipinos at the major. Mineski managed to take only one map at ESL One Manila, and since then they’ve been forced to change up their roster by subbing JessieVash out for Cast. Unfortunately they just don’t have the power and skill to really compete at the highest level, and with several championship teams in the field, it’s going to be a statistical impossibility for them in this market in particular.
Avoid, unless you’re a huge Pinoy Dota fan and think that Mineski are gods capable of pulling miracles off.
MVP Phoenix to win outright with bet365 at 22/1 (23.00)
Bar none, MVP Phoenix will be the best choice out of the three SEA representatives. Their penchant for performing extremely well and beyond expectations in LAN environments will help them greatly in Manila. Of course, this isn’t to say that they’re significantly stronger than the top three teams in the field, but this team is just as capable of turning it on when it matters.