Get hype, Dota fans, for the Shanghai Major is a mere six days away from now. Sixteen of the best teams in the Dota 2 world will clash at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China. Although it isn’t near the grand scale of The International, the Shanghai Major is still a very important stop this season. The tournament will award a total of $3 million to all sixteen participants, with $1.1 million going to the eventual winner.
This article will be the first in a series of four previews for the Shanghai Major, with each article focusing on a particular region. For this first one, we will take a look at the teams that hail from Europe, whether they be from the western region of the continent (Germany, Sweden, etc) or the eastern side (CIS). Across the series, each team will have their outright winner odds displayed alongside their names.
Team Secret (10/1 bet365)
Rumors of a post-Major shuffle and mismanagement with regards to player salaries and prize money aside, Team Secret aren’t looking like the EU juggernaut that they were some months ago. Something’s been off with the team lately. Whether it’s a result of EternaLEnvy drafting (over team captain Puppey who normally goes through the picks and bans himself) or Misery’s supposed slump as of late only they will really know the answer, but it’s clear that whatever they’ve been doing isn’t going to cut it at the Major.
Looking at the last two LANs they’ve been in, both ended in a middle-of-the-pack finish for Team Secret. As opposed to their second place finish at the Frankfurt Major and their victory at the Nanyang Dota 2 Championships, these results are mediocre for a team like this. Even their fans are starting to get worried about their performances going forward.
Still, their talent pool is undeniable and if they manage to work out the kinks they’ve been having lately they’re still capable of making a deep run in the tournament. It’s going to take quite an effort to actually win the whole thing given their lack of momentum and the opponents they’ll be contending with at the event, but they do have the ability to make top 8, if not top 4. Even at that very tempting 10/1 price, though, we would not recommend putting money on them to win the LAN considering their lackluster performances so far this year.
OG (6/1 bet365)
The defending Major champions naturally received a direct invite to this event, and even though they haven’t been winning first place at a lot of LANs lately, they still absolutely deserve to be back to defend their title. Ever since their impressive championship run at Frankfurt, OG has been consistently taking top 4 finishes in tournaments they play in.
Most recently, they were found taking third place at the MarsTV Dota 2 League, eventually bowing out of the tournament after facing Evil Geniuses. Against a very strong team like EG, a third place finish is nothing to be ashamed of, though naturally the defending Major champions would like to keep their title.
Star player Miracle- is still chugging along nicely and is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. His sheer skill and fantastic play is worth all of its weight in gold, and thus he is expected to help carry his team to a top 3 or top 4 finish at the very least. MoonMeander, N0tail, Cr1t-, and Fly form the backbone of the squad, and are all very good individually as well as with each other. With a price of 6/1 put up on these guys, they make for a good bet as far as outright winner is concerned.
Virtus.pro (60/1 bet365)
Virtus.pro seem to have taken a bit of a step back when compared to their CIS comrades Team Empire and Vega Squadron, who have both been playing better than VP lately. VP also showed at that they can just lose their composure on a whim, which is exactly what happened at StarLadder Season 13 when they threw their final group stage game against Vega.
Although they’re not a terrible team by any means, there is no indication that they can take this whole tournament, much less when you consider the competition surrounding them. Given the rest of the teams at the Major, the most they can hope for is a top 8 finish, with 9th-12th being a more realistic expectation. There’s not a lot else to say about them, other than that we do not recommend betting on them as far as this market is concerned.
Team Liquid (14/1 Skybet)
In this meta that rewards teams that have Earth Spirit players in their rosters, Team Liquid can boast that they have such a weapon in their arsenal. Although JerAx is no longer in the top 100 Earth Spirit players on Dotabuff (presumably due to the fact that his last pub game with the hero was five months ago), he is still no doubt one of the best at using him. To illustrate how important this is, just check Earth Spirit’s winrate at MDL. That’s right, 85%.
This of course isn’t to say that TL are a one-trick pony that rely completely on actually getting their hands on an Earth Spirit pick. The other pieces of the team are great players in their own rights, and if you look at their recent results, it’s easy to see them making a deep run at the Shanghai Major. In fact, we still think that they’re a great value bet like we did at StarLadder, where they got eliminated in the top 4 after facing the eventual champions Alliance. At 14/1 those numbers make it seem like they’ll be hard pressed to win the tournament, but don’t let that fool you — they’re capable of taking it all here.
Just expect them to really have to work for it.
Team Spirit (150/1 bet365)
Well, it’s clear why the outright winner odds for Team Spirit look like that. They maybe a tier 1 CIS team but as far as the pecking order is concerned they’re not even close to the top. With no real notable results this year Team Spirit just haven’t proven themselves at all. Out of all the European teams in this Major, they’re definitely the least likely to win the tournament.
Simply put, don’t bet on them in this market. They’re capable of taking games in the group stage and maybe even in the playoffs, so you’re more likely to win bets there.
Alliance (5/1 bet365)
Make way for the Kings of the North. Alliance are definitely, undoubtedly back, and it would be unfair to say that this was entirely a result of the patch. Coming off of wins at the World Cyber Arena 2015 LAN Finals and StarLadder Season 13, the 2013 world champions are looking strong and have quickly become the team to beat this year.
After reforming their TI3-winning lineup, Alliance have wasted little time getting back on track and winning events once again. Here at the Shanghai Major, they are a big threat to the rest of the playing field, making them one of the teams that everyone else has to prepare for. Their strong mechanics and calculated aggression have again proven to be their sharpest weapons against the best the world has to offer. AdmiralBulldog and S4 have been giving opposing teams headaches like it’s 2013 again, while the two supports Akke and EGM have been doing their jobs really well when it comes to protecting the farming cores that are so instrumental to their playstyle. Not to be outdone despite being arguably one of the weaker players in the team, Loda’s versatility has proven to be a great asset for Alliance from the drafting phase of each game up until the throne is down.
It’s very easy to recommend Alliance as an outright winner bet, especially given that bookmakers have decided to price them up generously despite their great play recently. At 5/1 odds you get some good returns considering their chances of winning the tournament itself. The payout is just slightly lower than OG’s, but if you feel like the meta heavily favors the Swedes, place your money on Alliance.
Take your pick between the three recommended bets above. All three choices are strong teams that are capable of making it to the finals, so choose wisely. To sum each team’s advantages up, OG have sheer skill (at least in Miracle-), Team Liquid have the solid chemistry and consistency, and Alliance have the momentum and metagame on their side.