Christmas is coming early for Dota 2 fans this year, with the Boston Major bringing the best teams in the world together to compete for a US$3 million prize pool.
It’s a new event in the Dota 2 calendar, one that caught many fans by surprise, considering the last Valve hosted event, The International, was also hosted in America.
However, while Asian and European fans may feel slightly aggrieved they’re not hosting the latest major, one thing is for sure, it’s going to be an amazing tournament.
Perhaps the most exciting thing in the professional Dota 2 scene is the inevitable player and roster shuffles after a major tournament. We saw this after The International in August, with nearly every major team making significant changes.
So who has got a legitimate chance of winning?
Wings Gaming: The only top-tier team that walked away unscathed from TI6 was Wings, who understandably didn’t want to change a winning formula.
In my mind they’re currently the best team in professional Dota 2. They’ve won four of their last five tournaments, including The International, and they have the deepest hero pool in professional Dota.
They did place fourth at The Summit 6 (won by Virtus Pro), but I’m of the opinion that when they play their best Dota, no-one is currently good enough to beat them in a series.
They’re our favourites to win the Boston Major and they’re seriously good odds.
Virtus Pro (VP): Virtus Pro had to do it the hard way recently, and it’s worked.
They weren’t directly invited to the Boston Major, but they won their way through a stacked European qualifier, where they kept fan-favourites Team Secret and Team Liquid out of the Major.
After that success, they then won The Summit 6, defeating OG 3-0 in a five game series.
Considering EG and Wings Gaming were also in that tournament, that’s a big achievement.
VP doesn’t have the body of work that Wings do, but we’ve got them as our second favourite.
In my mind they’re the fourth best team at the Major, but seeing them in the Grand Final wouldn’t shock me.
EG: In true EG fashion, the post-TI shuffle saw wholesale changes to their roster.
Captain PPD and veteran Fear both retired, making way for Arteezy to join EG for the third time, as well as the introduction of Cr1t as the team’s new captain.
In my opinion, EG is the second best team at the Boston Major.
Losing PPD’s captaincy is massive, and no-one expects Cr1t to fully replace him, but every player on their team is a legitimate tier-one player and they’re playing on home soil.
I’ve got them losing to Wings 3-2 in the Grand Final. I think they’re good value.
Newbee: The ‘other’ Chinese powerhouse. However, unlike Wings Gaming, Newbee underwent significant changes after TI6 with veterans Hao, Chuan and Mu all leaving the squad.
That’s a lot of talent and experience to replace, but they’ve done a pretty good job so far.
Their new mid-lane player Sccc is really, really good and one of the best Invoker players in the world.
Newbee also have an Aussie in their team, their offlane player kpii, so if you’re looking to back a compatriot, they’re a pretty good bet.
Now that the four favourites have been covered, are there any roughies worth backing? In my opinion there’s only one.
OG: OG dominated last year, before falling apart at The International where they were heavy favourites alongside Wings Gaming.
With such a disappointing performance, roster changes were expected and they didn’t disappoint.
Their star mid player Miracle (arguably the best player in the world) left, gun support Cr1t left to captain EG and they decided to part ways with offlane player Moonmeander.
But their replacements were pretty good. Cr1t was replaced by Jerax (an amazing support in his own right) and Moonmeander was replaced by Dota 2 legend S4 who makes the transition from playing mid-lane to offlane.
The only real gamble was replacing Miracle with an unheard of Australian called ana. He’s not Miracle, but he’s improving and he’s got some great veterans around him.
They placed second at The Summit 6 and look to be a team on the rise.
OG are paying well to win the Boston Major, and whilst I don’t think they’re good enough to beat Wings, VP or EG in a best of five, the talent is there.
Plus they’ve got an Aussie on the team, so there’s a sentimental reason to back them.
The Boston Major is going to be huge. I for one can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
Winner: Wings $3.75
Long shot: OG $10.00