These are weird days as an analyst. When all the relevant series are one-sided affairs, it requires a different look to pull out meaningful takeaways for our teams. The meta is settling (at least until the new patch blows everything up), the power level of each team is pretty much set for now–today was really more about confirming some things, and answering a few lingering questions. Let’s take a look at what we learned.
As a quick reminder, if you’re at all confused on the new patch and how it will affect the bracket stage of the tournament, you can check out my video all about the situation. I’m actually really proud of it so I’ll probably mention it briefly on the rest of these. Definitely some production kinks to work out, but I had a ton of fun making it. Ok, gross self-promotion done, now to learning!
POILK gets a chance to redeem his Tracer play from Day 1, which was nice to see. Other than that, this is a very one-sided affair that just reaffirms Dignitas’ place at the top of this bracket. I feel really bad for the rest of Europe that has to deal with Dignitas next month after they’ve been able to grow so quickly into their new roster through this tournament. Wubby got to show off his Leoric, which is a very good Leoric. Seriously, how the heck do you draft against this team?
Maybe don’t give Breez Anub’arak anymore. Fnatic let these games be a touch closer than they needed to be, but were still in control the whole time. China is just entirely outclassed at this event, which is unfortunate, but Fnatic took care of business against an inferior team.
Drafts were somewhat interesting here, though that may again be due to Fnatic’s clear control over CE in both games. Mene got a chance to trot out his beloved Kael’thas, which is always a treat. He loves the hero so much, you just feel a sort of “good for you, buddy!” feeling when he gets to blow kids up with chain bombs. We also saw BadBenny’s Dehaka, showing a slight expansion in his hero pool, which is nice to see. Fnatic sort of gets to skate through the last two days of the event. Odds are we’ll see some wacky stuff from them in tomorrow’s series against SPT, which should be fun.
Good news, the team’s coordination is really on point. Even without tons of hard CC, they capitalize on pick opportunities really well. Bad news, Gul’dan does a lot of damage. Game 1 was, yet again, Roll20 in a position where they could pull ahead, but not quite making the right macro decisions. In this case, twice they did not respect how much damage Gul’dan could do to their entire team all at once.
In both games, Roll20 was entirely focused on forcing fights rather than playing the patient macro game. Granted, in Game 2 Ballistix put them in a situation where they had to find some way to create an opportunity to come back, but their style seemed to be much more focused on fighting than the controlled slow play we saw in the previous series against KSV and Fnatic.
It appears that R2e is experimenting with various styles of play and shotcalling, learning how to work together in a wide range of situations. That, or ETC made an incredible Stage Dive play and they just fell behind with no real gameplan for how to recover cause Tomb is hard.
One last note, we’re still seeing many comps that share time on Valla between Daneski and Kure. Daneski’s incredible play on Li-Ming in Game 2 suggests that he is equal to the task of playing ranged carry for the team alongside Kure. I mentioned earlier that Fnatic will benefit greatly from the meta potentially shifting to double threat instead of double support. Roll20 may be in a similar situation.
In fact, Roll20 are in a really great position no matter where the meta goes. They can play triple frontline, double carry, tassadar/auriel carry–the lineup seems very flexible thus far. Now they just need to refine the best strategies to lock down their seeding with a win over CE, and begin preparing for the new patch.
After today, there is definitely an argument for moving CE above Roll20 in the power rankings. Tomorrow’s match will settle that once and for all, but this is my ranking and if both teams are roughly even, Roll20 gets one extra point because of NA bias. So there!