EPIC League Division 1 is entering the 4th and final competitive week of the Group Stage. Three teams are facing elimination and two of them will fail to advance to the Playoffs. Among them is also RAMZES’ team, Just Error, and the young carry player will need to play better than ever to succeed.
EPIC League Division 1 Current Standings
EPIC League features 10 competitors. These are the strongest teams in Europe and CIS, which means we often see great matches and even some upsets. But this event has had the most spectacular reversals we’ve seen all season. Teams that prior to the tournament were regarded as being much weaker than the rest, have surpassed all expectations and are now leading the pack. I’m talking of course about Vikin.gg and Virtus.pro.
This team had a surprisingly good year, with numerous trophies won in tier 3 and tier 4 tournaments. But while most teams that come from the lower divisions get crushed by the ones from the first division, Vikin.gg’s persistence has allowed them to grow in strength tremendously over the past 8 months. And no one seemed to notice. Until it was too late.
In Dota 2, one crucial factor in winning a match is knowing your opponent and understanding how they win games. When tier 1 teams confront each other, the coaches and captains of those teams are usually well-prepared and have studied their adversary carefully, watching countless replays and even studying the individual preferences of its players. But when a relatively unknown competitor shows up with novel strategies and a very effective way to win, nobody has time to react and adapt to the situation. We’ve seen that at numerous Internationals and I think we’re seeing it at EPIC League Division 1.
Vikin.gg entered the race being ranked somewhere around 8th – 10th. Although, if you study their recent history, you will find out that just 3 weeks ago they won the trophy at DOTA Summit 13 Online: Europe & CIS, a tournament that didn’t feature a lot of big names, but still had teams like Liquid and mudgolems. So that fact that Vikin.gg managed to get 1st place and beat with a score of 3 – 1 a team that had previously won the title at ESL One Germany 2020 was a huge red flag for everyone else. In a way, Vikin.gg was screaming to the entire region: “Prepare! We’re coming for you!”
Vikin.gg played 7 matches in the first 3 weeks of EPIC League Division 1 and won 6 of them. The only team that managed to defeat them was Alliance. Which is quite shocking, because Alliance had an abysmal overall performance: 2 W – 6 L. And on top of that, Vikin.gg defeated Team Secret, OG, and Virtus.pro, which are much stronger than Alliance. But clearly, if we ignore this misstep, we can assess that Vikin.gg is now a formidable opponent. Until the next big patch, you should expect them to do well and possibly even win important titles.
The other dark horse of EPIC League Division 1 is Virtus.pro. The roster that plays under VP’s banner is actually the organization’s former academy team. You might be familiar with the name VP.Prodigy. This team used to get top results in European and CIS tournaments. The best result they achieved was the 1st place at Epic Prime League Season 1.
In the Group Stage of EPIC League Division 1, VP has had 5 wins and 2 losses so far. One of those defeats came against Vikin.gg, so it shouldn’t surprise us. But the other one came against Liquid, which is a strong indication that VP can be unstable at times. I’m saying this because the mark of a top team is its ability to win against much weaker opponents and only lose against rivals of equal or higher skill.
Nevertheless, Virtus.pro is now sitting at number 2 in the standings table, a performance they can be proud of. Based on this record and the fact that they have two more matches to play, I expect VP to advance to the Upper Bracket of EPIC League Division 1 at the end of the Group Stage.
Just like Vikin.gg and Virtus.pro did amazingly well, other teams crashed and burn against the odds. Two of them are Alliance and mudgolems. Both were expected to do a bit better than they did: 2 W – 6 L, and 2 W – 6 L respectively. Mudgolems will most likely dodge the bullet because they still have 2 matches left to play. But Alliance is in big trouble.
Another team that’s in big trouble is Just Error. Formed less than a month ago and being full of superstars like RAMZES, SumaiL, and Solo, Just Error was in part expected to fail at EPIC League Division 1. Because everyone is really strong and without proper preparation, individual talent can only take you so far. But I think they still hoped to do a little bit better than they did. The 2 W – 6 L record is almost guaranteed to end their run before the Playoffs Stage begins. Because with only one match left to be played and against an opponent like OG, I just don’t see a way out for them.
These are the complete results of the first 3 competitive weeks of EPIC League Division 1:
- 1st: Vikin.gg: 6 W – 1 L
- 2nd: Virtus.pro: 5 W – 2 L
- 3rd: Team Secret: 5 W – 2 L
- 4th: Team Nigma: 4 W – 3 L
- 5th: OG: 4 W – 4 L
- 6th: Natus Vincere: 3 W – 3 L
- 7th: Team Liquid: 3 W – 4 L
- 8th: mudgolems: 2 W – 5 L
- 9th: Just Error: 2 W – 6 L
- 10th: Alliance: 2 W – 6 L
Final Week Preview
The 4th competitive week of this tournament will last for 3 days. On each day, we will get to see 3 matches. The situation at the top of the standings table is quite clear and there is very little that can prevent the top 4 teams from advancing to the Upper Bracket. Same goes for the 5th – 8th place teams, although there is a real chance that Just Error will avoid elimination. However, in order for that to happen, mudgolems needs to lose against Na’Vi and Liquid. At the same time, Alliance needs to lose against Virtus.pro.
To be honest, I’m not worried at all about Alliance winning against VP, given how strong VP has been at this tournament and how poor Alliance is playing right now. But I do suspect that FATA’s team, mudgolems, will win one of its two matches and end Just Error’s run as a result.
The full list of matches for week 3, with my predictions regarding who will win, is the following:
- Natus Vincere – mudgolems: Na’Vi wins
- Team Nigma – Vikin.gg: Vikin.gg wins
- Secret – Virtus.pro: Virtus.pro wins
- Team Liquid - mudgolems: mudgolems wins
- Natus Vincere – Vikin.gg: Vikin.gg wins
- pro – Alliance: Virtus.pro wins
- OG – Just Error: OG wins
- Team Liquid – Team Nigma: Team Nigma wins
- Secret – Natus Vincere: Team Secret wins