We're full steam ahead into the first Dota 2 tournament of Dota Pro Circuit 2021, the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021, with the Regional Qualifiers and Regional Leagues now all behind us.
The tournament will be the first Valve-sanctioned LAN event in Dota 2 in months and will see 18 teams from six competitive regions battle it out for a shot at the $500,000 prize pool and 2,700 DPC points.
With that said, welcome to our first Dota 2 power rankings of the year, where we rank the 10 best Dota 2 teams heading into the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021.
The criteria for the rankings are simple: how teams performed heading into the games, how they play into the big picture, and how they're likely to perform at the Major.
Team Liquid is one of the most inconsistent teams playing in Europe. They're capable of beating juggernauts and proven powerhouses like Team Secret and Natus Vincere on a good day. Meanwhile, there are times where they'll find themselves completely lost against the likes of Tundra Esports.
Sure, some of the best Dota 2 teams have their off days and Europe is arguably the most competitive Dota 2 region right now, but Team Liquid has yet to prove themselves consistent enough to win when it counts.
While T1, as an organization, lacks any experience in Dota 2, T1 has one of the most well-rounded Filipino Dota 2 players in Carlo "Kuku" Palad. Meanwhile, its mid-player, Karl "Karl" Jayme has been competing both locally, as well as internationally, for over a decade, despite only being 22 years old.
In addition to those two, there's Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon, who reached the 12K MMR just this month.
With TI veteran Park "March" Tae-won serving as their coach, there's a chance that T1's aggressive tendencies will work in their favor at the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021 if they play their cards right.
Beastcoast might just be the most underestimated Dota 2 team at the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021 and it's mostly because they compete in one of the weaker regions in South America.
While they're not the most-skilled nor most experienced Dota 2 team out there, they have been together for a while. This, like Team Liquid, gives them an edge against other Dota 2 teams at the Major that haven't been through the highs and lows of playing in a LAN setting as much as they have.
Led by arguably the two best Dota 2 players of the legendary TI6 champions, Wings Gaming, with TI4 champion, Zhang "xiao8" Ning as their coach, PSG.LGD is a scary team when it's firing on all cylinders.
Just one look at the depth of experience and skill of the players on PSG.LGD is enough to send shivers down any opponent's spines.
Don't be surprised if they end up taking it all at the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021.
Since signing the former FlyToMoon roster, Natus Vincere has had several solid showings. They even won the OGA Dota PIT Season 4 and finished second at ESL One Germany. Unfortunately, COVID-19 put a monkey wrench into their plans as they'll be playing at the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021 without their captain and mid-player.
But, there is a silver lining to all of this as standing in for their captain is their coach. Meanwhile, Roman "RAMZES666" Kushnarev is also stepping in to file the Iceberg-sized hole in the middle.
RAMZES666 is currently teamless with an unsuccessful stint with Evil Geniuses.
Look to him to prove himself via his performance with Natus Vincere in Singapore.
Ranking former TI champions and runner-ups this low seems blasphemous, especially when we're talking about a team led by TI veteran Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi.
Unfortunately, Team Nigma's lack of solid showings in Europe these past couple of months proves that this is where they belong.
Similar to Team Liquid, Team Nigma can lose and win against pretty much anyone. The only difference between them is that their ceiling is among the highest of all the Dota 2 teams at the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021.
If only KuroKy can be more flexible with his drafts and stop letting Aliwi "w33" Omar get the short end of the farming stick, a dominant performance in Singapore is not out of the question.
Whereas T1 has a lot to prove as an upcoming team, Fnatic is here to show that they're not the big fish in the small Southeast Asia pond. They already proved with a 6-1 record in the DPC SEA upper-division that they're heads and shoulders above other SEA teams. Now, look to them to try and stake their claim as one of the best Dota 2 teams in the world.
The former VP.Prodigy roster has so far turned a lot of heads with their performance as the main Virtus.pro team with a comfortable 7-0 record at the DPC CIS upper-division. However, while many are quick to sing praises at the young boys, doubt remains as to how well they'll perform when the pressure is on.
They've already proven that they can outlast championship-caliber teams like OG at the EPIC League Season 2 in a slugfest. They'll have to try and replicate if not improve upon that performance at the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021 if they are to silence all the naysayers.
Team Aster is currently part of the three-way deadlock of the Chinese competitive Dota 2 scene composed of themselves, Vici Gaming, and Invictus Gaming. However, of the three, they've got the least to show and the most to prove. This either makes them the weakest of the bunch and the most dangerous, depending on how you look at it.
With a healthy mix of veterans and youngsters in the roster, Team Aster has the potential to win it all at ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021.
Vici Gaming is a team that has stayed together for most of the past two years with only Yang "Erica" Shaohan and Ren "old eLeVen" Yangwei being its most recent additions. This means that they've got a wealth of experience from playing together in LANs to count on.
Considering their history of placing well in LAN tournaments, a deep run from them in Erica's DPC LAN debut is not out of the question.
Evil Geniuses is the very personification of the common saying of not waking up the sleeping bear.
Despite being inactive for most of the year, they had no problems going 6-1 to make it to the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021. Now, they are looking to prove to everyone that they remain one of the top Dota 2 teams in the world.
With Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang and his playstyle proving to be the right mix of recklessness, skill, and reliability that the boys in blue have not enjoyed since Saahil "Universe" Arora manned the offlane years ago, his homecoming in Singapore with the rest of Evil Geniuses could prove to be his most fruitful showing yet.
Alliance made it here after a strong showing at arguably the most competitive region in Dota 2 with wins against the likes of OG, Team Nigma, and Team Liquid, as well as getting the occasional upper hand whenever they clash with Team Secret.
The only thing missing now is for Alliance to cement themselves as a solid Tier 1 team.
The best way to do that is to go on a deep run at ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021.
Invictus Gaming doesn't really have a lot of experience together as a team. However, they've put together strong performances in that period. In particular, they went 6-1 to qualify for the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021. In doing so, they beat all comers and superteams in China as they announced their intent to become the next big Dota 2 team.
There exists a sizable gap between Team Secret and the rest of the Dota 2 world. In fact, the European powerhouse, led by TI1 champion and Dota 2 veteran Clement "Puppy" Ivanov, are already considered favorites to win TI10 in August.
Lest we forget, it's still March and there's a couple of tournaments to go before then.
It's not hyperbole to say that the current iteration of Team Secret is the most dominant Dota 2 team in history. It's rivaled only by other incarnations of Team Secret and TI7's Team Liquid. Ironically enough, former TI7 champion, Lasse Aukusti "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen, is currently playing for Team Secret.
Team Secret is the last Dota 2 team to win a Major. They also went through a period last year where they won 7 straight online tournaments.
With that said, seeing Team Secret secure anything less than a podium finish will be shocking, to say the least.
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