I’ll admit it – I didn’t think this was gonna be one of the semi-finals. Terror being here isn’t that big of a surprise – he is a frequent contender for the top 4 spots in the foreign tournament scene, but for Avi-Love, this is the first time he hits top 4 in the BSL – despite previously having played in the pro league in BSL seasons 10, 9, 8, 7, 5 and 4.
Avi is a true veteran of the scene, but one that has largely escaped the radar. It seems like a lot of players have only really noticed him in the SC:Reloaded – era, but he’s playing on a high level for just about two decades. While I’m not going to state this as an absolute fact, I actually believe he is the single player that is currently part of the scene whom I lost a game against the longest time ago, I believe sometime shortly after the turn of the millenium. Avi was a competitive player in the early 2000s, and for the entire decade until SC2 put the foreign scene in a hiatus – even though he was only occasionally part of the tournament circuit. Coming back to the scene after SC:R, he has consistently been in the group of ‘almost among the very top foreigners’ – performing a bit worse than Eonzerg, Trutacz, Sziky and Gorynich – but the list of zerg players who have looked better than Avi for the past three years ends there.
Whether this slight radar-dodging is caused by him having a penchant for smurfing, him being very selective in terms of what tournaments to play in, or that his results from those tournaments have been a bit underwhelming seen in relation to how good he’s been, is kind of besides the point – the important thing is: Now that he has reached the Ro4 in the BSL, his most impressive tournament result to date, the spotlight is his. The relevant question is – how will he perform?
In the previous round, he dispatched of Koget in a most impressive manner. Especially the game on Sylphid, where he opened with double hatchery before pool and utilized it to get a massive hydra lurker queen army, was a real joy to behold. Looking at the four games in that series, we saw hydra lurker queen twice, hydra fake into mass muta into everything – and one two hatch defiler that escaped the mid game phase, turning into a real nailbiter. Basically, not even one instance of a more commonly seen 2 or 3 hatch mutalisk opening, even though the latency permitted for it.
If you haven’t watched the series, I would recommend giving it a go even if you know the result.
That series was one where Avi emerged victorious from the mind games-aspect – but also one where he showcased strong macro and a wide variety of openings and strategic decisions. His two hatch muta micro might not be on the same level as the zerg players mentioned above, but his ability to churn out a good amount of drones – followed up by a massive amount of units and excellent army control – is as good as any. Additionally, he played a genuinely unpredictable style of play, mixing his impressive macro play with big ling floods, a committed two hatch defiler, and even queens.
Now, he’s up against Terror. The Peruvian terran has been on a tear as of late – showing fantastic TvP and TvT skills. So far in this BSL, he won his ro24 group beating Ultra and Boa, won his ro16 group beating Dandy and Koget, before he beat Boa again in the ro8. Additionally, he recently beat Dewalt 5-0 in the best of the best tournament – a shocking result – Dewalt had a 26-4 record going into that series. Looking at this, Terror seems to be in the shape of his life. While he’s been a regular in the bracket stage of the BSL, this is only his third semi-final, and his best result was all the way back in BSL3 where he got runner up – but this was a smaller tournament with a different format. Since then, he also got third place in BSL season 9, a result he’ll surely be hoping to improve upon now.
While the results I just listed from Terror are certainly impressive, all the players he beat share one common trait: They are not zerg players. Terror mentioned as much in the interview after he beat Boa last weekend – while he’s on a hot streak, his TvZ might be his weaker matchup. While Terror is a fairly complete Terran player, who can utilize a wide variety of builds, he does tend to stray from going pure SK – Terror virtually always adds a machine shop to his factory, and he might even build more than one. He’s also willing to mix it up with proxy raxes (and factories), but is also comfortable opening command centre first. 1-1-1 builds are also a big part of his repertoire.
I expect him to have watched the Avi-Love vs Koget games, and to have adjusted based on what he did see. One thing we need to factor in, is that the turn rate of this game will be lower than what we saw for Avi vs Koget. This has some real consequences for how the players are likely to approach the games. Comparing turn rate 20+ with turn rate 12 (which is likely the highest they can play smoothly), certain strategies might fall in or out of fashion, and it might influence the mind game between the two. For example, two hatch mutalisk builds are generally worse. Vultures – even with speed – cannot reliably beat speedlings. Hydra lurker generally becomes stronger while muta/ling is weaker.
Consequently, going more tank heavy becomes a better option, and as Zerg might skip spire, drops become stronger, too. Both these players are also aware of how lag impacts their play – Avi will know that speedlings counter vultures in tr12, but Terror will know that Avi knows that speedlings counter vultures in tr12. Thus, if Terror does open vulture, don’t be surprised to see him also make an improvised wallin with a bunker.
While Avi opened double hatch before pool twice vs Koget, without getting punished in either game, I’m not sure we see such shenanigans against Terror, and I feel that if we do, it will be a bigger gamble than it was against Koget.
These players have faced off multiple times before. In the BSL, Terror has generally had Avi’s number, but I’ve seen Avi beat him handily on a couple occasions, too. My own experience is that Terror is very good at playing against the hydra lurker style Avi employed against Koget – he expertly uses dropships to pull the Zerg’s army out of position, which allows his own tank-heavy force to get into position. However, he might be a bit less polished when fighting muta ling into fast ultralisk – but again, that strategy is also genuinely harder to execute against Terror because of the lowered turn rate.
My prediction is that we see a wide variety of openings here, too. Both Terror and Avi might open with an aggressive build – pool before hatchery or barrack before supply depot. But while Avi’s openings ended up countering Koget’s builds in a great manner – whether by fluke or by design – I don’t think he’ll get in equally advantageous positions against Terror. I think Terror will win the series, particularly on the back of strong attacks in conjunction with dropship harassment. However, I do expect it to be close – Avi makes very smart decisions and tends to find himself in excellent shape entering the mid game, and he is a particularly dangerous opponent because he makes it very difficult to determine whether you’re getting allined or whether he’s massing drones.
Final prediction: 3-2 for Terror!
Dota 2: ChYuan Replaces Masaros On Fnatic’s Offlane
The well-known midlaner now mans a new position for Fnatic.
Fnatic announced that it has tapped Ng Kee “ChYuan” Chyuan to replace Natthaphon “Masaros” Ouanphakde on their Dota 2 squad.
Welcome Ng Kee @ChYuaNDota2 Chyuan to our Dota 2 roster!
The Malaysian mid-laner will take on a new role with us as he fills in our offlane position. We are thrilled to have him on the team as we prepare for our campaign at the second season of the Dota Pro Circuit! pic.twitter.com/Lm3KoYr9Qi
— FNATIC (@FNATIC) April 10, 2021
Masaros first joined the team in November 2020, but he was placed on the inactive roster on April 4, 2021. Three days later he left the team to join Motivate. Trust Gaming. Fnatic signed ChYuan on April 10.
These changes came after Fnatic’s anemic joint-ninth place finish at the ONE Esports Singapore Major. Despite being seeded to the playoffs, it failed to win a match losing to Evil Geniuses in the upper bracket and then to OB Esports x Neon in the lower bracket.
The Malaysian-born ChYuan has been winning prizes in Asian and Southeast Asian Dota 2 tournaments since 2018. Fnatic is banking on this experience bolstering its chances in Season 2 of the Upper Division in the SEA DPC region. Season 2 runs from April 14 to May 21.
ChYuan played for the Chinese team Aster from April 2019 to July 2020. He then had a short stint with TNC Predator before moving on to ZeroTwo. He last played for ZeroTwo in the Southeast Asia Lower Division of DPC 2021: Season 1, where the team finished sixth.
Fnatic’s midlane is currently played by Kam “Moon” Boon Seng, who was ChYuan’s former teammate in WarriorsGaming.Unity in 2017.
On Fanatic’s welcome post on Facebook, ChYuan shared his optimism about his new role with Fnatic: “I’m very excited to play a new role. I’m ready to take it on and I look forward to adding more value to the team. Thank you Team Fnatic for having me onboard.”
ana reunites with OG ahead of DreamLeague Season 15
Anathan “ana” Pham is returning to professional Dota 2, and he’s joining some old friends.
The Australian carry has returned to the lineup of OG to rejoin most of his former teammates from the two-time The International championship team. He replaces Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng, who was removed from the side after it failed to qualify for the ONE Esports Singapore Major. The news was announced on the organization’s social media channels.
When things go wrong and you’re unsure where to go next, the only source of sunlight that you feel like turning to is your friends. Your family.
The ones that love and accept you for exactly who you are.
— OG (@OGesports) April 11, 2021
With the addition of ana, OG’s Dota 2 roster is made up of the following players:
- Anathan “ana” Pham
- Topias Miikka “Topson” Taavitsainen
- Sebastian “Ceb” Debs
- Martin “Saksa” Sazdov
- Johan “N0tail” Sundstein
Now that ana is back in action, the only player missing from OG’s The International-winning roster is Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka. The former support player recently returned to Dota 2, but affirmed that he is not planning a return to competition and is instead simply looking to stream the game.
Regardless, ana’s return should be welcome news for OG fans. He will likely be debuting with the team at the start of DreamLeague Season 15, the second cycle of the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit in Europe.
Where has ana been since The International 2019?
ana taking a break after The International has been a tradition for a few years now, and The International 2019 wasn’t an exception. After becoming Dota 2’s first two-time champion alongside the rest of the OG roster, ana stepped away from the game for months with Ceb and JerAx joining him in retirement.
He played just one professional series in 2020, and spent months at a time without even playing the game casually. During this time, he reached the top ranks of tactical shooter Valorant.
He only returned to Dota 2 in February, ending a four-month break from the game to play alongside Lee “Forev” Sang-don in a handful of pub matches. It was unclear whether he was simply having fun or if it was the start of something else, but those questions have now been answered.
OG needs to rebound to hold onto The International 10 hopes
The addition of ana is big news for OG, which is in a precarious position when it comes to qualifying for The International 10. The team’s failure to qualify for the Singapore Major came after a fifth-place finish in DreamLeague Season 14, which means OG needs to perform exceptionally well in the next major cycle.
OG earned just 50 points for its efforts in DreamLeague Season 14 and will incur a penalty to those points for making this roster change to bring on ana. Because of that, OG will need to post a very strong performance in DreamLeague Season 15 and notch a good showing in the subsequent major in order to qualify directly to The International 10.
Even without JerAx, it’s easy to imagine most of the two-time champions at OG making a strong run moving forward. The second 2021 Dota Pro Circuit cycle and final push to The International 10 begins on April 13.
Ana is back! Again
OG welcome back Anathan ‘Ana’ Pham into the lineup just ahead of DPC 2021 Season 2.
Is it time for TI already? Well OG and Anathan ‘Ana’ Pham certainly think it is close enough. And considering that the team failed to clinch a Major ticket, placing fifth in the EU league, they certainly thought it was needed.
Last January, Ana had announced that he would be taking a break until ‘next season’. Next season implied to many that the veteran player was NOT be making an appearance at TI2020 —an event that didn’t happen anyway.
In his absence, the team failed to claim any titles or a Major slot. Through the entire 2020 online season, OG reached three grand finals and lost.
About two weeks ago OG bid farewell to Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng. In his official statement upon MidOne’s departure, Sébastien “Ceb” Debs highlighted the need for competitive synergy and expressed his sadness that something never clicked.
To fans around the world, this signaled the return of Ana. An open core position, the need for synergy, the last season of the DPC 2021, and potentially only LAN event until TI10 —all perfect indicators for OG’s savior to make his return.
DPC 2021 Season 2 will begin on April 13th and fans will be able to catch Ana back in action competing in the EU upper-division.
OG DPC 2021 Season 2 roster
OWL 2021 Power Rankings – #16 Houston Outlaws
At the 16th position of our Overwatch League 2021 Power Rankings are the Houston Outlaws.
Houston scouted many young talents from the Overwatch Contenders and even Collegiate Overwatch. To help young players adapt to the Overwatch League, the Houston Outlaws can also count on some seasoned League players.
Houston Outlaws 2021 Roster Preview
- Myung-heum “JJANGGU” Cho
- Min-jun “PIGGY ” Shin
Myung-heum “JJANGGU” Cho is the new main tank for the Houston Outlaws. He joins the Overwatch League for the first time, previously playing in the Contenders with various teams such as GC Busan WAVE or Talon Esports.
The Houston Outlaws 2021 tanking duo already knows each other, as both players were part of Talon Esports. Min-jun “PIGGY ” Shin mainly plays off-tank heroes, such as Zarya and D.Va. With Talon Esports, Myung-heum “JJANGGU” Cho and Min-jun “PIGGY ” Shin won the Overwatch Contenders 2020 Season 1: Pacific.
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- William “Crimzo” Hernandez
- Enrique “Joobi” Triana
William “Crimzo” Hernandez made a name for himself in the Overwatch Contenders, winning the 2019 Season North America West tournament with Team Envy, the Dallas Fuel’s academy team. He was then promoted to the main team, joining the Dallas Fuel for the Overwatch League 2020 Season. Crimzo now begins a new adventure with the Houston Outlaws.
Enrique “Joobi” Triana is a young player, who just turned 18 on April 4. Joobi is the first player to directly go from a Collegiate Overwatch team to the Overwatch League, even if he previously played in Contenders NA. He played with different teams in Contenders, before joining HU Storm, the esports team from Harrisburg University. Houston Outlaws scouts noticed the player, who now joins the Overwatch League.
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- Dante “Danteh” Cruz
- João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles
- Jung-woo “Happy” Lee
- Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa
- Jacob “JAKE” Lyon
Dante “Danteh” Cruz and João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles are the only players from the Houston Outlaws 2020 roster to stay with the team in 2021. Both are flex players, playing as DPS for the team but able to switch if needed. For this new season, the duo is joined by three other DPS players.
Jung-woo “Happy” Lee is a former Element Mystic and Meta Bellum player, who made his first steps in the League back in 2018 with the Guangzhou Charge. He stayed two years with the team, winning the Summer Showdown and finishing the Overwatch League 2020 season in 5th place.
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Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa is also a seasoned Overwatch League player. He played two years with the Los Angeles Valiant, placing second in the Overwatch League Inaugural Season, third in the 2019 Season,2 and 5th in 2020. KSF is also an Overwatch World Cup champion, winning the title with Team USA in 2019.
Jacob “JAKE” Lyon signs his return as a player in the Overwatch League. After two seasons with Houston Outlaws, he retired from competitive Overwatch to join the analysts’ desk. While he may not be in the starting six as the Houston Outlaws count a total of 5 DPS players, his insight might benefit the team, just like an additional analyst or coach would.
Also Read: #17 Vancouver Titans
Houston Outlaws 2021 Power Rankings
The Houston Outlaws is home to many seasoned Overwatch League players this season. While the team includes many good individual talents, the competition in the Overwatch League is harder each year, and it may not be enough to defeat stronger rosters.
One of the main dangers for the Houston Outlaws this season is the lack of experience of some key players of the team. The tanking duo is making its first steps in the Overwatch League, while the main support just comes out of Collegiate Overwatch.
The DPS line of the Houston Outlaws is packed, even if Jacob “JAKE” Lyon will more likely coach the team than join the starting six. If the DPS players can compete with other talented players, the Houston Outlaws may need some time to find its rhythm in the Overwatch League.
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