A Look Back at CET-WED Season 15 Preseason Power Rankings

As the season draws to a close with only the finals remaining, it’s as good a time as any to reflect on the pre-season power rankings and compare the results to the predictions, analyzing what went wrong and what went right along the way.

The Disbands

Regurgitard

Probably the most unfortunate disband, Regu’s team died without having played a single official due to player inactivity (read: players forgetting they signed up for this “RD2L” thing). It would be easy to blame this on picking fresh faces, but many others did the same and survived. Really, this is mostly just an unlucky disband, and as such it’s hard to analyze it much.

Ergotisme

A team dismantled from the inside by internal conflict by all accounts, Ergo’s team seemed to be doing okay, but the infighting eventually meant they gave it up. I’d like to take credit for 2–0'ing them into disband, but realistically between some player activity issues and ingame tilting, it seemed inevitable. The preseason description of some of the individual personalities in this team as “infamous” rings more true than ever now in hindsight.

Sdeha

An unfavorable draft, followed by multiple losses, followed by a pair of forfeits, followed by a disband. It’s hard to call the results unexpected. Shit happens, I guess?

So Close, Yet So Far (From Playoffs)

H3lix — #13

Looking back, I’m still confused how H3lix and his team ended up as the lowest team in the standings, but a quick look over the matches played does provide some clues. Fred, who won the double playing offlane in S14, moved to playing mostly support in this team. Their high MMR player, SaltMyst, ended up playing support as well, rather than a core role, meaning that the Helix-SaltMyst-Fred tricore I envisioned in the preseason never came to fruition. While I’m not against higher MMR players playing support (shoutouts to my boy Vivern), I feel like you need a better core duo than an Ancient 5 and Ancient 2 to make that work. Overall, I feel like the potential I talked about this team having never realized itself due to their role setup, so they lost quite a few games, not getting a single non-forfeit 2–0.

Omegasaw — #12

It’s like I was trying to be wrong! The 2nd lowest team ended up being the one I described as having “one of the more impressive drafts” during the preseason. If I was confused about how H3lix team did, I am straight dumbfounded here. Something just did not click, it seems. The team seemingly never picked up the pace and never managed to grab a 2–0 (other than in a scrim against my team, which seems to be their crowning achievement for this season). Looking at some of the scorelines and graphs, one can only conclude that this team had issues closing out games and containing their throws. In general, though, the drafting style of this team seems very feast-or-famine; they either got some nice pocket pick and straight up won the game, or, more often, this didn’t work out. Pretty sad, considering the potential this team had in my eyes — though maybe that just has to do with me wanting to play with a lot of the players on this team. Dodged a bullet?

Kevin Richardson — #11

While the balance in Kevin’s draft might be compared to that of MoltenKnight’s, I feel like there is one significant difference — the possibility of the farming cores to pop off. While I’d still say Maegustav and BlackJack is a solid core duo, it’s just that — solid. Best paired up with a more playmaking oriented “star” player, while the both of them are very consistent and passive, in a way. Neither are players that you look at and say “Yep, this guy is solo winning this game”. This team needed that game winner, but what they had instead was a tricore of players who usually serve to complement that gamewinner in play.

Melalez — #10

One of the two teams unfortunately dropped on Strength of Schedule, Melalez and his boys did pick up some decent wins, but it’s hard not to notice that the constant role setup changes might’ve hurt them. Dropping the whole series to both Harry and Ergo cost them quite a bit. Unfortunate.

-M! — #9

All things considered, an impressive placing for the community-consensus worst team in post-draft polls. Even more impressive is that they were the other team dropped on SoS, so we could’ve seen them in playoffs, but a couple of 0–2s cost them a lot as well. Some unfortunate drafts, possibly due to a couple of people adjusting to playing out of position, made it no easier, but they made the best out of a bad situation in many ways.

Play On, Playa

Thronplunder (1–2 vs Madsen)

An interesting team to say the least, Thronplunder’s squad had a slow start, with players being unavailable in the first couple of weeks. An interesting development in this team was the role swap of Mzzy and SwagMander early on, taking up the offlane and safelane carry roles respectively. This meant that they spread out the farm priorities among all three cores, which seemed at some points like the best option, considering that Sucker was still adjusting to being the star core player. It’s fun to realize that, being the lowest MMR captain of the division, Thron sometimes selflessly swapped himself out for the team’s 6th. In any case, this was surely a very positive team, and they managed to raise some brows by taking a game off my team — albeit playing 5v4.

Ry0ka (0–2 vs Roo)

A team I had high expectations for, it’s hard to pin this early exit on anything other than the unfortunate roster situation, including having to get multiple FAs. Crayon showed that perhaps ry0ka didn’t fuck up by spending all his money on him in draft, but at the end of the day, the sheer number of role swaps and roster instability did this roster in. A staple of ry0ka teams by this point, the players do seem to all have improved in one way or another, with the lower players gaining MMR, the carry FA learning to buy Aquila (!) and ry0ka himself learning a fourth (!!) hero. An unfortunate 0–2 against Roo and Standin.Omegasaw meant that we didn’t get to see much of this in action, but I’ll stand by my thought that Crayon+ry0ka would’ve been an above average foundation for a team given the stability they didn’t get in this season.

Nullagon (0–2 vs Holy Harry)

I’d be more surprised by this team getting so far, were it not for the fact that Boelens was their Dedemoon replacement, as well as Marta being the replacement for warlockmaster. With this solid pair of FAs, they managed to pick up enough wins to get into the playoffs (despite getting their asses handed to them in the biggest stomp of the season), where they had the misfortune of going up against eventual finalists Holy Harry. Despite being competitive in the second game, with the possibility of a win to pull the series back, they couldn’t quite do it, but what they did is upset expectations by getting as far as they did considering multiple replacements were needed.

Crispy Bacon (1–2 vs MoltenKnight)

This team showed us multiple things:

  • Newcomer Tal has very high potential and was a worthwhile investment for Crispy Bacon;
  • Crispy Bacon has a much higher skill ceiling in core roles than he lets on, but his inconsistency keeps him from being the RD2L star he could be;
  • It’s possible to win with Althaj.

A run of occasionally impressive 1–1s, kept from being 2–0s mostly by some throws, was ended by the ever solid MoltenKnight. One thing is for sure, though, and that is that this was surely another positive team with great atmosphere, who almost managed to upset expectations.

Fantastic Four

The Real Roo (1–2 vs Madsen)

One of the more interesting teams to look at in the aftermath of their loss, it’s almost impressive how this team bounced back from what looked like a grim situation in the wake of losing the highest MMR player in the division, Wukz. Instead of giving up when they got three free agents, one of who was a rank 4000 offlane player for their mid 1000’s mid player, this team instead embraced PLATY and played around him in a way that wasn’t possible with Wukz. I can personally say that facing Roo with PLATY was a much tougher challenge than with Wukz, as I feel that the team dynamic shifted in a way which massively helped everyone get a minute in the limelight. Between Linail, Roo and PLATY (as well as the occasional standin), this team had a highly interesting draft style that caught many people off guard, which got them as far as it did. At the end of the day, they still had to go up against a pretty rigged team, but I won’t lie and say they didn’t give us a solid scare after game 2. An exceptional team that I feel would’ve done even better had this been their roster from day 1.

MoltenKnight (0–2 vs Holy Harry)

The true upset of the semis came in the form of UK Dota beating itself (as it often does, ey?). What I consider to have been one of the strongest teams in the season, my assumption that their lack of a big name would be their undoing was nonchalantly brushed off, with all of the teams well balanced players carrying their weight. When paired with the team’s incredibly annoying drafting style, they showed us the potential of an Ancient stack to the fullest. Curly and Ruskomsnusk especially were revelations to me personally, but between the two UK captains whose teams had annoying heropools, Harry’s ended up triumphant — and we can only assume what the impact of LPSD becoming a laptop gamer had on this result. Overall a very strong team who were still annoying to play against, even after figuring them out somewhat.

The Finalists

Madsen

At the risk of sounding a bit presumptuous or cocky, most everyone saw this coming from a mile away. The average MMR of the team, paired with the star power of Dota and the rig of getting both him and Vivern, as well as figuring out the role setup that was questioned at the start, and not having any roster issues for the most part, meant that we had a pretty relaxed path to the finals. Some dropped games along the way gave us a scare or two, but otherwise it’s been smooth sailing.

Holy Harry

A finalist that would’ve been hard to predict, it feels like Holy Harry’s team sort of crept up on the other teams in contention, though in hindsight this might be more due to my ignorance, considering their record: their last three series? All 2–0s. In fact, this has put them at a slightly better win-loss than even our team. In the preseason, we talked about Sca1ar being the variable to make or break this team, but not only has he showed up — Takeshi’s Castle and Harry, as well as Nappa and their rotating support cast all have. With a versatile team hero pool and flexible laning setups. Takeshi especially has been a revelation, with statlines that mirror those of high MMR star players in the league — which is great for this team, considering they have one of those, too. In the preseason review, I asked some questions of this team, and fuck me have they answered. All of this makes me highly excited to play them.

That brings the post playoffs recap to a close. A fun season, perhaps somewhat marred by the player draft and some player inactivity, but sure to provide an entertaining final game. Good luck to Harry and the boys, see you on Wednesday.

Clarity League Content Writer | Main Over at medium.com/@Maadsen | Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/madsen03