A Look Back at CET-WED Season 16 Preseason Power Rankings

Once again, the season draws to a close with only the finals remaining, and as such it is once again time to reflect on the pre-season power rankings, this time for season 16 of RD2L CET-WED division.

Season 16 so far has given us plenty of upsets, with teams that should’ve done well on paper underperforming — and as such screwing with my power rankings. Shame! On the other hand, this is what makes RD2L — and Dota in general — an interesting game, so let’s look through what happened to each team in this very packed season.

The Disbands

Original Prediction: Aquit (Disbanded Preseason)

There is little to say about this team, considering it was the infamous aquit stack, disbanding before fully coming to fruition. Attempts were made to salvage the team, but they only resulted in further disappointment. The positive takeaway from this team is that players like Ergo and Denden still managed to get some playtime as standins throughout the season, but this A-class grief by MAU taught both the admins and community a lesson about captain vouches.

Original Prediction: Tier 3

After a questionable draft by standin captains due to LPSD’s absence, the team ended up being one of the weaker ones on paper, and this translated into play — or rather, a lack of it. With one of the lowest game counts in the season, the team struggled with motivation to show up for games in the first place, leading to a disband due to forfeits. Unfortunate, but hardly disappointing. We did learn that Mango is quite capable in core roles as expected, and MayheM showed potential, but ultimately it wasn’t to be. One of the sadder disbands in recent memory, as I believe they could’ve made some sort of impact had they stuck together. Or, well, showed up for games.

The (Not So) Fantastic Four, AKA I’m Running out of Plays on the Number Four

Went out in group stage

Original Prediction: Tier 2

A strong lineup on paper, with a seemingly capable core duo and good support player, didn’t end up as such, with Vivern playing off role as the team’s offlaner and overall a subpar performance from most of the team. Crayon was definitely the star of the team, but he had to do just a little bit too much, and the team’s only wins were when he absolutely dominated the game. It’s hard to say exactly what caused this team to perform so badly, with the worst winloss of all non-disbanded teams at 2–8, but sometimes players don’t gel and the team doesn’t find their groove. My guess is that having Vivern off role hurt them a lot and they tried to balance focusing on both of their cores, rather than having Crave fulfill a somewhat more sacrificial role and allowing Crayon more space, like many teams do. In the end, the competition was strong, and the potential of this team which I talked about in the preseason never seemed to come to fruition, which I would say was the limiting factor. Unfortunate, since I rate Crayon and Vivern quite highly.

Original Prediction: Tier 1

One of the more shocking results, Tuturu’s team seemed amazing on paper. In my preseason review, I talked about how the big variable for this team would be the role setup, and looking over their games, this seems to answer the baffling question of how they underperformed so much. My prediction of a 1–2 core duo of Darba and Tuturu was far off, as they ended up playing 4 and 3 respectively. At that point, their relatively lower MMR cores ended up being less impactful than their counterparts on other teams, and it is here that we spot the downfall of this team. I firmly maintain that if this team put more of a spotlight on their star players they would’ve performed much better, but here we are, an easy tier 1 team on paper going 3–7 and not even reaching playoffs.

Original Prediction: Tier 2

My personal highlight for this team — a conversation between captain Melalez and player Cvaekt discussing their upcoming official

One of the more unfortunate teams in groups, Melalez’s team was marred by significant inconsistency in their performance, which I would attribute their subpar results to. After a couple draws, they lost all of their remaining group games, and a team I described as “high risk, high reward” obviously needed a high level of consistent motivation to be successful, and the atmosphere was, by all accounts, negative. Once again a potentially strong team, some crucial losses meant Melalez and his team ended up out after the groups, despite a very promising roster.

Original Prediction: Tier 1

The second big underperforming team after Tuturu, it’s the second season in a row that I predict good performances for an Stl team, and the second season that I am proven wrong. For a team I initially described as my favorites to win the whole thing, Stl’s team with Booty and Torge should’ve been much more dominant and — very crucially — consistent, but losing two series in the groups doomed them to drop out after groups. Another very unfortunate turn of events, one can guess that splitting up the farm on the map between three solid players had a negative impact, but overall it’s hard to judge why such a team couldn’t achieve their full potential. Booty didn’t really disappoint though, and showed that he’s a very capable mid player.

Into the Mix (First Round of Playoffs)

Original Prediction: Tier 2

The first seed team and absolute favorites coming out of groups, losing 2–0 in the first round of playoffs. The discussion to be had here is two-fold: the underperformance of Harry’s team, and the great games played by Waloo’s. Of course, one has to keep in mind that Boelens was playing this series on a laptop with low framerates and a missing keyboard button, but in my mind this isn’t enough to justify this loss. Waloo’s team did well to capitalize on the inconsistency of Harry’s team, drafting spectacularly. I was personally pretty sad that I wouldn’t get to play Harry again and give him a shot at revenge for last season, and that I wouldn’t get to play against Boelens mid again, but this is just the way Dota is. It’s what makes the game beautiful in a way; even the best teams have their off days, and it was exceedingly unfortunate that the first round of playoffs was the off day for this team.

Original Prediction: Tier 2

A rag tag team of the highest MMRs in the pool, Waterfalls’ team hinged on the ability of the players he drafted to perform off role. It paid off for a time, but eventually, a more coherent team took a pretty close series, leaving the highest average MMR team out after the first round of playoffs. The big question is obviously if there was a role setup that would get enough out of everyone, but even so, this team introduced some new names to the league, and with Waterfalls as their first captain, they might return to show the community what they’re really capable of.

Original Prediction: Tier 2

I struggle to say much about this team that I didn’t already say in the preseason. Stable, will show up and play, solid, but won’t really do too well, especially in a season as stacked as this. Excel does stand out as someone to keep an eye out for in future seasons, but the rest of the team didn’t seem to leave a significant mark on the season, with a lower MMR safelaner in SwagMander being unable to keep up with the better carries of the league, and the tradeoff of having a stronger offlane duo in Crispy and Ryoka didn’t seem to pay off too much, all things considered. The atmosphere is guaranteed to have been positive and friendly, but this team truly turned out to be, harsh as it may sound, nothing special.

Original Prediction: Tier 3

An interesting team, as is by now standard for DNC’s captaincies, they lived up to my prediction of grabbing some wins they had no business grabbing, but in hindsight, I should’ve moved them up a tier like I talked about, considering the number of wins they took was greater than I anticipated. Special shoutout to DNC for trying his darndest, matching his core duo’s KDAs and GPMs from the offlane. In any case, a fun team to say the least, with the absolute highlight being the expected Jolltism. And yes, that link is exactly what you’re expecting. Jolltism really needs an UrbanDictionary entry by now.

Original Prediction: Tier 1

The final tier 1 prediction I made, alongside with Tuturu and Stl, and we’re not even in the second round of playoffs. Yikes. Jokes aside, I’m surprised by the number of games this team dropped, but having watched their final playoff game, I came to the conclusion that not everyone on this team was taking the season equally seriously (which isn’t necessarily negative), and their last loss was a throwy toss-up, which makes me believe this team could’ve gotten further if they really wanted to. In any case, it is what it is, and I think despite the early loss, it’s very hard to take away from Glete being a great player, Mav performing very well throughout the season off role, and players like KTZ and co. being quite stable. At the end of the day, it was a matter of taking it seriously and striving for consistency, which the team perhaps didn’t do.

Original Prediction: Tier 2

Playing with Denden as their FA until they lost, Cory’s team did pretty well, grabbing some nice wins, losing out in the last game of their best of 3 against Amos’ team. I would say they exceeded my expectations in a way, with my doubts about the quality of SSD and Cory being subverted. Still, I don’t think this team was a significant contender, but it showed us what some of the players could do.

Original Prediction: Tier 2

Another case in which I’d say the team underperformed as a whole, with a very solid roster including the likes of GabePork and Scotalot. One can only maybe attribute this to an inconsistency stemming from not really fitting together as a unit and playing like a team, which is the feeling I got from playing against this team in the first round of playoffs as we knocked them out — a collective of good players playing in the same game, but not playing the same game.

Original Prediction: Tier 3

Unsurprisingly, a team with a pretty unimpressive core duo (relative to other teams) didn’t exactly get very far. Still, considering my original tier 3 prediction, I guess getting to playoffs was pretty decent for Nibbles’ boys. Sucker and Nibbles as the support duo is impressive, and I think we’re seeing this season more than ever that letting your high skill support player play their natural role is probably the better option, though I would say that that is more true when the captain picking someone like Sucker should be a core player, rather than the support Nibbles is. Either way, we got some decent performances from Kuroame in particular, stepping up to the challenge despite being lower than some of his core playing peers.

Upsets on Upsets (Second Round of Playoffs)

Original Prediction: Tier 2

A team depending heavily on one player to perform won’t always struggle, but TOP’s team seemed to do so, despite knocking out the strong Waterfalls team. In the end, they went out against a much more balanced team, and despite the MMR’s suggesting else, the TOP-Maegustav-Blackjack tricore was somewhat underwhelming, and looking at their games, one can’t help but think there was a lack of a wow-factor — or rather, their wow factor player was shut down when it mattered.

Original Prediction: Tier 3

Shift’s team did okay in groups and managed to snag the series over DNC in first round of playoffs before being dispatched by Mugen’s team, and this series served to illustrate in no unclear terms what the difference between a natural core player and a support playing core is. Shift is one of the best supports in RD2L — hell, one of the best supports in all of Europe, when you think about it — but in the context of RD2L, that shift (haha) to core very rarely works out well. It’s hard to find anything to say about the rest of the team, as their impact seems limited, which, looking back at the preseason, was pretty expected, considering the draft.

Original Prediction: Tier 3

The exception to the rule, Myst picked up a core role and did pretty damn well, as I talked about in the revelations post, but it seems that it wasn’t enough to get past Amos. This team definitely surprised me and some others, outperforming the tier 3 prediction, and while I do think this is a very good team, with straight up solid players like Omega, Myst, Marta and co, it’s not quite the calibre required to push a bit further this season.

Original Prediction: Tier 3

One of the most underrated teams, it was hard to see Haraway’s team outside of tier 3, considering all I knew about the players was their MMRs, but be it a bit of sandbagging or just some incredibly lucky team chemistry, something made this team click and perform very well for a long series of games, before eventually losing out in the second round of playoffs. Still, if they are to continue playing RD2L, a lot of the names on this team will be in people’s minds, and I guess that, despite losing to me, their salt at me putting them in tier 3 was well founded.

The Four Dogs of the Apocalypse (Top 4)

Original Prediction: Tier 3

Once again I was wrong! Waloo seems to be a much better player than I gave him credit for, Sitham is amazing as expected, and Ruskom has no business playing this well off-role. In any case, despite some questionable performances in the group stage, Waloo’s team came out swinging in playoffs, sweeping two pretty good teams 2–0. It remains to be seen whether they can maintain this momentum once they go up against Level 35 Mafia Boss Mugen, but we’ve seen them take down some impressive teams, so it’s possible.

Original Prediction: Tier 3

Another top 4 team, another team I predicted in tier 3. Admittedly, I did talk about having this team in both higher tiers, but what I’ve learned, crucially, is that nothing else matters once you’ve got Mugen. Fuck the other players, fuck the high average MMR, throw it all out the window, Mugen’s on Ember. Oh well.

Original Prediction: Tier 2

Amos and his team have gotten pretty damn far this season, with consistent and stable performances across the board, and the most crucial factor of them all — Judas ditched, so they have Harb instead. A “I’ll shoot up a school for every minute you don’t buy a ward in” mos and N “I don’t talk to Amos” sphere seem to work well together, and the rest of the team pulls their weight. Overall, a very balanced and very solid team.

Original Prediction: Tier 2

We’re still in, despite me playing mid, and despite getting two FAs, the team seems to be click, with our safelane doing quite well to carry the games and Lokie leading the team to victory. At a certain point it’ll become about consistency in the face of playing with like 10 different players on the roster, but if the composure is kept, we can prove that we’re a very strong and balanced team.

With that, the final four teams have two series left until a winner is crowned, and they feel much closer than last season, so the resolution to the season should be just as exciting as it has been so far — and there’s no better way to prove just how exciting it has been than to look at how many of my predictions were miles off.

Good luck to Waloo, Mugen, Amos and yours truly as we head into the final stages of season 16. As always, thanks for reading.

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