CET-WED S20 Power Rankings — Post Week 6 Update

For the first time since I began writing Power Rankings, I’ll be doing an update after each week of play for both WED and SUN. I’ll keep the explanations shorter than I would for pre-season rankings (hence why I’ve dropped the “Team Reviews” bit from the title for the updates), so whereas the preseason rankings are more about analyzing the teams and players, these will be more about the rankings themselves. The methodology here will be pretty simple — I have some rudimentary numbers on how certain results affect a drop or rise in rank, and I’ll pair that with some subjective thoughts on the teams as well. The number of teams per tier will stay the same, for the sake of simplicity & consistency. The first number in brackets indicates a team’s preseason ranking, whereas the second indicates the change from the previous ranking update.

This edition of power rankings will, once again, be heavily influenced by the current standings, especially in relation to the playoff tiebreaker situation. What this effectively means is that teams within the power rankings will be grouped by their tiebreaker group (read: by win-loss), with the ranking of a team within that group being decided by the usual combination of last week’s results, previous ranking and some good old subjectivity. I will intermittently talk about the individual tiebreaker setups as I approach the given group of teams, but before that, we start by saying some goodbyes.

Tier 5 — Last Rites

Conveniently enough, exactly four teams now have no chance of making the playoffs this season. This means that our new tier 5 consists purely of teams whose season has come to an unfortunate end already, so rather than giving the usual rundown of their last result and going over their rank situation, I’ll talk about their ranking history and — based on conversations with members of the teams — what exactly went wrong to get them here, with a retrospective on the preseason team review (which is something I’ll be doing for teams as they drop out of contention for the remainder of the season).

24. NO ET NO PHOENIX NO PROBLEM — Melalez (16, 24, +0)

Raffie — Zorenb — Melalez — Ergotisme — frokentid

Rankings History: 16–16–22–20–24–24

Record: 1–11

What went wrong?: Looking back at the preseason, I think a lot of what I said still held true; this team lacked win condition players — the closest fit to that description was Raffie, but based on my conversations with the players on the team, I think I have an idea of why his impact was fairly limited. As the drafter for the team, Raffie in many games made the potentially questionable choice to first phase his own hero, which I think is hard to pull off as the win condition player for your team unless you have excellent reasons to do so; this team didn’t really have many of those reasons. I feel it’s fairly accurate to say that most players on the team had somewhat lacking hero pools — or, rather, the gap between each individual player’s two best heroes and the rest of their pool was really significant: Melalez has Phoenix and Centaur, Zoren has TA and Leshrac, Ergo has ET and Tusk and Willow, Frokentid would play mostly Lich. While Raffie did pose a threat with the likes of Lycan and Lone Druid, his hero pool is definitely a bit deeper, so picking his own hero first usually meant that he’d play into counters while giving opponents more bans for the best heroes of his teammates. The farming core lanes were usually pretty rough due to MMR disparities, so the team would often be faced with having both Zoren and Raffie have to catch up, and they weren’t able to really make any plays on the map when and if their lanes didn’t go well — their singular win (against my team, no less, which they made sure to thank me for in the convos) showcased what they’d be able to do with a decent start, but it just didn’t come often enough. Finally, I get the sense that they had a lack of ingame captain, usually meaning they didn’t have a precise gameplan or direction, which reflected in little playmaking or coordination.

23. Waroo Dreams 2.0 — Waloo (1, 22, -1)

Roo — Waloo — GrimR — Qwicker — PAIERS

Rankings History: 1–6–16–21–23–22

Record: 4–8

What went wrong?: In what is perhaps the largest disparity in preseason expectations (from everyone, really) for a team compared to their end result in recent memory, Waloo’s team really seemed like they had the individual player quality to be a big contender. From speaking to the players on the team, I think there were a lot of issues for the squad in terms of gelling together and understanding each other; it feels like there was an unwillingness for people to criticize each other and make strides towards fixing the mistakes they made, leaving the responsibility of handling this to Waloo only, which would often result in having to go over issues between games, rather than during them, since finding a dedicated and consistent shotcaller in a group of fairly quiet individuals proved to be a very big ask; creating plays and calling shots fell on Waloo, who understandably struggled to do so unless he was part of the play, especially in the early game. I think the usual best-case scenario for RD2L teams in this regard is to have another shotcaller who can bounce ideas off of the best player in the team, but as mentioned, this was a team with quiet players and limited communication, which also hurt the laning stage for the sidelanes. Ultimately, though, despite all of this, this team still could’ve realistically made the cut were it not for the unfortunate circumstances leading up to their final match, with Waloo’s power supply dying the night before, and playing with a standin nullifying much of the progress they’d made on their issues as a team.

22. Wr3ck Tangle — Wesside (14, 23, +1)

jihadi swamp — Wesside — Mitko — bernard humperdink — MoltenKnight

Rankings History: 14–12–11–14–18–23

Record: 4–8

What went wrong?: It’s interesting to go back to my preseason review of this team — specifically this bit:

“I’m pretty sure I had this time in my bottom 5. Then, every time I scrolled past and saw Wesside’s name, I’d bump them up a spot. I think mitko and bernard is going to be a very heavy anchor for Wess, so I guess this is the season we see how hard he can actually carry.”

I guess we’ve got the answer now — not that hard. I still think Wess is an incredible Dota player, but that doesn’t inherently make him perfectly suited for the role of the RD2L star mid player; I talked about how he excels at creating chaos and carrying momentum forward, which was exactly what he needed to do in his winning season with Hazel, but this time around, there were two crucially important things that made this less relevant and consistently applicable: jihadi swamp did have some excellent performances, but is not Hazel, and therefore isn’t the kind of player who will benefit so massively from aforementioned chaos — however, even if he could be, we need to talk about the momentum bit. With what might be the lowest MMR offlane duo in recent memory with Mitko and Bernard, enemy safelanes usually had a fairly good start, and if Wess or jihadi ever had a bad time in lane, the team would be at a massive disadvantage right off the bat. This is reflected in the team having issues with finding a consistent playstyle and direction or solidifying a go-to draft plan, which ultimately proved too big a hurdle.

21. rd2l winners — Haraway (13, 17, -4)

Nyphoot — Legatus Steg — Haraway — King Fox — xyu

Rankings History: 13–15–12–11–15–17

Record: 4–8

What went wrong?: This team’s plight, I’d say, is the most unfortunate of the four here. Rather than having issues gelling as a team or developing a playstyle, they were hurt mostly by their FA issues. I think the initial situation has been discussed enough by now, so I’d rather talk about the implications it had on the team rather than the handling of the case itself. Getting an FA late into the season meant they were always going to be lagging behind other teams in terms of developing a team identity, playing with standings for a long while, and it’s very understandable that they wouldn’t scrim as much considering they were essentially a 4-player team and would have to recalibrate anything they’d learn from these scrims with a new player coming in. With lots of first-timers on the team, they also didn’t exactly have many prior interactions to go off of, which tends to make for fairly quiet team atmospheres until they get comfortable with each other. Add on top of all of this that they’d have to deal with adjusting to new roles due to the FA situation and it makes for a situation that is ultimately really hard to deal with, and as such they just barely missed the cut.

Tier 4

With a 5–7 record, the following 5 teams face the most crucial tiebreaker by far — the one dictating which of the five grabs the coveted final playoff spot. These rankings may not exactly align with the predictions I made in the rundown, seeing as the rankings are also influenced in part by a team’s previous ranking, so teams that faced larger drops might be higher than others.

20. Reddydas (23, 21, +1)

Reddydas’ team managed to get out of their series against Wess with a win, putting them into a big important tiebreaker for playoffs. I’m still ultimately unconvinced by the team, and honestly think having Syrphx as a standin helped them a fair bit in that series, so I’d call them the weakest of the teams in this play-in — but hell, if they manage to cook something up, everything can happen in a bo1!

19. Moyo (9, 18, -1)

I have a hard time getting a good read on this team right now; I think many of their same issues remain after getting an FA, and the general expectation is that teams will have a hard time readjusting to a new player in the team, but Hutten put in a promising performance in his first official (albeit against the worst team), and this exact recalibration might prove problematic to their opponents in the tiebreaker, since they have a smaller sample of games to prep with against Moyo’s team.

18. Schuffi (18, 18, +0)

Getting swept is not a great look for this team, putting them into a dangerous tiebreaker that they probably won’t make it out of — this is where they’ll be regretting their FF.

17. Thronplunder (12, 10, -7)

As mentioned earlier, this massive fall comes as a result of this team’s 2–0 loss which drops them into the 5–7 group battling it out for the final playoff spot, one which I’d say they should be able to contend for, but the way in which they lost this past week puts an asterisk on that.

Tier 3

16. exZ (8, 7, -9)

Getting utterly disassembled by an on-form Polarbear puts exZ and his team in an incredibly tough spot and nets them a massive rankdown after a loss in which they would’ve been expected to gun for at least a tie. Some birdies are chirping that this team might have big motivation issues going into this tiebreaker, so I’m unconvinced about their chances unless they can come into the games with a big ol’ collective reset.

Sporting a 6–6 record, the following five teams come into this upcoming Wednesday set to play out the perhaps most meaningless tiebreaker — one for the 11th place. These matches serve essentially as a practice week for these teams, seeing as there is no actual benefit to being 11th over being anywhere from 12th to 15th, as the top 8 pick their playoff opponents.

15. Crispy Bacon (17, 20, +5)

Late bloomers, I guess? It took them a while, but Crispy Bacon and the gang keep on carving out their team identity bit by bit, and the wins come along. A run in the tiebreaker might allow them to show some variety to their eventual playoff competitors, but as it stands, they’ll just need to keep improving at the pace they have been.

14. Madsen (6, 19, +5)

An admittedly lucky matchup against a Waloo-less Waloo team secures my gang a playoff spot, which is where the real challenge looks to start, seeing as the playoffs will be the proving grounds, with opponents outside the bottom 10.

13. Stl (19, 16, +3)

The 1–1 trade was exactly what this team needed and they went out and grabbed it, but as with most teams in this grouping, they’ll likely need to step it up another notch in the playoffs.

12. Kalisdar (21, 13, +1)

One of the multiple teams to have made significant strides in the season to defy my own pre-season expectations and make playoffs, Kalisdar and the gang have shown an ability to perform as a whole, and I’m fairly comfortable with calling them the second most threatening team in this grouping.

11. Drakesfjord (3, 8, -3)

This team has had ups and downs, but it should come as no surprise that they’ve secured playoffs. However, the drop into a 50% winrate was already caused by shaky results against top teams, so there are questions about how they’ll readjust to dealing with those back in the playoff bracket.

Tier 2

Sharing a 7–5 record amongst the six of them, the following teams will be playing the tiebreaker to decide 5th — though the more important part of this tiebreaker bracket is that the first round will decide the 9th and 10th teams, removing the luxury of being able to choose who they play in the first week of playoffs, which the other four teams will be able to do as part of the eventual top 8.

10. Debowy (5, 9, -1)

It’s very impressive that this team has kept on trucking despite losing their captain and mid player, and grabbing a game off a top team this past week was a reflection of that. That being said, however, I still have my doubts about this team’s ability to match up against other squads that don’t have off-role players and haven’t had to change their style around.

9. Severe (15, 12, +3)

Despite a roughly 600 MMR (I believe?) downgrade on their standin for captain Severe in this past matchweek, they snatched the 2–0 without much trouble, netting them a respectable total record and an opportunity to get into the top 8 and choose their first round opponents.

8. Laavi (24, 14, +6)

I think this team’s done a really good job of finding a team identity and carving out a playstyle that allows them to give their best players a good game, and I think that’s carried them this far — and might just do so further.

7. Joll (22, 11, +4)

If you told me preseason that Joll and his team would be shredding a Szajtek team to bits in 15 minute matches, I’d have laughed you out of my DMs, but here we are, Joll and the crew hanging out comfortably with a 7–5 winloss, ready to get into the playoffs.

6. Holy Harry (7, 6, +0)

Hands up if you’re not surprised that Harry made a weird team work. I think this team as a whole has done a very good job of getting the most out of Xela, who’s been an excellent performer throughout the season, and if they keep this up in the playoffs, I’m sure they could get a run going.

5. Anstar (2, 4, -1)

This is a really weird team, in all honesty; it feels like their approach to the game changes up pretty often (which might be a boon in elimination matches), but they’ve managed to win a fair number of games nonetheless, and they’re an outside contender at the title if their drafts are good in my opinion.

Tier 1

The first of the two best of 3 series to be played on Wednesday, Kimer and Play (both 8–4) will duke it out for 3rd place, providing the winner with the third playoff opponent choice.

4. Kimer (11, 5, +1)

Fresh off a tie against their upcoming rematch opponents Play, Kimer’s team has honestly been a bit of a dark horse this season, with a team that, on paper, shouldn’t exactly be making a run as impressive as this. I can’t deny that I still have some doubts about them as a championship contender, but then again, they’ve made it this far, so something’s working — here’s hoping it keeps on doing so.

3. Play (10, 2, -1)

Despite dropping a couple games here and there, Play’s team is still close to the top, and I’m not at all surprised. I’m interested to see how their drafts shape up come playoffs, but they’ve been a contender for a while now, and I’d be amazed if they don’t make a fairly deep run.

Our final tiebreaker here is more for bragging rights than anything, and I’m fairly certain it’ll be a very fun series. Gonzo and Darba (both 9–3) have played each other twice in the season so far, with some additional scrims behind the scenes, meaning that they know each other very well — add onto that the fact that both the officials they played ended in a 1–1 and it all makes for a very exciting best of 3.

2. Brainy Gonzo (20, 3, +1)

It feels like I never quite get to give this team the props they deserve, but make no mistake — they’re good, and there’s a good reason they’re tied first. It’ll be fun to watch how (or if, rather) their style adjusts to the patch and how their opponents for the next while deal with their strongest heroes.

1. Darba (4, 1, +0)

Darba’s team has been formidable for a long while now, and are likely still the leading favorites to win it all. I think we’ll get a good glimpse into the validity of that with the tiebreaker for first, but either way, this is a team that we shouldn’t see drop out before at least the semis — and even that’s a modest estimate.

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Thanks for reading!

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