Clarity League Season 1 Team Reviews / Power Rankings

Too many damn power rankings in a row I’ve relinquished my opportunity to kick it off with an entirely too long introduction that no one reads. No longer! I will no longer be subject to this tyranny. You’re reading a random prologue whether you like it or not!

Shit I ain’t got much to say actually. Ah fuck it, power ranking tim-wait, no, actually, disclaimer time.

This is all my personal thoughts, and for the most part, they’re very much initial reactions. That includes roles — this isn’t one of the season reviews where I combed through everybody’s Dotabuff or asked around, so chances are some of the role setups won’t be what I predict them to be. Don’t read too deeply into the rankings themselves.

I’ve opted to keep the reviews a bit shorter this time — largely in the interest of not getting fatigued by the time I got to the end and half-assing the later reviews. Some are still a good bit shorter than others, but that was honestly mostly just me not having too much to say about a team, rather than being fatigued.

As a final note — the captain of a team is indicated with a © next to their name in the lineup, and the listed MMRs are from the draft sheet, so post adjustment.


Community Rankings

Continuing on from season 0, I once again asked the community to send in their own rankings. I’ve got a total of 11 power rankings, not counting my own, all of them being for all three divisions. You can check out the rankings here, but averaging out the lists gives us the following rankings.

Division 3

6. Chef

5. Pajazo

4. Crasha

3. Lordniin

2. Quack like a Duck

1. Van Daminator

Division 2

8. Mewes

7. Valaki / Melalez (Tied)

6. Valaki / Melalez (Tied)

5. Madsen

4. Brainy Gonzo

3. Kuroame

2. Johanna

1. Raffie

Division 1

8. Omegasaw

7. Kk

6. Water

5. Haraway / Chucklemouse (Tied)

4. Haraway / Chucklemouse (Tied)

3. Rapdis

2. Avalanche

1. Tides

Division 3

The main driving force behind the div 3 rankings here is, essentially, the presence (and subsequently relative strength) of win condition players in a team — as well as how likely they are to be enabled in a given team.

Tier 3

6. Ooga Booga | mzzy, ManBearSlav, Chef ©, Ernie, Frokentid

Average: 3162 | 4750, 3080, 3020, 3260, 1700

While mzzy is undoubtedly the best safelane player in this division, I regard him as having a very farm-intensive style, and while I don’t necessarily doubt he can adopt a more active playstyle — or even make use of the fact that he’s playing in a lower MMR division to pick out of position supports off to create pressure, ultimately I don’t this the rest of the cast here fits too well with the playstyle Mzzy is best at and thus often defaults to. Why is that?

For starters, ManBearSlav is also a carry player — a similarly farm intensive one, at that — so I’m unsure how his transition to mid will go here. There’s also a very good chance that they flip it around and put Mzzy mid, but I’m unsure this changes much. Ernie and Frokentid are both almost exclusively 5 players, and while Ernie squeezes in the occasional pos 4 pub, I don’t think this is super conducive to developing an effective hero pool in the role.

In general, past Mzzy, this is a fairly low MMR team, and they’ll need to focus on stable lanes and avoid getting behind, lest their farm intensive cores get run over.

5. Panic Stations | Moyo, GrimR, Ruski, PapaSthterny, Lordniin ©

Average: 3366 | 3160, 3700, 3150, 3770, 3050

This is one of the few teams in the division that have a fairly clear-cut role setup; there’s a possibility Ruski and Lordniin swap it up or something, but in general, the players here should be getting a role they’re ok with playing. That’s certainly bonus points for stability.

However, I’m not sure how much this will mean in practice. In the introduction to the Div 3 rankings, I mention the emphasis on win condition players, and while this team is the only one in the division without a player below 3k MMR, they don’t have a particular standout either.

I would imagine the gameplan here will revolve around the midlane; Grim is getting to play his preferred role and whip out the heroes he likes, and he gets a capable 4 in PapaSthterny whose hero pool prominently features things like Earth Spirit, which they could use to put extra pressure on the opposing midlaner.

The best case scenario for this team is making use of their lack of weak points to come out of the lanes without having lost more than 1, and then sticking together — but I believe the best players in the division will be able to spot — and subsequently pounce on — any and all openings this team leaves.

Tier 2

4. Nomidland | Crasha ©, sr, Arrakis, atnight, Paiers

Average: 3688 | 2700, 3960, 4500, 3350, 3930

In what is a fairly consistent theme in the division, Crasha’s team also lacks a naturalized mid player. I expect sr to take the reigns, being a very versatile player, but I’m generally unsure what to make of this team otherwise.

Arrakis and atnight make up one of the two scariest offlanes in div 3, and if they’re able to get into the swing of things (read: learn to play real heroes — looking at you Arrakis), they could easily be able to set the pace for the rest of the team to act upon.

A concern I have with this team is that there’s a decent chance they’re unable to really snowball off of any potential advantages they manage to generate; I don’t see an experienced competitive player who could take charge of the shotcalling, so from my perspective they’ll likely have to rely on Arrakis’ instincts in transitioning to the midgame. If Crasha manages to unrust he could prove to be very value for his MMR, but this really is the kind of team where you just have to wait and see before trying to make any concrete judgements.

3. Respect thy Elders | G0nd4r, LPSD, Pajazo ©, Bernard Humperdink, Adoro

Average: 2726 | 3850, 4500, 2830, 450, 2000

Jeez, talk about living up to your team name! Oldest team in CL yet?

In any case, the discussion points here are fairly obvious. Welcome to the LPSD show, enjoy your front row ticket — on paper, he should be the single most influential player in the div, but I’m not taking him winning every midlane and snowballing off it as a given. LPSD is, in my experience, a very aggressive core player — this has proven problematic in higher divisions where he’d usually be better off just, like, clicking creeps, but it might actually be advantageous here.

What strikes me as peculiar is G0nd4r’s transition to the safelane; I’d only really seen him play the 4 role previously, but if he’s able to play to his MMR as a carry then this team will be set up fairly well — even if the offlane might suffer.

Tier 1

2. Carrydas Remalded | Reddydas, Mash, Dani, Quack like a Duck ©, Matrixwolf

Average: 3658 | 4750, 4200, 3480, 2940, 2920

I’ll be honest, I’d forgotten Reddydas’ prior transition into (and then out of) the safelane role, and was half expecting to see him mid just based off MMR, but considering his prior experience as a safelaner, it’s likely a good fit.

While he hasn’t played a lot of Dota in the last ol’ while, I still expect him to be a dominant core for his team here, and unlike other teams where that expectation of a player exists, the supporting cast here is fairly impressive as well.

I’ve seen Dani play mostly 5 in the past, but I don’t think he’ll struggle too much in transitioning to the offlane, and with Quack at his side they’ll be sure to catch some safelane duos off guard with their pairings. If Mash manages to stand his ground mid, that should make this team a fairly stable one across all lanes, with lots of flexibility in drafts to start off on the right foot.

1. Ancient Apparitions Anonymous | Thronplunder, Batsphemy, ry0ka, Yesketchup, Van Daminator ©

Average: 3572 | 3170, 4130, 4750, 3500, 2310

This team is far and away my favorite to dominate the division. With what’s quite easily the best tri-core overall, the occasional cheese pick, lots of experience and no instantly apparent weaknesses, I expect them to breeze through games — be that off the back of Thron getting absurdly farmed off Bat’s space, or from ry0ka destroying lanes and using that advantage to keep up the pressure.

There’s a slight chance they might need a couple games to gel and figure out their own style and approach, but unless something goes horribly wrong this team should do very well.

Division 2

In my eyes, the second division teams look to be on fairly equal footing…for the most part. I expect the top 6 to be fairly tight, and the bottom 2 to be, er, not as unpredictable — but lord knows this is the bracket with the most chaos. Might as well roll a die.

Tier 3

8. Broken Back | Greenman, SMMN, Valaki ©, legitsplit, John

Average: 4712 | 4540, 5800, 5390, 4630, 3200

I really keep doing SMMN dirty man. First he carries me to a championship, then I rank him in the bottom tier season 0’s div 1 (and he subsequently proceeds to win the whole thing), but I then do the same in div 2! Sorry buddy, nothing personal.

While SMMN is easily a top 3 player (and arguably the best) in the division, I’m just not seeing it with this team — and I think what SMMN does best is explicitly not solo-carrying teams. I can only assume, based on role preferences, that Valaki and legitsplit are going into this with the intent of laning together; drafting Greenman — exclusively a core player — seems to back this up. I just happen to think this is kind of a waste; I think they would’ve been very fine with Valaki going mid and SMMN safelane, legitsplit playing 3 and picking up, er, some better players to fill out the team. Admittedly, there’s still a decent chance they do different roles than what I’m seeing here, but based on the circumstances this is what I expect.

Props to them for taking a chance on John as a significantly lower MMR player, but I don’t think it’ll do them much good. The Greenman John safelane is likely to suffer a lot, and while there’s plenty of potential for SMMN and Valaki to make up for this weakness, it’s hard to compare this team to more well-rounded ones.

7. MAKE IT STOP | jihadi swamp, zorenb, Mewes ©, tammyB, Skully

Average: 5084 | 5630, 4530, 5420, 5420, 4420

Honestly, this team would be perfectly fine with a higher MMR mid player. The sidelanes look pretty good, but it’s hard to imagine zoren — who’s fairly rusty at the moment — standing up to some of the better mid players.

That’s, er, most of what I have to say here, to be frank. Jihadi and Mewes should do fine, and I think they’ve got a great support duo here, but this team’s chances would’ve been a lot better if they had a low 5k mid player and a 4.5k offlaner or support rather than the other way around.

Tier 2

6. JJ | Kuroame ©, Mangology, Rage Dino, Roran, Kimer

Average: 5258 | 5250, 5250, 5470, 5820, 4500

Erase the names and give me just the MMRs and Dotabuffs and I’ll call this a top half team with no qualms whatsoever.

Give me the names, though, and I have some concerns.

If this team works well out of the box playstyle wise, and they role over games with their individual skill, they’re likely to be fine.

If, however, they ever fall behind, you might as well write the game off. Any semblance of tilt will spread throughout this roster like a virus (hah, topical), and I’m already envisioning a situation where they’re all tilted and don’t say a single word.

I might be wrong — and if I am, top 3 team. I’m not sure I’m wrong, though.

5. Post Clarity Nut | Irevall, Madsen ©, ZaikS, Elpie, Ben1

Average: 5006 | 4860, 5370, 5200, 5150, 4450

Alright motherfuckers let’s see what happens when I don’t do the funny meme thing and put myself first.

Jokes aside, my goal was largely to snipe some players I think are very underrated — which is a box all three of Irevall, Elpie and especially ZaikS check off.

The major question mark then becomes — as it often is — my own performance. While this is one of the better patches for me to whip out the Midsen costume in the last while, I, uh, haven’t played much Dota lately. If I can shake off that rust in a timely manner (fingers crossed), I’m very confident in the rest of my team, and therefore our ability to make a deep playoff run.

I’m just, uh, not that confident about my ability to do so. Unrelated, but anyone got a chart of when the runes spawn now?

4. Vanguard Tidehunter | Roo, Joll, Brainy Gonzo ©, SgtAverage, Fred

Average: 5042 | 5400, 4850, 5330, 5150, 4480

I swear this isn’t a real team. You can’t convince me someone didn’t feed every draft sheet of the past 30 events into a Markov text generator and it just spit this out.

Jokes aside, this team is chock full of seasoned veterans, who individually make for a very stable team — at least on paper.

I don’t expect anyone on this team to necessarily underperform, but I do think they’ll individually have to step up to make up for lack of a star player — the kind you look at and say, yeah, give this person space and set them up and they’ll close out games. I don’t think that’s what either Roo or Joll really do; they’re solid cores who can certainly pop off every now and then, but I think one of them will need to buckle up, play safe and take over games.

Failing that, they could also just hope enemy teams don’t ban Gonzo Dark Seer and SgtAvg ES.

3. Endonoscopy | Johanna ©, Boelens, Burt, Gecko, Endon

Average: 5246 | 5350, 5100, 4800, 5330, 5650

This is simultaneously the highest potential (seriously, each player here has been like, 5.7 at least) and most washed team, and just about every question you might consider looking at it comes down to “How washed are they really?” and/or ”How quickly can they unwash?”.

Depending on what the answers to these questions end up being, this team might roll through others or they might have no impact whatsoever. The primary concern I have ignoring rust is what the comms might end up looking like; their supports can be somewhat quiet. There’s a chance Burt might have to be the one to dictate the flow of the game.

If they can get in shape, though, this is a team of capable individual players in their preferred roles, with a fairly wide array of draft options. Might also need to make a conscious effort not to throw.

I do wonder, what’s Burt’s favorite anime? He ought to have one, being on this roster.

2. Dodgy, Ponpous and Ergotistical | Dodgy Dan, ponpo, Melalez ©, Ergotisme, T-Reds

Average: 5160 | 5700, 5410, 5390, 4900, 4400

Which Melalez-Ergo team is this by now? 3rd? 4th?

Whichever it is, I’m certainly predicting this one to be a lot more successful than prior efforts. With one of the better mids in ponpo, and overall the highest MMR tricore in the division — generally a fairly reliable predictor of successful seasons — the main question might become how Dan performs in the safelane, assuming that’s even the role which he takes up here, which isn’t a given as the two roles he plays are mostly mid and offlane.

Still, I think he’s more than capable enough for that transition not to be a painful one, and if this tricore performs as well in practice as they look to do on paper, this could be a very strong team.

1. Tilt’n’mix | Raffie ©, RampagingBench, STJ, patrick, Boo Whoo

Average: 4870 | 5500, 5800, 4800, 4600, 3650

Pairing Raffie and Bench was a great sign from the onset for this team — two of the best cores in the division on the same team is usually, uh, pretty good.

What pushes this over the edge was Raffie’s ability to put together a very decent supporting cast with the tiny budget he had available after picking up everybody’s favorite desk slammer. Stunless-offlane-hero-enthusiast STJ and IHL phenom Patrick do the team’s average MMR no favors, but, much like the budget pos 5 pickup Boo Whoo, are known to perform above their MMR. Like Dendi said, MMR screenshots are just .jpgs. Something like that.

Admittedly, either of this team’s star players underperforming could be problematic, but there’s not much reason to believe they will, so I’m penning Raffie and Co. in as preseason favorites.

Division 1

This season’s premier division has shades of the past ones, in that I don’t struggle to imagine the teams I’ve ranked lower here making a finals run. Maybe I’ve just been scarred by watching a grand finals played between the two teams I’d ranked dead last, but it does feel like the outcome of divisions that feature a plethora of talented, high-skill players depends less on the sum of a team’s individual parts, and moreso on how proactive they are in spotting what they’re doing wrong and consciously working on it — and that’s much harder to predict.

At least, that’s my excuse if I’m horribly wrong again.

Tier 3

8. The Good, the Mouse and the Duckling | Wesside, Omegasaw ©, Sca1ar, Nibbles, Nappa

Average: 6094 | 7140, 6000, 6330, 5600, 5400

I uhhh, I dunno about this one chief. I essentially have two issues with the stack Omegasaw’s assembled for himself here. Firstly, I’m not sure that the 4th pick after grabbing Sca1ar and Nappa was another support player — I would’ve much preferred to see this team with a natural offlaner in place of either Sca1ar or Nibbles, the duo of which in the offlane for this team doesn’t seem particularly impressive.

The second concern I have here is playstyle fit — in my mind, Wess as a core should be sat down next to a very farm intensive core partner — I’m talking stuff like his season win with Hazel — and while Omegasaw is certainly no stranger to being the highest farm priority from mid, I don’t think he’s really shown that side in a competitive setting in a long while.

Admittedly, this does look like a fairly fun stack, and I’m not putting it past them at all to outperform my prediction here — it’s just a very stacked div and, well, someone has to be last in the rankings!

7. Dogslayers | RobMyst, Kk ©, Sky, Nsphere, OK

Average: 6102 | 6030, 5900, 6150, 6730, 5700

This simultaneously looks like the most blessed and most cursed stack, all at once. That’s got very little to do with the level of Dota I expect them to play.

On that front, it’s very hard to know what to expect. I’m anticipating the big Bobby Myst carry here, as I can’t really think of any alternative setups for this team — maybe Kk goes safelane and Nsphere goes mid? But I mean, I don’t know that anyone would do that to themselves willingly. Nah, Bobby Myst carry, let’s go with that.

In all honesty, the results of this team mostly hinge on whether or not the Myst-Kk core duo I’m expecting to see can really stand up to those of other teams — for the time being, I’m unconvinced, but the Sky Nsphere lane might put enough pressure on opposing safelanes to level the playing field. Emphasis on might.

6. 4 Chips 1 Turk | Harbinger, Tides ©, Takeshi, Crysen, Holy Harry

Average: 6206 | 6280, 6190, 5650, 7710, 5200

Aight, iunno what’s going on with this one. I seem to be the only one not really seeing the big deal with this team, as the average of the community submitted rankings has them in first.

Don’t get me wrong — this is certainly a decent team, as are all of them in Div 1, but I’m not exactly blown away. Either one of Tides or Harb, despite being mainly mid players, will have to make the switch over to the safelane, and while I’m fairly sure both of them have done so at least once on other teams, it’s still unideal.

Takeshi’s a good player, and he fiercely expressed his preference to play offlane rather than carry here, but I feel like with the plethora of 4 players to work with in the pool this team could’ve just as easily opted to put Crysen offlane and potentially picked up another slightly higher MMR pos 4.

Suffice to say I’ll be watching this team keenly to see if I’m just massively out of the loop.

5. fat L streakers | wooo, dekaiT, Haraway ©, Barg, Dredi

Average: 6242 | 6570, 5850, 6000, 6530, 6260

This is either a really great team or a really awful one and I genuinely have no idea which it is. Hey, Haraway and Barg do have a trophy next to their names, that might count for something?

Wooo’s a top tier carry, and Bargaway is a proven duo, so the question marks here are dekaiT and Dredi.

While dekaiT is certainly a capable mid, he’ll be the first to mention that the good ol’ solo queue grind isn’t for him, but to some extent this does also mean he might not really spend as much of his time in Dota competing against higher skill mids in pubs — at least, in comparison to the mid players he’ll be up against in Clarity.

Over on the other end of the farm priority spectrum, Dredi a high MMR support, but the level of his performance in a competitive league is bottlenecked significantly by the enemy’s ability to, eek, ban heroes.

I think this team’s fairly well rounded and makes sense, but I do think we’ll be able to tell week 1 whether or not that’ll actually translate into the game.

4. DogsRUs | Szajtek, Water ©, ElNino, ColNilsOlav, Debowy

Average: 6234 | 7380, 6000, 5720, 5910, 6160

It’s at this stage of the div 1 power rankings that I might as well have jammed the remaining teams into a random number generator and done my best to justify what it gave me (which is totally not what I’m doing here).

The first of these teams is Water’s; I’ve heard whispers of Nino getting a bit washed up in comparison to his glory days, but he should complement Szajtek and Water nicely to form what is likely to be a very strong tricore — for which Water didn’t have to sacrifice much, as he managed to pick up a pair of 6k supports as well, in Nils and Debowy.

While I’ve seen Nils do just fine in the 4 role, that was generally not in the context of a low-6k average division, where he’d likely feel more at home in his usual position 5 role — but I believe that, of the two, Nils likely has more experience with 4 and will therefore take up the role and allow Debowy to play 5.

There’s honestly not much to say — this is a strong team that can definitely compete for the title, and I’m probably not really good enough to pick apart the nuances between this team and the following ones, as the paths to success I see for each one differ a fair bit.

3. Belle stack s1 | Waloo, Neox, Avalanche ©, Zakke, Snufkin

Average: 6380 | 6080, 6520, 6400, 7400, 5500

I’d have a much easier time knowing what the fuck to do with this team if someone could just tell me one thing — is Neox mid, like, a thing? Last I checked it wasn’t but I haven’t really checked in a while.

If it is? Super strong team.

If it isn’t? Probably still pretty fuckin good, not gonna lie. Admittedly, I feel like a decent part of my expectations for this team come from my experience with Neox as a vocal team leader, but it’s no secret that keeping that up when transitioning into a new role is very difficult. Either way, this is a very stacked team, and I expect them to be fine kinda no matter what.

Tier 1

2. 60 60 0 0 | Lokie, k1ra, Chucklemouse ©, Mikel, Crispy Bacon

Average: 6344 | 6680, 8020, 5660, 5540, 5820

Alright so I’m taking some wild ol’ chances with my tier 1 here, with two teams my expectations for which can only be described as feast or famine.

At this stage, Lokie’s proven himself as a high tier carry player — though you wouldn’t be crazy to suggest that the meta shift might impact his performances, considering that his playstyle in season 0 was…uh, very consistent from game to game, let’s put it like that.

Chuckle is another player to prove doubters wrong throughout season 0, and I’d argue that getting Mikel and Crispy Bacon as free pickups was kind of a steal.

That leaves us with the focal point of the team — the big bad 8k k1ra. A marked enthusiast of the unranked Dota match, some question whether the number attached to his name here will prove to truly be representative of his skill level…and with this ranking, I can’t say I’m one of those doubters.

1. Grief Chiefs | Ligbank, Rapdis ©, waterfalls, Sassy, Mofarah

Average: 6196 | 7000, 6200, 6430, 5800, 5550

If waterfalls memes like, 40% less, this is a very good team.

Admittedly that’s a big if — one I can only consider because I’ve seen it happen in the past — and when it did, she was the main driver behind the wheel of what would eventually end as a lossless season. I guess the question should be “How many Meteor Hammers can you buy on offlane Anti-Mage before the mind goes numb?”.

If the answer’s “Fewer than waterfalls has bought”, I think this could turn out to be a genuinely solid team with no massive weaknesses — they’ve got strong cores, a decent support duo, vocal players who can shotcall and craft gameplans, and the mechanical skill to pull it off.

On paper.

Team Name Awards

This season features some amazing team names which I want to recognize in an official capacity with a Lmao That’s Dope ™ award, which I am giving to the following teams:

  • Team Melalez for Dodgy, Ponpous and Ergotistical
  • Team Chucklemouse for 60 60 0 0
  • Team Quack like a Duck for Carrydas Remalded

Thanks for reading everyone! Enjoy your season and have fun.

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