Clarity League Season 2 — Team Reviews / Power Rankings: Part II

Clarity Divisions

This is part 2 of my Season 2 Power Rankings, going over Clarity Divisions — you can read my Clarity Linear reviews here.

Disclaimers:

  • These are all my own personal thoughts, and power rankings are meant purely as entertainment.
  • I place a greater emphasis on team reviews, rather than the rankings themselves, and the latter as a result have a lot less thought behind them.
  • © denotes a team’s captain, and the MMRs listed are from the draft sheet, post-adjustments.

Clarity Division 2

Division 2 features a…peculiar plot twist: the best natural mid players are few and far between — and, er, below the average MMR of the division. This means we’ll watch plenty of carry and offlane players swing over to the midlane, with the latter cases being of particular note. Overall though, this was the ranking I struggled the least to put together; it’s just a matter of how well things that seem to work on paper translate into the actual matches. Guaranteed to make for some entertaining games, no doubt.

Tier 3

8. the greenmen sun cl | greenman ©, GrimR, Boo, bernard humperdink, Lordniin

Average: 3106 | 4450, 3700, 3800, 580, 3000

Now, look, I’m as much a believer in Boo being a massively valuable player as the next guy — hell, probably more than the next guy — but I’m not sure he’s this valuable.

It’s a very big ask of the players on this team to make up for the gap in team MMR that exists between them and most other teams, put plainly. While they do have the distinct advantage of actually having 5 players all in roles they have experience with (and that’s thoroughly notable, as only about 3 teams really fit that description), and it does feel like they’re set up to function better than other teams out of the box, I suspect this to become gradually less and less impactful as other teams go on to develop and improve together during the season.

When that does inevitably happen, it’ll become a question of individual players’ ability to make plays and generate advantages — and I have doubts about their ability to do so better than their competition, come playoffs.

7. Hypnotoad | Tlaloc ©, Mari, tabby, ManBearSlav, thronplunder

Average: 3892 | 3880, 5480, 3900, 3140, 3060

Let me get this straight — this team has two natural offlaners, and neither of them are playing offlane. Then, they have three natural carry players, and none of them are playing carry.

That feels…questionable.

Mari is the highest MMR player in the division by far, but I’ve never exactly regarded her as someone to dominate games (thought that’s hardly a dig at her skill level, and moreso a comment on the role she tends to occupy in teams), and I can’t help but feel she’ll be asked to do so to make this team work out in practice. Moving to mid is tough even if you have some experience with the role, and I’m not sure Mari’s got any at all. The bright side is that she does have a tendency to insist on playing Void Spirit offlane, and that should hopefully translate into the beginnings of a mid hero pool (or at bare minimum, a guaranteed ban).

I do think this team would benefit significantly from having a sit down to talk more about the role setup; I suspect moving Tlaloc to 3 and really any of the rest over to 1 is likelier to set them up for success, but this is something that they’d ideally figure out through trying out different setups, and that’s sometimes a fairly large ask, as you’re committing any practice time you do find on figuring out something other teams already know.

Even if they do figure the roles out, though, I really struggle to see many avenues for this team to win a lot of games — they have too many off role players to expect any of them to become a shotcalling presence, and I feel it’s fairly likely that they’ll end up being lost in games often.

Tier 2

6. ZeroTwo | Panda ©, STJ, Pajazo, Sakoh, Yesketchup

Average: 4048 | 4100, 5070, 3340, 3900, 3830

High MMR player who usually plays offlane being pushed to mid? These rankings are becoming confusing to write.

Jokes aside, this team is much better equipped than the previous one; fewer off role players means this team actually has some fairly solid lanes. Panda and Ketchup make for a decent safelane, and while I have my doubts about how the Pajazo+Sakoh lane will stack up against some opposing safelanes, this team does show more potential to make things happen ingame, particularly if they develop a style that sees STJ play active heroes that pair well with Sakoh’s 4 pool, while giving Panda elevated farm priority. That all seems okay on paper, with the caveat that STJ is obviously not actually a mid player.

My true concern here is the comms. Some tilting is likely guaranteed, and I imagine that, knowing what I do about STJ and Sakoh, their ideas on how to approach midgames won’t match up very well, which could turn out to be destructive if those two operate as the main playmakers on the team.

5. Hink & Spann i Nynäshamn | sr, Hamma, LeProff, stl ©, banebu

Average: 3878 | 3760, 3200, 3530, 4500, 4400

I’m unsure how to describe the choice to push your best player and captain in Stl into a support role other than…odd.

Now, I get the idea: Sr is a very capable — and probably overall underrated — carry player, and Hamma is one of very few natural mid players in the division. LeProff and Banebu then slot neatly into their main roles, which leaves Stl to fill the gaps.

However, I’d argue that Hamma likely has more experience playing 4 than Stl, and swapping the two of them seems like it would set this team up for success far better than their current lineup. The potential that this squad is leaving on the table is that of a top tier team in the division.

That being said, they should still be a fairly strong team. They have players in roles they’re confident in, and I do suppose there’s some merit to the idea that Stl at the 4 will have more chances to shotcall alongside Banebu, which does set this team up with the ability to transition potential laning advantages into significant leads. It’s largely a matter of how their playstyle as a unit develops through the season though, as I can see this team both overperforming and falling flat, depending on how fast they figure out a plan that works.

4. Team Clariteam | Irevall, skully, Ariu ©, Adoro, Paiers

Average: 3992 | 4660, 4350, 3910, 3190, 3850

This team is somewhat of a mixed bag. Importantly, they’ve got one of the best safelaners in the division in Irevall, and I do think skully and Ariu will be able to pull their weight. There’s also a lot of potential for this team to be a very fun one to watch, as I can see skully and Ariu coming out with some interesting picks, and in a general sense I do believe that this team has a great deal of stability in their lanes which should enable Irevall to flex his muscles a bit.

Now, on the other hand, there’s a very good chance that this team will struggle to find their footing in terms of shotcalling and leadership throughout the season — none of them are particularly vocal players, and I reckon that for much of it they’ll just go with the flow and attempt to take opportunities as they come up.

One thing to keep an eye out for is how skully deals with the transition into mid — we’ve already seen him make decisions that feel overly influenced by his experience as a support player during week 1, but if he’s able to flick the switch and assume a greedier core approach as the season goes on, I can see him contributing to what might become a fairly scary tricore.

3. mashed maldtatoes | Reddydas, mash, Ember, Chef, hi5 ©

Average: 3852 | 4900, 4340, 3110, 2900, 4010

Every once in a couple events, you’ll stumble upon the rare and mysterious “finals or disband” team — welcome to Clarity Season 2’s very own example.

On paper, this team has a fairly logical role setup (at least in comparison to, well, the rest of the div), built on the foundation of a very high potential core duo in Reddydas and mash…it’s just that this foundation might be crumbling.

A recent finals loss seems to have severed the relationship between Reddy and mash, and if this translates into the matches, you might as well flip this placement on its’ head. If they leave the grudges at the door, they can go into games with great odds of winning — but I’d hardly fault anyone who doubts their ability to do so. It’s hard to say much more about this team, as all deeper analysis depends on whether they can get past step 1 — but the raw potential is there.

Tier 1

2. Fountain Divers Co. | Grimmjow ©, Hollow, Godzilla, Ruski, moyo

Average: 3998 | 4600, 3800, 4530, 3540, 3520

It’s been a bit but here we are — sibling stack, part 2 of 2. In this iteration, Hollow notably appears to be making the move to mid. I didn’t particularly expect this, seeing as Grimm has played a fair bit of mid recently, but it helps that they can flex depending on heroes.

In any case, this seems like another fairly solid team — it’s well balanced, and their tricore is, on paper, a very strong one. It’s worth noting that, with 1 being the natural role of both Grimm and Hollow, and as far as I’m aware 2 being Godzilla’s main role, it feels very likely that the team will need some time to adjust to their farm priority, as they’re all somewhat greedy players normally.

Their solid set of supports should also make for stable sidelanes, at which point the main discussion topic here becomes who on this team will take control and lead the team in close games.

1. Treads on T-Reds | Melalez ©, Kevin Richardson, T-Reds, INJOKER, Lame

Average: 3928 | 4960, 4770, 4380, 2180, 3350

Melalez is back again with the homie stack, and it ends up looking better than I expected it would after his first two picks in the draft. Despite shelling out for Kevin and T-Reds, they still have an okay set of supports all things considered — but they’re not the focus of the story here.

No, it’s the tricore that we’re spotlighting here — easily the highest MMR tricore in the div, the boys should make for a dominant setup. Melalez has a couple seasons under his belt playing carry, and T-Reds isn’t a complete stranger to the offlane. This leaves us, for the third and final time in Division 2, with a high MMR offlane player occupying the mid role. While Kevin Richardson is coming off a somewhat recent hiatus from Dota, his Dotabuff does seem to suggest he has more experience in the role than his peers in Mari and STJ (even if that experience is from 3 years ago), and I believe that he’ll be able to find his footing and put up serviceable performances.

All of that being said, though, it’s not necessarily their individual proficiency in core roles that makes this team a standout, but rather their past experience playing together — I see this being the kind of team that just plays better team Dota and edges out close games when they need to, particularly as they’ve proven their ability to do so in the past.

Clarity Division 1

Now this one’s a doozy. I might as well have fed spots 2 through 7 into a list randomizer and done my best to rationalize the result; I’ve rarely felt this uncertain about a ranking — and that’s saying something, as long-time readers will agree. There’s such a wide array of factors to consider here, and I feel like the higher the average, the harder it becomes to spot all the things that might have an influence on team performance. I’m very excited to see Division 1 play out, in all honesty.

Tier 3

8. Quintuple-Head Dragon | Johanna, Szajtek, jihadi swamp, shnoor ©, Ben1

Average: 5896 | 5100, 7530, 5630, 5720, 5500

We begin Division 1 with one of the two placements I didn’t struggle with much. While the ragtag group shnoor’s assembled here certainly has its’ bright spots, it seems to fall flat overall.

Shelling out a majority of the team’s budget for Szajtek is hardly odd, and it’s hard to argue with the idea of doing so itself, but it’s imperative to have a very good plan of where to go with your draft afterwards, and I’m unsure that shnoor did; while pairing himself up with jihadi swamp makes for an okay offlane duo, it’s hard to describe as anything more than just that — okay. In a division like this, a 5.6k average offlane tends to mean you’re getting something great in your safelane…which this team’s not.

Johanna and Ben are fine players in their own right, but most will agree — the two of them included — that they form a thoroughly underwhelming lane in this division, one bound to struggle against…just about any team’s offlane duo.

This leaves a gargantuan amount of pressure on Szajtek to take over games from a role that isn’t his main one, and this altogether makes for a team with less than impressive chances.

7. waloo & the cuddlebuddies | Madsen ©, Harbinger, Crispy Bacon, Waloo, Myst

Average: 5810 | 5270, 5940, 5700, 6110, 6030

I won’t beat around the bush much here — while I do genuinely like this team and believe (as I think my teammates similarly might) that our potential is probably a fair bit higher than most might give us credit for — it’s just thoroughly unimpressive.

The vast majority of this comes down to my default presence on the team; even post grind, I’m still one of the two lowest MMR carries in the division, and while admittedly Myst is one of the very few 5s who can enable just about any headless chicken carry, lategames are likely to become problematic.

Past that, most brows’ll be raised by our offlane duo. While Waloo did seem intent on playing 4 this season, most spectators will still have their doubts about his transition from a core role, particularly when paired with the very offrole Crispy Bacon. All in all, this doesn’t make for a team that appears likely to upset some of the division’s juggernauts in the long run.

Tier 2

6. the overbids | Mint, Omegasaw, Mangology, Jammytwit ©, Nyk

Average: 5724 | 6220, 5990, 5640, 5530, 5240

Ugh, this is one of those teams. You know the kind.

Looks well rounded, has good cores, has no massive standouts relative to the competition, but no deadweights either.

You look at them and think, “Yeah, I can see this team winning games!”. Then you look at their results and they’re middling, Dotabuff highlighting the occasional gutwrenching throw because they haven’t quite figured out their team identity, and they somehow always look a game away from doing so.

And then they probably pull out like, 2 stupid upsets in a row come playoffs, or some shit.

Honestly, it’s really hard to tell. My primary concern here is that I feel like this team may have players who look to approach matches very differently, and that might lose them a fair few games. On the other hand, I also see this team as being one with multiple players who can make things happen on the map, and who have a keen eye for openings to generate advantages — and it’s exactly these qualities that they might derive success from.

5. The Dictator Ship | Lokie, Tides, Roo, Sassy ©, Nibbles

Average: 6150 | 8510, 5920, 5380, 5460, 5480

In a lot of ways, this team is like the shnoor team; it’s just, like, a lot better.

For starters, Lokie is playing his actual role (and will be an absolute menace on it) and his core partner in Tides is likely to produce a lot more impact. This is the kind of tradeoff you’d want for sacrificing your offlane’s average MMR, as this team’s had to do.

The offlane, however, is where a lot of my concerns for this team come from; it’s among one of the two or three weakest ones in a division populated with teams that should absolutely dominate them. I’m unsure that Roo’s ready to switch back from 1 to 3 at a high enough level to not give up too much in lanes, and while I’m sure Lokie can absolutely outcarry just about any 1 in the division, I foresee this team eventually running into disadvantages too significant for that to happen.

All of that being said, however, you can never really discount a team with a core whose MMR eclipses everyone elses. It hasn’t really been long enough to forget about all the Mugen teams.

4. :b:anal | Kuroame ©, Grac, Zakke, Mofarah, ColNilsOlav

Average: 6060 | 6000, 5500, 7390, 5500, 5910

Welcome to Division 1’s iteration of the feast or famine squad!

Featured here today we have:

  • Kuroame, simultaneously a stable and solid 6k carry who has shown an ability to win games against good opponents and a go-to example of why 6k means very little;
  • Grac, resident quiet zxc 1000–7 SF midline player who has somehow managed to drop ridiculous amounts of MMR, but is still a frightening lane opponent even for players with a solid thousand on him;
  • Zakke, highly-talented 7k pub ruiner and Terrorblade 4 connoiseur.

Mofarah and Nils are also on the team, but they’re far too stable (and I don’t just mean gameplay-wise) to keep riding the meme.

It’s genuinely very hard to know what to expect from this team. I can easily see them stomp some lanes and just snowball the shit out of games, but I can also imagine them struggling to manage in closer matches — however, the experience and, well, calmness of their support duo is what I believe might tide them over in those scenarios. I think they might just be able to get the best from their curious tricore, and that idea is what ultimately lands them in the top half here.

3. Belle stack s2 | Dusk ©, ponpo, Crysen, Mikel, ashteezy

Average: 6158 | 7200, 5450, 7800, 5200, 5140

I’m unsure what’s crazier — the idea of Dusk playing safelane, or the idea that a team with Dusk safelane might genuinely be good.

This is again a team where, similar to Melalez’s in Div 2, I see the ability of this group of players as significantly more important and impactful than their individual quality. Dusk isn’t a natural carry player, ponpo is a fair bit lower MMR than the player’s he’ll be facing in lane, and ashteezy’s ability to move from 4 to 5 and accept a lower farm priority is still in question.

What I’m betting on here, though, is that even if the lanes don’t go super well, they’ll be able to stave off defeat and construct solid game plans that’ll allow them to take over midgames, mainly under the direction of Crysen — who we’ll finally see as the core in the offlane, rather than the support to a 5k player. I believe that the players on this roster will be able to take those gameplans, stick to them, and execute.

Maybe it’s just that having two numbers that start with a 7 looks pretty though.

Tier 1

2. incest is wincest | Dodgy Dan, Frank ©, haraway, Dredi, Codex

Average: 6226 | 5700, 5930, 6700, 7200, 5600

This is one of the roster that probably works the best on paper. The roles are reasonable, they have an incredibly high MMR offlane duo, they have experienced leaders and shotcallers who should be able to create advantages through extensive preparation and motivate the team towards improving on an individual level, some synergy already exists. All of this looks great.

On paper.

It’s hard not to have doubts about this team, though. Dan’s been jumping between core roles in an attempt to find himself, and has in the process dropped a fair bit of MMR — enough to earn him a spot alongside the likes of Johanna and myself on the list of very low MMR farming cores in Div 1.

Dredi’s obviously a very skilled player, but feels like an inconsistent performer — which seems to be highly dictated by the extent to which he insists on playing one of his specialist heroes; would it be silly to suggest that he performs better on other heroes? I think there’s some merit to the idea that playing heroes that aren’t his main ones leads to him focusing on the game at hand and his role in it as opposed to the limits of his hero.

I honestly believe that we’ll see the standard Haraway team trajectory here: underperform in the groups, using them as a learning experience, then come out swinging in the playoffs after having done great amounts of preparation and planning, and riding off the back of individual improvements. Or maybe they’ll just suck, hard to tell really.

1. Cringe | Ligbank, Rce, sparvel, SgtAverage, Snufkin ©

Average: 6284 | 7600, 7380, 5180, 5300, 5960

Remember a couple paragraphs up when I said having two numbers that start with a 7 on a team looks really fucking nice? Having your 1 & 2’s numbers be the ones that start with a 7 looks reaaaaally fucking nice.

Yes, okay, sure, neither of the two are playing their main go-to role (though that’s more true of Rce, whose stated preference for the 4 role seems to match up more with his match history than Ligbank’s supposed preference for offlane), but it’s incredibly hard to argue against the raw skill and experience they bring to the table.

On the flip side, I’ve been talking about teams having to make sacrifices in some places to get players like Ligbank and Rce on the roster, and once again, the sacrifices here come in the offlane. Sparvel and SgtAverage make for the entire division’s lowest MMR lane, but I’ve seen the both of them hold their own against higher MMR competition. Snufkin is a solid 5 for Ligbank’s lane as well, so putting this all together you have a team that should have proper direction and great chances to win it all.

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

If you want to support my content, you can buy me a coffee, but I’ll write content for as long as I, uh, care to do so?

I suppose on that note it’s worth highlighting that I’ve been writing a lot less than in the past, and while I hope to have the time and energy to do power rankings for each Clarity season, I don’t see that changing too soon. Most of the time I’m willing to allocate towards Clarity goes to admining; if, for some reason, you care to hear me talk about things more, it’s very easy to bait me into monologuing over on twitch.tv/madsen03 where you’re much likelier to find me active than on Medium nowadays (probably playing CK).

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