Clarity League Season 5 — Team Reviews / Power Rankings: Part I

When I made the promise that I’d run it back and write power rankings for the first time since Season 2 if we reached four full divisions, I wasn’t entirely convinced it would happen. Excitingly enough it did (and we could’ve viably shot for five!), but now I’m committed — with a deadline to boot. No matter, it’s almost fun to go back to this after a good break, but nevertheless, I’ll lead with the usual array of disclaimers.

These are purely my personal thoughts and opinions. Content is meant to be just that.

I’m making the conscious decision not to overthink. A couple years back I might’ve scoured each individual Dotabuff for nuggets of information to determine roles, read up on player reviews of seasons past, checked if a team may have gotten an early start on practicing and are playing pubs together, asked around for leaks.

I am doing none of the above here. By and large, I’m looking at a roster, maybe checking players’ signup role preferences, at very most glancing at a Dotabuff, and going with my first instinct. Not only do I not have the same energy for this as I once did, but it’s four full divisions, with half the player pool consisting of newcomers on whom I, more often than not, have next to no info. I invite you to approach this — as I am in writing it — as a fun little lead-in to Clarity’s biggest season thus far.

Finally, a note on formatting: the members of a team are listed in order of (assumed) roles. The numbers below the roster indicate the average MMR, and subsequently the individual MMR of each respective player.

Division 4

It goes without saying that much of the commentary I can provide on Div 4 boils down to shooting about wildly in the dark — even ignoring that the division is made up largely of players new not only to Clarity, but this manner of organized league play as a whole, an imbalance in the spread of roles further complicates matters, both for the captains partaking in the draft, as well as for yours truly — and none of us get through it without a bit of creative thinking.

This all is to say: I’ve no clue what to make of any of it.

Tier 3

8. Maus | qrazzy, BigbyWolf, Vookie, Vade, Maus

Average: 2426 | 3470, 2310, 1560, 1490, 3300

I’ve looked at this team and shuffled the roles about some 7 times now and I’m still not entirely certain I’ve landed on what they’ll actually do — chiefly this stems from having what seems to be about four support players on a team whose fifth player sports a 55/45 core/support split. For a second there I was certain I had it figured out when I recalled Maus playing mid a long time ago, until I realized I was thinking of Hamma and reordered the roles one final time. All of this amounts to a situation that doesn’t exactly inspire faith.

7. lofbergio | MaGe, Sgt Pepper, sjmc, lofbergio, Clinkzs

Average: 1906 | 1570, 3650, 760, 2960, 590

There’s a hefty amount of eggs stacked precariously in the Sgt Pepper basket, but I suppose a basket woven of 3.6k-core-player is the kind, if any, to do that with. My issue here lies largely in my preference for higher MMR support captains to draft for a balanced tri core, as opposed to looking towards the star players of the player pool. The latter approach has left this team looking likely to struggle even if Pepper does do well, and if he doesn’t…eh, let’s avoid the gloom.

Tier 2

6. thronplunder | thronplunder, Raven, Abfr0, Feckerr, Dragan

Average: 1884 | 2950, 1900, 2940, 260, 1370

I have a somewhat hard time seeing this team as much different to icOn’s — a promising tricore, a support duo on the lower end of the MMR average. It’s when you’re able to draw these comparisons that not really knowing a lot of these players and how they function in-game detracts from the ability to pick one team over another — how many players on this team communicate well? Who, if anyone, will take the reigns and make calls in a lull? It’s largely just guessing that one team is worse than another that allows for that separation to exist, and lord knows I’m doing a lot of guessing here.

5. icOn | icOn, GrimR, ExaltedAngel, Juice, PPD

Average: 1942 | 3100, 3500, 1960, 470, 680

This team is blessed if only because it comes with a sensible role setup. I’m uncertain at which point exactly icOn made the transition to playing carry, but considering he’s able to use the mouse to press the Pick Alchemist button, he’s sure to be a menace in the division — and while I’ve come to think that GrimR’s performances are just about anything except consistent, this is the kind of environment where he should form a fierce duo with icOn. Add to that a decent offlaner — insofar at least as being an actual offlane player who plays a good bit of Dota — and suddenly I’m moving this team up a bit.

4. bernardhumperdink | Lymee, DarkShokBlade, bernardhumperdink, Virus, TE

Average: 2282 | 3440, 1830, 830, 3030, 2280

Opting for a balanced approach to teambuilding, bernard’s assembled what ought to be a decent team — Lymee strikes me as being likely to provide significant value to the team as the division’s 6th highest MMR and a carry through and through — seriously, when’s the last time you’ve seen someone at 99% core, 98% of that in one role? That being said, while I do think DarkShok and bernard (assuming he does end up playing offlane) can do okay, there’s a good few teams against which that tradeoff in core MMR is likely to tip scales — and not in this team’s favor. That said, I do see good value in having a strong support duo: find synergy in those sidelanes and they’ll be able to outperform this expectation.

3. Matkins | StormOfHell, The Unknown Corner, speedyslardy, Matkins, Crawsen

Average: 1986 | 3200, 1410, 2290, 2830, 200

I’ll be transparent in saying a large part of my placing this team higher than I otherwise might rests on my expectation that The Unknown Corner will outperform their MMR. How much of this stems from an apparent ability to pick Puck every game I am unsure of, but I do get the impression, for one reason or another, that this team will do well enough. Okay looking Dotabuffs go a long way in swaying me.

Tier 1

2. Swagboi | Swagboi, Adam, Leiya, Windfall, XiA

Average: 1976 | 1570, 3100, 3790, 880, 540

Pros: Leiya is probably the best carry in the div and should stomp a significant number of games. Cons: I have no fucking clue what the roles are here and she might not be playing carry.

I’d like to say that I’d prefer some setup where Leiya plays 1 but at the same time each of those potential setups ends up looking mediocre. Thinking through it I arrived at the roles I’ve listed as being the most sensible, but not because I really like them — the usual complain-but-suggest-no-viable-alternative maneuver, a favorite in the community. Best I could come to was “hey, maybe Swagboi could try playing mid!” but I’ll defer to the actual team’s judgement.

1. Difikoll | Evia, Difikoll, spoink, NotOne, bresha

Average: 2414 | 2650, 3570, 2540, 1520, 1790

You happen upon a player named spoink with 400 games of Ench. You acquire them in the player draft. You put them mid. You ask them, what heroes do you play mid, and as they attempt to answer, you cut them off and you say “Exactly, you’re playing Ench mid”. You contact Ekken. He takes the fellow Ench degenerate under his wing. You stomp exactly 3 matches with Ench mid until it is inevitably banned first phase every game. Did I know this would happen, or am I speaking it into existence this very moment? It doesn’t much matter, because after writing up all of that I opted to click on their Dotabuffs and saw Difikoll playing mid in a bunch of pubs. Alas! Anyway, big numbers good and whatnot, I have high hopes for the team.

Division 3

I’d hoped things would be somewhat…simpler going into Div 3, since I’m more familiar with a lot of the players here, but I get the sneaking suspicion that the ones I don’t know as well are to be the difference makers and needle movers. It doesn’t help that a good chunk of the recognizable veteran names here are washed enough that prior experience doesn’t serve as a particularly useful guideline.

Tier 3

8. Panda | Panda, greenman, GRIMM, FAllS, rmbl

Average: 3982 | 4210, 4300, 4370, 4030, 3000

Do I think this is the role setup this team will play with, have I simply jotted them down in the exact order they were drafted, or is it both at once? TBD. In all seriousness, this team features some decent Div 3 talent, but all of Panda, greenman and Grimmjow is too much to handle. Both, er, personality-wise, but more notably role-wise. Someone here is going to have to bite the bullet and play 4 — and despite what I’ve got here I’m not entirely certain it’ll be Falls. Maybe they can just flip a coin? In any case, if they can figure out an arrangement that they’re happ-erm, won’t cause two people to whine every week, this could be an okay team. I’m just assuming that won’t happen.

7. kotklopot | hortensja, Poppy, Shaihud, sakoh, kotklopot

Average: 4066 | 4550, 3990, 4180, 3550, 4060

For the nth time in this ranking I’m at a loss as to what the roles will be here. The above is my best guess, based largely on the most recent of matches. In any case, this team caps out at middle of the pack for from where I’m at: at best — assuming my expectations for the roles are correct, which they very well may not be — this team’s best player, at 60% of the captain’s coin total (albeit largely for what I assume were friend tax purposes), is off role, and not much else stands out.

Tier 2

6. hi5 | LPSD, Joll, Mtoto Mbaya, Calli, hi5

Average: 4200 | 4360, 4300, 4740, 4110, 3490

To be completely honest, I’ve put off the writeup for this team to the end, because I’m not very sure what to make of it. It’s a well-rounded team, with n- okay actually whatever, I’ll level with you — I was halfway through typing [average empty team review comment] right there, ready to describe this as one of the myriad teams that could generically do better or worse than this ranking, but it gets tiring — will they win the season? No, I don’t think so. Will they suck ass? I’m going to go ahead and say no. Do they make playoffs? Probably? Are we going to get a quip or two in season reviews about Joll being loud? Almost certainly.

5. Yaz | The Real Roo, Caiser101, Tlaloc, Fred Astaire, Yaz

Average: 3970 | 5260, 4410, 3670, 2890, 3620

Something about this team is off to me and I’m not quite certain what; maybe a splash of having my doubts about Roo’s ability to be the kind of dominant star player that the second highest MMR player in the division ought to have, maybe it’s the subsequent reliance on first timer Caiser to also perform well. Maybe it’s the harsh drop off in MMR to grab FredAstaire when there were potentially better options (albeit ones Yaz was presumably less familiar and comfortable with). Maybe I’m just plain wrong! Roles work out, friendly enough crew, some existing synergy there, all set up for an enjoyable time — I’m just unconvinced.

4. Owl | SwagMander, Hugh G. Rection, Owl, KhezuC, e7en

Average: 4160 | 4700, 4180, 3600, 4180, 4140

There’s maybe a slight jump to me in this division once we get into the top 4; the teams in the top half for me here mostly share a couple of traits — mostly straightforward role setups (or, if not, multiple alternatives that all make at least some sense), more or less balanced MMR spreads, Dotabuffs with no massive red flags. I think this summary does a decent job of summing up my thoughts on this team — admittedly my info on a couple of the players here is very limited and there may be unforeseen issues, but I don’t believe that this team is set up to run into the one issue that I believe would make the season exceedingly difficult, which is an overreliance on the highest MMR to do too much.

3. Bianco | Olaf, Faith, Bianco, pOgO, nevermind

Average: 4200 | 5350, 3300, 3870, 4220, 4260

Another case of slight role overlap, but this one I think is resolved fairly straightforwardly; a team built on the foundation of the Faith-Bianco connection, now playing together on a third (?) team — in a row even? Pretty cool. Hard to go wrong with a framework like that when you’re adding the highest MMR player in the division onto it alongside a pair of solid supports.

Tier 1

2. jetamo | Cuhn, jetamo, qPHJ, Vichy, Abba

Average: 4444 | 4170, 4620, 5150, 4570, 3710

It’s worth noting right off the bat that this team could line up very differently — notably some setup that sees Abba playing 1 and Cuhn and Vichy slotting into 4/5 may be likely — but I have a good feeling about the team either way. Hard to go wrong with a stack of players who all play a decent bit of Dota and have a decent array of heroes at their disposal.

1. NaClO | NaClO, f, Ginger, Ruski, Karenlyl

Average: 4042 | 4690, 4970, 3380, 3410, 3760

I was impressed by f mega’s performance last season, and I’m fairly certain him and NaClO will make for the division’s best core duo — those only really need a supporting cast that communicates well and doesn’t, uhm, chainfeed, which is a test I think Ginger, Ruski and Karenlyl will collectively pass. There’s a nonzero chance I’m valuing Ruski a bit more than others might due to our active RD2L team, but the team makes a lot of sense to me and I think they’ll be one of the contenders unless something goes horribly wrong.

Thanks for reading — have a fun season and tune back in tomorrow when I recuperate some of my sanity for Divs 1 & 2.

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Madsen

Madsen

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