It is finally a good time to be a Dota 2 fan once again, as the Stockholm Major prepares for the first live event in 2 years. But first, the 14 invited teams battled through the group stage. There were surprising results during the Dota 2 Stockholm Major Group Stage, interesting picks, and an entire team disqualified as new and old faces alike looked to punch their ticket into the upper bracket of the main event.
Group A has definitely been the more surprising of the two, especially when looking at the first and last place spots. Tundra Esports have been the tournament’s surprise, dominating the competition group A with an 11-1 finish.
Tundra has always been a solid roster since its creation, but they almost didn’t make the tournament, as they were the fourth seed team from Western Europe. Despite their placement in their region, their aggressive play with signature heroes overwhelmed their opponents.
The disappointment of Group A has easily been Evil Geniuses. The team made it to the finals in their last two majors, but their performance in Stockholm was a disaster. They had a strong landing stage but seemed to be missing cohesion and communication as a team. The teams headed to the upper Bracket for group A are rounded out by OG, the BetBoom, and the T1. BOOM Esports and Beastcoast are now in the lower bracket, with Evil Geniuses out.
Group B remained extremely close up until the final day, as Team Liquid and Team Spirit sat at first in a 7-5 record after all of their group stage games. The next four teams all sat at 6-4, heading into the final day, with 2 games to play for each.
A 2-0 victory for Gaimin Gladiators gave them the group by one game, while Fnatic was pushed into the lower bracket. Team Liquid, Team Spirit, Thunder Awaken, and TSM had to settle the score with an insane four-way tiebreaker.
SA representative Thunder Awaken and NA representative TSM were written off as the worst in Group B before the tournament. However, both teams made the upper bracket after tiebreakers.
Overall, Western Europe has been the dominant region in the group stage. All four of their representatives finished in a first or second-place spot (before tiebreakers). All of the teams left in the major have shown potential, with the clear favorite heading into the main event being Tundra Esports.
The Meta Pick: Pugna Support
From healing allies to dealing damage from the support role, Pugna has defined the Dota 2 Stockholm Major Group Stage meta so far.
Pugna was played 24 times and banned 42 times throughout the group stage for a 71% win rate with a 17-7 record. While Pugna has historically been played in the mid-lane, he is currently used as a healing and area-control support.
The strength of support Pugna comes from his third ability, Nether Ward. When placed in the middle of the fight, it deals damage for every cast spell while reducing the spell’s damage. And, when combined with his Aghanim’s Shard upgrade, Nether Ward creates even more chaos in a team fight.
There is also his ultimate, Life Drain. When played as a support, Pugna can use his own health to constantly save his allies with healing. His ultimate can also restore his allies’ mana, allowing teams to aggressively stay on the map.
Even when played as a support, Pugna is still incredibly difficult to deal with. He can still make himself or his allies immune to physical damage while saving them with items like Glimmer Cape.
Tundra Esports played Pugna in half of their group stage games, with a 5-1 record. With Nether Ward and his saves, Pugna can control an entire team fight as a position 5.
Familiar faces like Mars and Storm Spirit have the highest pick/ban rate at the Major, but Pugna support has changed how the game is played.
You can find more pieces about Dota 2, The Stockholm Major, and Esports, and you can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Noah!