Prior to the reign of Rochester Institute of Technology, University of British Columbia wore the collegiate crown. UBC has achieved a spot in the playoffs, but their climb to reclaim their crown is being accomplished by an entirely new squad.
UBC’s “hopes and goals go beyond the playoffs,” says Peter “Panders” Anders, UBC’s coach. The former Grand Champion university is fighting for “the title as the best University for Dota” even though “none of the previous members of the CSL winning team are still competing.”
At the end of the fall season, UBC failed to qualify for the Winter Invitational. UBC placed third in the Mix group behind the University of Iowa, who had the same score as UBC, but had lost one less match.
The players who participated in the Winter Invitational have shared with us that they enjoyed the new format. Unfortunately, Anders could only tell us that the Winter Invitational “looked great from the watch tab” in Dota.
After their upsetting end in Fall, UBC made a grand entrance into the playoffs, exiting Conference #5 in Spring undefeated.
UBC’s new roster faced defeat in the fall, but they were not disheartened. Their resolve over break and their performance in the Spring has earned them a spot in the playoffs. Anders and the players have struggled and grown together as a team:
CSL: Do you have what it takes to become the Grand Champions and return the crown to UBC?
Anders: Back in September, I would have said no. Since then, however, the team has practiced and improved more than anyone could have expected. Each team we've played has pushed us in different directions and forced us to grow. There are no “easy” teams in CSL. Each school has put in the effort to build a team, and we respect that. Securing a spot [in the playoffs] is comforting, but it is only the first step. Currently, winning Grand Finals is an achievable goal.
UBC has too much momentum to stop and celebrate their success. Their first match in the playoffs was against Rutgers University, a team forged in the Group of Death with the current Grand Champions, RIT, and the Winter Invitational Champions, the State University of New York - Stony Brook. UBC’s prize for defeating RU in the first round was punishment: UBC advanced to face RIT in the second round of playoffs. However, luckily for UBC, Abdullah "Up" Abdulqader plays Position 1 at UBC and is not afraid:
Being in a difficult bracket puts healthy pressure on our team to perform our best and also boosts our confidence. When we make it to the LAN after beating RU and RIT, then we will know we can beat anyone.
Wil “MrVDota” Harding and Kaelan “Youngbratz” LeBlanc, the Position 4 and 5 players respectively, have been a part of UBC’s hardships and have continued to grow during their course to the LAN finals:
Harding: Our team tries to find any advantage we can. While we try to be flexible in our drafts,
Anders: we plan to take advantage of weaknesses while playing to our own strengths.
Harding: I think our most important strategy is to stay positive. After our game 2 loss versus RU, we had to regroup and refocus on game 3 and not dwell on game 2. Sometimes staying positive and working as a team can be as impactful as outdrafting your opponents.
LeBlanc: We play Dota, plain and simple. No reason to overcomplicate it. I think I can speak on behalf of the whole team when I say we’ve invested hundreds of hours over this semester with a common goal and vision of what success will mean for us this season. We are going to do whatever it takes to become the CSL champions; who knows—you might even see us pull out a pocket Techies in the Grand Finals.
Trying to live up to the highest acclaim in the CSL with an entirely new, underdog roster has fostered growth for UBC during their path to and through the playoffs. (If they are able to pull off their lower bracket run to the LAN, you can find me cheering for them in the front row—unless they actually do pull a pocket Techies out…)
You can keep up with UBC and the rest of the playoff contenders by following our Twitter. If you want to learn from the best and watch the action live, we broadcast live on our Twitch channel every Monday and Wednesday at 10 PM EST.
UBC’s next opponent will be another Canadian school, the University of Calgary, who is playing Varsity after dominating Junior Varsity last year.