We spend the entire year looking forward to the playoffs with anxiety and anticipation, but now that they’re here, it seems like teams are rushing towards the Dota 2 CSL finals with reckless abandon. Thanks to the new accelerated playoff format, there are two series each week, which means that we’re already in the fourth round of both upper and lower brackets. There’s a lot to digest in a short amount of time, so without further ado, let’s take a gander at what’s been going on.
The University of Toronto has crushed their quarter of the bracket. Their two matches were against the University of Central Florida and Rutgers University, both of whom they defeated in convincing fashion. Rutgers went 2-0 against Upper Iowa University and narrowly defeated the University of British Columbia 2-1; before this, UBC had just sent Rochester Institute of Technology to an early lower bracket. The resulting series between Toronto and Rutgers was interesting for a number of reasons that Toronto may not appreciate me divulging. Let’s just say it boiled down to Toronto being the better team.
In the next quarter of the bracket, the University of Wisconsin-Madison met more resistance on their road to the semifinals. UW-Madison faced the University of Michigan, followed by Carleton University, and beat both 2-0. After that, they battled UC Santa Cruz to a close 2-1 victory. UC Santa Cruz had a BYE in the first round before vanquishing New York University in the second round, who had themselves beaten York University 2-0 in the first round. The upcoming series between Toronto and UW-Madison should be a treat, as this writer believes the teams are an excellent match for each other.
The next quarter we’ll look at has the pseudo-legendary University of Illinois at Chicago on their quest to another CSL finals session. On their journey, UIC received a BYE in the first round--because of course they did--and followed it up with convincing 2-0 wins over the University of Alberta and Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech had previously defeated Champlain College 2-0 in the first round as well as Arizona State University 2-1, which was a very exciting series, to say the least.
The last quarter of the upper bracket is something of a surprise. Stony Brook University, the team that has been at the top of the power rankings all season long, has been dethroned by the University of Waterloo! Stony Brook had a BYE in the first round, then went 2-0 against the University of Texas at Austin on their way to the quarterfinals. On the other side, Waterloo had to defeat the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and McMaster University, and they scored a spectacular 2-0 against them both. One half of our Dota 2 casting archon, Ricky “rkryptic” Peterson, covered the game on his personal channel. He put it best when he said, “Waterloo seems to be a team that can outclass anybody around the map. Even the best teams in CSL have a hard time keeping up with the pace that Waterloo sets in their games.”
Last but certainly not least, let’s take a quick look at the lower bracket. The lower bracket games have been absolutely phenomenal this season, and they’ll only get better. Consider the fact that teams as strong as The Ohio State University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Alberta, and Rochester Institute of Technology have been eliminated from the upper bracket. Our reigning champions have been dethroned!
Despite the fact the CSL finals have been moved to online-only matches because of COVID-19 concerns, there will still be a great deal of exciting Dota 2 to watch, and this writer can’t wait for the coming weeks to resolve so we can crown a new champion! Stay tuned to our Twitch channel and our Twitter to keep up with the latest matches and results.