With the next season of CSL Dota2 is nearly upon us, we should reflect on what happened last season before we move forward. Many of the teams that have done well in previous seasons also did well last season; but, with many of those players graduating, it will be a whole new playing field. I would expect/hope that some of those players try to stick around and pass on their experience to the new players that will carry on their school’s legacy.
The regular season came about as it normally does with the experienced teams coming out on top. There were a few exceptions to this unspoken rule: some teams performed extremely well despite their lesser experience. Although the regular season was very much “by the book,” the playoffs was decidedly not so. The first round of playoffs (round of 32) was basically non-existent because so many teams that qualified had dropped out, disbanded, stopped talking to each other and CSL, or basically decided that they didn’t want to play anymore.
Fortunately the teams that remained were the cream of the crop and every series from the round of 16 and beyond was fantastic. Despite it feeling like a sensationalistic thing to say, this past season really was the best season to date; every series was really good and hard to predict. Well, every series except the ones played by the University of British Columbia team, I suppose. They kind of just rolled over everyone. With only 1 dropped game in the round of 16, UBC crushed their competition and looked like they were on a tier of their own.
Looking forwards, fans of Dota2 have months of entertaining content to binge on way until they are procrastinating their studies until we arrive at the Grand Finals. The University of British Columbia team lives in the spotlight of collegiate Dota2 and therefore will have a lot of eyes on them, but they are not the only titans of the CSL to watch out for. In addition to UBC throwing their cosmetic hats back into the ring to achieve a hat-trick of championship titles, last year's semi-finalist teams The University of Connecticut Foul Wings and the University of California, Davis Aggies will be returning as well. These teams have proven they are capable defenders of the ancients and are playing with their eyes on the prize and a target on their backs.
Every game must have a winner and a loser (even though we think anyone who participates is a winner!). But no winning or losing team has a particular pattern. We see it every year and we are going to see it again: underdog stories are a staple of collegiate Dota2. Often, the teams that get their spotlight stolen from them by a lovable underdog story do not even realize it until it is too late. While the well-known teams are always under attention, you can surely expect that the lesser-known teams will be taking advantage of the lack of attention they receive.
Valve's support for Dota2 offers unprecedented entertainment throughout the CSL season because of the game-changing patch updates. This year, we will be seeing drastic changes to the professional circuit, which will surely be reflected in the professional and all competitive metagames for Dota2. In addition to changes, the Duelings Fates patch is set to launch sometime within the next few months (according to Valve Time™), which will shift how Dota2 plays. Both of these changes are a catalyst for an ever-adapting, competitive scene and for an entertaining collegiate season!
Every season the players get better and every season our spectators are given more and better entertainment. As longs as players are giving it their all in Collegiate esports, we will be here to deliver it straight to your computer screen! Good luck and have fun this season whether you are a player or spectator. We are all winners as long as we are a part of collegiate Dota2 action!