Everyone has survived the Fall, taken refuge during the break, and shown their worth in the Spring. Now is the time for the best of the best to make their mark during this year Collegiate StarLeague Playoffs. Going into the Playoffs, the Pre Playoff Power Rankings are here to give you and idea of who has the best path to becoming a Grand Champion, or to fueling for a dream underdog story.
It is not a coincidence that Rochester Institute of Technology (7 - 0) has topped the Power Rankings twice this Spring. RIT is heading into the Playoffs as the top team in Conference #1 and the top team in the entire league! Conference #1 is no cake walk,University of California, Davis’s Aggies (5 - 2) tied for second with the Michigan Wolverines (5 - 2). Following the tie, Universite de Montreal (3 - 4), a team that dominated the Fall is precedingArizona State University’s Arizona State Gold Team (3 - 4), the 9th place team in the most recent Power Rankings. Will “Evadin” Dickinson is a top 100 ranked player on the Dota 2 North American Leaderboards and a valuable member of RIT - his thoughts on what it takes to become a top ranking player in the Collegiate StarLeague and Dota 2 can be found in our RIT Spotlight. When facing an unstoppable force like RIT, only the strongest teams are able to scratch them. Undefeated in the Spring, RIT has only dropped a game to Cornell University (6 - 0) and State University of New York - Stony Brook (7 - 0), teams that have topped Conferences #2 and Conference #3, respectively. Unaware of what it is like to lose, RIT is the most promising team to claim first place this year.
The Rochester Institute of Technology will play against Oregon State University (3 - 4) in the round of 32.
Unable to best the RIT all stars in a series, but able to fell them in a game, University of Cornell has earned second place in the Power Rankings heading into the Playoffs. The clash between the ancient defending academics is a spectacular display of the finesse we, the fans of collegiate Dota, will be met with throughout the Playoffs. Cornell failed at only one thing in the Spring, having a game taken off them. Undefeated, Cornell bested Rutgers University (5 - 1) to claim the throne in Conference #3. Now, their sights are set on RIT and winning first place in the Grand Finals this year. This is not the first year Cornell will be going for the championship. In the 2015 to 2016 season, Cornell made an appearance in the Playoffs. These players have operated under pressure before, they are better prepared for the challenges to come. As time passes, so do the heroes of Cornell’s chances of winning a title. With some of the players graduating this year, their hunger for first place can only be sated by stopping RIT and every other school from taking first place
Cornell University will play against the University of Connecticut (2 - 4) in the round of 32.
A team that brings their best to every series they play in, University of Washington (6 - 1) has managed to sneak its way into our hearts, and a top three placing before the Playoffs. Placing higher than every other team in their conference which is numbered higher than every other conference in the league, Washington Esports Dota has proven their competence while defending an ancient. Washington Esports Dota suffered defeat to McGill University (6 - 1), but learned their lesson and took every other series they played in the Fall. Beating out New York University (6 - 1), the only team other than McGill to show signs of life against the warriors from Washington, it would not be surprising to see a top 8 finish from this team. The synergy and destruction that Washington Esports Dota is capable of is masterfully displayed during their match against the Arizona State Gold Team. As the Playoffs evolve, Washington Esports Dota will either continue to demonstrate how to work as a team, or they will be remember as the team that peaked before the Playoffs.
The University of Washington will play against UC Davis in the round of 32.
A tadpole may not be a menacing creature of the wild, but New York University’s New York Tadpoles have proven throughout the year that they are a menacing, wild beast when they are defending their ancient. Able to stop McGill University from claiming a series against them, University of Washington planted their battle standard inside the Tadpole’s fountain. The Tadpoles embody what a successful CSL team is across multiple games and years - a team that learns to work together and play as a team throughout the pre season so that they can wreak havoc when the games really start to matter. If a hero told you that the Tadpoles did not have a single series to their name in the Spring, you may assume that it is Lina, because words like that scream pants on fire. But, the Tadpoles were unable to hold their composure prior to the break. Returning rested and ready to reach for riches, the Tadpoles are now a big fish in the small pool of teams playing for a piece of the $30,000 grand prize.
New York University will play against Universite de Montreal in the round of 32.
Fittingly named The Underdogs, University of Toronto (7 - 0) claimed second in their Fall season Group, behind the Grand Champions, University of British Columbia (6 - 1). Toronto showed us that they have what it takes to play with the top dogs, but they made their move in the Fall. Relinquishing their namesake, University of Toronto claims first place in Conference #7, the same conference as UBC. Beating their primary opposition from the Fall and last year, has placed a spotlight and a target on these Canadian killers. Jeremy “Kou” Sit, the coordinator for University of British Columbia said that “almost all of the games [UBC has] lost [they] didn’t play with [their] main roster… aside from UoT, they’re just better.” UBC is not the only team to weigh in on the The Underdog’s success, Scott “Innovation” Xu, the position 4 player for Toronto is allegedly the team’s #1 critic. Being the talk of the town is something Toronto is going to be getting used to if they can keep playing at the level they have been. The Playoffs are going to be the real test of this teams ability to work together.
The University of Toronto will play against the University of Alberta (3 - 4) in the round of 32.
Forged in the bowels of the Fall semester’s East 3 group, Johns Hopkins University has stayed the course and proven themselves a veritable wrecking ball when it comes to knocking down their opposition. In the Spring, JHU faced off against the top ranking Rochester Institute of Technology, the stone cold Stony Brook University-A team, the merciless University of Maryland, College park (6 - 0), the conquering Cornell University, and the aptly named Tadpoles. Like the Tadpoles, the players from JHU were late to the party, but when they came, they came to play. Decimating Conference #4, JHU made short work of every single team that challenge them for first place. University of Texas at Austin (5 - 1) managed to wound JHU, but they were the only team able to take a game off them. The old guard,Georgia Institute of Technology (4 - 2) were unable to hinder JHU’s rise to the top in any way. With the Playoffs around the corner, JHU will have another shot to play with the strongest teams in the league and prove that their first showing was a fluke.
John Hopkins University will play against the University of Central Florida (4 - 2) on March 17th.
The State University of New York - Stony Brook took Conference #2 by storm, not letting a single series go during the entire Fall semester. University of Alberta managed to take a game off Stony Brook, along with University of California, Los Angeles (6 - 1). Stony Brook placed behind JHU because of their overall losses, but both teams won every single series. Not fully proven, the stakes of the Playoffs will determine if Stony Brook’s climb to the top ends in the Fall, or if they have what it takes to ascend to the grand finals.
Stony Brook University will be playing UC Santa Cruz in the Round of 32.
Conference #4 is the messiest, scrappiest, hard fought conference this fall. University of Central Florida (4 - 2), University of Pittsburgh (4 - 2), and University of California, Berkeley (4 - 2) are all tied at the top of the group - but, not the very top. University of Maryland, College Park looks down from the dias as the other teams in Conference #4 squabble for the scraps. Suffering a single loss to UCF and to the Pitt Lords respectively, UMCP has proven they are a cut above their conference, and will be looking to maintain that standard throughout the Playoffs.
The University of Maryland, College Park will play against the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (3 - 3) in the round of 32.
A pile of carcass left by the defeated litter the path to first place. McGill University is bloodied, but managed to claim a third place finish in Conference #8, following the third and fourth teams on this Power Rankings. If anything, McGill University is reliable. They placed third in both the Fall and the Spring and have only trailed teams that are present on this Power Rankings. McGill suffered four losses, but managed to clean up every series they played, except for their match against one for the top contenders, the Tadpoles. Because of the many series that McGill wins during the third game, they have had more practice than many other front runners for first place. With a monopoly on competitive collegiate experience this year, McGill makes the Power Rankings and makes fans of collegiate Dota excited for the climax of the season.
McGill University will play against Michigan in the round of 32.
Apparently they were not happy with their absence on the last Power Rankings - what more iconic team could round off this years pre-playoffs Power Rankings than the Grand Champions: the University of British Columbia? Snaking ahead of other teams which nearly made the top 10, UBC actually earned extra points by winning a single game against Princeton University (3 - 4) before Princeton University forfeit the series. UBC entered the spring off to a rocky start, not even qualifying for a playoff spot until the end of the fall season. However, after the dust has settled, UBC has yet to place outside of top three since before the conclusion of last year. The future matches have more weight than ever, so it is time to see if UBC has what it takes to defend their crown, or if it is time for this flame to fade and a new champion will emerge.
The University of British Columbia will play against Carleton University (3 - 4) in the round of 32.
Barely making their way into the top 10, UBC may finally have to relinquish their throne to the new blood of the Collegiate StarLeague. The Playoffs start at the conclusion of next week. You can keep up with all of the collegiate dota action on Twitch, Twitter, and Facebook.