Collegiate competitors across North America have returned to defend their honour and Ancient. Rochester Institute of Technology demolished a legacy by dethroning a king and have been studying all summer to ensure no player questions their status as the most dangerous team in Collegiate Starleague. The foundation for an electrifying CSL season has been laid, and before the horn blows and creeps spawn, CSL had a chance to sit down with returning players and staff to discuss what they are the most excited for this year.
Close your textbooks, prop up your monitor and prepare for a year-long kill-streak. Collegiate Starleague is back!
Motivated and modest, Rochester Institute of Technology has been practicing all summer for their triumphant return to defend their title, but they had little to say about the big expectations of their championship team. CSL’s format has improved and the number of competitors has increased, but some things have remained the same—like Rutgers Diego “Stormsoldat” Corea’s enthusiasm for competitive DotA and the inability to keep his mouth shut. Corea took it upon him to speak for RIT when they refrained:
Carter [“Eradicate” Kerstetter] and the RIT crew are extremely confident in their ability and they have good reason to be. They are a good group of kids playing some good DotA. They are returning as a proven team.
Rutgers ended last season in the top 16, coming up short of their expectations. Rutgers played a prominent role last season by dominating players in-game and sharing their passion for DotA on The Quad podcast. After their formidable run that fell short, Corea and crew took time for themselves and are returning refreshed and ready to redeem. There is more to Corea than his ability to talk the talk; the CSL veteran is adamant that the Rutgers team is going to be walking the walk, too:
Our team fell apart near the end of the year. This year, four of us live together and our coach is a former player. Our personal issues have been resolved and our insane workloads have been lightened. We are much more comfortable mentally, as well. The team is fresh and ready to achieve the success we expected last year.
Diego met his teammates-turned-roommates and many friends and scrim partners through esports. Rutgers has been scrimming RIT consistently for a month, trying to crack the code to a grand championship. Both teams collaborate for a mutually beneficial learning environment and agree with Corea that “it is a lot of fun having a dedicated scrim partner.”
With the new blood joining the league this year, there is also room for new allies. Erik “KebnTheFirst” Rutyna from University of Michigan has recruited two new pub stars who are meshing extremely well with the team. Aside from his new, intimidating roster of players, Erik is excited for a “huge patch that will turn DotA upside down,” something which often follows The International. Erik has noticed that “CSL is more comfort-pick based than meta based, and as long as your comfort heroes do not end up in the dumpster, you will probably be fine.” After a large patch, a team’s ability to adapt can outshine a team’s ability to play - “when the patch drops, if you can figure it out, or even just figure out a cheese right away, you may get a free win” and time in the spotlight.
Players, fans, and friends are not the only people affected with bloodlust and alacrity for this season: the staff is just as excited as everyone else to be returning! Ricky “rkryptic” Peterson, DotA’s community manager will be sending his beloved players some tough love and critiques from the casting desk this year. Peterson has taken on the role of CSL’s premier DotA caster alongside the charismatic Carlo “Carlt0n” Arcovio. Peterson could hardly contain himself when asked to share what makes CSL so special for the fans:
Teams have specific hero pools which give them an identity in CSL. Bans and picks are targeted against specific teams and players, which makes for a different, fun dynamic that you won't see in pro DotA and pubs. The benefit of comfort heroes being prioritized in CSL is that the games are refreshing. You won’t see the same heroes you see in every pub and top-tier DotA match. In the CSL, you will see uncommon heroes and creative strategies.
Ricky is extremely excited to be back and to take on new responsibilities and to face new challenges. Even with his changing workload, he plans to maintain and help out the community as he always has.
Returning faces will meet each other on the battlefield with new allies, each game will lead up to the Grand Finals, and the improved CSL format and production will support the passionate players and staff better than ever. If you are not already following CSL’s social media, take a look at our main Twitter, Dota Twitter, and Twitch so you don’t miss a second of the action we will be bringing you this season!