I consider recognizing player achievement important as it forces me to consider and evaluate the ideas and concepts on what it means to be good. At the same time, by making these lists, I have an anchor in time from which I can look back and see what my concrete thoughts were at the moment. Finally, it is a way to acknowledge and appreciate those players who were the absolute best at what they did throughout the competitive year. Before we get started, I will lay out my criteria. The timeline is from the end of TI7 to the end of TI8 as that is the competitive year in Dota2. As for the criteria, I measured consistency, peak, role importance relative to the team. Consistency is how often a player performed throughout the entire year. So players that did exceptionally well in one tournament, but didn’t in the rest weren’t considered (like OG). Peak performance is how often a player played at a their highest skill level. Finally, the role importance comes down to their status in the team. If a player was the polarizing player of their team, the player through which the team’s strategy revolved around, they were given preference as I consider that to be the hardest role. So if they carried their team, they were given more points. If they were just an enabling factor in their team, they lost points. Without further ado, here are my picks for best players per role.
Winner: Wang “Ame” Chunyu
Runner-up: Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev
Among all of the carries this year, I think Ame was the best. In terms of consistency, he’s been great since 2018 started. This puts him a bit below in longevity when you compare him to players like RAMZES666 or Liu “Sylar“ Jiajun. Those were the other two nominees I had this year. RAMZES666 played great through the entire DPC from post-TI7 to TI8. Sylar was a brilliant carry on a lesser team for the same amount of time.
In the end however, I favored Ame. When comparing Ame to RAMZES666, I think he loses out a bit in consistency. However he makes up for it with higher peaks in critical tournaments, most notably TI8. When comparing Ame to Sylar, I do think Sylar was more consistent in that he made less mistakes. However, Ame still had slightly higher peaks. As a carry player, PSG.LGD often made him the focal point of their team and he carried that responsibility at the highest levels of competitive Dota2.
Winner: Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko
Runner-up: Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi
This was another close race as to who was the best mid player this year. In the end, the three I think that stood out above the rest were No[o]ne, Miracle- and Lu “Maybe” Yao. As the year starts from the end of TI7 to TI8, Maybe had less games compared to both No[o]ne and Miracle- so he lost out in consistency. Unlike Ame, I don’t think he was the clear win condition for PSG.LGD when it went to the late game, though he was a fantastic second option and often helped enable Ame to get to the late game.
So in the end, the two choices I had were either No[o]ne or Miracle-. I think Virtus.Pro was the best team in the DPC circuit. During that period, Virtus.Pro played an aggressive in your face style of winning lane. Mid lane is arguably the most critical component in that and No[o]ne consistently outplayed his contemporaries. Miracle- was close behind him, but in the end I think that No[o]ne outperformed all other mid laners in terms of peaks throughout the year.
Winner: Neta “33” Shapira
Runner-up: Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang
The offlaner role was a bit hard to consider as it wasn’t emphasized this year in the top teams. The primary question in figuring out who was the best offlaner was trying to define what good means in the context of a period of time in Dota2. For instance, during [A]lliance’s peak form, Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg was the world’s best offlaner and they played through him.
However if you take him in context of all-time Dota2, it’s harder to give him that credit as we found out in later years that he was hyper specialized and wasn’t nearly as patch resistant as many of the all-time great offlaners.
In addition to that, you have to consider what being good means relative to the team. Yang “Chalice “Shenyi played his role as a low-resource offlaner perfectly and enabled his other cores by playing such a style. The opposite end of the spectrum were offlaners like 33 and iceiceice who were given far more resources.
In the end, I went with the original criteria I set out. That the polarizing players, the players that defined their team were to be rewarded more as they had the responsibility of carrying their teams. Among all of the teams, there were only two polarizing offlaners: 33 and iceiceice. While other players fit the role assigned to them as well as these two for their respective teams, no other offlaner had the team built around them quite like these two did. That is why they were the standout offlaners for this year. Both played fairly consistently throughout the year, and iceiceice played it longer as 33 didn’t come into play until later in the DPC.
This was a hard one to choose as iceiceice was likely the primary reason as to why Mineski won DAC 2018. On top of that, I suspect he is actually the better offlaner overall in terms of hero versatility and playstyle. However, I think 33 deserves this award. While his hero diversity is being challenged in the current meta, that problem doesn’t apply as much when we’re looking back on the DPC from 2017-2018. As that’s the case, I think he wins this award as he was the primary superstar of OpTic and elevated them once he became the offlaner of the team.
While iceiceice was Mineski’s best player and had a higher peak at DAC, the overall consistency just wasn’t as good relative to what 33 was putting out during the same time period. Considering all of those factors, I think 33 was the best offlaner.
Winner: Xy “fy” Linsen
Runner-up: Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan
Among the choices, I think this was the clearest cut. The two four positions that had the highest peak were fy and RodjER. Both of them defined the success of their respective teams more than any other top support players for other teams. Both had incredible consistency throughout the year, though RodjER edged him out with his performances in Na`Vi earlier in the DPC circuit.
What puts Fy above Rodjer was the pure peak ceilings that Fy reached during PSG.LGD’s tournament runs. In a team with Ame and Maybe, Fy outshined them and reached a level that I don’t think any support player reached.
Winner: Alexei “Solo” Berezin
Runner-up: Jian Wei “xNova” Yap
I think there were three five supports that stood out above the rest this year: Solo, xNova, and Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi. Solo and KuroKy had higher consistency as they performed all year, whereas xNova didn’t start showing excellent performances until he joined PSG.LGD. However the reason that I put xNova over KuroKy was that his peak was higher when he finally did join the team. His rotations and warding was incredible for PSG.LGD and perfectly enabled the style of play that they are masters in.
As brilliant as xNova was, I think Solo was even better throughout the year. He played at that peak for a longer period of time and like xNova, he enabled his own team’s style of the Virtus.Plow and dominated their opponents all year.
Player of the Year:
While all of the players I’ve mentioned are in the conversation of player of the year, I think the two players who stood above the rest were No[o]ne and fy. Both had similar status in their teams respective strategies. When I looked at peak performance, both were fairly equal there as well. The highest peak between the two was fy as if PSG.LGD won TI8, he would have been my MVP. No[o]ne was equally brilliant all year except in TI8.
While fy has TI8 in his favor, the rest of the factors I considered all edged me towards No[o]ne. He had the better performance earlier on in the year. When compared to their field, I feel that No[o]ne had a harder field to compete against. So in the end I went with No[o]ne.
Highest Peak of the Year
Winner: Anathan “ana” Pham
This is a particular award to acknowledge the most miraculous performance I saw all year. Ana at TI8 was the single best tournament performance I saw from any single player all year. There were multiple times where OG looked down and out except Ana continually brought them back to the brink. OG’s style of play heavily relied on his ability to become the ultimate late game carry and pull off insane comeback after insane comeback. He did just that. As a final note, he also had the best single play of any player all year.
In that play, he took the bounty run and sold two items to get enough buyback gold to comeback and win the game for OG. It was the game winning move of The International 8.
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