Opinion: Why Valve invited the right teams
posted by HolyMaster, 2 years ago
The invited teams for The International 2013 have been announced. KaiPi isn't one of them. A tough choice that has been the cause of much debate. The following is an analysis from the standpoint of someone who is tasked with making these same hard decisions as the head tournament admin for joinDOTA, responsible for inviting teams to competitions such as The Defense, the joinDOTA Masters, EIZO CUP and Bigpoint Battle.
It looks as if only a few of us were not surprised when the invited teams for the Western Qualifier were announced yesterday. I was one of them. In fact I was predicting exactly those eight teams to be in the mix. But more than half of the almost 200 comments we have are discussion around one question, the topic of the spontaneous show by Much Ado About Dota yesterday: Why is KaiPi not invited?
First of all, even though I have more insight than others into this matter, I can only assume what led Valve to this decision. What I can safely explain to you is why I would have done exactly the same.
What I heard many times during MAAD yesterday (e.g. from the understandably disappointed EternaLEnVy): "Every team changed it's roster, so this can't be a reason". Sorry guys, you can say this 100 times, but it is still completely wrong! Roster changes might not be the only reason, but they certainly play a role.
Out of the eight invited teams, four have not made a a single change recently:
- Absolute Legends announced its current roster at February 10th.
- QPAD Red Pandas finalized its lineup at March 4th.
- RoX.KiS had its last change at March 27th
- Not sure about iCCup, but they definitely had their lineup before March 23rd
EG or Mouz? Out of the question.
The next two teams are Evil Geniuses and Mousesports. There's not much to say about them. Both of them exchanged one player very recently, but have had a stable lineup for half a year before that (with KuroKy leaving Mouz being the only exception). EG and Mouz are big names who have been around for a long time and showed great potential. Both of them could easily afford one roster change. Their slots were still safe.
The Unstable Trio
That leaves only two truly unstable teams: Team Empire and dd.Dota. Just like KaiPi, these two teams have had major changes quite recently. So let's make a comparison.
Empire was probably the strongest European team in the last four months of 2012, winning many tournaments. However only two players are left from their successfull lineup. twiSta and Mitch are decent additions. I wouldn't rate them higher than ComeWithMe and Arteezy, maybe even a little lower. But the third addition is LighTofHeaveN, and that has probably been the deciding factor in favour of Empire - besides the team's history. If it wasn't for Light, Empire might have not been invited in my opinion.
Let's get to dd. Just like KP, dd has been a very unstable "team" for many months. Both of them have absolutely nothing in common with the original lineups under these names (KP was originally from Lebanon, including players like Babarrr and Asuna; dd was Danish, evolved out of the former Copenhagen Wolves). KP has without any doubt been the stronger team out of these two in the past two months. But the two additions on each side changed that. The core of dd are the three French players who won the qualifier last year with mTw. They are now joined by Goblak and Silent, who have had great success with Empire, with Goblak also being a great captain of course. dd's Lineup simply appears to be stronger now by just looking at the names. Maybe that turns out to be wrong, but since both teams haven't proven anything with their new lineups, the potential can only be estimated. And KP slightly loses that comparison.
The final decision
I'm not saying KP doesn't deserve to be invited. They would have been a legit choice. But it's also completely legit to not include them. It's a tough call between these nine teams, but in the end KP has been my #9. I also want to mention that 4FC (my #10) and Artyk (my #11) have been quite close as well in my opinion. They would have deserved it too.
In the end we had a bunch of candidates and they got judged by several factors. I think these 3 are the most important ones (in that order!):
- 1. Potential
- 2. Stability
- 3. Achievements
EG, Mouz, and RoX were safe. All other comparisons were tight. While KP slightly beats QPandas or iCCup in potential, they clearly lose on stability. While KP beats dd on achievements with the same stability, they lose on potential. While KP is (maybe?) on par with Empire in potential and stability, they loses on achievements.
A couple of factors have to be considered, while choosing the right teams. There's not that one thing that decides everything, so many elements influence the outcome (I just mentioned the three who are - in my opinion - the most important ones). Again, it's REALLY close. It would have been perfectly fine to decide otherwise. But it's understandable for sure. Last but not least it was certainly not helpful for KP to add the only player, who didn't get his visa for the USA last year.
Do I think KaiPi would have been invited with their old lineup? Yes. But they risked their slot and ultimately lost it. This also serves as warning for next year: If you change your team during the invite period, you might (MIGHT!!) be punished for it.
My suggestion to Valve: Give the teams a deadline. March 31st or something like that. Only teams who don't change their lineup after that deadline are considered for an invite or qualifier spot. That way they at least have one month to prove themselves instead of leaving it to pure speculation (dd vs KP!), regarding which team will be stronger.
And now, let's enjoy the qualifiers!
Sources: The International, joinDOTA newspost, MAAD Episode 20.5