For both Dota 2 pros and fans, the Aegis of Champions is a year-long journey to become the best team in the world. This was not possible this year, however, as the International 10 was put on indefinite hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its prominence in the Dota 2 circuit means that it has served as the biggest, and often the only, yardstick of competitiveness.
Or, for the last three quarters of the year, offline tournaments simply weren’t an option. Online, regional competitions have taken place and most teams have not been able to break free of geographical constraints. Some organizations that featured cosmopolitan rosters have also been forced to scramble for substitutes.
As a result, this year’s list of the best Dota 2 teams will feature a regional breakdown as opposed to previous years.
Here are the best 2020 Dota 2 teams in each region, presented in no particular order.
China: Vici Gaming – Dota 2
It’s hard to pin down the best team in China after the annual great Chinese reshuffle led to stars being swapped and traded like a frenzied cattle auctioneer, but Vici Gaming’s consistency all year round puts them on top.
VG suffered a public transfer conflicts over Eurus, one of China’s best carry, and also lost the ever-stable offlaner Yang and charismatic coach ROTK, two of the organization’s rocks. But still, the club didn’t waste any time snapping up Southeast Asian starlet Nuengnara’s “23savage” Teeramahanon and another skilled old hand in eLeVen.
VG is also exploring a six-man roster, bringing Yang “Erica” Shaohan as a substitute. This is almost unheard of at the highest level of Dota 2, considering how prize money focuses the scene remains. But it could prove to be a masterstroke in the long-term wellness and conditioning of players.
Unlike their game and outcomes, the revamps and deals of the company are quiet and under the radar. The team started with two podium finishes in the first two Majors of the Dota Pro Circuit season 2019-2020, continued its fine form in online tournaments, and next year they will have a capable roster.
Other traditional powerhouses like EHOME and PSG.LGD, as well as the blockbuster formation of the newcomer Elephant, look to be the strongest apart from VG.
LGD is leading the pack at the end of the year, winning three tournaments, including China’s first major offline event since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a good sign of their rebuilding and a long way from the TI9-Bronze medalists who fell twice in a row in open qualifying at the start of the season.
North America: Evil Geniuses
When EG first announced the latest roster for the 2019-20 season, at the lineup house, eyebrows were raised. Yes, there were four 10,000 MMR players (three of whom have reached 11,000 since then), but was the farm on the map sufficient?
Early findings indicated that was the answer. In November 2019, the team followed up a fourth-place finish at the MDL Chengdu Major with a silver in January at the DreamLeague Leipzig Major, pushing Secret to five games.
But EG may have been the team this year that was hit hard by roster instability. The lineup of the team consisted of players from all over the globe, and regional tournaments meant that the team had to find stand-ins to compete routinely. They have managed to continue their supremacy over the NA area since then.
After his erratic removal from the squad, the RAMZES moved to offlane to play with EG and were eager for a return to carry. RAMZES quit and the company took the opportunity to find one of the most accomplished offlaners from Dota 2, iceiceice.
Considering that the team has apparently opted out of even competing for the time being, it is likely that until the restart of the DPC some vague time next year, we will not get to see the new roster in action. Yet still, EG continued to reign in NA.
Europe: Team Secret – Dota 2
There were certain periods throughout Dota 2’s competitive history when fans tuned in to find out who came in second, not first. The predominance of Natus Vincere, Alliance, DK, and Virtus Pro in their respective eras comes to mind.
Even then, it’s not a stretch to say they were all outperformed by Team Secret in 2020.
They’ve always been a contender throughout Secret’s existence. But they blew past expectations this year, as they did with their confounded competitors. From five of the most mechanically skilled players on the planet, winning streaks, trophies, another major title, and highlight plays came one after another. Every player on the Secret roster was more than able to carry the load and see a victory through, even when their game plan failed.
They were historically dominant, smashing their way through eight-straight tournaments by winning their grand finals, and were generally seen as a team to beat. But one question is inevitably going to arise, Can they win TI? A giant wrench was thrown into the works this year, but Secret still won’t be spared from that one unfair doubt.
CIS: Virtus Pro and Natus Vincere
For the majority of their existence, VP and Na’Vi have not just dominated CIS Dota 2. They have also stamped their power repeatedly on the supporters of their opposition, who can only watch their unfortunate team get destroyed by peerless and aggressive play.
However, this year was perhaps the worst performance in recent history for the CIS. In the bottom half, both organizations were knocked out of TI9 and underwent several roster changes to little avail throughout 2020.
When VP managed to claim a trophy over OG at ESL One Los Angeles Online in April, a brief reprieve came, but it wasn’t enough for the end of an era to quell the bells tolling. VP won’t play no[o]ne and Solo in its iconic orange and black for the first time in four years. But the fresh lineup of VP, promoted from an academy roster set up in April, oozes potential.
Sure, considering that all of them are new faces in the competitive scene, the names won’t ring a bell right away. Off-laner Dmitry ‘DM’ Dorokhin, the oldest player, is only 20. But they play with a surprising stability that undermines their relative absence of experience.
Plus, with some impressive performances, they’ve backed it up. VP, still under the Prodigy banner then, was one of two teams that had the honor of being swept by Secret two different times during the massive winning streak of the European titan.
The lineups changed slightly, but considering how peerless Secret was during that period, that wasn’t an easy feat. In December, claiming their first EPIC League premier championship will further help them with their plans for yet more world domination.
Likewise, Na’Vi tore down their roster and aimed for a complete restructuring. They picked up FlyToMoon, a hungry stack that managed to stay together and put them to work considering the absence of backing from an organization.
For a team that has been out of the spotlight for so long, a runner-up at ESL One Germany in November and a victory at OGA Dota PIT season four in December is a vibrantly first step.