The first Major is upon us. Sixteen teams, totaling 80 players, will descend on Frankfurt to see who will be the best team in the world heading into 2016.
Though there may be 80 players competing in Frankfurt, there are a few whom you should pay particular attention to. Some are the best players in their positions, while others are still growing into their roles yet have greatly contributed to their team's success. Here are five players you should pay attention to throughout the Frankfurt Major.
Artour ‘Arteezy’ Babaev - Evil Geniuses
The most impactful transfer following TI5, Arteezy’s return to Evil Geniuses was perhaps the only possible method for the team to grow any stronger than it already was. Arguably the best carry in the world in terms of individual skill, boasting the highest GPM and XPM among players who played 50 matches or more in 6.84, Arteezy should have lifted the reigning world champions to new heights.
If that’s what was supposed to happen, we’re still waiting. Since Arteezy's acquisition, EG has a lackluster 7-10 record, with their greatest success being runners-up to Team Secret at MLG World Finals 2015. And while the teams turn for the worse isn’t entirely Arteezy’s fault, he has noticeably weakened since joining. His 4.11 KDA ratio in 6.84c has now become a far less impressive 2.87 in 6.85. That might be a good ratio for most carries in professional Dota, but it leaves a lot to be desired coming from Arteezy, especially compared to his prior performances on Secret.
Heading into Frankfurt, Arteezy has another chance to remind the world why he deserves to be recognized as the best player in the carry role. EG’s reputation hangs in the balance as well, with the team supporting him as much as possible while he farms to his content. And if nothing else, watch Arteezy to see the biggest plays of the tournament erupt around him.
Xie ‘Super’ Junhao - Vici Gaming
Vici Gaming’s longstanding midlaner - not to be confused with Invictus Gaming’s newest support - is not the kind of player who is widely known for flashy, spur of the moment plays. Like the rest of VG, Super is a dependable mid who must never be counted out of a game or tournament.
He boasts the highest GPM (551) among Chinese players as well as the highest Total Gold earned among all mid players since the release of 6.85. Super also has an astounding average of 12.4 assists per game in the newest patch, the highest average worldwide for a core player outside of fellow VG teammate iceiceice.
But those stats are not the reason why you should watch Super at the Frankfurt Major. Instead, watch to see his opponents struggle against his vast pool of heroes. Thanks to the Alchemist buffs in 6.85, Super has brought his best hero back into the fold, reminding everyone why that hero was banned so often in the first place. Dragon Knight, Invoker, Windranger, and Ember Spirit are among Super’s stronger heroes that see continual use, but it is his Shadow Fiend that is truly inspiring to watch. Super has an 81% win rate when he is picked — the highest in the world by a very large margin.
Watch Super at the Frankfurt Major to see a mid laner who can crush opponents no matter what hero he plays.
Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov - Team Secret
The only surviving member of the original Team Secret squad, Puppey has taken over the mantle of team captain to lead the new and improved Secret to success. As the former captain of Na’Vi, Puppey has experience with command, and it has shown throughout the past two months.
Victories at MLG World Finals 2015 and the Nanyang Championships, coupled with a strong 2nd place showing at ESL One NY 2015 have showcased Puppey and Secret’s strength heading into Frankfurt.
Puppey has done an exemplary job as captain, but his skill as position 4 support has greatly benefited his team as well. Compared to fellow support pieliedie, Puppey has the higher GPM and XPM in the current patch, sitting at 296 and 305 respectively. In the past, Puppey relied on heroes like Chen and Enchantress to complement his team, relying on his multitasking ability to control a large number of units on these heroes.
That has changed as of late, with Puppey’s new favored heroes being Ancient Apparition, Bane and Disruptor. For all three heroes, Puppey holds both the highest win rate and average assists per game among professional players who have played these heroes more than three times.
Puppey has adapted to changes in his team and to the meta, managing to remain stable through turmoil that has weakened opponents. Watch Puppey to see a captain firmly in control of both his team and the game.
Ren ‘eLeVeN’ Yangwei - EHOME
Replacing rOtK as EHOME’s offlaner, eLeVeN needed to prove that he had what it takes to help his team remain relevant after the TI5 shuffle. After all, EHOME was nearly gutted, with three of its players signing on to other teams. And to recruit eLeVeN, a relatively unknown offlaner with no prior experience on the international level, is a gutsy move for a team that placed 5th-6th at TI5.
Yet despite being a member for less than three months, eLeVeN has become a solid component of the new EHOME, albeit one that still has plenty of learning to do. That is most evident in his K/D ratio, which stood at .57 during the Summit 4 Chinese Qualifiers, .73 during the Nanyang Championship and .87 for the ESL One NY 2015 Qualifiers.
While this could simply be the result of competing at a higher level than eLeVeN was previously used to, that’s not much of an excuse when you’ll likely have to compete against the likes of Team Secret and Evil Geniuses.
Despite the absence of kills, eLeVeN does manage to make up for it with his number of assists. Take the Loser’s Finals of the Summit 4 Chinese Qualifiers as an example. eLeVeN averaged 14.2 assists across the five game series, the highest average for all of EHOME. And with the right hero in play eLeVeN can truly dominate, with a 75% win rate on Tusk in 6.85, and an astonishing 84.62% winrate on Undying throughout his professional career.
eLeVeN has some work to do before he can be placed alongside the best offlaners in the world, but on a team like EHOME he has nowhere to go but up. Watch eLeVeN at the Frankfurt Major to see an up and coming player grow stronger with each game played.
Amer ‘Miracle-’ al-Barqawi - OG
At one point boasting the highest MMR worldwide, OG’s freshman carry Miracle- is a force to be reckoned with. Having been a member of only one other team in his professional Dota 2 career (Balkan Bears), Miracle- is very new to international competitions, but that has certainly not stopped him from showing why he deserves to be talked about as one of the best carries in Europe.
Miracle- boasts a number of attributes that make him an ideal core member for his team. Firstly, Miracle- has the third highest average kills across all players worldwide in 6.85, with an impressive 8.6. What makes this statistic even more shocking is his average number of deaths, or rather the lack thereof. Miracle- dies on average 4.0 times per game. This makes his K/D ratio 2.15 across the current patch.
From a veteran player, this is extremely impressive. From a relative newcomer like Miracle-, this is simply astounding. Within two months, Miracle- is already getting more kills and dying less than almost every other professional player in the world.
For a team like OG, Miracle- is a miracle. A carry this strong is a great asset, but to have one join your team from the ranks of solo players is a blessing that cannot go unused - something that OG is taking full advantage of. Watch Miracle- to see a player make a name for himself on the world stage and force everyone else to step up their level of play.
Preston Dozsa writes about Dota 2 for theScore eSports and likes to level up. You can follow him on Twitter.