SMM Grand National Dota Tournament '09 a summary...

As many of you must be aware, SMM'09 was the biggest offline tournament in the history of DotA, it is no wonder we got to witness some interesting and some surprising stuff in the world of Competitive DotA. Talking about the interesting stuff, the tournament was won by team FTD inspite of the presence of much more popular teams like Cybertime, Kingsurf, EHome, etc. But of course, the most unexpected development in the tournament was MYM getting out of the tourni in the qualifier rounds. This came as a big big surprise to the DotA population, how can the rank 1 team in Europe could not even pass the Qualifier Rounds? MYM leader Kuroky says he played with Asian teams during the practice matches and realised that turtle farming is a way more secure strategy than their usual ganking stuff in the current meta. In fact, he even said that their ganking strategy would not work against the Asians. This was also widely accepted by all the participating teams in the tournament. But then, MYM fail to execute a good turtling strategy, did some bad hero picking and ended up out of the tournament. It's no wonder the game deciding MYM's fate, MYM vs Ftz.Asia became the most discussed match of the tournament online (on GosuGamers).

Spectators, who were expecting some entertaining matches like MYM vs Fnatic played a few weeks back were totally disappointed from the event as the only dominant strategy was passive farming. This aspect of the meta-game was truly shown in the most spectated match of the event, FTD vs Kingsurf where FTD won the game even after Phantom lancer lost his Sacred Relic once and FTD played with two lane barracks down! Though no-one can defy the fact that turtling is the most secure strategy in the current meta, I refuse to accept it as the only game winning strategy. Other strategies like ganking and pushing were not tried to their best a decent number of times during the tournament. Though we cannot blame the teams for trying out the best available strategy, many spectators were not happy with the match strategies.

One good thing noticed in the tournament was the usage of a large pool of heroes particularly those who had pushing and late game tanking powers like Visage, Phantom Lancer, etc. UTDC.Justin (Official DotA Staff Member) writes...
"This tournament showed the strength of the team presence heroes. There is a huge focus on heroes, I guess the closest type of characterization would be "heavy hybrid" - it includes Visage, Spectre, Medusa, Razor, and to a small extent Necrolyte, SF, Bristleback, amongst some more. Basically these heroes are special at the moment because they have the ability to win games. They don't do it by being especially powerful as carries in terms of damage output, but their ability to take damage and draw focus fire and survive temporarily makes them extremely effective.

These are heroes that will punish initiation of all types, you take on their teammates and you can get ready for a world of hurt - focus them and their natural ability to survive kicks in and what do you think happens to enemies that focus these heroes? "

All in all, though the tournament was not exactly a treat to the eyes for spectators, but it did bring out the most effective strategy in current DotA i.e. defensive farming. What all teams cared about the most in this tournament was the huge prize stash (approximately $26000 in cash total + goodies). Now, I'm waiting to see how Icefrog reacts to the outcome of this tournament. Again, congratulating FTD for their epic win (well deserved) and thanking all organizers & sponsors for conducting such a huge event in DotA. :)


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