ESL One Germany 2020 Preview: CIS Teams

By Temirlan "KawaiiSocks" TattybekovOctober 3, 2020
ESL One Germany 2020 is almost upon us, and it is time to brush up on the competing CIS teams. Once one of the strongest regions, CIS has been in an internal turmoil for a few years now, but perhaps this extended period of online-only tournaments will be able to introduce some stability and allow fresh players to enter the scene.

Natus Vincere

Once the biggest name in the world of Dota, at least in the Western hemisphere, Natus Vincere hasn’t found much success in the recent past. That said, their new roster gives quite a bit of hope.
Signing a full roster of players after a series of disappointing results even after multiple reshuffles could be what the organization needed to get itself back on the map. A veteran captain in Andrey "ALWAYSWANNAFLY" Bondarenko joined by reliable and established core players in both mid and the offlane, sprinkled with some younger talent in skill-intensive first and fourth positions is a very old formula, but it still works.
The team managed to beat both Nigma and OG in OGA Dota PIT Season 3: Europe/CIS, finishing fourth, behind Alliance, VP.Prodigy, and Team Secret, though they never got a chance to prove themselves against the former.
The team is at their best when allowed to play aggressively, with an emphasis on skirmishes and ganks, rather than the full five versus five team fights. Their victories typically come early and are based on successful pickoffs and initiations, leading to a massive snowball effect. In longer games, it seems the team doesn’t feel as comfortable and might need to readjust a little since by now their opponents should be aware of the amount of pressure this team can apply in the early game.

Cyber Legacy

Like most CIS teams, Cyber Legacy is a relatively new roster: it was finalized in late July this year and mostly consists of ex-Na’Vi players. As a last-minute replacement for Virtus.pro, this team could be considered a bit of an outsider in the tournament.
That said, the roster certainly doesn’t lack in terms of raw talent: Idan "MagicaL" Vardanian and Evgeniy "Blizzy" Ree were once considered top tier players in their respective roles, and a lot hinges on the ability of the team to gel together and show what they are truly capable of.
The team is at their best when allowed to play greedy: perhaps because team coordination doesn’t matter as much, when one of your players can completely take over the game on their own. As mentioned previously, the team doesn’t lack players who can solo carry the game, but it might stumble in their attempts to actually get there.

Winstrike Team

Probably the youngest team of the tournament, with an average player age of around twenty. Winstrike is, once again, a pretty new squad, but unlike other CIS teams in the tournament, they are not simply a reshuffle of the old, established Dota players from the region.
While it is hard to call players like Danial "yamich" Lazebny inexperienced, they are still a dark horse. On one hand, they are one of the strongest and, more importantly, consistent Tier 2 teams in the region. On the other — they are undeniably still Tier 2 and this tournament will be their biggest tournament yet.
Is it going to allow them to tap into some of their hidden potential or are they going to perform as most people expect them to perform is a question we are going to get an answer to pretty soon.

EXTREMUM

On the surface, EXTREMUM is a pretty standard CIS stack: Sergey Alexandrovich "G" Bragin, former star mid player is trying to use his experience to foster younger talent and find new success as a position five player and a captain. Whether it goes beyond the surface level, however, is a different question altogether.
The team is not necessarily the strongest CIS stack and neither can it boast good results over the last four months. In fact, qualifying to this tournament is their best result to date: they finished third in the open qualifier, followed by a top-four placement in the closed qualifier. Perhaps it is an exciting and expected result to some of the younger players on the team, but definitely not to G.
The team will need to step up big time to compete against the strongest EU and CIS teams. The probability of them succeeding based on their past results is definitely quite low, but perhaps they will be able to utilize their aggressive drafts and unconventional supports and surprise their opponents.

Yellow Submarine

Very little is known about this newly formed squad, apart from their success as the winners of the first open qualifier to the tournament. The team was formed by ex-HellRaisers player Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov and with the exception of Vitaliy "so bad" Oshmankevich, no other players on the team had previous high profile tournament experience.
This can, theoretically, be a good thing: much like Winstrike, Yellow Submarine is an underdog and a dark horse. It's an advantageous position to be in at the start of the tournament.
It is hard to gauge the strength of the team right now: getting to the tournament through fierce qualifiers is definitely an achievement, but it will take a lot more time and effort for the younger players on the team to get recognized.

HellRaisers

This team recently went through some reshuffles, but from their most recent games, it looks like Ilya "Lil" Ilyuk and Alexey "nongrata" Vasilyev are filling up the support positions for the team. Regardless of all the controversy surrounding both players, they are excellent in their respective roles.
This gives a glimmer of hope to the fans: the core trio of the team is more than capable of doing their job, provided they get the space they need. Gleb "Funn1k" Lipatnikov is a veteran offlane player, who certainly struggled in the last several years and might be outclassed by younger players, but this is a role that demands reliability and consistency, rather than explosive performances.
The latter is the domain of Arslan "xannii" Shadjanov. This young player has been in the scene for two years now, but his performance on tempo-setting heroes should be noted. It is rare for young players to play as sacrificially as the role occasionally demands, but “xanni” has fully mastered the art of space creation.

Closing Thoughts

Unfortunately, two notable CIS teams are not going to participate in the tournament: both Virtus.pro and VP.Prodigy are going to skip ESL One Germany, meaning it is going to be much harder to gauge the strength of the region as a whole in the aftermath.
Overall, it feels like this tournament is going to be the proving grounds for a lot of new talent. Naturally, Na’Vi and HellRaisers are probably the region’s best bet when it comes to high placement, but the unpredictability of the other teams can be a deciding factor.
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