Vikin.gg: Europe's new powerhouse

By Temirlan "KawaiiSocks" TattybekovDecember 6, 2020
Several months ago, a discussion on Vikin.gg took place in which the squad was heralded as an up-and-coming Tier One Dota team. This is no longer news for most dedicated Dota viewers: Vikin.gg have solidified their position as one of the household names in the European region. Persistence, faith in each other, and continuous improvement are the biggest factors we highlighted back then. Today, we would like to concentrate on not why they win, but rather how exactly do they do it.

Precise Flexibility

Vikin.gg is not the most adaptable team of the EPIC League. Their overall hero pool is not limited by any means, but they haven’t shown the same amount of flexibility as Team Secret or Alliance. What they do have, however, is the ability to utilize most heroes in several different roles.
There is a sizable overlap between all players on the team. When a team can play the same hero in two completely different ways in two completely different roles, drafting against them becomes a nightmare.
This directly translates to stats as well. Within EPIC League, during the Group Stage, the team won 14 games, with 9 of those being a second pick. Vikin.gg are not simply capable of utilizing the last pick advantage well: they are proficient in misleading the opponent by picking flexible heroes multiple players on their squad can play at the highest level.
This is certainly not a new concept, and Vikin.gg are not necessarily taking it to new heights, but it is a Tier One milestone that Melchior "Seleri" Hillenkamp, the team’s drafter, has crossed.

Prioritizing Life

Historically, there were two constantly clashing schools of Dota: the CIS and the Chinese one. While both regions don’t look like they are at the top of their game, the legacy still lives on, with the former’s aggressive style heavily influencing the SEA and SA regions and the latter being the basis for how EU and NA currently plays. Vikin.gg look like they belong to the second school, with a heavy priority on staying alive, careful pokes, and precise attacks.
Their general drafting strategy reflects that. It is uncommon for the team to skip saves on their supports and their drafts almost always revolve around more survivable heroes, be it through tankiness or mobility.
Heroes like Spectre, Faceless Void, Earth Spirit and Slardar all fit this category, but they are also some of the most popular meta heroes in general, yet Vikin.gg goes the extra mile. Their drafts sometimes revolve around heroes like Dragon Knight, Axe, or even Medusa, who are decidedly off-meta, yet Vikin.gg makes them work.
This style of play is inherently harder to execute properly. It requires better team coordination and is reactionary by its nature. Yet when it does work, it creates pretty impressive highlights and tense game moments, where one can’t be sure who is winning the fight until the very end.

The B-Factor

Miroslav "BOOM" Bičan can be reasonably highlighted as the team’s most noticeable player. While Vikin.gg drafts typically assume equal responsibility between its members, BOOM is definitely the closest to what can be considered a “star player” on the squad. He is the big, proactive playmaker and the stats prove it.
The team finds most success when BOOM is given a hero, who is essentially a second position three on the team. A tanky or mobile frontline initiator who is capable of both dishing out and receiving punishment is his bread and butter, in stark contrast to typically greedier mids on other teams.
It isn’t even the ability to outplay his opponents and get an early advantage mid players are usually hailed for, but rather the ability to make smart, frequent, and unexpected rotations that make this player scary. BOOM will immediately come for you if you take a wrong step.
Being able to play sacrificially and without high farm priority is commendable on such a young player and is very reminiscent of how Dota was played back in the golden days of Danil "Dendi" Ishutin, Luo "Ferrari_430" Feichi, and Gustav "s4" Magnusson, before the carry-from-mid playstyle took over around 2015.

Awaiting Playoffs

Last time we finished our article about this exciting team with a question: will Vikin.gg be able to prove themselves in the OMEGA League: Europe Immortal Division playoffs? Unfortunately for them, they faltered and were eliminated in the first round.
This time around, they face new challenges. They are no longer the dark horses of the tournament and with their impressive Group Stage showing, every single team will have them on their radar. This tournament is going to be harder.
Never forget, however, Vikin.gg is also the team with the highest rate of improvement in the current professional scene and unlike the last time, they will have a second life. Very soon we shall see whether they will be able to make good use of it.
The EPIC League Division 1 playoffs start on December 8 and, as always, you can follow the tournament right here on TrackDota.
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