SEA Dota, like any other region in esports, suffered a huge blow in 2020 because of the global pandemic. Teams had to disband, a number of roster shuffles took place and even top teams like Fnatic and TNC Predator saw their centerpieces - iceiceice and March depart from their squads. Many teams in the region are still on the hunt to finalize their rosters before the DPC resumes in January 2021.
Still, the passion of the SEA Dota community has kept the region afloat with help from tournament organizers like Beyond the Summit. Here’s our list of the top ten SEA Dota 2 teams of 2020.
Cignal Ultra has had a dismal year. They were unable to deliver a strong showing even in the Tier two/three scene with a solitary championship title at The Nationals Season 2. Despite a lacklustre year in terms of results, the team has made no roster changes which could end up being a double-edged sword ahead of the upcoming DPC season.
Execration has been one of the oldest teams in the region which has continued to stick around despite no notable performances, barring a 13-16th place finish at TI7. This single tournament has fetched them nearly a third of their total prize winnings across their seven year-long tenure. In 2020, the roster underwent numerous changes that seemingly took a toll on their performances. They finished first at World Esports Elite Competition and Yabo Ninja Championship with other lower place positions in major tournaments.
496 Gaming have been the undisputed kings of the Vietnamese Dota 2 for a long time now. Their performances in the SEA region have stayed steady this year as well with a consequential victory at the OMEGA League: Asia Divine Division. They were also able to defeat numerous other Vietnamese Dota 2 teams to emerge as the champions of the IeSF World Championship 2020 Southeast Asia. However, 496 Gaming is still to break the shackles of failing at tournaments that includes top teams like Fnatic and TNC.
Adroit Esports has stumbled in their performance in 2020 and crippled with a lot of roster changes, they have struggled to deliver a lasting impact like they did in 2019. Adroit’s only first-place finish came at the charity tournament of WeSave! Charity Play - SEA. Barring that, the Filipino Dota 2 squad had a number of 5th-6th place finishes in tournaments which consisted of top teams.
Unfortunately, the financial struggles from the ongoing pandemic hit them too hard which led to them leaving the esports scene in November 2020. The players have continued to stick together as Omega Esports.
Neon Esports is a young Dota 2 team that has been grinding a lot in the past couple of years. The Filipino squad remained at the forefront of the Tier two scene, emerging victorious in eight tournaments that include Razer SEA Invitational 2020 and PNXBET Invitationals. They have also been a consistent part of the top tier scene though they are yet to reach the grand finals in any of them. Players like skem left and rejoined while Sam_H did not pass the trial phase among a number of roster shuffles. Still, the squad has been able to accumulate nearly $100,000 in prize money for the second consecutive year which hints at the team’s diligence and perseverance.
On the road to having one of its most successful years, Geek Fam was struck heavily by the thunderbolt of the pandemic which forced them to cease operations at the beginning of September. Still, the team has found their spot in this ranking because of their strong performances throughout. They started off the year by taking third place in the Bukovel Minor followed by gold medals at BTS Pro Series Season 2: Southeast Asia and ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League, along with top places at other tournaments as well. Their players have since either found space in other teams or have been competing in various leagues in temporary rosters.
A SEA Dota 2 team that has shown a series of conspicuous performances in the recently held events is Motivate.Trust Gaming. An epitome of hard work and persistence, the squad compiled at the beginning of the year rose the ranks and started delivering strong performances gradually. They got into the limelight after winning the BTS Pro Series Season 3: Southeast Asia which involved all the top teams from SEA. Then, they went on to create a name for themselves by winning the DOTA Summit 13 Online: Southeast Asia.
However, a couple of their skillful players moved to T1 and Fnatic recently which may potentially hamper their chances in the coming DPC season. Still, a steady rise in performances combined with an admirable skill set is what makes Motivate.Trust Gaming one of the Dota 2 teams to look out for in 2021.
The Filipino veteran team has fallen a bit this year as their results have been wavering. There’s rarely a middle ground when it comes to the Philippines' Dota 2 poster boys. They’re either a class apart in comparison to their opponents, or they’re in the midst of a terrible slump where they lose games to underdogs like Team Sirius or NEW Esports.
Though their performance has not lived up to the standard we have come to expect of the organization, a couple of tournament wins in the form of ESL One Thailand 2020: Asia and BTS Pro Series Season 4: Southeast Asia, along with a 7th-8th place finish at the only Major held on LAN this year, Dreamleague S13, outline their credentials for the year 2020. Captain March’s replacement is still a SEA Dota 2 mystery that remains unsolved since he was removed in September.
It has been a momentous year for the Indonesian squad of BOOM Esports as they were, arguably, the most consistent team in terms of results. They managed to finish in the top four of almost every tournament they played in, amassing total prize money of over $150,000. BOOM has had a steep growth curve as their results prove that they continue to perform better with every passing year.
The only thing that would come to hurt the squad is their inability to close out tournaments. They have had four second-place and third-place finishes in 2020, results that they would want to desperately change in the upcoming year by winning some tournaments. The team has also parted ways with its carry, Randy Muhammad "Dreamocel" Sapoetra in December 2020 who served the organization for nearly four years. It will be intriguing to see which player the stalwarts of the SEA region recruit for the upcoming DPC season.
A small yet monumental leap from second to first place based on our previous year’s rankings, Fnatic is the best SEA Dota 2 team of 2020 in our books. The Malaysian powerhouse opened up its tournament win account by emerging as the champions of DOTA Summit 12 which was the last significant LAN tournament. DJ and his boys went on an indomitable winning streak after, decimating every other Dota 2 team in the SEA region. They came out on top at their next four tournaments, namely ESL One Los Angeles 2020 - Online: Southeast Asia, BTS Pro Series: Southeast Asia, ESL One Birmingham 2020 - Online: Southeast Asia, and World E-sports Legendary League.
Though Fnatic did not win the next couple of tournaments, they still showed decent results by coming second and third. But that was enough for the squad to resort to a roster change with Raven replacing 23savage in July. Some stupefying squad changes took place in the following months where Jabz was removed and then again added back, while iceiceice left to join EG later in the year. Fnatic’s performances surely dwindled in the latter half of the year but the team always managed to stay in the top positions of the tournaments they played in.