Chasing a title, Team NP: a mid-year report by Sheen Sah

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Team NP: Chasing a title

Team NP has only been around for a little while, and they’ve been successful relative to their lifespan. Forming at the start of 2016’s fourth quarter, NP earned 1st Place in three consecutive NA qualifiers (in part because they met compLexity three consecutive times). Overall, Team NP made the finals of their first five tournaments though all were qualifiers. When you’re chasing a title, qualifiers are just the first step.

The end of 2016 was rough because NP met Wings Gaming, Evil Geniuses, OG, and Digital Chaos. All four of these teams eliminated NP with 2-0 sweeps. On the bright side, the experience gained from these matchups was surely valuable.

2017’s First Quarter

A 3-0 sweep against compLexity Gaming landed Team NP in ESL One Genting 2017 in early January. Meeting in a group stage tiebreaker led to NP’s fifth consecutive time being swept to exit a tournament. The 5-6th Place finish earned the org $10,000.

The upswing began in February, when Team NP swept SG-esports and Onyx (now Digital Chaos) to go undefeated in the DAC 2017 qualifier group stage. Winners of ESL One Genting 2017, Digital Chaos (players now under the name Planet Odd), swept NP to kick off the playoff round.

Team NP then put together a stunning losers’ bracket run that started by sweeping Onyx a second time before sweeping compLexity Gaming to meet Digital Chaos for a grudge match. NP also swept DC to claim the spot at DAC 2017.

March was short and bittersweet for Team NP, who only played in the Kiev Major 2017 North America Qualifier. NP went undefeated in the group stage, but signs of trouble were apparent when they lost the opening playoff game to Team Freedom. NP pulled off a reverse sweep to advance before compLexity Gaming reverse swept NP to send them packing. Unfortunately, NP missed the Kiev Major.

Chasing a title, Team NP
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The Second Quarter

The Dota 2 Asia Championship 2017 was Team NP’s sole competition in April. They ended the group stage 1-3-1 which I give them a good amount of credit for. They’re getting the hang of how to play against top teams now.

Newbee handed Team NP their only series loss of the group stage. iG Vitality was swept when they met NP. Invictus Gaming, Evil Geniuses, and Team Liquid each split games versus Team NP. Team VGJ (winless in the group stage) surprised NP in a Bo1 series to start the Main Event, sending NP home dead last in heartbreaking fashion.

May was big because NP won their first qualifier in three months, earning a spot at Summit 7. The same day NP met Thunderbirds (now called Planet Odd) in the finals of the EPICENTER 2017 American Qualifier. Losing to Thunderbirds meant NP won the lesser of two matches on May 14th. Perhaps fatique was an issue, given the Summit 7 finals went to a Game 5 against Digital Chaos.

June handed NP a great opportunity that they capitalized upon for the most part. The way the groups were setup for ZOTAC Cup Masters played heavily into their favor. Group A included every team worth worrying about, so NP rushed to a 2-0 group stage record and waited for a semifinals matchup. iG Vitality was swept, and NP met Newbee in the finals for a 3-1 loss. $20,000 to NP, but they’re still chasing a title.

NP catches a lot of criticism from the Dota 2 esports community because they haven’t claimed any titles yet. They would benefit from playing the law of averages instead of being so picky about which tournaments to participate in. What do you think about Team NP or the grade they really deserve? Let me know on Twitter. Thanks for reading.

Grade: B-