The first Dota Pro Circuit season is set to end with a bang. Closing out the Perfect World Chinese DPC League’s winter season is a match between its top two teams at this moment, Team Aster and Invictus Gaming.
Though both of these squads are known names to Dota 2 esports fans, they have greatly exceeded expectations as PSG.LGD and Elephant have struggled to assemble winning records. Both Aster and iG are confirmed for the ONE Esports Singapore Major, and will be battling for seeding in the event.
Invictus Gaming was poised for a huge resurgence in 2019 and 2020 when it placed third in the MDL Chengdu Major and fifth in DreamLeague Season 13. That solid form carried into the online leagues following the cancellation of the 2019-2020 DPC season with the team notching strong placements in a long list of events.
Following the enormous Chinese roster shuffle that happened in August 2020, all that momentum seemed to die off. Its best performance during that time was a fourth-place finish in the CDA-FDC Championship Season 2, with the team looking anywhere from underwhelming to downright bad in all other events. Though some of that poor run may have been due to the use of substitutes, Invictus Gaming looked set to fade back into the middle of the Chinese pack.
Then it suddenly looked better than ever in the Chinese DPC League.
Invictus Gaming has been all butt unstoppable since the start of 2021. The team has a 6-0 record and is 12-3 on maps and may be set to join Team Secret and Virtus.pro on the list of teams to close out the winter leagues with a perfect record.
When PSG.LGD, Elephant, EHOME, and Vici Gaming were given direct invitations to the Perfect World Chinese DPC League, it was an enormous snub to Team Aster. The squad performed well throughout the fall and winter ahead of the DPC’s return, placing in the top four of a number of prominent Chinese tournaments.
The team managed to clear qualifiers and has looked excellent in the DPC thus far. Team Aster is currently sitting on a 5-1 record with a 10-3 record on maps, with its lone loss coming from Vici Gaming. If Aster can beat Invictus Gaming, the squad will actually be positioned to take first place and start in the playoffs of the ONE Esports Singapore Major.
Invictus Gaming and Team Aster have crossed paths many times in late 2020, with Aster getting the better of that rivalry in lopsided fashion and winning their last seven showdowns. The odds on Winners.bet reflect this, with the lines favoring Aster to the tune of 1.70 to 2.02 despite Invictus Gaming’s strong form throughout the league. Also worth noting is that while iG is 6-0 in the DPC league thus far, it has a more modest 2-2 record in the FDC Season 3 league.
WIN.gg’s predictive algorithm has this as a near coinflip, with Aster having a 50.6% chance of winning. That technically means that there’s a bit of value on the Invictus Gaming line here, but there’s also a case to be made that Aster should be a larger favorite given how badly iG has struggled against them over the last six months.