The Dota Pro Circuit’s final competitive field is just one match away from being decided. That match is a showdown between Team DogChamp and Aristotle in the closed qualifiers to the North American DPC League. The winner will move onto the upper division, while the loser will be relegated to the lower division.
From a betting perspective this is a unique match. It’s by far the most important match on the calendar at this second, but it’s also one taking place between two relatively unknown teams that are freshly formed.
DogChamp is made up of a number of players that have popped up on the regional scene over the last few years. The most immediately relevant is Luki Luki, a Canadian player that rose to prominence in 2020 stemming from his beef with Arkosh Gaming and Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner. There are others on the team that have popped up in regional events and DPC qualifiers, most notably Daniel “Bloody Nine” Foster, who had a brief run with Complexity Gaming.
Aristotle is made up of even less-established players. They’ve popped up in qualifiers from time to time, but none of them have had a serious presence at even the semi-pro level.
What’s more, neither of these teams have a sizable body of work put together to use as reference. Both formed immediately ahead of the qualifiers for the DPC leagues, with both making their way into this position through open qualifiers. DogChamp won its opening matchup against Byzantine Riders before falling to Black N Yellow, while Aristotle lost to Undying and stayed alive by beating Electronic Boys.
The big asterisk next to this match relates to a forced substitution on Aristotle’s roster. The team was initially formed by veteran Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho, but he was removed from the roster due to past allegations of sexual misconduct. This forced Aristotle to find a substitute on a few days’ notice.
Who is this new player? That’s actually completely unknown at this point, and it could have a big impact on the match’s outcome.
Hypothetically, one of the big free agents in Dota 2 could step in and make Aristotle the favorite. The team offers a unique opportunity for proven stars like Syed “SumaiL” Hassan and Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao if they decide to make a comeback. While that’s an interesting possibility, far more likely is that Aristotle rolls out another lesser-known player.
Bookies seem to be expecting the latter. Winners.bet has this lined up at 1.43 for DogChamp against 2.62 for Aristotle, and DogChamp does have the look of being the better team of the two.