The loss to Team Bald Reborn has ended any chance Alliance had for qualifying for The International 2022. In the most awaited show-off of the WEU Qualifiers, Gorgc’s stack completely dominated Alliance. But the loss hides an ugly truth. One of Europe’s most popular and decorated squads has hit an all-time low. Even more crushingly, the former TI winner’s downward spiral continues, and it’s safe to say it has finally reached rock bottom. With seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel, the question arises, why did Alliance’s fall from grace happen in the first place?
A Season To Forget
Looking back at the current DPC season, Alliance’s performance could be described with only one word – disastrous. The post-TI 10 roster overhaul was supposed to help the team climb back to the top of the European Dota 2 scene, but it ended up doing precisely the opposite. Looking back at everything, losing both s4 and Limmp proved to be insurmountable. Alliance went on to finish the first tour of the year with only one win to their names, getting unceremoniously relegated to WEU’s Division II.
Although the additions of w33, symetricaL, and CTOMAHEH1 did help the team climb back to Europe’s Top Divison, the writing was already all over the wall. Alliance’s TI 11 ambitions seemed like nothing more than a distant dream. The former juggernaut of the Dota 2 scene finished Tour III without a single victory to its name, without winning a single map.
Heading into the Western European Qualifiers, Alliance did make two changes to its active roster, swapping symetricaL and CTOMAHEH1 for Limitless and Dukalis. But even with those changes, Alliance was seen more and more as a laughing stock than an actual contender. Hordes of fans eagerly awaited to put the final nail in the coffin. But the manner in which it came was even more shocking than anyone could have imagined. After playing arguably two of their best games of the last three months against Entity, Alliance somehow managed to lose both of them.
Awaiting in the Lower Bracket was a fan-favorite team, led by one of the Dota 2 scene’s most beloved content creators. In what could only be described as an anime storyline, Gorgc’s Team Bald managed to pull off what up till not too long ago was considered impossible. They managed to end Alliance’s TI aspirations, doing it in a convincing fashion.
Where Did It Go Wrong?
Truthfully, everywhere. While the team’s shortcomings in the first tour of the year could be blamed on their failure to adapt to the newest patch and meta, there are objectively no justifications for the way they finished the season.
Alliance absolutely underperformed in every single aspect of competitive Dota 2. Individually, most of the team wasn’t as bad as the results suggest. But when it came to their strategical choices, synergy, and teamplay the end result was truly dreadful.
Looking at the overall picture, the biggest part of the blame falls not on the players, but on Loda. Despite being among the best carries and players Dota 2 has ever seen, his role in forming the team, guiding as well as coaching was the ultimate detriment to its success.
Loda’s intentions for Alliance were as good as they could have been. Absolutely no one can question his love and commitment to the team. Just a couple of months ago, Loda was quoted saying “I’m losing $10.000 a day”. Unfortunately, his decision-making as the team’s alpha and omega is ultimately what got Alliance to where they are in the first place.
With all of the players barely clicking together and the overall strategy lackluster to say the least, more drastic moves were needed if Alliance was to even have a chance of qualifying for TI in a region as stacked as WEU. In comparison, OG’s rebuild featured a number of unproven players, and in a span of a year, the roster is heading to The International 2022 as one of the perennial favorites.
What Is The Next Step For Alliance?
Simply put, the team’s rebuild should start from the organization’s upper echelons. Loda has proven to be an inadequate candidate to run the show. Him stepping down and passing the reigns to somebody with a better track record in team management is a must heading into the next season.
Looking at Alliance’s active roster, blowing it up in its entirety seems like a good place to start. Putting an end to the Nikobaby experiment also seems like the right thing to do. While Nikobaby is one of the most mechanically gifted carries the scene has seen in recent years, his decision-making at certain times has been frightening. W33 has been arguably the team’s best player throughout the last stretch, but even he played far too inconsistently.
The rest of the squad has shown that currently, they have no business competing for the top spots in WEU. As the captain, Dukalis was by far the weakest link judging based off his overall impact. Lastly, Aramis and Limitless have both underperformed during the brunt of the team’s outings, and for the time being, don’t belong in any team that’s fighting for a top spot in WEU.
If Alliance is to catch even a glimmer of its former glory, the whole project must be shaken up from start to finish.