In the group stages of ESL Hamburg, Team Aster looked like the team to beat. They went 9-1 in their group and easily smashed through the majority of the competition. However, once they got to the playoffs, the story was entirely different as they were unable to win a single bo3 series in the playoff bracket. In the upper bracket they lost to Vici Gaming. In the loser’s bracket they lost to Pain Gaming.
Between those two series, I will highlight two factors that I think caused their fall. The first was the rigidity of their strategy. They generally used the same types of heroes for the majority of their players. As for strategy, they used a typical Chinese flowchart style, which is strong, but can be one-dimensional in a post Wings world. The other flaw was Dstones. It’s hard to say how much depth he has in his hero pool as it could be a team decision or his own comfort, but regardless the majority of his games were played on invoker and lina. On top of that, I felt like he crumbled in the lower bracket matches against Pain, though w33 and Pain played great.
As they’ve only played two bo3s at this juncture, it’s hard to know if these will be consistent factors as both are fairly fixable. The rigidity of the team will likely ebb away as they get more comfortable playing with each other and expand their ideas. The latter will likely be fixed with experience. So while it’s a disappointing loss here, I think this team still has another level they can go.