The Open Qualifiers have concluded, and out of approximately 5000 teams trying their luck, only 8 made it through to the Regions and will join the elites to compete for a spot in Boston this December. The competition is extremely stacked across the world, and each one of these teams will have to bring out the best in them in order to advance. This, in turn, promises a series of exciting and high-quality games that spans out from the 27th to the 31st of October.
Fnatic seems to have been cursed. No matter how high they place at previous tournaments and prove themselves as the regional powerhouse, the direct invite remains forever elusive. Featuring some of the most iconic players in the scene like Chai ‘Mushi’ Yee Fung, Chong Xin ‘Ohaiyo’ Khoo and Jimmy ‘Demon’ Ho, the team is undoubtedly the strongest candidate for SEA’s top spot coming into the group stage. While their recent performances have been less than impressive, the raw experience and mechanical skill levels of these players should pull them through. The same can be said about Team Faceless, who had united veterans and good friends Daryl Koh ‘iceiceice’ Pei Xiang with Dominik ‘Black^’ Reitmeier. In fact, they managed a dream start to the Boston Campaign with 5 consecutive wins in the first day, almost guaranteeing a spot in the playoffs. Fnatic came in a close second, having dropped one game to WarriorsGaming Unity. These two giants will have a clash tomorrow to determine who the group leader is.
Black^ and iceiceice had a strong showing with Team Faceless
However, the SEA region is not a personal affair between Fnatic and Faceless. The Philippino squad Mineski.GGNetwork also had a flawless first day, as they did not lose any of their three games played. They have yet to face Fnatic or Faceless, and it will be the ultimate test to see if Singaporean prodigy Galvin ‘Meracle’ Kang Jian Wen is ready for the Major. WarriorsGaming Unity are also hot on the trail, and they have an easier schedule on Day 2 as the Malaysian team already played the group favorites – even managing to take a game of Fnatic. Except for The Mongolz and Rex Regum who dropped all of their games today, the rest of the group also still have a chance to qualify, but it’s a lot slimmer than the current top 4.
Unlike SEA, the Chinese regions are very heavily focused – all the 10 teams participating belong to one of the nation’s eSports powerhouse. The many minor tournaments taking place after TI allow these teams to remain in top shape, as well as giving them a chance to compete against one another. As a result, they understand each and every one of their opponents quite well, and it will be interesting to see how the Chinese Regionals unfold. Out of these 10 teams, Vici Gaming, ig.Vitality and LGD.forever young were able to obtain international competitive experience via MarsTV Dota 2 League, but none of them finished high enough to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Invictus Gaming, on the other hand, had improved significantly with the new lineup. According to a recent interview, legendary carry player Xu ‘BurNing’ Zhilei has a lot of confidence in his teammate, and this may be the deciding factor that helps the TI2 winner find their glory once again.
BurNing is determined to give another shot at victory
However, BurNing is not the only veteran who looks to prove himself. TI4 winner Zhang ‘xiao8’ Ning also looks to add another victory under his belt with LFY, while tireless offlaner Bai ‘rOtk’ Fan comes together with his old teammate Lu ‘Fenrir’ Chao under the VG.J brand. On the other hand, the Chinese robust youngsters squads – inspired by Wings’ success – also look to prove themselves, with the most notable names being Lu ‘Maybe’ Yao from LGD and Xu ‘fy’ Linsen from Vici. Who will win in this generation clash?
Despite a number of EU-based teams moving over to North America for a smoother open qualifier, the scene is still extremely stacked. CIS favorites Team Empire didn’t make it through, despite participating in 3 different qualifiers. Imperial and Fantastic Five were able to prove themselves from arguably the most competitive region, but their achievement pales in comparison to the rest of the candidates. Virtus Pro had a very strong showing recently in DreamLeague, and they are arguably one of the most prominent teams in Europe at this point. Vega Squadron comes to a close second, and we can always expect Natus Vincere to pull out miraculous wins. Along with Fantastic Five, the CIS region looks to revive after a long streak of unsuccessful international competition.
4 out of 10 EU participants come from the CIS region
However, they will face heavy contention from the rest of the group. In spite of all the drama, Team Secret has been showcasing stellar performances that keeps on getting better. Zheng ‘MidOne’ Yeik Nai and Lee ‘ForeV’ Sang-don were particularly impressive on their signature heroes – Invoker and Timbersaw – respectively, and their recent FaceIt victory will prove to be a valuable morale boost. The Alliance also had a successful DreamLeague run, and their versatility were greatly improved with the import of new players like Linus ‘Limmp’ Blomdin and Jonas ‘jonassomfan’ Lindholm. Team Liquid is also really hungry to prove themselves. The team has been under heavy fire after disappointing results, but they are still relatively new and Amer ‘Miracle-’ Al-Barkawi’s undeniable talents in the midlane should never be overlooked. Ad Finem and Escape Gaming are no pushovers either, and any team could compete for the top spot of the EU region.
Day 1 Update: Team Secret continues to impress as they didn’t drop a single game, and convincingly claim the top spot of the group. Team Liquid also seems to have made a swift recovery as they won all of their games as well, including an incredible comeback against Alliance. Virtus Pro, Ad Finem and Escape Gaming all managed to achieve favorable results, while Alliance and Vega will have a tough Day 2 ahead of them. After having lost all of their games today, Natus Vincere almost loses all hopes of advancing, along with Team Imperial and Fantastic Five
It’s a sad day for the North American scene. Even though they are the host of the Boston Major, their open qualifiers have been a walk in the park for EU teams to migrate over and fight for an easy regional spot. With the absence of Evil Geniuses and Digital Chaos, both of the open qualifier winners fall to Prodota Gaming and Elements Pro Gaming – representatives of the Europeans. Unlike Imperial and Fantastic Five however, they only have to face 6 teams in the group stage, with only about half of them posing any real threats. Kingao+4 (formerly Pain Gaming) is a relatively unknown Brazilian team with very few international achievements of note. Peruvian squad Infamous fare a little bit better, as two of the players actually came from Team Unknown, who left their mark back in Frankfurt Major last year; and the other 3 played for Not Today – another semi-famous regional team. Team Freedom features the seasoned Michael ‘ixmike88’ Ghannam, but there’s very little to say about their potential as well as history.
It’s up to the top NA teams to save the day
North America’s greatest hopes for redemption, therefore, lie in the hand of celebrated Canadian midlaner Jacky ‘EternalEnvy’ Mao and his Team NP, who had shown many promising signs ever since their formation. They qualified for The Summit 6, while at the same time taking games off European powerhouses such as Liquid or Vega Squadron in DreamLeague. Their mid-game aggressive but somewhat shaky playstyle reminds many old-school DOTA 2 fans of the mythical Cloud9 – which can be both a good and bad thing. compLexity has not played much after their roster change, but they have only lost to Team NP so far – proving that Kyle ‘Swindlemelonzz’ and friends are still a league above other teams in the region. Friendship, Dedication and Love has always been on the verge of attending a Valve event, but they were always bested by Evil Geniuses or Digital Chaos. With the big names out of the way, will this finally be their chance?
Day 1 Update: All of the North American representatives showed up strong, as compLexity, FDL, Team NP and Team Freedom claimed the top 4 spots of the group. While the European team Elements Pro had a decent 2-2 result, Prodota Gaming only managed to grab one point off NP in a game where EternalEnVy died in a solo Roshan attempt and gave away a free Aegis.
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