The Fall Shuffle has concluded, and its aftermath left us with a number of interesting team compositions. Some of the big names like Evil Geniuses or Digital Chaos had made necessary high-quality replacements, while others like Team OG and Vici Gaming are trying to experiment with up-and-coming young talents. As a result, MarsTV Dota 2 League Autumn is quickly becoming the most hyped premier event that features many of the renewed giants facing off against one another. This tournament may reveal the teams that truly came out on top after the roster rumbles.
This is MarsTV’s second tournament in 2016 (The first one took place in January which marked EHOME’s first major victory), and they definitely knew how to capture the audience’s excitement about the new squads by inviting international giants like Evil Geniuses, Team Secret, OG and MVP.Phoenix. All of these teams made important roster changes during the Fall Shuffle period, and a lot of fans are eager to see them in action.
List of participants for MDL (Source: Liquipedia)
Evil Geniuses welcomes Artour ‘Arteezy’ Babaev back to replace Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis, with Andreas Franck ‘Cr1t-’ Nielsen trying to fill Peter ‘ppd’ Dager’s shoes as the team captain. He will have to go up against his former teammates Johan ‘n0tail’ Sundstein and Tai ‘Fly’ Aizik. The ex-Fnatic duo assemble a lineup that combines the strategical experience from TI-winner Gustav ‘s4’ Magnusson and skillful maneuvers from Jesse ‘JeraX’ Vanikka. However, Australian youngster Anathan ‘Ana’ Pham will be the center of attention, as this will be his first appearance on the international stage. Given that n0tail and Fly- were able to unearth the potential of Amer ‘Miracle-’ Al-Barkawi, it is reasonable to expect a lot from Ana as he picks up where the Jordanian prodigy left off.
Cr1t- has his work cut out for him
Team Secret and MVP.Phoenix will also share a very similar relationship to OG and EG. It has been 2 years since seasoned captain Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov left Na’Vi to play under the Secret banner, and during those two years, the Estonian legend has united some of the most talented players in the Western scene in his search for glory. While Secret did achieve a certain level of success (winning several premier tournaments and triumphing at the Shanghai Major), they still struggle to leave a mark at The International with disappointing results back-to-back. This time, Puppey had decided to extend his reach and acquired 3 talents from the SEA region: Pyo ‘MP’ No-a, Zheng ‘MidOne’ Yeik Nai and Lee ‘ForeV’ Sang-don. All the new members had a successful run with their respective teams during The International 6, and they believe that Team Secret is the next step to further their career. On the other hand, MVP.Phoenix made a swift recovery after parting ways with MP and ForeV, as they replaced the duo with Kim ‘Velo’ Tae-sung and Lee ‘Reisen’ Jun-yeong. The team participated in MPGL Southeastern Asian Championship and finished in second place. This is a satisfactory result, and it should also give the Korean squad a slight edge when it comes to playing together in a competitive environment.
Puppey will put his faith in players from the East
However, the Chinese are not about to let foreign teams swoop in and take away victory on their home soil, as they readily bring out the cream-of-the-crop teams to participate in MDL. Both Newbee and Vici Gaming are invited based on their results from the 2-month tournament Dota2 Pro League, placing second and third, respectively (Winners LGD Gaming withdrew). After a lackluster TI6, Newbee had to part ways with 3 out of 5 of their original squad, with Hu ‘kaka’ Liangzhi and Damien ‘kpii’ Chok staying with the team. Kaka will be captaining a new lineup which seems much like a mixed bag: Song ‘sccc’ Chun – one of the few who had breached the 9000 Matchmaking Rating; Han ‘uuu9’ Xu – carry player for the old TongFu who had yet to see much success; and Hongda ‘Faith’ Zeng – who is but a shadow of his former self ever since invictus Gaming’s historic TI victory in 2012. There is definitely a lot of work needed to be done, and it will be interesting to see TI4 champions pick themselves up from the dust. On the other hand, Vici Gaming (formerly VG.Reborn) remained more or less the same, with the only change being Jie ‘ghost’ Zheng replacing Wang ‘nono’ Xin. The team seemed to have run out of patience for Nono, and put their faith into someone with more potential. With Haiyang ‘Yang’ Zhou becoming available again and a fresh new mid laner, Vici Gaming is definitely a name to look out for.
Fy is back on the VG main squad
Last but not least, iG Vitality and LGD.Forever Young are the last two participants to join in this clash of titans. They have proven their superiority over six other teams in a ruthless qualifier, knocking out other promising teams such as VG.J, invictus Gaming, and EHOME in the process. iG Vitality made short work of their opposition in the winners’ bracket and they look to carry that momentum into this upcoming LAN with a robust squad powered by young talents like Zhang ‘Yuno’ Chengjun and Yang ‘InJuly’ Xiaodong. Conversely, LGD.fy featured several old guards such as Xie ‘Super’ Junhao, Yao ‘Yao’ Zhengzheng and Zhang ‘xiao8’ Ning, and they slowly but surely cruised their way through the lower bracket. These two teams are clearly no pushover, and their opponents will pay dearly for underestimating their powers.
The tournament will take place in Xiamen, China from September 28th to October 2nd.
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