Dota 2 Pro Circuit makes first trip to the U.S. for Dota Summit 8 as Beyond the Summit presents its winter wonder-LAN
Christmas comes a bit early this year for Dota 2 fans, as the Dota Summit 8 Minor is set to take center stage on the Pro Circuit just days after the MDL Macau Minor. The city of Los Angeles, California will play host to the final Pro Circuit LAN of 2017, as nine teams will be looking for one last chance to earn Qualifying Points before the end of the year. Organized by Beyond the Summit (BTS), the event will run from December 13th through the 17th at the BTS House in L.A. The Minor will feature two teams making their first appearances at a Pro Circuit LAN (OpTic Gaming and Sacred), as well as five squads that have already earned Qualifying Points so far this season (OG, Evil Geniuses, compLexity Gaming, Virtus.pro, and LGD Gaming). At stake at the Minor will be prize pools of $300,000 USD as well as 300 Qualifying Points, with the distribution of those pools outlined below.
1st: $120,000(Total) and 150 Qualifying Points(per player)
2nd: $60,000(Total) and 90 Qualifying Points(per player)
3rd-4th: $36,000(Total) and 30 Qualifying Points(per player)
With the prize pool allotment sorted out, we can take a look at the format for the event. The Dota Summit 8 Minor will feature an opening Group Stage, with the nine teams being divided into three groups of three teams each for 3 game round robin series. The winner of each group will advance to the single elimination Playoff Stage, while the three runners-up will be joined by the third place squad with the most wins in a Wild Card bracket for the final playoff spot. All series across the Group Stage, Wild Card bracket, and Playoff Semifinals will be played in a best of 3 format, with the Grand Finals of the event being a best of 5 series. With the Minor’s format covered we shift over to the teams that will be playing in Los Angeles.
- Please note that the “projected finishes” for each team are my own predictions and do not constitute any official or objective ranking based upon specific statistics or data.
Qualification: Direct Invite
Pro Circuit Rank: 8th (450 Qualifying Points)
Roster: 1. Johan “N0tail” Sundstein 2. Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok 3. Gustav “s4” Magnusson 4. Jesse “jerAx” Vainikka 5. Tal “Fly” Aizik (Captain)
Projected Finish: Top 4
OG had not started the season in spectacular fashion, with the European squad facing some significant struggles within its first few months on the Pro Circuit. However, the team’s breakthrough performance at the MDL Macau Minor just days prior to the start of this event has given OG and its fans new hope and confidence. Making its third appearance at a Pro Circuit LAN this season, the European squad will look to build upon its first top 4 finish and finish 2017 on a high note. The team looks to be coming out of its slump of inconsistency, but this trip to Los Angeles will be an important test to see just how ready OG is to compete at the highest level of play again.
OG’s last Pro Circuit LAN appearance came just a short while ago at the previously mentioned MDL Macau Minor, where the team earned its first Qualifying Points of the season and a Minor Title with its 1st place finish. OG posted a 10-2 overall record at the event, looking strong against international competition. While OG hasn’t played any matches in the handful of days between the MDL Macau Minor and now, its run of play in recent weeks has it looking like a much more stable squad. The team has won its last two regional Qualifiers, and came just one win away from qualifying for the recent DreamLeague Season 8 Major. Between its solid results in the European region and its latest showing against international opponents, OG comes into the Dota Summit 8 Minor looking like a real threat to earn back to back top 4 finishes.
OG’s recent results are highly encouraging for the team as it approaches the final Minor of 2017. The field of participants in Los Angeles features quite a few squads with solid performances and Pro Circuit experience, but OG has the benefit of momentum having just come off of a successful campaign in Macau. That momentum could be enough to push OG over the edge again into a top 4 spot at a second straight Pro Circuit event. With the team appearing to be moving back towards more consistent play, OG come into the Dota Summit 8 as a projected Top 4 team. Should the European squad avoid any setbacks or relapses into the poor performance that marked the beginning of its season, the team’s talent, experience, and momentum should carry it to success yet again.
Region: North America
Qualification: Direct Invite
Pro Circuit Rank: 5th (765 Qualifying Points)
Roster: 1. Artour “Arteezy” Babaev 2. Sumail “Suma1L” Hassan 3. Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora 4. Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen 5. Clinton “Fear” Loomis (Captain)
Projected Finish: Top 4
Coming into the first season of the Pro Circuit, Evil Geniuses were widely considered a favorite to retain its position as the leading team in the North American region. In the season’s first few months, that didn’t quite appear to be the case, as EG had found some success, but not enough to truly pull away from its regional rivals. A solid performance at the DreamLeague Season 8 Major finally created some separation between EG and its fellow North American squads, as the team jumped up to 5th in the Pro Circuit standings. The team has earned its place as the top ranked squad in North America, but now it will have to defend that position on home soil, as EG stands as one of three NA teams to be participating in this Minor. Facing opposition from both regional challengers and international powers, EG will have quite the task if it wants another top 4 finish before the end of the year.
EG’s most recent Pro Circuit LAN appearance came about a week ago at the DreamLeague Season 8 Finals Major, where the team came away with a 3rd place finish. The team looked solid at the Major, defeating Infamous, Virtus.pro, and Na’Vi with three straight 2-0 series win and only losing out to Team Secret and Team Liquid at the event. EG haven’t played any official matches since its run at the Major, and even prior to it the squad had only participated in a single qualifier in the month of November. That qualifier was the one that earned it a spot at the Major, with EG tearing its way through the regional qualifier with a 6-1 record overall. Between that strong showing in its home region and the team’s relative success on the international level at the Major, EG are looking like a well rounded team as its makes its way to Los Angeles.
The recent sample size of matches for Evil Geniuses may not be as large or extensive as we may like, but what the team has showed us of late has been impressive and highly encouraging. The team appears to have a handle on its regional opposition, and its run at the Major instills some confidence that EG can hold up against top international squads. Taking those factors into consideration, EG comes into the Minor with a Top 4 projection, so long as the team maintains the level of play that it has shown within the last month or so. There’s always the potential for EG to suffer a drop off or for an unexpected run from one of the other challengers, but barring one of those occurrences the North American squad has a strong chance to end the year with another top 4 finish.
Region: North America
Qualification: King’s Cup: Americas Winner
Pro Circuit Rank: Not Ranked (0 Points)
Roster: 1. Per Anders Olsson “Pajkatt” Lille 2. Quinn “CC&C” Callahan 3. Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg 4. Martin “Saksa” Sazdov (Substitute) 5. Peter “ppd” Dager (Captain)
Projected Finish: Top 4
OpTic Gaming made some headlines early in the season, as the organization made its entrance into the Dota 2 world with the signing of North American squad The Dire in September. Prior to that signing, the squad that would become OpTic Gaming won the King’s Cup: America to earn itself a spot at this Minor, which will be the first Pro Circuit event for the team this season. The team has undergone a roster change recently though, as Rasmus “MiSeRy” Filipsen left the team at the end of November. In his place, the team announced that Martin “Saksa” Sazdov, most recently of European squad Mid or Feed, would be serving as a long-term stand in for the rest of 2017. The team has adjusted well to the roster change so far, but the Dota Summit 8 Minor will serve as a tough test for the new roster.
Neither OpTic Gaming nor The Dire before it have made an appearance at a Pro Circuit even so far this season, so the sample size in terms of international competition is somewhat limited when evaluating the squad. The team has looked strong within the North American region though, with ten appearances in qualifiers for qualifying events resulting in two wins and six top 4 finishes. Though it hasn’t participated in a Pro Circuit event prior to this point, OpTic Gaming had still found opportunities to play against international opponents. The team earned a 3rd-4th place finish at the Manila Invitational in October, and recently finished 2nd at the ROG MASTERS 2017 in Kuala Lumpur. Between the solid performances in North America and the limited but successful experiences on the international stage, OpTic Gaming has shown the potential to compete on the Pro Circuit.
OpTic Gaming has looked like an impressive team to this point in the season, but its inability to make its way to Pro Circuit events prior to this Minor is a bit of a concern in a field that is particularly heavy on North American squads. Even with that being said, the team has shown that it can at least hold its own against its regional rivals, and its play on the international level is encouraging despite coming away from Pro Circuit events. The team comes into the Dota Summit 8 Minor as a projected Top 4 team, although the reasons for this are not entirely based upon the team alone. The division of the teams into the three groups leaves OpTic Gaming in a group with LGD Gaming and Fnatic. Given the struggles those squads have faced recently, the North American squad looks to be the strongest team within that group, which gives it a good chance to earn its either a guaranteed top 4 finish or a spot within the Wild Card bracket.
Region: North America
Qualification: North America Qualifier Winner
Pro Circuit Rank: T-12th (135 Qualifying Points)
Roster: 1. Rasmus “Chessie” Blomdin 2. Linus “Limmp” Blomdin 3. David “Moo” Hull 4. Zakari “Zfreek” Freedman 5. Kyle “melonzz” Freedman (Captain)
Projected Finish: 5th
At the beginning of the season, it wasn’t necessarily clear what could be expected from North American squad compLexity Gaming. The team had been relatively competitive within its home region for the past few years, but never seemed to be able to make the jump to becoming a true threat on the international stage. This season has seen that perspective shift to a certain degree, as the team will be making its third Pro Circuit appearance after top 4 finishes in each of its last two campaigns. With three North American squads participating in L.A., compLexity Gaming has a chance to prove itself a true competitor both at home and in the Pro Circuit standings.
CompLexity Gaming’s last Pro Circuit appearance came at the end of November at the Perfect World Masters Minor in Shanghai, China. The North American squad survived the Group Stage with a 3-5 overall record, but lost its opening series in the playoff bracket 1-2 to Team Secret. A lower bracket run saw the team defeat Mineski and Team Kinguin before losing to LGD.Forever Young to secure a 4th place finish at the event. Since then, the team has participated in just one other Pro Circuit-affiliated event, playing in the North America Qualifier for the Galaxy Battles II Major in 2018. The team defeated VGJ.Storm 2-0 to advance to the Finals of the qualifier, but lost to OpTic Gaming 0-2 to finish in 2nd place and missing out on a spot at the Major. That 2nd place finish is the latest in a series of consistently solid performances in the North American region, as the team has claimed four wins and ten top 4 finishes across ten qualifier appearances. That level of consistency and the team’s success on the international level has compLexity Gaming looking incredibly strong as its heads into the last Minor of 2017.
CompLexity Gaming appear to have things working in its favor heading into the Dota Summit 8 Minor. The team has shown an impressive level of consistent play in North America, never dominating the region but also never falling behind far enough to be out of contention to qualify. The team has been solid on the international level as well, managing to earn Qualifying Points in both of its previous Pro Circuit appearances. With that in mind, the North American squad is projected to finish in 5th at this event, although the groups once again play into this prediction. With compLexity Gaming in a group with EG, the team will have to win its group outright to avoid a Wild Card bracket guaranteed to feature either VP or OG. Going through VP or OG, or even coming out over EG in the Group Stage are all outcomes that are hard to have confidence in, hence the team projection just outside of the top 4 in Los Angeles.
Region: South America
Qualification: South America Qualifier Winner
Pro Circuit Rank: Not Ranked (0 Qualifying Points)
Roster: 1. Benjamín “Benjaz” Lanaos 2. Leonardo “Leostyle” Sifuentes 3. Renato “Kingteka” Garcia(Captain) 4. Farith “Matthew” Puente 5. Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho (Substitute)
Projected Finish: 8th-9th
South American squad Sacred is a recent addition to the Pro Circuit, with the team having been formed near the end of October after the disbanding of Digital Chaos.SA. Given the recent formation of the team, Sacred has not had as many opportunities to establish itself on the Pro Circuit or in the South American region. The Dota Summit 8 Minor marks the team’s first Pro Circuit appearance of the season, but unfortunately the all-Peruvian squad will not actually be all Peruvian at this event. The team announced that Álex “Masoku” Dávila would not be able to attend the event, and will be playing with U.S. player Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho as a stand in at the Minor. The use of a stand in always raises questions for a team, but Sacred will look to adjust quickly as it begins its quest to become the first South American team to earn Qualifying Points this season.
Sacred may not have been together for as long as some of the other squads in the field of participants, but the team has managed to string together some encouraging results within its home region. The team has participated in three qualifiers for Pro Circuits events, claiming a 1st place position in the qualifier for this Minor along with a 2nd place run in the qualifier for the Galaxy Battles II Major and a 3rd-4th place finish in the qualifier for the recent MDL Macau Minor. The team has had some experience in third party events this season, allowing the Peruvian squad to earn some experience against teams from both North and South America. The team earned a 2nd place finish at the Blood in the Streets America tournament in November, and placed 3rd in the America division of the joinDOTA League Season 11. The experience may be limited for Sacred coming into this event, but what little we’ve seen from the South American squad has been encouraging so far.
Sacred has been performing fairly well within its own region, but the lack of experience this season on the international level is a significant concern as the team prepares for its first Pro Circuit appearance. Without any matches outside of North or South America, it is incredibly difficult to gauge how the team will perform against international opponents. The fact that the team will be playing with a stand in is another factor that makes it hard to predict the squad’s performance. That uncertainty from both its results and its roster for the event itself doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in Sacred. Combine these factors with the team’s placement in a group with OG and Virtus.pro and the odds don’t look good for the South American squad. With all of that in mind, Sacred come into the Dota Summit 8 Minor as a projected 8th-9th place team. While there is a chance that Sacred can be the third place team that makes it to the Wild Card Stage, it would take a massive effort from the team to crack the top 4 in Los Angeles.
Qualification: Europe Qualifier Winner
Pro Circuit Rank: Not Ranked (0 Qualifying Points)
Roster: 1. Natan “Exotic_Deer” Michalewicz 2. Michał “Nisha” Jankowski 3. Paweł “Patos” Naruszewicz 4. Rafał “eL lisasH” Wójcik(Captain) 5. Jakub “kacor” Kocjan
Projected Finish: 6th-7th
Polish squad Team Kinguin has spent much of the season fighting to make a name for itself in the European region beneath the shadow of powerhouses like Team Liquid and Team Secret. The Dota Summit 8 Minor will be the team’s second Pro Circuit appearance of the season, with the team having previously participated in the Perfect World Masters Minor in November. That performance in Shanghai didn’t earn Team Kinguin any Qualifying Points, but the squad come to Los Angeles hoping that this campaign will prove to be more successful.
Team Kinguin’s last Pro Circuit appearance came in Shanghai at the Perfect World Masters Minor at the end of Novmeber, where the team earned a 5th-6th place finish in its Pro Circuit debut. The Polish squad surprised many by posting a 5-3 record in the Group Stage, coming out on top of a group that featured Team Secret, Newbee, Mineski, and LGD Gaming. The team won its first series of the Playoff Stage 2-1 against Vega Squadron, but back to back losses to Newbee and compLexity Gaming ended its run just short of the mark for a top 4 spot. The team’s only other Pro Circuit matches since that Minor came in the Europe Qualifier for the Galaxy Battles II Major, where the team lost to Team Secret in the Finals for a 2nd place finish. That performance epitomizes what has been a relatively consistent season in the European region, with the squad participating in seven Pro Circuit qualifiers and earning two wins with six top 4 finishes. From those performances, we have seen that Team Kinguin is capable of contending with other teams from the European region. The team’s experience on the international stage, though limited, also showed its potential to carry its success over outside of its home region.
Team Kinguin has looked strong so far this season, but we still haven’t seen enough of it on the international level to be fully confident in its ability to perform at the Dota Summit 8 Minor. The team’s placement into a group with both Evil Geniuses and compLexity Gaming doesn’t do the it many favors either, as its chances to coming out ahead in that group seem somewhat limited. With that in mind, Team Kinguin comes into the Minor as a projected 6th-7th place team, as it doesn’t seem like a safe bet to assume that the team will take down either of the North American squads in its group. However, the team still has a good chance to be the third place team that makes it to the Wild Card Bracket to elevate itself above the last place teams. Should the team surprise us yet again with a crucial Group Stage win, then the potential is there for it to make a push through the Wild Card bracket or even win the group entirely. Should that happen, then Team Kinguin could have a path to its first top 4 finish of the season in 2017’s final Pro Circuit event.
Region: Commonwealth of Independent States(CIS)
Qualification: CIS Qualifier Winner
Pro Circuit Rank: 3rd (2362.5 Qualifying Points)
Roster: 1. Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev 2. Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko 3. Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov 4. Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk 5. Ivan “Artsyle” Antonov (Substitute)
Projected Finish: Top 4
Virtus.pro wasted little time establishing itself as one of the leading teams on the Pro Circuit, winning the first Major of the season and catapulting itself into a favorable position in the standings. Since then, the team has fallen down a spot or two in the standings, put it continues to add more and more Qualifying Points to its already high total. The team’s position heading into December was so strong that the CIS squad decided to allow team captain Alexei “Solo” Berezin to take the month off from professional play. In his place, coach Ivan “Artstyle” Antonov is serving as a long term stand in, and the roster adjustment hasn’t slowed the team down much. Making its fifth Pro Circuit appearance of the season, VP will look to close out 2017 with one last run and a top 4 finish in Los Angeles.
VP’s last Pro Circuit appearance was just days ago at the MDL Macau Minor, where the team earned itself a 3rd-4th place finish in its first LAN with Artsyle as an active player. The transition from Solo to Artstyle was performed nearly flawlessly by VP, with the CIS squad posting a 5-3 record in the Group Stage that earned it a spot in the playoff bracket. Unfortunately, the team was in for a surprise in the Semifinals as VP fell 0-2 to SEA squad TNC Pro Team to end its run in Macau. With that performance being so recent, VP hasn’t had any time to play any other matches, but the team’s track record for the season speaks for itself. The team has participated in five regional qualifiers and come away with wins in four of them, and has two top 4 finishes in non-Pro Circuit events. VP has attended four Pro Circuit LANs on the season, coming away with top 4 finishes and Qualifying Points at three of those events. With results like that on the team’s side, VP enters the Dota Summit 8 Minor as one of the most dangerous teams in the field.
Virtus.pro have looked like one of the best teams in the world so far this season, but with the team playing with Artstyle instead of Solo for a month there was some fear that the team would suffer a setback as it closed out 2017. So far, those concerns have been insignificant, as the team looked just as strong with its stand in player in Macau. With the team appearing fully capable of maintaining its level of play through the end of the year, VP has to be considered a favorite coming into the Dota Summit 8 Minor. Virtus.pro is a fairly safe bet for another strong run at this event, and are projected to finish within the top 4. With OG in its group for the Group Stage, there is a chance that VP may have to go through the Wild Card bracket in Los Angeles. Even if that does happen, there aren’t many other teams in the field that I would expect to defeat the CIS squad, especially in a high pressure, elimination scenario. We’ll see if VP can maintain its momentum and continue to play at the insanely high level that we have come to expect from it this season.
Qualification: China Qualifier Winner
Pro Circuit Rank: 11th (202.5)
Roster: 1. Wang “Ame” Chunyu 2. Lu “Maybe” Yao 3. Xu “fy” Linsen 4. Yao “Yao” Zhengzheng(Captain) 5. Yao “QQQ” Yi (Substitute)
Projected Finish: 8th-9th
LGD Gaming began the season looking like one of the most powerful squads in the Chinese region and a potential competitor on the Pro Circuit. However, that optimistic start has given way to inconsistency and significant struggles of late, as the team appears to have lost its edge towards the end of the calendar year. The team will be making its fourth appearance at a Pro Circuit event, with the previous two events going disastrously for the Chinese squad. On top of these recent struggles, the team has announced that Chen “Victoria” Guanhong will not be attending the event, missing his second Pro Circuit event so far this season. In his place, the team will have its coach, Yao “QQQ” Yi, serve as a stand in for the duration of the Minor. The last time QQQ needed to stand in for Victoria, LGD Gaming earned its only top 4 finish of the season, and the team will hope that it can replicate that result in the last Pro Circuit event of 2017.
LGD Gaming’s last Pro Circuit LAN appearance came a few days ago at the MDL Macau Minor. As previously mentioned, the team’s campaign in Macau was an absolute disaster as the squad simply could not build any momentum at the event. A 2-6 Group Stage record was tied for the worst performance at the Minor, and left the team with back to back last place finishes at Minors. The team’s play has been pretty inconsistent in the last month or so, with LGD Gaming winning the regional qualifier for this Minor, but finishing in the 5th-6th place position in the Top Division of the Dota 2 Professions league Season 4 and falling flat at the previously mentioned Minors. That level of fluctuation in results makes the team something of an enigma heading into this Minor in L.A.
We’ve seen LGD Gaming playing at a high level, but the recent struggles and inconsistent stretches that the team has faced recently creates a lot of doubts around this team. The solid form that the team was in to start the season seems to have fallen away as the Chinese squad appears to have lost its prior momentum. Adding to those recent struggles is the fact that the team will have to play without Victoria in another Pro Circuit event, putting more pressure on the team’s players to perform well in Los Angeles. The team’s group appears to be the weakest of the three on paper, with OpTic Gaming and Fnatic being the other teams in Group C. However, wins over those two squads still don’t look like a sure thing for an LGD Gaming squad that has been extremely shaky of late. All of these negative factors combine to give LGD Gaming a projection within the 8th-9th range at the Dota Summit 8 Minor. Should the team manage to get back on track and return to its previous level of play, it may be able to outperform that predicted finish, but we haven’t seen too much to indicate that the Chinese squad is ready for make that change yet.
Region: Southeast Asia
Qualification: Southeast Asia Qualifier Winner
Pro Circuit Rank: Not Ranked (0 Qualifying Points)
Roster: 1. Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao(Captain) 2. Abed “Abed” Yusop 3. Khoo “Ohaiyo” Chong Xin 4. Djardel “DJ” Mampusti 5. Johan “pieliedie” Åström
Projected Finish: 6th-7th
A disappointing start to the season has given way to hopeful optimism for Fnatic as the Southeast Asian squad is beginning to get itself back on track. After the addition of Abed “Abed” Yusop to the team in early November, the team has looked significantly better and has improved its performance within its home region. The Dota Summit 8 Minor will be the team’s fourth Pro Circuit event of the season, and the second since adding Abed to the lineup. Those three previous Pro Circuit LANs haven’t resulted in any Qualifying Points yet for Fnatic, but the team and its fans are hoping that the team has improved enough to salvage one solid performance on the international stage before 2017 runs its course.
The last Pro Circuit appearance for Fnatic came at the beginning of December at the DreamLeague Season 8 Finals Major, where the team came in last place with a 7th-8th place finish. The SEA squad had the misfortune of going up against Team Liquid in its opening series, and the subsequent 0-2 loss to the defending TI Champion quickly dropped Fnatic down to the lower bracket. Despite putting up a decent fight, Fnatic fell in an elimination series against Na’Vi 1-2, bringing a relatively quick end to the team’s run at the Major. The team hasn’t played any Pro Circuit matches since that last performance, but we can look at the team’s matches within the Southeast Asian region since the addition of Abed to get an idea of how the team is holding up at home. Fnatic has participated in four qualifiers with its new roster, and has earned wins in two of them while securing top 4 finishes in the other two. That series of positive results in Southeast Asia shows that the team is improving against its regional rivals, but it remains to be seen if the team will be any stronger against international opponents.
The recent run of success in its home region has Fnatic sitting in a much better position than the one it was in just a few months ago, as the team looks to be much improved. However, the lack of success on the international stage is still a big concern for the team as it looks to earn its first Qualifying Points of the season. The team may have a chance at the Dota Summit 8 Minor due in part to the formation of the groups for the Group Stage. Fnatic has been placed into a group with LGD Gaming and OpTic Gaming, two teams that either been struggling significantly in recent weeks (LGD Gaming) or has not yet played any matches at a Pro Circuit event (OpTic Gaming). Fnatic has a good chance to either win its group or make it to the Wild Card bracket considering its opponents in the Group Stage. With that in mind, Fnatic come into this event with a projection within the 6th-7th place range. Fnatic has had its fair share of struggles and disappointments so far this season, but this Minor in Los Angeles presents the team with one last chance to make its mark on the Pro Circuit before 2017 comes to a close.