Dota 2 Minor Team Preview: Captains Draft 4.0

Pro Circuit headed to Atlantic coast as Washington D.C. hosts first Minor of 2018.

2017 is on its way out, but the end of one year marks the beginning of another as the Dota 2 season marches on into 2018. After a small hiatus for the holiday season, the Pro Circuit is ready to ring in the new year with some Dota 2 action at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor. Organized by DotaCinema and Moonduck Studios, the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor brings eight teams to the DC Armory in Washington, DC for a test of skill, strength, and creativity. The field of participants heading to the U.S. capital is full of Pro Circuit powerhouses and new challengers alike: Six of the participants have already earned Qualifying Points this season (Evil Geniuses, Team Secret, compLexity Gaming, OG, Vici Gaming, and Mineski), with five of those teams holding Top 8 spots in the Pro Circuit standings (Evil Geniuses, Team Secret, OG, Vici Gaming, Mineski). The remaining two squads, paiN Gaming and Team Empire, will be making their Pro Circuit debuts in Washington DC. Regardless of the level of experience on the Pro Circuit, the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor promises to present a significant challenge for all of the participants. Running from January 4th to the 7th, the Minor will see the eight participating teams battle in the eponymous Captains Draft game mode for a share of $300,000 USD and 300 Qualifying Points, with the distribution of those pools outlined below.

1st: $108,000(Total) and 150 Qualifying Points(per player)

2nd: $69,000(Total) and 90 Qualifying Points(per player)

3rd-4th: $37,500(Total) and 30 Qualifying Points(per player)

5th-8th: $12,000

With the prize pool and event information covered, we can take a look at what the format for the matches will be at the first Minor of 2018. The Captains Draft 4.0 Minor, like many events this season, will feature an opening Group Stage. The eight participating teams will be divided into two groups of four teams each to play in a GSL-style, Bo1 format. The Group Stage will not eliminate any of the squads, as the results from this opening series of matches will determine the seeding for the Playoff Stage. The Playoff Stage will feature a single-elimination bracket with Bo3 Quarterfinal and Semifinal series, followed by a Bo5 Grand Finals. As the name of the event would suggest, all matches at this event will be played in the Captains Draft game mode. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the eight teams that will be participating in Washington DC in the year’s first Pro Circuit event.

  • 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.

Evil Geniuses 600px-EG

Region: North America

Qualification: Direct Invite

Pro Circuit Rank: 5th (765 Qualifying Points)

Roster: 1. Artour “Arteezy” Babaev   2. Clinton “Fear” Loomis   3. Sumail “Suma1L” Hassan   4. Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen   5. Rasmus “MISERY” Filipsen (Captain)

Projected Finish: 5th-8th

The initial segment of the Dota 2 season was fairly successful for Evil Geniuses, as the North American squad’s Pro Circuit standing was buoyed by a late success at the DreamLeague Season 8 Major. That successful campaign helped EG establish its position both at the top of North American region as well as a Top 8 spot in the Pro Circuit standings. Even with the team’s considerable bounty of Qualifying Points and favorable Pro Circuit ranking, Evil Geniuses couldn’t resist undergoing some roster changes before the end of 2017. Near the end of December, the team announced that offlaner Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora had been released from the roster, and that Danish veteran Rasmus “MISERY” Filipsen would be joining the squad. The addition of MISERY to the lineup causes some changes beyond the immediate personnel shift, as the team announced new roles for some of its members. With MISERY taking over both the captain and support roles for the team, Clinton “Fear” Loomis shifts back to the carry role, while former midlaner Sumail “Suma1L” Hassan will step into UNiVeRsE’s previous position as the team’s offlaner. The changes for EG haven’t been limited to just the players, as the team also announced that its coach, Avery “SVG” Silverman, would be departing the organization and would be replaced by North American veteran Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale. These roster and organizational changes certainly cast a large shadow of uncertainty over a team that looked to be trending upwards near the end of 2017.

EG’s last Pro Circuit appearance came right at the end of the year, with the team participating in the Dota Summit 8 Minor in Los Angeles. The North American squad posted a 3-3 record in the Group Stage of the event, but fell to OG in the Wild Card Stage to finish in the 6th-7th place position. That Minor marked the last official matches for EG prior to this Captains Draft 4.0 event, as well as the last games with its now former roster. Prior to this, the team had been looking strong both in the North American region and on the international stage, earning two Top 4 finishes at Pro Circuit LANs and winning two regional qualifiers in 2017 as well. The team’s achievements so far this season are impressive, but given the changes to the team’s lineup, it becomes difficult to determine how much one can take away from EG’s previous performances. While the roster has only seen the changing of a single player overall, the various positional changes will surely have an impact on the team’s style and strategy moving forward.

The 2017 segment of the season was a successful affair for Evil Geniuses, but 2018 is already shaping up to present new challenges for the North American squad. The team to this point has proven itself capable of competing both within its home region and on the international level. However, the recent roster changes and position swapping introduce a degree of uncertainty that makes it harder to have confidence in EG for this event. EG’s roster still has a wealth of talent and experience, but the team still needs to adjust to a new player and captain, a new coach, and two of its players moving to new roles in the lineup. Taking all of those factors into account, I have EG projected to finish within the 5th-8th place range at 2018’s first Minor. The single-elimination format of the Playoff Stage leaves any of the participating teams just a single series victory away from a Top 4 position, but that format serves as a double-edged sword. With all of the uncertainty brought about by the roster changes, it seems likely that the North American squad falls short in Washington DC. However, the new look EG may have some surprises in store for fans and opponents alike as the team heads into the 2018 section of the season.

 

Team Secret Secret_logo

Region: Europe

Qualification: Direct Invite

Pro Circuit Rank: 1st (3690 Qualifying Points)

Roster: 1. Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard   2. Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng   3. Adrian “Fata” Trinks   4. Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat   5. Clement “Puppey” Ivanov (Captain)

Projected Finish: Top 4

European squad Team Secret took the Pro Circuit by storm in 2017, taking on and defeating the best that the Dota 2 world had to offer. The team has found success both within the European region and on the international level, with Team Secret having attended five Pro Circuit events. From those five appearances, Team Secret has earned 3690 Qualifying Points, putting in at the top of the Pro Circuit standings heading in to 2018. With the impressive consistency and frequency with which the team performed to start the season, there’s little reason to believe that Team Secret won’t carry its considerable momentum forward into the new year, as the European powerhouse looks to maintain its grip on its number one ranking.

Team Secret ended the 2017 segment of the season with an appearance at the DreamLeague Season 8 Major in December, where the team achieved perhaps its most impressive feat of the season so far. The European squad tore through the bracket at the Major, posting a 9-1 overall record that saw it defeat Evil Geniuses, Newbee, and Team Liquid (twice) to become the second Major Champion of the season. The team’s victory at the Major was its most prominent achievement, but it certainly wasn’t the only one, as the European squad had earned Top 4 finishes at two prior Pro Circuit events. The team’s success has carried over into its regional competitions as well, as Team Secret has won all five of the European qualifiers that it has participated in so far. No matter where the opponent may come from, Team Secret has proven itself more than capable of handling challengers and high pressure situations on the biggest stages.

With the impressive record and consistent play that Team Secret has shown so far this season, it stands to reason that the squad should be able to maintain that impressive level of play moving forward. There are few opponents that stand in a position to truly threaten the European squad, and barring catastrophic meltdown to begin the new year, Team Secret should find itself near the top of the standings at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor. With that in mind, I have Team Secret projected for a considerably safe Top 4 finish in Washington DC. While there are a few teams in the field that could potentially give Team Secret a challenge, none of them appear to be on the level required to expect a win in a Bo3 series against the Pro Circuit leaders. However, there is a big difference between expectation and possibility, as an underdog team could still be capable of bringing down the European powerhouse under the right circumstances. Team Secret currently holds the highest and most favorable position on the Pro Circuit, and if all goes according to plan for the European squad, it should find itself improving that position as the 2018 section of the season begins.

 

compLexity Gaming 727px-Col_big_logo

Region: North America

Qualification: North America Qualifier Winner

Pro Circuit Rank: T-13th (135 Qualifying Points)

Roster: 1. Rasmus “Chessie” Blomdin   2. Linus “Limmp” Blomdin   3. David “Moo” Hull   4. Zakari “Zfreek” Freedman   5. Kyle “melonzz” Freedman

Projected Finish: Top 4

The 2017 section of the season proved to be an encouraging stretch for North American squad compLexity Gaming. The team had long served as a minor regional threat in years past, but this season has seen the squad emerge as a leading team within an improved North American region. In addition to the team’s increased competitiveness at home, compLexity Gaming has found some success internationally as well, with the team’s two Top 4 finishes at Pro Circuit events resulting in a total of 135 Qualifying Points. While those successes haven’t necessarily put compLexity Gaming at the top of the hierarchy on the Pro Circuit, it still leaves the North American squad in a favorable position to continue competing and climbing as the season moves into 2018.

The last appearance for compLexity Gaming at a Pro Circuit LAN came at the Dota Summit 8 Minor in December, where the team posted a 5-7 overall record, losing to OG in the Finals of the Wild Card Stage to finish in the 5th place position at the event. That Minor may have been the final Pro Circuit LAN of the year, but it wasn’t the last official matches for compLexity Gaming, as the North American squad participated in the regional qualifier for the ESL One Genting Minor in 2018. CompLexity Gaming dominated the qualifier, losing just a single game and winning three straight series to claim the North American spot at the Minor. Of particular note was the team’s relatively easy 3-1 win over Immortals, another team attempting to raise its profile within the region. CompLexity Gaming appears to be coming out on top over regional competition more consistently than in times past, which by extension is affording the team increased opportunities to perform against squads outside of North America.

The team’s strength within North America and emerging success on the international level combine to make compLexity Gaming a potential competitor in 2018, beginning with this upcoming minor. With some of the teams in the field of participants dealing with recent roster changes or coming off of longer breaks from competitive play, compLexity Gaming’s recent performance and roster stability may play a larger role than usual at this first Minor of 2018. Taking into account the team’s recent performances, I have compLexity Gaming projected to finish within the Top 4 in Washington DC, though that prediction comes with a fair bit of caution as well. A poor performance in the Bo1 Group Stage could force compLexity Gaming into an early match up against a tough opponent. The single elimination bracket at this event has the potential to make or break any team’s run, and should the North American squad avoid an opponent like OG or Team Secret, the odds look good for compLexity Gaming to start of 2018 with more Qualifying Points to add to its total.

 

paiN Gaming PaiN_Gaming_2017

Region: South America

Qualification: South America Qualifier Winner

Pro Circuit Rank: Not Ranked (0 Qualifying Points)

Roster: 1. William “hFn” Medeiros   2. Danylo “KINGRD” Nascimento (Captain)   3. Otavio “tavo” Gabriel   4. Heitor “Duster” Pereira   5. Arthur “PAADA” Zarzur (Substitute)

Projected Finish: 5th-8th

South American squad paiN Gaming may not be a name or an organization that most Dota 2 fans are familiar with, as it hasn’t been around for too long this season. In early November, the former lineup of Midas Club Elite began playing under the paiN Gaming name, making a few appearance in regional qualifiers. At the end of November, the organization officially announced its new roster, with a few changes to the Midas Club Elite iteration of the lineup. Leonardo “Mandy” Viana was replaced by Fabio “Gambling” Sarellas, with the latter serving as a long term substitute for the team. Additionally, Danylo “KINGRD” Nascimento was moved from a support role into a carry position in the lineup. However, with the team just days away from its Pro Circuit debut, further roster changes were announced. The team announced that Gambling would no longer be playing with the squad, with former player and the organization’s CEO Arthur “PAADA” Zarzur filling in at the Minor. With those personnel changes made, the new paiN Gaming comes to Washington DC looking to make a strong first impression in the team’s Pro Circuit debut.

With the South American squad making its first appearance at a Pro Circuit event at this Minor, there isn’t much to look at in terms of experience for this lineup outside of its home region. In fact, this current lineup has not played a single official match outside of the South American region, and even its experience within its home region has been limited, though encouraging. The team was invited to Stage 2 of the South American Qualifier for the Galaxy Battles II Major, where paiN Gaming managed to beat out Peruvian squad Sacred to secure a spot at 2018’s first Major later in January. Outside of Pro Circuit qualifiers, paiN Gaming has also participated in the Brazil Qualifier for the World Electronic Sports Games 2017, defeating fellow Brazilian squad SG e-sports for a spot in the Americas Qualifier for the third party event. Those two qualifiers are all that we have been able to see so far from this new paiN Gaming lineup, and while the two victories the squad has earned are impressive, it does little to help determine how the team will perform on the big stage of the Pro Circuit.

The team’s relatively recent formation and roster changes, combined with the extremely limited sample size of official matches, create a significant air of uncertainty around paiN Gaming as it heads towards it Pro Circuit debut. Uncertainty is something that very rarely works to a team’s benefit, particularly when preparing for a significant competitive event like pain Gaming is. With limited experience in South America and no experience on the international level for this current lineup, it is nearly impossible to have much confidence that the Brazilian squad will perform well in Washington DC. All that we have to go on for the team is “what ifs” and hope, neither of which are very conducive to making accurate predictions. That being said, let’s go ahead and make a prediction anyway: paiN Gaming is projected to fall in the 5th-8th range in its Pro Circuit debut. There just isn’t enough there in the way of experience or previous performances to convince me that this squad will be able to contend with these teams that it has never played against before. The single elimination bracket could play into the team’s favor on this front, and the relatively limited experience with this current roster could allow paiN Gaming to get away with some surprise drafts or otherwise non-scouted strategies if opponents underestimate it. However, for paiN Gaming to win a Bo3 series and crack the Top 4 would be a truly shocking occurrence. On the other hand, we’ve seen underdog stories play out in unexpected fashion before, and all it would take is one inspired performance to put paiN Gaming on the map as the first South American squad to earn a place in the Pro Circuit standings.

 

OG 425px-OG_RB_Logo

Region: Europe

Qualification: Europe Qualifier Winner

Pro Circuit Rank: T-7th (540 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

Following what had been a rather inauspicious start for the team, European squad OG began to hit its stride late in 2017, putting together an impressive stretch that put it in the mix in the Pro Circuit standings. That late surge catapulted the team into a Top 8 spot on the Pro Circuit, and set OG up as one of the leading teams both in the European region and in the Dota 2 world as a whole. The European squad will begin the 2018 section of the season with its fourth Pro Circuit LAN at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor, and the team will be looking to continue its impressive string of performances into the new year.

OG’s last Pro Circuit appearance came at the Dota Summit 8 in Los Angeles, where the team made it into the Top 4 before losing to Fnatic in the Semifinals. The Minor was not the last action that OG saw in 2017, as the team also participated in the Europe Qualifier for the ESL One Genting Minor. The team opened its run in the qualifier with a 2-0 win over Scandinavian squad The Final Tribe, but fell in the next round to PENTA Sports for a somewhat surprising 3rd-4th place finish. OG may not have qualified for the ESL One Genting Minor, but its performance in the qualifier was another example of its impressive performance within the European region this year. The team has participated in eight Pro Circuit qualifiers this season, winning three of them, and finishing within the Top 4 in three others. The ability to perform against regional rivals has been important for OG this season, but its only recently that the team has managed to take advantage of that consistency by putting up similar performances on the international level. Out of the three Pro Circuit events that OG has attended, it has earned Top 4 finishes at two of them, even winning the MDL Macau Minor in December. The team may have gotten off to a slow start, but everything seems to coming together for OG as it approaches the 2018 section of the season and this Minor in Washington DC.

All signs point towards OG continuing its impressive run and maintaining its previously held momentum through the start of 2018. The team is playing consistently well in its home region, and we’re seeing a more confident presence from the squad on the international stage. Confidence and consistency will be key for OG at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor, especially with several of the teams in the field still adjusting to roster changes themselves. With these factors on OG’s side, the team comes into the first Minor of 2018 projected to finish within the Top 4. It would take a significant series of mistakes from the European squad or a truly awful run in the Group Stage to put OG in a position where it wouldn’t be the favored team in the opening round of the Playoff Stage. Time will tell whether the team will maintain its momentum or stumble out of the gate as the 2018 segment of the season gets underway.

 

Team Empire 600px-Team_empire

Region: Commonwealth of Independent States(CIS)

Qualification: CIS Qualifier Winner

Pro Circuit Rank: Not Ranked (0 Qualifying Points)

Roster: 1. Airat “Silent” Gaziev   2. Rostislav “fn” Lozovoi   3. Andrey “Ghostik” Kadyk   4. Maxim “yoky-” Kim  5. Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov (Captain)

Projected Finish: 5th-8th

It’s been a bit of a silent start to the season so far for Team Empire, as the CIS squad hasn’t been able to make much noise on the Pro Circuit. With the region largely dominated by Virtus.pro and Na’Vi, there hasn’t been much consideration given to Team Empire, but the team finally has its chance to make an impression on the Pro Circuit stage. The squad will be making its Pro Circuit debut in Washington DC, but it will look a little bit different from the team that we’ve seen to this point. On December 27th the team announced that support player and team captain Ivan “VANSKOR” Skorokhod was leaving the team. The team’s frequent stand-in player Maxim “yoky-” Kim was announced as an official addition to the squad, with the captaincy of the team being passed to the team’s other support, Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov. The incredibly recent changes leave Team Empire with little time to adjust to the new roster and captain, but the squad comes into the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor hoping that the change will be what it needs to contend with some of the world’s best teams.

The Captains Draft 4.0 Minor may be the team’s first Pro Circuit LAN, but it certainly wasn’t the team’s first attempt to reach one, as the squad has been competing fiercely within the CIS region all season long. The team has participated in twelve Pro Circuit qualifiers in the CIS region so far, and has managed to win two of them and earn Top 4 finishes in another eight. For Team Empire, the consistency against regional rivals is a valuable asset, but its relatively low level of experience outside of the CIS region puts even more emphasis on converting those opportunities on the big stage. On that front, the team may have a small advantage over other similarly positioned squads, as Team Empire has earned a bit of experience on the international stage through third party events this season. The team faced off against a mix of CIS and European squads in the WCA 2017 Europe Finals, where the team posted a 10-5 overall record that qualified it for the main WCA tournament later in 2018. The team also won the Closed Qualifier for the Adrenaline Cyber League in Moscow, where the team finished in the 3rd-4th place position afte a loss to Virtus.pro. Most recently, the team won the ROG MASTERS 2017, going 9-2 at the event and defeating North American squad OpTic Gaming 3-2 in the Finals. That level of experience and success on the international level is something that few teams have coming into their Pro Circuit debut, and Team Empire is hoping that experience is enough to give it an edge against its peers in Washington DC.

Team Empire has looked strong throughout the season to this point, but now the team has a chance to shine under the biggest spotlight in the Dota 2 world with its Pro Circuit debut. The CIS squad’s record both at home and on the international stage is respectable, but the team does still have one nagging issue as it approaches the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor. We’ve seen roster changes affect a team severely in the past, and Team Empire’s switch up of its lineup has come so recently that its almost impossible not to be worried about the consequences. On the bright side, yoky- is a player that had already been playing as a stand-in for the team at a few events prior to his official signing, so perhaps the team will have a shorter and more smooth adjustment period than most other squads. It’s an optimistic outlook, but it still isn’t enough to assuage all of the doubts for Team Empire just yet, as I have the team projected to finish within the 5th-8th place range at the Minor. A strong Group Stage performance or an impressive showing in its opening series in the single elimination bracket could set Team Empire up for a Top 4 spot, but that result seems to lie more within the realm of hope than expectation. Team Empire is a strong squad, but earning a Top 4 finish at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor is going to quite the challenge, especially for a team making its first Pro Circuit appearance. We’ll see if the CIS squad is up to the task as it looks to spark a run to begin 2018.

 

Vici Gaming VICI_Gaming

Region: China

Qualification: China Qualifier Winner

Pro Circuit Rank: T-7th (540 Qualifying Points)

Roster: 1. Zhang “Paparazi灬” Chengjun   2. Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang   3. Ren “eLeVeN” Yangwei   4. Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng   5. Lu “Fenrir” Chao

Projected Finish: Top 4

When the conversation of Chinese Dota gets started, most fans of the game will immediately point to Newbee as the pinnacle of the region’s strength and talent, and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. However, Newbee isn’t the only Chinese squad holding the region up competitively, as Vici Gaming has put together a more than impressive season so far that is worthy of some attention itself. After a near complete change of its roster in the offseason, many were focusing on other squads to carry the flag of Chinese Dota into the new season. Vici Gaming spent the 2017 section of the season proving those people wrong, as the team made its way to three Pro Circuit LANs and earned enough Qualifying Points for a tie for 7th place with OG. The team will open up the 2018 segment of the season with its 4th Pro Circuit appearance, and the Chinese squad will be eager to put any lingering doubts to rest and continue establishing itself as a leading team on the international stage.

Vici Gaming’s last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came at the end of November at the Perfect World Masters Minor in Shanghai, China. The team put together a 13-7 record that got it all the way to the Finals of the event, where the team lost to fellow Chinese squad Newbee. The team’s only matches after that Minor came in the China Qualifier for the Galaxy Battles II Major, where the team received an invite to Stage 2 of the qualifier. Unfortunately, the team wasn’t able to take advantage of this opportunity, losing 1-2 to EHOME and finishing in the 3rd-4th place position in the qualifier. That performance was the latest in a string of impressive showings from Vici Gaming in the Chinese region, as the team has participated in ten qualifiers or qualifying events and earned nine Top 4 finishes and three wins. The team’s success hasn’t been limited to its home region though, as Vici Gaming has earned two Top 4 finishes in three appearances at Pro Circuit LANs. The combination of solid regional play and impressive international experience makes Vici Gaming one of the stronger and more dangerous squads heading into 2018.

2017 saw Vici Gaming make its case as a leading team on the Pro Circuit, and this first Minor of the new year presents the Chinese squad with a perfect opportunity to continue what has been an impressive season to this point. The team’s frequent success both within its home region and on the international level is an advantage that few other squads can lay claim to, and the team’s momentum from the previous year should put the team in a strong position to perform well at the Minor. With that in mind, Vici Gaming comes into the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor with a Top 4 projected finish. The Chinese squad may not be the favorite to win the whole event outright, but there’s only one or two squads that I would expect to defeat Vici Gaming in a full Bo3 series. Unless something goes terribly wrong for the Chinese squad in Washington DC, Vici Gaming is set to get its 2018 campaign started in impressive style at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor.

 

Mineski 600px-Mineski-dota_logo

Region: Southeast Asia

Qualification: Southeast Asia Qualifier Winner

Pro Circuit Rank: 6th (720 Qualifying Points)

Roster: 1. Kam “NaNa” Boon Seng   2. Chai Mushi Yee Fung (Captain)   3. Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang   4. Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong   5. Michael “ninjaboogie” Ross Jr.

Projected Finish: 5th-8th

The Southeast Asian region was a bit of a toss up heading into the season, with several teams sitting in a position to compete but no obvious candidate for an overall leader. Mineski quickly stepped into that role, opening the season with a dominant run in the region that established the team as the leading SEA squad on the Pro Circuit. Two early successes on the international stage set Mineski up as the sixth place team in the Pro Circuit standings, but the team has cooled off a bit heading into the new year. The rise of regional rivals such as Fnatic and TNC Pro Team has put Mineski’s status as the SEA leader in jeopardy, but the team has a prime opportunity to display its strength on the international stage once again. The Captains Draft 4.0 Minor will be Mineski’s fourth Pro Circuit LAN of the season, and the team will be looking to get the year started with a quality performance to improve its ranking and create more separation between itself and its peers within the Southeast Asian region.

Mineski’s last Pro Circuit appearance came at the Perfect World Masters Minor in November, where the team stumbled a bit. The SEA squad had some struggles in the Group Stage of the event, posting a 4-4 record that just barely got it into the Playoff bracket. The team’s struggles didn’t end there though, as Mineski lost 0-2 to Vici Gaming before being knocked out of the event following a loss to compLexity Gaming in a single game elimination match. The team’s unexpected struggles landed it a 7th-8th place finish at the event, far below where the team had anticipated going into the Minor. Since then, the team has participated in just one other event: the Southeast Asia Qualifier for the Galaxy Battles II Major. Playing in its home region once again, Mineski was able to put together another impressive performance, defeating both Geek Fam and Fnatic to secure a spot at the upcoming Major. The performance in that qualifier falls in line with what has been an amazing run of dominance within the Southeast Asia, as the team is still one of the top teams in the region. However, the recent issues on the international stage raise a few concerns for Mineski, concerns that have yet to be addressed as the team makes its way to Washington DC for the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor.

Mineski has been one of the stronger teams on the Pro Circuit so far this season, displaying an ability to both control its home region and compete on the international stage. However, the most recent struggles in the team’s last Pro Circuit appearance hurt Mineski slightly as it enters the 2018 section of the season. The less than stellar results in Shanghai could just be an aberration, a fluke that the team will quickly put behind it. On the other hand, the poor result could also be the herald of a rough stretch for the SEA squad moving forward. With that in mind, Mineski comes into the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor as a projected 5th-8th place team, although that projection appears to be on the pessimistic side. its perfectly likely that the team comes out and puts together an impressive performance in Washington DC that erases the doubts brought on by the poor play in Shanghai. However, to expect that kind of turn around from the team seems a bit unreasonable when looking at a prediction of the team’s final position at the event. With that in mind, keep expectations moderate for Mineski at this Minor, but don’t be surprised if the SEA squad comes out with a stronger performance to open 2018.

 

 

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