Indonesia ready to host first Pro Circuit event, as Minor Champion will be crowned in Jakarta.
The Dota 2 world may still be recovering from the action at the Bucharest Major that ended this past weekend, but the Pro Circuit schedule has no plans of stopping just yet. Dota 2 fans around the world will get the chance to see even more Pro Circuit excitement as the GESC: Indonesia Minor is set to begin and bring the first ever Valve sanctioned tournament to Indonesia. Organized by GESC (hence the name), the GESC: Indonesia Minor will draw the eyes of the Dota 2 world to the Indonesia Convention Exhibbition in Jakarta as eight teams will compete for the title of Minor Champion. Beginning on March 15 and running through the 18th, the Minor will feature prize pools of $300,000 USD and 300 Qualifying Points, the distribution of which are outlined below.
1st: $110,000 (Total) & 150 Qualifying Points (Per Player)
2nd: $65,000 (Total) & 90 Qualifying Points (Per Player)
3rd-4th: $35,000 (Per Team) & 30 Qualifying Points (Per Player)
5th-6th: $17,500 (Per Team)
7th-8th: $10,000 (Per Team)
Pro Circuit Minors don’t necessarily have the power to drastically alter the balance of power in the standings, but they do provide teams with a way help start or propel a rise through the ranks. Teams in the field like Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, Na’vi, and VGJ.Thunder could use a solid showing at the Minor to solidify its position in the standings and gain ground on its rivals. For teams that don’t yet have a ranking, like participants Infamous, Rex Regum Qeon, Digital Chaos, and The Final Tribe, the Minor provides a launching pad to put their names on the board in the Pro Circuit standings and make a name for themselves. With that in mind, we can take a look at the format for the event itself to see how the participating teams will be pitted against each other. The Minor will begin with a Group Stage composed of two groups of four teams each. Within those groups, the teams will play a double-elimination GSL style format, with the two opening matches as well as the deciding Runner Up match being played in a Bo1 format while the Winner and Loser matches will be Bo3. The Group Stage will not feature any eliminations from the Minor, with the teams’ Group Stage records determining their seed in the Playoff Stage. The top team from each group will advance directly to the Semifinals and a guaranteed Top 4 finish, the 2nd place team from each group will advance to the Quarterfinals, and the bottom two teams from each group will play in Round 1 of the Playoff Bracket. Those first round matches will be played in a Bo1 format, with all other Playoff Stage series being Bo3. With the event format outlined, we can now look at the teams that will be competing in Jakarta for a chance at the Minor Championship.
- Please note that the “projected finishes” for each team are my own predictions and do not constitute any official or necessarily objective ranking based upon specific statistics or data.
Region: North America
Qualification: Direct Invite
Pro Circuit Rank: 9th (885 Qualifying Points)
1. Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
2. Clinton “Fear” Loomis
3. Sumail “Suma1L” Hassan
4. Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen
5. Rasmus “MISERY” Filipsen (Captain)
Projected Finish: Top 4
As the only directly invited team at the GESC: Indonesia Minor, North American squad Evil Geniuses come into the event as one of the favorites in the field of eight teams. The team has recently hit a bit of a setback, as the recent ESL One Katowice and Bucharest Majors resulted in the team losing its position within the Top 8 in the Pro Circuit standings. On the bright side, the team still stands as the highest ranked team from North America, and continues to maintain a strong hold over that regional hierarchy. A Top 4 finish in Jakarta would allow EG to reclaim its Top 8 status, and the North American squad will be looking to take advantage of this opportunity to take the lead in a field of participants that features only two Top 8 ranked team. (VGJ.Thunder, Na’Vi)
The last Pro Circuit appearance for Evil Geniuses came just a few days ago, as the team was one of the sixteen participating teams at the Bucharest Major. The team made a clean 3-0 sweep through the Group Stage that included wins over Team Liquid and Newbee. Unfortunately, the team could not fully capitalize on that how start, losing a Bo3 to Team Liquid in the Quarterfinals to finish in the 5th-8th place range at the Major. The team may not have found a Top 4 finish at that event, but its performance in Bucharest aligned with the kind of showings we’ve seen from EG on the international stage so far in 2018. The team has seen action in four Pro Circuit events since the start of the year and earned a Top 4 finish in one of them. (ESL One Genting) On paper, those results may not look so impressive, but its important to note where EG ended up in the standings at those events. The team placed in the 5th-8th range at the Captain’s Draft 4.0 Minor, 5th-6th at the ESL One Katowice Major, and 5th-8th at the Bucharest Major. In each instance, the team was a single series away from claiming a Top 4 spot, a feat that only a small number of squads have been able to achieve consistently in 2018. Also important to consider is who EG lost to in each of those final series, as the North American squad fell to Team Secret, Virtus.pro, and Team Liquid to end its runs short of the Top 4 mark. Overall, the team has been solid on the international level and on the Pro Circuit stage, but it needs one final push to get past the top ranked teams, or to avoid them altogether. On the home front, Evil Geniuses has been maintaining the level of play that it has had it as the region’s leading team for just about the entirety of the season to this point. The team has competed in just two Pro Circuit qualifiers in 2018, earning Top 4 finishes in both of them and winning one (DAC 2018 Major NA Qualifier). With its position at home seemingly stable for now, and its performance on the international level relatively consistent, Evil Geniuses enters this Minor with a fair bit of confidence and momentum.
Evil Geniuses has an incredible opportunity to take advantage of at this event, as the team searches for a path back into the Top 8 in the Pro Circuit standings. Coming into this event, Evil Geniuses is projected to finish within the Top 4 and secure itself enough Qualifying Points to reclaim its position among the Dota 2 world’s elite squads. The team has produced consistent results on the international stage, but has fallen short of further success when faced with some of the Pro Circuit’s leading squads. Those squads will be absent from the GESC: Indonesia Minor, with the only Top 8 ranked teams in attendance being Na’Vi and the recent Bucharest Major runner-up VGJ.Thunder. Evil Geniuses has proven itself capable of contending with and even defeating both of these teams, and even if it doesn’t there are still spots in the Top 4 that the team should be able to claim. With half of the team’s in the field either entirely unranked in the standings or making their Pro Circuit debut, the North American squad would have to take a very surprising loss to miss the mark at this event. However, success is far from set in stone for EG, as a slip up in the Group Stage or a bad performance in the single-elimination Playoff Stage would be all it would take to derail the team’s plans in Jakarta. The team cannot afford to underestimate anyone at this event, but if all goes according to plan, then expect Evil Geniuses to claim a Top 4 finish and return to the Top 8 in the Pro Circuit standings when all is said and done at the GESC: Indonesia Minor.
Rex Regum Qeon
Region: Southeast Asia
Qualification: Indonesia Qualifier Winner
Pro Circuit Rank: Not Ranked (0 Qualifying Poitns)
1. Rusman “Rusman” Hadi
2. Yusuf “Yabyoo” Kurniawan
3. Rivaldi “R7” Fatah
4. Kenny “Xepher” Deo (Captain)
5. Adi Syofian “Acil” Asyauri
Projected Finish: 7th-8th
Rex Regum Qeon is a rather interesting team in terms of their story so far this season, but unless you have been deep into the Southeast Asian scene it is probably not a team that you’ve much about. The squad is set to make its Pro Circuit debut at the GESC: Indonesia Minor, having won the Indonesia Qualifier to reach this stage. That victory came in the wake of some roster changes for the squad, as carry Rusman “Rusman” Hadi and offlaner Rivaldi “R7” Fatah were added to the roster just a day before the qualifier began. Those moves paid off for the Indonesian squad, as it now has an opportunity to make a solid first impression on the Pro Circuit stage while playing on home soil.
Since the team will be making its Pro Circuit debut at the GESC: Indonesia Minor, there are no recent results to look at in terms of the team’s play on that level. Nor is there much to go on when looking at international play, as the team has remained within the Southeast Asian region for the entirety of the season so far. Even the team’s play within 2018 gives us a minuscule pool of matches to work with, as the team has only participated in a single qualifier since the start of the year. The team put together an encouraging performance in that qualifier though, posting a 5-3 Group Stage record that advanced it to the Playoff Stage. The team pushed past EVOS Esports in the Semifinals 2-1, and defeated Alter Ego 3-1 in the Finals to secure a first place finish and a spot at this Minor. Aside from that, the team’s regional experience in Southeast Asia has been limited to open qualifiers and local tournaments. While the team’s success in the Indonesia qualifier is a good start for it, Rex Regum Qeon will face a significantly harder challenge as it plays on the Pro Circuit stage for the first time.
Rex Regum Qeon comes into the GESC: Indonesia with a valuable opportunity to gain experience on the international level, but the team isn’t necessarily expected to accomplish much in its Pro Circuit debut. Finding success on the Pro Circuit is already a monumental challenge, and doing so in a team’s first appearance is an even more daunting task. To accomplish this with those obstacles in place and no international experience to speak of this season would be near miraculous. Coming into the GESC: Indonesia Minor, Rex Regum Qeon is projected to finish in the combined last place position of 7th-8th. The team will have some hope of making a run at the event due to the format of the event, as none of the participants will be eliminated in the Group Stage. That will give Rex Regum Qeon at least one shot to win either a Bo1 or a Bo3 series in the Playoff Stage, and the potential to surprise an opponent that may underestimate it on such a large stage. That scenario for success is always a possibility for Rex Regum Qeon, but its best to keep hopes high and expectations low for the Indonesian squad in its Pro Circuit debut.
Region: Southeast Asia
Qualification: Southeast Asia Qualifier Winner
Pro Circuit Rank: 11th (614 Qualifying Points)
1. Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao (Captain)
2. Abed “Abed” Yusop
3. Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora
4. Djardel “DJ” Mampusti
5. Johan “pieliedie” Åström
Projected Finish: Top 4
Fnatic looked to have quite a lot going its way as the team entered the 2018 section of the season. The team’s roster had seen the addition of high profile talent, and its level of play within the Southeast Asian region was on the rise. All that the squad appeared to need was a chance to prove itself on the international stage and claim its position among the world’s best teams. That scenario may not have played out immediately for Fnatic this year, but it’s beginning to come together now for the SEA squad. The team appeared to make a breakthrough with its recent Top 4 finish in Katowice, and that achievement has the team riding a fair bit of momentum as it looks to begin climbing up the Pro Circuit standings with a solid performance at the GESC: Indonesia Minor.
Fnatic’s most recent appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came at the end of February at the aforementioned ESL One Katowice Major, where it earned its first Top 4 finish of 2018. The team put together a fantastic run at the Major that included an impressive 2-1 victory over Pro Circuit powerhouse Team Secret. That degree of success on the international level was something that the team’s current roster hadn’t been able to achieve up to that point. The team’s only other experience on the international level in 2018 was at the ESL One Genting Minor back in January, where it turned in a much less encouraging performance on the Pro Circuit stage. The team put together a 2-4 record in the Group Stage and finished in the 9th-12th place range at the event overall. With the Southeast Asian squad getting itself back on track on the Pro Circuit, Fnatic appears to be putting that previous struggle behind it. The team’s recent Pro Circuit success has been a reflection of its stronger presence within the Southeast Asian region as well. Fnatic has participated in five Pro Circuit qualifiers since the finalization of its roster in January, and has earned Top 4 finishes in all of them. Those results within its home region have elevated Fnatic to the level of power and prestige within Southeast Asia that many had expected of the team at the beginning of the season. With its position within its home region stabilizing and its profile on the Pro Circuit on the rise, Fnatic comes in the GESC: Indonesia Minor with a significant opportunity to further improve its standing on both fronts.
Fnatic has seen a resurgence in the 2018 section of the season after a somewhat rough start to its Pro Circuit campaign. The team has become one of the leading squads within the Southeast Asian region and its recent success on the Pro Circuit serves as a highly encouraging sign of what the team is capable of on the international stage. Coming into the GESC: Indonesia Minor, the Southeast Asian squad is projected to finish in the Top 4 in the field of eight participants. While the team’s last Top 4 finish at the ESL One Katowice Major didn’t move it up the Pro Circuit standings by a wide margin, it still helps situate the team as one of the more favored squads in Jakarta. That being said, it won’t be an easy path for Fnatic to reach that Top 4 mark at the Minor. The team will have to fight through a group that contains a VGJ.Thunder squad that is coming off of a 2nd place finish at the Bucharest Major. In addition to that, the group also contains two squads (Digital Chaos & The Final Tribe) that are making their Pro Circuit debuts and could potentially present a match up problem considering their lack of international exposure. Even with those considerations, Fnatic is still one of the favored teams in the field of participants in Jakarta, and unless the team suffers a setback or significantly underestimates one of its opponents, the Southeast Asian squad should be on track to continue enjoying its recent run of success on the Pro Circuit.
Qualification: China Qualifier Winner
Qualifying Points Rank: 6th (1395 Qualifying Points)
1. Lui “Sylar” Jiajun
2. Lui “Kamma” Chang
3. Zhou “Yang” Haiyang
4. Pan “Fade” Yi (Captain)
5. Leong “ddc” Fat-meng
Projected Finish: Top 4
For many Dota 2 fans, the name VGJ.Thunder wasn’t one that invoked a particular sense of fear or respect, as the team itself hadn’t been featured much on the international stage. The squad had been fighting its way through the ranks in the Chinese region all season long, but in February the team made some news with the addition of Leong “ddc” Fat-meng to the lineup. That acquisition earned the team its first Qualifying Points of the season, but the Chinese squad was determined to increase that total with a solid performance on the Pro Circuit stage. The team truly grabbed the attention of the Dota 2 world with its showing at the recent Bucharest Major, as the team catapulted itself into the global spotlight and the Pro Circuit standings with its 2nd place run. With that finish, VGJ.Thunder was suddenly cast into the role of one of the Pro Circuit’s leading squads, and the Chinese team was looking to exert some of its newfound power with a solid showing at the GESC: Indonesia Minor.
The most recent appearance for VGJ.Thunder on the Pro Circuit came just a few days ago at the previously mentioned Bucharest Major. The team was making just its third Pro Circuit appearance of the season, but its new lineup was ready to show the Dota 2 world and its fellow participants that it was capable of competing with the Pro Circuit’s best teams. VGJ.Thunder swept through the Group Stage with a 3-0 record that included wins over Top 8 ranked squads Vici Gaming and Team Secret, and pushed past TNC Pro Team and Newbee in Bo3 series to reach the Finals of the Major. Despite losing 0-3 to Virtus.pro in that final series, the Chinese squad proved that it could find success on the Pro Circuit stage. That success on the international level was the team’s first of 2018, as VGJ.Thunder’s only other international experience so far this year came from a 7th-8th place finish at the ESL One Genting Minor in January. The Chinese squad’s Pro Circuit success may have been a recent development, but its strength within China has been a more consistent asset for VGJ.Thunder. Since finalizing its roster at the beginning of February, VGJ.Thunder had seen action in two Pro Circuit qualifiers, earning Top 4 finishes in both of them and winning the qualifier for this GESC: Indonesia Minor. When looking at 2018 as a whole, the number of qualifiers the team has participated in gets bumped up to five, and VGJ.Thunder has earned Top 4 finishes across all of those qualifier runs. With an emerging presence on the international level and a stable and consistent output at home, VGJ.Thunder comes in this Minor with confidence and momentum.
VGJ.Thunder come into the GESC: Indonesia with a lot of things going its way, as the team stands as one of the Pro Circuit’s leading squads following its breakthrough performance at the last Major. The Chinese squad enters the event with a projected finish within the Top 4 based upon its strong showing on the international stage and its consistently impressive showing in China. However, for any team that rises as quickly as VGJ.Thunder has, there is always the threat of a drop off or relapse. The Chinese squad could run into some trouble in the Group Stage as it competes with Fnatic as well as two potential wild cards in the form of debuting squads The Final Tribe and Digital Chaos. With those challenges awaiting it in Jakarta, VGJ.Thunder is not guaranteed an easy path to another Top 4 finish at this Minor. On the other hand, we saw just how well the team was able to perform against some of the Pro Circuit’s best squads in Bucharest. If the Chinese squad can maintain that level of play and that consistency that it displayed at the Major, then VGJ.Thunder will be in one of the more favorable positions to find success at the GESC: Indonesia Minor.
Region: North America
Qualification: North America Qualifier Winner
Pro Circuit Rank: Not Ranked (0 Qualifying Points)
1. Ravindu “Ritsu” Kodippili
2. Jonathan Bryle “bryle” Santos De Guia
3. David “MoonMeander” Tan
4. Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling
5. Stanley “Stan King” Yang (Captain)
Projected Finish: 5th-6th
The team now playing under the name Digital Chaos has gone through a rather interesting series of events in the 2018 section of the season. The team first came together as Animal Planet at the beginning of January, but were signed by the Iceberg Esports organization by the end of the month. After around a month with Iceberg Esports, the team left the organization and returned to the Animal Planet name only to be signed by Digital Chaos a few days ago. That final change of organization also brought a roster change with it, as support player and team captain Kartik “kitrak” Rathi was replaced by Stanley “Stan King” Yang. Now that the roller coaster of changes appears to be at an end, the squad can focus and prepare for its Pro Circuit debut, as the North American team attempts to earn its first Qualifying Points of the season with a solid showing in Jakarta.
With the team set to make its debut on the Pro Circuit at the GESC: Indonesia Minor, the squad has not been able to accrue any experience on that stage so far this season, whether under the Digital Chaos banner or any of its other recent names. Not only has the team not played any matches on the Pro Circuit stage, it also lacks any results on the international level as well. The only place where the team has been able to compete since its inception has been the North American region, where it has put together a relatively impressive record. The team has seen action in eight Pro Circuit qualifiers across its time as both Animal Planet and Iceberg Esports (The team has yet to participate in a qualifier under the Digital Chaos name). In those eight qualifiers, the North American squad has earned itself four Top 4 finishes, which includes the 1st place run that qualified it for this Minor in Jakarta. A Top 4 rate of 50% is fairly impressive for a squad that only officially formed two months ago, especially in a region that has been largely dominated by teams like Evil Geniuses, compLexity Gaming, and OpTic Gaming so far this season. However, Digital Chaos has been able to find its opportunities to carve out a space for itself in the North American hierarchy in spite of its run in with organizational changes and drama. As the team heads towards its Pro Circuit debut, Digital Chaos will be looking to replicate its regional success into tangible results on the international stage.
Digital Chaos enter the GESC: Indonesia Minor looking to make a statement in its first Pro Circuit appearance. The team has had its fair share of issues with its previous organization, but the North American squad hasn’t allowed that drama outside of the game to effect its level of play within its home region. Coming into the Minor, the team is projected to finish within the 5th-6th place range, with the potential to move up into the Top 4 under the right situation. With that prediction in mind, let’s take a look at some of the concerns regarding the team at this event before we examine how it could outperform those expectations. First and foremost, Digital Chaos will be making its first appearance on the Pro Circuit stage in Jakarta. This season has given us a few examples of team’s facing significant struggles adjusting to its first Pro Circuit event, regardless of the experience level of its players. The team has also been placed in a group with VGJ.Thunder and Fnatic, two squads that have already proven themselves capable of putting together solid results on the Pro Circuit stage. However, there are positives to consider in these situations as well. The team’s inexperience on the Pro Circuit also makes them harder to plan for, as its prospective opponents may be less familiar with the team’s strategies and play style. The format of the event will benefit the squad as well, as none of the teams will be eliminated in the Group Stage. Digital Chaos will be playing for seeding in the Playoff Stage, and even if it fall near the bottom of the Group Stage standings, it will have at least one chance in a Bo1 or Bo3 scenario to keep itself alive in the Playoff Bracket. With that in mind, Digital Chaos comes into the GESC: Indonesia Minor with the makings of a solid showing, but don’t be surprised if the team pushes and challenges for a Top 4 spot in Jakarta.
Region: South America
Qualification: South America Qualifier Winner
Pro Circuit Rank: Not Ranked (0 Qualifying Points)
1. Alonso “Kotarō Hayama” León
2. Mariano “Papita” Caneda (Captain)
3. Steven “StingeR” Vargas
4. Elvis “Scofield” De la Cruz Peña
5. Christian “Accel” Cruz
Projected Finish: 7th-8th
It’s been a season of growing pains and learning experiences so far for South American team Infamous, as the squad comes into the GESC: Indonesia looking for its first Qualifying Points of its 2017-2018 campaign. The season as a whole has been a difficult period for the South American region, as it stands unrepresented in the Pro Circuit standings. Infamous has a position as a team at the forefront of the region’s push to compete on the international stage, but so far has not been able to find much success. With the squad attending its third Pro Circuit event of 2018 and its sixth overall this season, Infamous is hoping to finally bring the long period of waiting to an end for the South American region as a whole with a successful performance in Jakarta.
The last Pro Circuit appearance for Infamous came at the end of February, when the team was among the sixteen teams participating in the ESL One Katowice Major. The South American squad did not play particularly well at the event, posting an 0-3 record in the Group Stage that had it sitting in the combined last place position of 13th-16th. That unfortunate performance in Katowice has been indicative of the team’s struggles on the international stage. Infamous’ other Pro Circuit appearance of 2018 also resulted in a last place finish, a 7th-8th place effort at the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4 Minor. In fact, of the team’s five Pro Circuit events so far this season, its best performance standings-wise was a 7th place finish in a 9 team field at the MDL Macau Minor back in December. Infamous may not be taking full advantage of its international opportunities at this stage in the season, but its strong performance within its home region continues to put the squad in a position to earn those opportunities. In 2018, Infamous has participated in five regional qualifiers for Pro Circuit events and finished no worse than 3rd in any of them. Looking across the entire season, one would have to go all the way back to the ESL One Hamburg regional qualifiers to find the last time the team finished outside of the Top 4 at a Pro Circuit qualifier. That is a streak of 13 straight qualifiers with a Top 4 finish for Infamous, a feat of consistency nearly unrivaled on the Pro Circuit. However, none of the international opportunities that have come from those solid regional performances have resulted in Qualifying Points for the team, leaving the squad with many concerns as it approaches the Minor.
Infamous will be looking to bring an end to the drought of Pro Circuit success that has been hanging over the South American region all season long. However, given the team’s performance on the Pro Circuit stage to this point in the season, it’s hard to have much confidence that the squad will be able to get things done in Jakarta. Coming into the GESC: Indonesia Minor, Infamous is projected to finish in the shared last place position of 7th-8th, with the prospects of finishing above that mark appearing to be very low. The team has struggled on the international stage time and time again in the past, and the eight team field at this Minor still contains teams with proven Pro Circuit success under their belts. Those are the squads that Infamous has traditionally fared poorly against, and it seems unlikely that the team suddenly turns the table of those opponents based on its recent level of play. Things aren’t all bad for Infamous at this event though, as there are still some positive aspects that could potentially allow for the team to make a deeper run at the event. The team has been placed into a group that contains both Na’Vi and Evil Geniuses, but the Group Stage will not feature any elimination for the teams involved. If the South American squad can secure a higher seed in its group than debuting Indonesian squad Rex Regum Qeon, then it would advance to the Quarterfinals of the Playoff Stage and would be just a singe Bo3 series away from a Top 4 position. So the path to success is laid out for Infamous at this event, but reaching it will be a difficult challenge for the South American squad. Just because the scenario exists doesn’t mean that the team will be able to accomplish its goals in Jakarta. For Infamous and its fans, the advice for this Minor is about the same as it has been all season: set expectations as low as possible, but hope for the best.
The Final Tribe
Qualification: Europe Qualifier Winner
Pro Circuit Rank: Not Ranked (0 Qualifying Points)
1. Pontus “NoX” Frost
2. Adrian “Era” Kryeziu (Captain)
3. Jonas “jonassomfan” Lindholm
4. Axel “Pablo” Källman
5. Simon “Handsken” Haag
Projected Finish: 5th-6th
It’s been a tale of two halves for European squad The Final Tribe so far this season, as the team prepares to make its first appearance on the Pro Circuit stage in Jakarta. The team came together early on in the season, with the initial roster forming in October of 2017. During that time, the team was a relative afterthought within the European scene, but the new year brought changes to both the team’s roster and its level of play within the region. Pontus “NoX” Frost and Axel “Pablo” Källman were added to the lineup at the end of the January, and the team has begun picking up steam in the wake of those roster moves. With its standing within the European region on the rise, The Final Tribe now has a chance to make a strong first impression on the Pro Circuit stage with a solid showing at the GESC: Indonesia Minor.
The GESC: Indonesia Minor will be the first appearance by The Final Tribe at a Pro Circuit event, meaning the team has no previous history of Pro Circuit LANs to analyze. It’s not just a lack of Pro Circuit matches that cause some concern with The Final Tribe, as the team’s experience outside of its home region so far this season is nearly nonexistent. The team’s only matches outside of the European region so far came from the joint Europe and CIS MID.TV Challenge Cup back in December, where the team put together a 2-2 Group Stage run that wasn’t enough to reach the Playoff Stage of the event. Aside from that event, all of the team’s experience this season has been within the European region, but those results have been somewhat encouraging for the squad of late. The squad has competed in three Pro Circuit qualifiers since officially adding its most recent two members, and has finished no worse than 3rd in any of them. Going back to the beginning of 2018, when NoX and Pablo were with the team as stand-ins, those numbers get changed to four qualifier appearances and four Top 4 finishes. Granted, it’s not the largest of sample sizes to gauge a team’s potential performance on, but these results are at least trending in the right direction for The Final Tribe heading into the Minor.
The Final Tribe is looking to make a name for itself in its Pro Circuit debut, and to join the ranks of the European squads to have claimed a place in the Pro Circuit standings. The team’s results in Europe have shown its potential and talent, but the lack of significant international experience this season is a somewhat concerning aspect of the team’s track record. Coming into the GESC: Indonesia Minor, The Final Tribe is projected to finish in the 5th-6th place range, but the potential is there for the team to make the jump into a Top 4 position if it plays its cards right. The Final Tribe has been placed into a group that contains two Pro Circuit ranked squads in VGJ.Thunder and Fnatic. On top of that, the team will also have to compete with another squad looking to put together a strong Pro Circuit debut in Digital Chaos. That combination of hungry newcomers and established powers creates a dangerous situation for The Final Tribe in the Group Stage, but the Minor’s format gives the team a fail safe option. The lack of elimination in the Group Stage of the Minor will give The Final Tribe some leeway if it finds itself struggling in its group, as the team will have at least one opportunity to play in the Playoff Stage regardless of its Group Stage record. From that point, the onus will be on the members of the team’s roster to put its experience and skill to use in match ups in which it is likely to be the underdog. Right now, the team is predicted to be on the outside looking in in terms of a Top 4 finish, but all it would take is a single slip up from one of the established squads are a strong run from The Final Tribe itself to shake things up and give the European squad a solid chance to earn Qualifying Points in its first Pro Circuit appearance of the season.
Natus Vincere (Na’Vi)
Qualification: Direct Invite
Pro Circuit Rank: 7th (1109 Qualifying Points)
1. Vladislav “Crystallize” Krystanek
2. Danil “Dendi” Ishutin
3. Victor “GeneRaL” Nigrini
4. Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk (Captain)
5. Nikola “LeBronDota” Popović
Projected Finish: Top 4
Na’Vi has presented an interesting case on the Pro Circuit over the last month or so, as the team currently still stands within the Top 8 in the Pro Circuit standings. As many may be aware though, the team didn’t necessarily reach that mark through its play on the Pro Circuit. The team made a high profile trade with Virtus.pro near the end of the open roster period that added Ilya “Lil“ Ilyuk and his near 900 Qualifying Points to the team. The team also added Nikola “LeBronDota” Popović in place of its former captain as well, which put Na’Vi in a somewhat rare situation in which its Pro Circuit standing improved massively while its new roster was unproved together on the international level. Since those roster moves, the team has been working to get itself into a level where its Pro Circuit results match up to its relatively high rank in the standings, but its been a slow process so far. With the team considered one of the more established power in the field in Jakarta, Na’Vi has a chance to give that process a significant boost with a solid performance at the GESC: Indonesia Minor.
Na’Vi was last seen on the Pro Circuit just a few days ago, as the CIS squad participated in the Bucharest Major. The team put up a valiant effort in the Group Stage of the Major, putting together a 2-3 record that left it just short of making the Playoff Stage and ended its run in the 9th-11th place position. That performance in Bucharest has been reflective of the team’s fortunes on the Pro Circuit stage so far in 2018, as the team has been struggling to pull itself out of the bottom half of the standings in all of its appearances since the turn of the year. The team’s Bucharest run was preceded by a disastrous campaign at the ESL One Katowice Major (finished 13th-16th). Even before that, when the team was still playing with its pre-roster lock lineup, the best finish Na’Vi has managed in 2018 was a 7th-8th place position at the ESL One Genting Minor in January. The team has not looked solid on the international level, but Na’Vi has looked significantly better within its home region for what that’s worth. The team’s new roster has competed in just one Pro Circuit qualifier, but it did manage to earn a Top 4 finish in that qualifier. In 2018, the team has earned Top 4 finishes in both of its qualifier runs, including a 1st place position that earned it a spot at this Minor. In fact, the CIS region appears to be the only place where the team has been able to perform on a consistent basis, as the squad has finished within the Top 4 in every qualifier that it has participated in so far this season. That kind of stable and consistent production at home is a valuable asset for a team, but Na’Vi has to prove that it is capable of carrying that level of play and that success over onto the international stage if it wants to hold onto its favorable position in the Pro Circuit standings.
Na’Vi enters the GESC: Indonesia Minor as a team struggling to find answers on the international stage. The team’s changes around the roster lock elevated it to a position of power on the Pro Circuit, but the team has not yet shown that it is ready to handle the defense of that position. Heading into the event, Na’Vi is projected to finish in the Top 4, but that prediction is the least confident of all the teams in the field in Jakarta. The team’s recent issues at the ESL One Katowice Major and the Bucharest Major have raised some serious concerns about the team’s ability to compete consistently on the Pro Circuit stage. The CIS squad’s regional performance has been admirable and stable to this point in the season, but the team seems unable to carry over any of that momentum from the home front to the international stage. With so many concerns, issues, and potential red flags surrounding Na’Vi, one could question why it is projected to finish in the Top 4 at this event at all. The answer is even with all of those problems, Na’Vi has been put into a favorable position to succeed at the GESC: Indonesia Minor. First and foremost, the team’s roster is loaded with both talented and experienced players. Don’t let the teams’ recent Pro Circuit struggles fool you on that point. The team has players and leadership that have proven themselves to be capable of winning at the highest level, and a squad with those assets can only be down for so long before it begins moving back towards some semblance of competitive balance. As for the event itself, the format and groups provide Na’Vi with a benefit as well. The Group Stage will not feature any elimination, giving the CIS squad an important fail-safe should it struggle in its matches. Na’Vi shouldn’t have too many difficulties in its Group Stage matches though considering its opponents. Aside from Evil Geniuses, Na’Vi has to compete with Infamous, whose struggles this season make Na’Vi’s issues look minuscule in comparison, and Rex Regum Qeon, the team that won the Indonesia Qualifier and will be making its first ever Pro Circuit appearance at this event. Those are two opponents that Na’Vi should be able to push past with relative comfort, and doing so would position the team just one Bo3 series away from a Top 4 finish at the Minor. The road for Na’Vi at the GESC: Indonesia is about as easy as it’s going to get for the CIS squad this season, and we’ll see if the team can take advantage of this opportunity and begin the process of getting back on track on the Pro Circuit.