The regional qualifiers have officially come to an end, and 15 of the 16 teams in the field for the first Major of the season have been decided
The Dota 2 Pro Circuit is back in full swing now in its second official season, and the offseason is a thing of the past as the first set of regional qualifiers have now official ended. The Kualu Lumpur Major may still be a few months away (November 9), but we know now the identities of 15 of the 16 teams that will be competing to claim the title of Major Champion for the first time this season. 3 squads each from Europe, China, and North America will be among the field of teams in Kualu Lumpur, as will 2 teams each from CIS, Southeast Asia, and South America. 1 of these regions will be receiving an extra representative, but exactly which region that will be and what team will be rounding out the 16 team field will not be known until the conclusion of the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor at the end of October. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at the 15 squads that fought their way through the regional qualifiers and are locked in to spots at The Kuala Lumpur Major. Note that this will only be a brief bit of basic information about each squad, and a slightly more in-depth preview post will be forthcoming closer to the start of the Major.
Region: Europe (1st – Europe Qualifier)
Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng
Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg
Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat
Clement “Puppey” Ivanov
Lee “SunBhie” Jeong-jae (Coach)
The addition of Nisha and zai to this lineup appears to have paid off well for Team Secret to start the season, as the squad absolutely dominated the Europe Qualifier for this event and only dropped a single match in the process. With an abundance of experience and talent under its belt and momentum from its stellar play in the regional qualifier, Team Secret stands as quite the formidable opponent in this field as the organization looks to claim its 1st Major Championship of the season, and its 3rd overall.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
Region: Europe (2nd – Europe Qualifier)
Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard
Adrian “Fata” Trinks
Neta “33” Shapira
Martin “Saksa” Sazdov
Peter “ppd” Dager
The Ninjas in Pyjamas organization has not exactly had the best of track records within the Dota 2 scene, but there was hope that this time around NiP would be able to find more consistent success with a lineup put together by veteran captain ppd. So far, the new NiP roster has lived up to the hype and expectations, as the squad easily handled itself in the Europe Qualifier for this Major, losing just 1 series each to fellow attendees Team Secret and Alliance while posting a 10-4 overall record. With ppd at the helm and a roster full of players with extensive international experience, this new Ninjas in Pyjamas roster has a chance of emerging as a powerhouse on the Pro Circuit and should come into Kuala Lumpur as a legitimate threat to any squad in the field.
Region: Europe (3rd – Europe Qualifier)
Max “qojqva” Bröcker
Micke “miCKe“ Nguyen
Samuel “Boxi“ Svahn
Aydin “iNSaNiA“ Sarkohi
Tommy “Taiga“ Le
Jonathan “Loda“ Berg (Coach)
It’s been quite some time since we’ve been able to have any kind of serious conversation about Alliance being relevant on the international level, but the TI3 Champions now stand on the verge of a return to prominence in the Dota 2 world with this appearance at The Kuala Lumpur Major. With former player Loda working behinds the scenes from the coaching role and regional veteran qojqva anchoring the lineup, the long and sometimes painful rebuild for Alliance appears to be tantalizingly close to being fully realized this season. Even with its success in the regional qualifiers, this Alliance squad isn’t likely to enter the Major as a particularly favored team just yet. However, underestimating this squad could prove to be a disastrous decision as this current roster makes its first high profile appearance on the international level in Kuala Lumpur.
Region: CIS (1st – CIS Qualifier)
Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev
Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov
Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan
Alexei “Solo” Berezin
Arsenij “ArsZeeqq” Usov (Coach)
It only seems right that the top ranked squad on the Pro Circuit last season would begin this new season with another appearance on the Pro Circuit stage, as Virtus.pro has punched its ticket to Kuala Lumpur with a 1st place finish in the CIS Qualifier. The team’s dominance within its home region was so secure and so expected, that even the use of a stand-in for the qualifier wasn’t enough to slow VP down as it put together a 10-3 record against its regional rivals. VP was one of the most impressive squads on the Pro Circuit last season, as its position in the regular season rankings showed, and the team will likely enter The Kuala Lumpur Major as a favorite to claim a record 5th Major Championship as an organization.
Region: CIS (2nd – CIS Qualifier)
Nikita “Daxak” Kuzmin
Andrey “Afoninje” Afonin
Vasily “AfterLife” Shishkin
Rinat “KingR” Abdullin
Ivan “VANSKOR” Skorokhod
ferzee comes into The Kuala Lumpur Major as one of the biggest stories from the regional qualifier stage, as a ragtag group of CIS veterans beat out some of the biggest organizations in the region to claim a place at this first Major of the season. The team’s story becomes even more impressive when one considers the fact that ferzee finished 0-4 in the Group Stage of the qualifier, then subsequently won 4 straight series against Na’Vi, Winstrike Team, Espada, and Team Spirit to lock down 1 of the 2 Major spots for the CIS region. As surprising as ferzee’s success may have been, this squad has quite a bit of talent and experience on its side, and if the teams in the field at this Major underestimate it like its regional rivals did, then ferzee could have a significant impact on the proceedings in Kuala Lumpur.
Region: China (1st – China Qualifier)
Wang “Ame” Chunyu
Lu “Somnus丶M” Yao
Yang “Chalice”‘ Shenyi
Xu “fy” Linsen
Jian Wei “xNova” Yap
Yao “QQQ” Yi (Coach)
The top ranked Chinese squad from the previous Pro Circuit season is set to make its return to the Pro Circuit stage right of the bat, as PSG.LGD has secured itself a place at The Kuala Lumpur Major as the top seed from the Chinese region. The team made no changes to its roster through the offseaon period, and that consistency helped keep it on top within its home region with a 12-7 record in its regional qualifier. PSG.LGD was one of the most formidable forces on the Pro Circuit last season and came just 1 game away from claiming the Aegis of Champions at TI8. Expect this squad to come into the first Major of the season with something to prove as it begins its quest to avenge that narrow TI8 loss.
Region: China (2nd – China Qualifier)
Zhang “Paparazi灬” Chengjun
Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang
Ding “Dy” Cong
Bai “rOtK” Fan (Coach)
Vici Gaming came into this Pro Circuit season with a new look, as the organization opted to rebuild its roster around the duo of Paparazi灬 and Ori. There were some questions as to how well the new lineup would perform to start the season, but Vici Gaming certainly looked the part of a regional leader with its play in the China Qualifier. The team put together a 10-6 overall record that included series victories over squads like Newbee and PSG.LGD, and its roster additions held their own in the face of some of the region’s toughest opposition. Will Vici Gaming be considered a leading contender for the Major Championships title at this event? Probably not, all things considered. However, the squad’s strong start within its home region means that the team can’t be completely counted out as it looks to become just the second Chinese squad to ever win a Major Championship.
Region: China (3rd – China Qualifier)
Liu “Sylar” Jiajun
Deng “Dstones” Lei
Lin “Xxs” Jing
Ye “BoBoKa” Zhibiao
Lu “Fenrir” Chao
Xu “BurNIng” Zhilei (Coach)
When Team Aster announced its roster in the offseason, there was a lot of hype and excitement as many anticipated the squad emerging as a potential leading squad in China. That emergence appears to be coming about as early as possible this season, as Team Aster is set to appear in the first Major of the 2018-2019 campaign after an impressive showing in the regional qualifiers. The team posted a 9-7 record in the China Qualifier, and went toe-to-toe with squads like Vici Gaming, Team Serenity, and PSG.LGD to claim the region’s final spot in Kuala Lumpur. The team’s young star Midlaner, Dstones, put together an impressive showing against regional opposition, but his debut on the international level will give us a feel for just how much damage Team Aster will be able to do on the Pro Circuit this season.
Region: Southeast Asia (1st – Southeast Asia Qualifier)
Pyo “MP” No-a
Abed “Abed” Azel L. Yusop
Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang
Djardel Jicko B. “DJ” Mampusti
Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong
Kim “DuBu” Doo-young (Coach)
Fnatic’s offseason moves made it a clear choice to maintain its position as one of the leading squads in the Southeast Asian region, and the team certainly played like a leader in its regional qualifier. The team absolutely dominated its regional rivals, posting an incredible 10-1 record in the Southeast Asia Qualifier and demolishing squads like Tigers and Team Admiral while winning back to back series against fellow Kuala Lumpur Major attendee TNC Predator. The team’s new roster is brimming with talent and experience, and barring any sort of unexpected meltdowns on the international level, Fnatic should be one of the more formidable squads in the field in Kuala Lumpur.
Region: Southeast Asia (2nd – Southeast Asia Qualifier)
Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte
Armel Paul “Armel” Tabios
Carlo “Kuku” Palad
Timothy “Tims” Randrup
Michael “ninjaboogie” Ross Jr.
TNC Predator made headlines this offseason with its roster additions as well as the move for Kuku from the Support role into the Offlane. Those roster moves appear to be paying off early in this Pro Circuit season, as the team put together an impressive regional qualifier performance to secure itself a place in this Major within its home region. The team’s overall record in the regional qualifier was 9-6, although the squad ended up losing both of its series against fellow Major attendee Fnatic. That last little nugget of information may just be enough to cultivate some doubts as to the team’s ability to be true contender in Kuala Lumpur, but a solid start to its Pro Circuit season and a chance to play in front of a friendly crowd in its home region still leaves a lot of upside and potential for TNC Predator at the Major.
Region: North America (1st – North America Qualifier)
Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan
Gustav “s4” Magnusson
Andreas Franck “Cr1t-” Nielsen
Tal “Fly” Aizik
Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale (Coach)
Following a 3rd place finish at TI8 and an offseason free of roster changes, Evil Geniuses entered the season as a clear cut favorite to continue holding its role as a leader in the North American region. The squad certainly played like a regional leader in the North America Qualifier, putting together win after win over its regional rivals. EG posted an overall record of 10-2 in the qualifier, and claimed wins over fellow Major attendees Marchoutofarmy and Forwrad Gaming in 3 separate series en route to the top seed in the North American region. Based on the team’s dominant run through its regional qualifier and its strong finish at TI8, Evil Geniuses enter this first Major of the season as one of the more formidable squads in the field, and a potential threat to claim its first Major Championship in Kuala Lumpur.
Region: North America (2nd – North America Qualifier)
Yawar “YawaR” Hassan
Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok
Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora
Arif “MSS” Anwar
Avery “SVG” Silverman
Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling (Coach)
Forward Gaming made waves in the North American region when it signed the former roster of VGJ.Storm and added regional veteran UNiVeRsE to the lineup. Those moves put the organization in a position as an immediate leader in the region, and the squad played like a leading squad in its regional qualifier. The team posted a 9-5 record in the qualifier that included a 4-1 record against fellow Major attendee Marchoutofarmy. Unfortunately, that record also included a 1-4 record and 2 series losses against Evil Geniuses, the third North American squad in the field at The Kuala Lumpur Major. When this squad played under the VGJ.Storm banner, it was able to put together incredibly strong showings on the international level, and the addition of UNiVeRsE to that lineup only looks to make the team stronger this season. Forward Gaming may not stand as a favorite to win the Major, but it certainly has the potential to shake up the standings in Kuala Lumpu as it looks to claim the first ever Major Championship title for the North American region.
Region: North America (3rd – North America Qualifier)
David “Moo” Hull
Jonathan “Bryle” De Guia
Lee “Forev” Sang-don
Milan “MiLAN” Kozomara
Park “March” Tae-won
With 3 players and the coach of the Wind and Rain squad that nearly beat OG in the TI8 Europe Qualifier making their way over to North America, Marchoutofarmy presented an interesting contender in a region that seemed completely unclear aside from EG and Forward Gaming at the top. The squad was able to take advantage of the relative chaos in its home region, posting a 9-6 record that secured it a place in Kuala Lumpur for this first Major of the season. Of course, the squad ended up losing both of its series against fellow Major attendees Evil Geniuses and Forward Gaming, which does raise a few concerns about how well the team will perform on the intentional level. Even with those concerns, this roster has a fair bit of talent and international experience under its belt, so the potential is there for Marchoutofarmy to have an impact on the standings in Kuala Lumpur, though the team will likely still be fairly far from consideration as a true contender for the Major Championship crown.
Region: South America (1st – South America Qualifier)
After a rather unorthodox series of moves in the offseason, paiN Gaming has wound up with 2 squads under its banner this season, both of whom will be taking the stage in Kuala Lumpur at the first Major of the season. This main paiN Gaming squad entered the season looking like a safe bet to retain its position as a leading team in South America, and the team more than lived up to that billing in its regional qualifier. The team made a perfect run through the South America Qualifier with a 10-0 overall record that included 2 wins over Infamous and 4 wins over fellow Major attendee paiN X. There is absolutely no question that this squad is the top team in South America to begin this new season, and with a fair bit more international experience under its belt this time around, the squad could potentially put together an impressive showing in Kuala Lumpur.
Region: South America (2nd – South America Qualifier)
Ravindu “Ritsu” Kodippili
Quinn “CC&C” Callahan
Adriano de Paula “4dr”Machado
Francis “FrancisLee” Lee
The mixed North and South American squad known as paiN X was a relatively late addition to the South American region, as the squad was announced just days before the start of the regional qualifiers, and wasn’t formally introduced as paiN X until the qualifier had already begun. While the announcements and movement of the paiN Gaming organization may have been somewhat muddled, the strong performance of paiN X as a team was crystal clear, as the squad dominated its regional rivals. The team posted a 8-6 overall record, though 4 of those losses came against the team’s sister squad and fellow Major attendee paiN Gaming. Aside from those losses, paiN X defeated Braxstone and Infamous, while taking down Thunder Predator twice to secure its place in Kuala Lumpur. While the team’s performance against other South American teams was admirable, the 2 series losses to paiN Gaming introduces some doubts as to whether paiN X will be able to truly compete on the international level. As of right now, the squad is fairly far down the list in terms of potential impact at this Major, but we shall see if the South American squad has any surprises in store for the opposition in Kuala Lumpur.
TBD (Winner of the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor)
The final slot among the field of 16 teams is reserved for the team that wins the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor, which is set to begin October 29 and end just 5 days before the beginning of the Major. The Minor will feature 2 teams each from Europe and North America, alongside 1 squad from each of the other regions (CIS, China, SEA, and SA). As a reminder, the team that advances from the Minor to the Major will receive the higher Qualifying Point total between the 2 events. That means that this final squad would need to finish at least 12th in order to earn more qualifying points from its participation at the Major.