Pro Circuit Qualifier Preview – DreamLeague Season 10 Minor CIS Qualifier

Older organizations hope to reclaim their legacies while new challengers are on the rise in the CIS region, with just 1 spot available at the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor

With the regional qualifier for The Kuala Lumpur Major now concluded, the eyes of the Dota 2 world turn to the accompanying Minor, as the qualifiers for the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor get underway. The winner of the Minor will earn itself the 16th and final spot in the field for The Kuala Lumpur Major, but before we can crown a winner of DreamLeague Season 10, we need to know what teams are going to be competing at the even in the first place. With that in mind, we’ll continue our preview of the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor Qualifiers with a look at the CIS region. Similarly to the preview posts for the Major, we will be dividing the participants in this qualifier into sections based on their expectations. However, since there are only 4 teams in the field for this qualifier (2 direct invites, 2 Open Qualifier slots), we’ll be narrowing the sections down from 4 to 2: Favored Teams and Unfavored Teams.

Favored Teams

The team(s) in this section represent the more formidable or accomplished teams in the field for the qualifier that appear to have the best chance at claiming a spot at the Minor. Given how small the field is for these qualifiers (4 teams per region), the margin between the squads in this section compared to the other may not be particularly high, but these teams have at least some small advantage based upon their roster or results in the previous Pro Circuit qualifier.

536px-Team_Spirit_2016 Team Spirit
Roster:
Oliver “oliver” Lepko
Leon “Nine” Kirilin
Mikki Mørch “HesteJoe-Rotten” Junget
Malthe “Biver” Winther
Artsiom  “fng” Barshak

Team Spirit’s new largely European lineup put together a relatively impressive performance in its first Pro Circuit qualifier in the CIS region, finishing 3rd overall in The Kuala Lumpur Major CIS Qualifier. The team’s run in that qualifier saw it take down Espada, Na’Vi, and Winstrike Team before finally being knocked out by losses to VP and ferzee. With both of those squads headed for Kuala Lumpur and therefore out of this qualifier, Team Spirit appears to be one of, if not the, front runner for the CIS region’s lone spot at the Minor. So long as the squad can play the way we witnessed in its last qualifier appearance, then it will hard for any other squad in this field to take down Team Spirit.

Na'Vi Na’Vi
Roster:
Vladislav “Crystallize” Krystanek
Idan MagicaL Vardanyan
Evgeniy “Blizzy” Ree
Evgeniy “Chuvash” Makarov
Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev

Once again, Na’Vi has managed to fight its way through the Open Qualifiers to reach the main regional qualifier stage on the Pro Circuit. This time around, the team is hoping that it can put together a stronger performance, as Na’Vi’s last appearance at The Kuala Lumpur Major CIS Qualifier resulted in a dismal 7th-8th place finish and an overall record of 4-6. The good news for Na’Vi is that 2 of the teams that it lost to in that previous qualifier will not be participating in this one, as both Virtus.pro and ferzee are both already locked into the field for the Major in November. On top of that, the squad has a solid track record so far against the other teams in the field for this Minor Qualifier, as Na’Vi defeated Espada 2-0 and lost to Team Spirit 1-2 in the Major Qualifier, and also defeated Team Empire 2-1 in the Open Qualifiers for The Kuala Lumpur Major. Previous success is never a perfect indicator of how a team will perform in a given event, but Na’Vi appears to be one of the leaders among these 4 teams based on head-to-head results. We’ll see if the team’s experience in the Major Qualifier and its run through another Open Qualifier helps it recover from its rough start as Na’Vi looks to secure itself a place at the first Minor of the Pro Circuit season.

Unfavored Teams

I know that “favored” and “unfavored” may not be the most dramatic of terms to divide the field for these qualifiers, but with just 4 teams per regional qualifier, it seems the most appropriate. The teams in this section aren’t necessarily underdogs or long shots, they’re just the teams that come in a little bit below the other squads in the field. Whether its a roster change or a poor performance in the previous Pro Circuit qualifier, the teams in this section don’t appear to be quite as strong as the others, though there is still a solid chance that one of them manages to make their way to the Minor.

ESPADA Espada
Roster:

Igor “iLTW” Filatov
Alexander “Nix” Levin
Stanislav “633” Glushan
Alexander “Immersion” Hlemevksoy
Mihail “Misha” Agatov

Espada closed out its run in the Major Qualifier with a 4th place finish overall, and for many that achievement would have this squad sitting near the top of the pecking order in this 4 team field. While Espada’s finish was certainly impressive, it’s performance as a whole still raises a few questions that have yet to be answered. The team put on a good show in the Playoffs of the Major Qualifier, defeating both Elements Pro and Odium before losing to ferzee. However, prior to that run the team finished 0-4 in the Group Stage after 0-2 losses against both Na’Vi and Team Spirit. Essentially, the previous qualifier was a tale of 2 halves for Espada, and we really have no way to knowing for sure which version of the team will show up this time around. With no Group Stage for this qualifier, there will be no time for Espada to warm up or “flip the switch” if it can’t pick up where it left off in last week’s qualifier. In the Dota 2 world, inconsistency and uncertainty are always red flags for a team. Espada might be able to keep its hot streak going and compete for a spot in Stockholm, but until we see that consistent performance from the team, the expectations will be slightly lowered for it this time around.

600px-Team_empire Team Empire
Roster:

Zaur “Cooman” Shakhmurzaev
Vladimir “Chappie” Kuzmenko
Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov
Oleg “sayuw” Kalenbet
Igor “Maden” Modenov

Team Empire was absent from the field for The Kuala Lumpur Major CIS Qualifier, but this time around, the organization’s new lineup has managed to fight its way through the Open Qualifiers and into this field of 4 CIS teams. The team comes into this qualifier with what is essentially a completely new look, as a slew of offseason roster changes has left Miposhka as the only member to return from last year’s lineup. In terms of talent, it may just be too early to say where Team Empire stands, but with regards to professional experience, the team has taken a rather significant step back. While Miposhka and Maden go back as far as 2014 in their times as professional players, the rest of the team’s roster has only been playing at the professional level since late 2016 and 2017. That being said, experience isn’t everything, and we’ve seen younger and less experienced rosters find success on the Pro Circuit before. However, in a smaller field of teams like this one and with no Group Stage being played in the qualifier, Team Empire will have dangerously little room for error, and its less experienced players are going to need to be on point early if the squad wants to have a chance at claiming that sole CIS slot in Stockholm.

 

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