It’s rematch time in Europe as 4 squads from the Major Qualifier return to take their shot at 2 spots 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 Europe region; one of the 2 regions that will be sending 2 squads to Stockholm instead of just 1. 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 (3 direct invites, 1 Open Qualifier slot), we’ll be narrowing the sections down from 4 to 2: Favored Teams and Unfavored 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.
Roman “rmN-” Paley (Stand-in, position unconfirmed)
Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi
Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov
Maroun “GH” Merhej
Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi
So here’s the thing: Team Liquid did not look very good in its first qualifier run of the Pro Circuit season, as the team finished in the 5th-6th place position and failed to earn itself a place in Kuala Lumpur for the Major. Coming into this Minor Qualifier, the team has even more issues to deal with, as carry Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen will not be participating and will temporarily be replaced by rmN. Those circumstances don’t paint the most encouraging picture for Team Liquid in this qualifier, but this squad has proven that it is one of the most capable and accomplished teams in the European region, and on the international level as a whole. While the temporary loss of MATUMBAMAN will likely change the team’s strategy, the roster ostensibly has enough talent and experience to find success in this qualifier. We will see if the TI7 Champion is capable of shaking off its unimpressive showing in the Major Qualifier, or if the squad’s early season struggles will continue on the Pro Circuit.
Omar “Madara” Dabachach
Anas “MagE-“ Hirzallah
Maurice “KheZu” Gutmann
Verros “Maybe Next Time” Apostolos
Petu “Peksu” Vaatainen
Team Lithium put together an interesting performance last week in the Major Qualifier, as the squad managed to finish in 4th place overall and nearly earned itself a place in Kuala Lumpur. The team looked both strong and confident in itself in that prior qualifier, and has the record to back that confidence up to a certain degree. While the team did lose all 4 of its matches against Ninjas in Pyjamas, it managed to split its games against Team Liquid (3-3 in 2 series) while taking a 2-1 win over MangoBay. With those latter 2 teams joining Team Lithium in this Minor Qualifier, Team Lithium appears to be one of the leading squads in this field, small as it may be. Of all the teams in this qualifier, Team Lithium appeared to have put together the most consistent performance so far, and consistency is really all we can look at this early in the season. With 2 spots available for the European region at the Minor, it would take a rather significant setback from this roster for Team Lithium to not be in contention for a spot in Stockholm.
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.
Filip “Fey” Musialski
Ylli “garter” Ramadani
Pittner “bOne7” Armand
Jan “qupe” Tinnemeier
Angel “Flash” Niamtu
MangoBay ended up concluding its run at the Major Qualifier with a finish in the 5th-6th place position, but the squad did not look quite as impressive as it may have been hoping for. Despite ending up above The Final Tribe and tied with Team Liquid in the standings, MangoBay’s record in that qualifier was an uninspired 3-7 overall. That record included series losses to both Team Liquid and Team Lithium, 2 of the other participants in this Minor Qualifier. Of course, the fact that MangoBay lost those series doesn’t necessarily mean that it is destined to lose in a rematch, but the squad certainly won’t be expected to come out top in those match ups. Even with 2 Minor slots available in this qualifier, being considered the underdog against 2 of its 3 opponents in the field is not a situation that lends itself to success. That being said, this Mangobay roster has a fair bit of experience and young talent on its side, and the wake up call of the Major Qualifier could have been the spark that the team needs to step up its play and show us something more impressive in this Minor Qualifier.
The Final Tribe
Pontus “Frost” Frost
Rasmus “Chessie” Blomdin
Jonas “jonassomfan” Lindholm
Simon “Handsken” Haag
Adrian “Era” Kryeziu
The Final Tribe entered the Pro Circuit season with one new player in Chessie, and another player shifting to a new position in Era. The Swedish squad definitely appeared to be suffering some growing pains from those moves in last weeks Major Qualifier, as The Final Tribe posted a 4-7 record and finish in the 7th-8th place position overall. The good news for The Final Tribe is that the team that it lost 2 of its 4 total series against, Alliance, has already qualified for the Major and will not be playing in this Minor Qualifier. The bad news is that the squad will still have to face off against a MangoBay squad that it lost 1-2 to in the Playoffs, and it’s only series win in that previous qualifier came against fellow last place finisher madjor atendari. We simply didn’t see a strong enough nor a consistent enough performance from The Final Tribe to have much confidence in it heading into this qualifier, but not all hope if lost for the Swedish squad just yet. The European region will be sending 2 squads from this field to Stockholm for the first Minor of the season, which means that The Final Tribe doesn’t necessarily need to be the best squad in the field in order to find success in this qualifier. That extra opportunity gives The Final Tribe a bit more room for error among this field of teams, and if it can put its rough showing in the Major Qualifier behind it, then the team stands a decent chance of competing for 1 of the 2 slots available in this Minor Qualifier.