A Royal welcome awaits the Chinese representative in Stockholm as Royal Never Give Up claims the region’s sole spot at the first Minor of the Pro Circuit season
The China Qualifier for the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor has been concluded, and at the end of the action we now know which squad will be making the trip to Stockholm to represent the region and fight for both the title of Minor Champion and the final spot at the Kuala Lumpur Major. 4 squads made up the field for this qualifier, with all of them being returning teams from the Major Qualifier hoping for a chance at redemption with a berth at the first Minor of the Pro Circuit season. In the end though, only 1 team could emerge victorious from this qualifier, with Royal Never Give Up claiming that coveted spot at the Minor in October. Though only Royal Never Give Up will be advancing to the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor, we should take a look at how each of the team’s in this qualifier performed, as these squads will more than likely form the crux of the tier 1 and tier 2 scenes within the Chinese region this season. As with the previous recap posts for The Kuala Lumpur Major Qualifiers, we will be dividing the participants up based upon their final standings in the qualifier.
1st (Qualified for DreamLeague Season 10 Minor)
Royal Never Give Up
Record: 7-4 (3-1 series record)
Royal Never Give Up did not particularly impress in the previous qualifier for The Kuala Lumpur Major, but the Chinese squad came into this Minor Qualifier with a renewed sense of confidence in itself going up against a trio of squads that it had already seen once before. The team came into this qualifier with a bit of a change to its roster though, as registered substitute xy took over the Midlaner duties from Setsu. The resutls were apparent from the very beginning of the qualifier, as Royal Never Give Up smashed past Newbee for a convincing 2-0 series victory. A 1-2 loss to Team Serenity in its next series put a bit of a damper on the team’s momentum, but the Carry/Mid duo of Monet and xy were still able to put together decent performances even in defeat (combined 56-45-71 in 3 matches). That loss dropped the team into the Lower Bracket for a rematch against Newbee, and while its opponent was able to claim a win in Game 1 of the series, Royal Never Give Up had absolute control over Games 2 and 3 as it claimed a 2-1 series victory. In the Grand Finals, Royal Never Give Up was able to claim its revenge against Team Serenity, defeating the TI8 attendee 2-1 thanks in large part to a trio of strong showings from Monet (combined 32-9-24 across 3 matches). With that win, Royal Never Give Up secured itself a place in Stockholm for the Minor, and appear to have taken the first step towards realizing the potential of its talented and experienced roster.
Record: 5-4 (2-1 series record)
Team Serenity entered this Minor Qualifier as the stable option among a field of teams that has all undergone some significant changes to their rosters in the offseason. The team’s roster stability and appearance at TI8 had it sitting in a position of strength at this early point in the season, and the squad played like a team poised for a strong start to its Pro Circuit season. The team started off its qualifier run with back to back 2-1 victory over EHOME and Royal Never Give Up, showing flashes of dominance against its regional rivals while mitigating as many mistakes as possible in its 2 losses across those series. Those 2 series wins put the team in the Grand Finals of the qualifier, but a rematch against Royal Never Give Up would give Team Serenity its toughest challenge yet. Team Serenity fell in Game 1 after falling behind significantly in the late-game stage, but came back with a crushing victory in Game 2 in which its core trio all put in double digits Kills and helped the team hold the net worth lead throughout the entire of the match. Unfortunately for Team Serenity, the roles ended up being reversed in Game 3, as Royal Never Give Up dominated the match from the very beginning to hand Team Serenity a 1-2 loss that left it just short of the mark to qualify for the Minor. While Team Serenity won’t be headed for Stockholm next month, the team’s performance in this qualifier goes a long way towards instilling a more prominent sense of optimism and confidence that this squad can pick up where it left off in its TI8 run and compete for a place near the top of the regional hierarchy in China.
Record: 3-4 (1-2 series record)
Following the team’s somewhat disappointing showing in the Major Qualifier, Newbee opted to make some changes to its roster heading into this second opportunity in the Minor Qualifier. The squad picked up both a new coach and a new Support player, although the latter was unable to play with the squad in this qualifier leaving the former to serve as a stand-in for Newbee. Despite the altered lineup, the results for Newbee were largely the same, as the squad ended up putting together another relatively disappointing performance. The team opened its qualifier run with an incredibly one sided 0-2 loss to Royal Never Give Up in which it totaled just 20 kills in the entire series. A much stronger 2-0 win over EHOME in the Lower Bracket helped the team avoid a last place finish in the qualifier, and we saw another glimpse of the potential power of the team’s new core trio as Moogy, Sccc, and Inflame combined for 69 Kills and 111 Assists with just 20 Deaths across the 2 game series. That win set Newbee up for a rematch against Royal Never Give Up in the Losers’ Final, and the squad appeared to have carried its momentum over from its previous match up as Newbee ran over its opponent in a 25 minute victory in Game 1. Unfortunately, that momentum disappeared in he next 2 games, as Royal Never Give Up dominated Games 2 and 3 and kept the Newbee lineup in check to hand it a 1-2 defeat and another series loss. Considering the fact that Newbee was playing with its new coach as a stand-in, this performance may not be fully indicative of what its new roster will play like moving forward. We saw just how powerful this team was when its core trio were all on the same page, but the squad needs to get itself into a position where those 3 cores can play well on a more consistent basis. Until then, Newbee will begin the Pro Circuit season far removed from the top level teams within the Chinese region.
Record: 1-4 (0-2 series record)
EHOME ends up turning in another less than impressive performance in a Pro Circuit qualifier, as the team followed up its 7th-8th place run in the Major Qualifier with a 4th place finish in the Minor Qualifier. The team actually began its time in this qualifier with a solid initial showing, as it won Game 1 against Team Serenity thanks to impressive performances from Sea Mew and ASD (combined 29-8-14). However, the squad proceeded to squander that first victory, as it was out killed by Team Serenity 20-43 over the course of the next 2 matches to lose the series 1-2. The team’s Lower Bracket series against Newbee didn’t end up going much better, as EHOME began the series with a blowout loss in Game 1 in which it never held a net worth lead and was out killed by a score of 14-42. In Game 2, EHOME played a more tightly contested match and even held a net worth lead of nearly 7k in the late-game against Newbee. However, the squad couldn’t hold on to that lead, as Newbee claimed back to back team fight wins to shut down EHOME and complete its comeback effort to hand EHOME a 0-2 loss and a 4th place finish overall. With last place performances in both Pro Circuit qualifiers to begin the season, it appears that this new EHOME lineup might not be ready for top level competition in the Chinese region just yet. The coming months will bring a number of 3rd party tournaments and leagues for EHOME that will hopefully help raise the team’s profile within the Chinese region before the next set of Pro Circuit qualifiers. For now though, this squad is a mere afterthought within the regional hierarchy, and will need to show a significant level of improvement in order to turn around this disappointing start.