Pro Circuit Qualifier Preview – The Bucharest Minor North America Qualifier

test321 (formerly test123) makes its first appearance as a NA team against a duo of returning Major qualifier squads and a new challenger in The Bucharest Minor North America Qualifier.

With the regional qualifiers for The Chongqing Major now officially concluded, the eyes of the Dota 2 world turn to the accompanying Minor, as the qualifiers for The Bucharest Minor are set to begin. The winner of the Minor will earn itself the 16th and final spot in the field for The Chongqing Major, but before we can crown a Minor Champion in the Romanian capital, we need to know which teams are going to be competing at the event in the first place. With that in mind, we’ll begin our preview of The Bucharest Minor Qualifiers with a look at the North American 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 slot), 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 qualifiers.

No Team Logo test321
Roster:
Ravindu RitsuKodippili
Quinn CC&CCallahan
Rodrigo Lelis “Liposa” Santos
Francis FrancisLeeLee
Kartik “Kitrak” Rathi

After winning The Chongqing Major South America Qualifier and being subsequently disqualified by Valve as a non-regional team, test321 appears to have officially completed its transition to the North American region. The squad has fought its way through the open qualifiers, and now faces a field of regional rivals that it has already seen action against this season. Against the other teams in this qualifier, test321 holds a 3-2 record so far this season, giving it a small advantage over its opponents heading into this event. On top of the head-to-head record, test321 also has the advantage of holding more experience on the international level than its regional rivals, as the team previously participated at The Kuala Lumpur Major as paiN X. With all of its potential opponents in this qualifier being either recently formed teams, teams with recently altered lineups, or squads with limited experience outside of North America, test321 appears to be an early favorite to lay claim to a place at The Bucharest Minor.

TEAM TEAM TEAM TEAM
Roster:

Samuel “Sammyboy” Anderson
Eric “Ryoya” Dong
Braxton “Brax” Paulson
Jason “Newsham” Newsham
Michael “ixmike88”  Ghannam

As has been mentioned several times so far this season, the North American region has not had a very stable Tier 2 and Tier 3. Teams have played fairly inconsistently across the first few months of the season, and many have either disbanded entirely or undergone significant changes to their rosters. Among this chaos, TEAM TEAM stands as one of the few squads to keep itself relatively stable, both in terms of its lineup and its results within the region. The squad has not finished below 6th place in any of its appearances so far this season, and TEAM TEAM is hoping that its consistency has allowed it to develop to the point where it can earn its debut on the Pro Circuit stage. There is one concern with that plan though, and it comes in the form of the team’s record against its regional rivals in this Minor qualifier field. So far this season, TEAM TEAM is 2-6 against the other teams in this qualifier, although 4 of those losses came at the hands of compLexity Gaming before its dramatic roster changes. With that particular opponent still adjusting to its new lineup, it would appear that TEAM TEAM stands as the most likely candidate to challenge test321 for the lone North American spot at The Bucharest Minor.

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.

727px-Col_big_logo compLexity Gaming
Roster:
Galvin “Meracle” Kang Jian Wen
Linus “Limmp” Blomdin
Yang “Deth” Wu Heng
Zakari “Zfreek” Freedman
Adam “343” a.k.a. “Adam” Shah

For a team coming into the event with 3 new players on its roster, compLexity Gaming actually performed fairly well in The Chongqing Major North American Qualifier, posting a 2-4 overall record. All 4 of those losses came at the hands of Plus Ultra, but with that squad now officially disbanded, there is hope that this new-look compLexity Gaming roster will be able to regroup and put together a more impressive performance in this Minor qualifier. The good news for compLexity Gaming is that its trio of new players were all fairly experienced in the professional scene prior to their transition to the North American region. If the team can show that it has been able to fully integrate Meracle, Deth, and Adam into its lineup early in this qualifier, then it could easily present a significant threat to its opponents in the field. However, that “if” is a rather big one heading into this qualifier, and the possibility that the team is not fully on the same page just yet slightly lowers the confidence levels in the squad.

No Team Logo Anime11Esports
Roster:
Danny “iAnnihilate” Cote
“Shisui”
Alexander “Flow” Sazonov
“SoNiC”
“venom”

Yet another new squad has appeared within the North American region, as Anime11Esports comes into this Minor qualifier as a combination of former players from squads like Zugzwang, Plus Ultra, Vendetta, and Truffle Salt. While the team has managed to fight its way through the open qualifiers to reach this point, there is little to suggest that Anime11Esports will be able to claim the single North American slot at The Bucharest Minor. There is a reason why all of the team members’ former squads ended up with unstable and frequently changing rosters that could not find consistent success within the region. The roster of Anime11Esports is certainly a talented one, but raw talent alone may not be enough to come out on top of the other squads in the field if the team’s lineup lacks experience playing as a unit. The potential may be there for this recently formed team, but for the time being the odds don’t appear to be in its favor heading into The Bucharest Minor North American Qualifier.

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