Pro Circuit Qualifier Preview – The Bucharest Minor China Qualifier

A quartet of returning squads from the Major qualifier look for a shot at redemption as they compete for 2 Chinese slots at The Bucharest Minor.

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 Chinese 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 (3 direct invites, 1 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.

800px-EHOME EHOME
Roster:
Luo “eGo” Bin
Li “ASD” Zhiwen
Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida
Jiang “天命” An
Zhang “y`” Yiping

EHOME comes into The Bucharest Minor China Qualifier fresh off of a 4th place run in the previous Pro Circuit qualifier that saw it finish just 1 win short of earning itself a place at The Chongqing Major. The team’s 7-7 overall record in that qualifier puts it in a favorable position this time around, especially considering the fact that the squad put together a 3-1 record against the other teams in this Minor qualifier. Among all of the teams in the field, EHOME has been the one to put together the most consistently successful series of performances so far this season, as the team has notched 7 Top 4 finishes across regional events and qualifiers (excluding open qualifiers). Everything appears to be going in EHOME’s favor heading into this qualifier, as the team has levels of talent, experience, and regional success on its side that its opponents in this field can’t fully match. Whether those factors will be enough to earn the team its season debut on the Pro Circuit stage has yet to be fully determined, but the situation certainly appears to be a favorable one for EHOME.

Royal Never Give Up Royal Never Give Up
Roster:
Du “Monet” Peng
Gao “Setsu” Zhenxiong
Sun “Srf” Runfa
Tue “ah fu” Soon Chuan
Xue “September” Zhichuan

As the only team in this field to have made an appearance on the Pro Circuit so far this season, Royal Never Give Up comes into this Minor qualifier with a small advantage over its opponents. The squad’s performance at the previous Major qualifier was solid but somewhat underwhelming, as the team went 4-4 in the Group Stage and lost both Vici Gaming and Team Aster. With both of those squads now locked into position at the Major, the largest obstacles in RNG’s path appear to have been cleared heading into this Minor qualifier. While the squad may not have quite the same level of consistent success as a team like EHOME, the talent and experienced on the roster combined with its previous experience on the Pro Circuit stage make it one of the stronger teams in this small field. Add onto that the fact that there are 2 slots up for grabs in this Minor qualifier, and Royal Never Give Up appear to have a strong shot at earning back to back Minor appearances to begin its 2018-2019 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.

Team Root Team Root
Roster:
Yang “END” Pu
Xie “Super” Junhao
Yao “Yao” Zhengzheng
Chen “Victoria” Guanhong
Leong “ddc” Fat-meng

Up until recently, Team Root was a squad that was not off to a strong start within the Chinese region, as the team had struggled against its regional rivals for the majority of the season. However, a 1st place run at H-Cup Season 10 earned the squad a place at the Major qualifier, and its subsequent 5th-6th place finish in that event led to its direct invite status for this Minor qualifier. The question for the team coming into this Pro Circuit qualifier is which version of Team Root will we see this time around: the stronger and more confident squad of recent weeks, or the inconsistent and struggling squad of the first few months of the season? Given the level of talent and experience on this roster, it would appear that the former is the most likely scenario for the team in this qualifier. With 2 slots available for the Chinese region as well, Team Root has been put into a relatively strong situations, so long as the team can avoid relapsing into the weaker level of play that we saw from it earlier this season.

Keen Gaming Keen Gaming
Roster:
Wang “old chicken” Zhiyong
Zhai “一” Jingkai
Ren “eLeVeN” Yangwei
Hu “Kaka” Liangzhi
Song “dark”‘ Runxi

Keen Gaming comes into this qualifier as a squad that has a fair bit of talent and experience on its roster, but has struggled with an inconsistent level of play throughout most of the season so far. Even with that being the case, the team still managed to reach the most recent Major qualifier, though its performance in that event left a bit to be desired. The team’s 3-5 overall record saw it split 3 of its series while losing one as well to finish in the 7th-8th place position, forcing the team to fight through another round of open qualifiers in order to reach this event. An even bigger concern for the team is the fact that the aforementioned 3-5 performance included a 1-3 record against teams in this Minor qualifier, which does not bode particularly well for Keen Gaming’s chances of claiming 1 of the 2 Chinese spots in Bucharest. The level of talent and experience on the team’s roster means that it will always be a potential threat to find success against its regional rivals, but we’ll have to see a significant increase in its level of play and level of consistency if Keen Gaming wants to make its season debut on the Pro Circuit stage.

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