Keen Gaming, EHOME claim places on the Pro Circuit stage as the co-winners of The Bucharest Minor China Qualifier
The second round of Pro Circuit qualifiers in this 2018-2019 campaign are beginning to come to a close, and the field of teams for the second Minor of the season is now filling out with the representatives of the 6 Dota regions fighting their way past their regional rivals. The Chinese region has officially finished its Minor qualifier, and we now know which squad will be heading to the Romanian capital to compete in The Bucharest Minor. 4 squads made up the field for this qualifier, with all of them returning from the Major qualifier. 1 of the teams (Royal Never Give Up) in the field had previously attended the last Pro Circuit Minor, while the others were looking for the opportunity to make their debut on the Pro Circuit stage. In the end though, only 2 of them proved to be successful, as Keen Gaming and EHOME were the squads to come out on top against their regional rivals and lock down the 2 Chinese slots in Bucharest. Though only Keen Gaming and EHOME will be moving on to The Bucharest Minor, we should take a look at how each of the teams fared in this qualifier and where they may fall in the overall regional hierarchy. As with the previous recap posts for the last Pro Circuit qualifiers, we will be dividing the participants up based upon their final standings in this event.
Top 2 (Qualified for The Bucharest Minor)
Record: 4-1 (2-0 series record)
Following a somewhat disappointing 7th-8th place finish in The Chongqing Major China Qualifier, Keen Gaming came into this Minor qualifier with somewhat tempered expectations. The squad had posted a 1-3 record in the Major qualifier against the teams in the field for this event, which did not bode well for its initial chances at success. However, an experienced roster kept a small bit of hope alive that Keen Gaming could turn things around and put together a strong showing in this qualifier, and those hopes were rewarded as Keen Gaming put on an impressive show against its regional rivals. The team won back-to-back series victories against EHOME and Team Root, putting together a 4-1 overall record that helped it lock down the first Chinese slot at The Bucharest Minor. The team’s core trio put in a series of strong performances to lead Keen Gaming to victory in this qualifier, with old chicken, 一 (yī), and eLeVeN combining to average 23.4 kills and 37.8 assists with just 8.6 deaths per game. If the squad can manage to maintain that kind of consistent and balanced attack on the Pro Circuit stage in Bucharest, then Keen Gaming will be in a strong position heading into its Pro Circuit season debut at the Minor.
Record: 4-3 (1-1 series record)
EHOME came into this Minor qualifier as a team that had gotten off to a relatively strong start within the Chinese region. The team had put together a solid stretch of performances against its regional rival, and had participated in every Pro Circuit qualifier so far this season. This time around, the team’s success and consistent play payed off, as EHOME was able to secure itself 1 of the 2 Chinese slots at The Bucharest Minor. The team’s path to success did not get off to a strong start, as EHOME lost its initial series against fellow Minor attendee Keen Gaming in a significantly one-sided 0-2 defeat. However, the squad was able to respond well to that initial adversity, defeating Royal Never Give Up 2-1 and taking down Team Root 2-0 to salvage its qualifier run and earn itself its debut on the Pro Circuit stage. Considering the team’s relatively consistent performance within the Chinese region, and its modest success in mixed Chinese and Southeast Asian events, EHOME will come into this Minor as a team that will hopefully be less impacted by the pressures of playing at the international level. If that in fact does prove to be the case, then the Chinese squad has the potential to be a serious threat in the field at The Bucharest Minor.
Record: 3-3 (1-1 series record)
Team Root’s season had not been going particularly well so far, but the squad has managed to turn things around and attract some attention to itself with its performances in both the Major and Minor qualifiers. Unfortunately for the team, its efforts were not enough to earn a place on the Pro Circuit stage, as Team Root finished just short of the mark to claim a place in Bucharest with a 3-5 record and a 3rd place finish in this qualifier. While the team will not be making its Pro Circuit debut in 2018, what we saw from Team Root across these 2 qualifiers is the potential start of a resurgence from the squad. Between the team’s 1st place finish at H-Cup Season 10, its 5th-6th place finish in the Major qualifier, and its 3rd place run in this Minor qualifier, Team Root finally appears to be hitting its stride within the Chinese region. With China always having a host of talented and experienced squads in its regional scene, consistency is often the defining factor for success among its teams. If Team Root can show itself capable of continuing to play at the level we’ve seen from it across these qualifiers, then it will almost certainly be due for a rise up the ranks within the regional hierarchy in the coming days.
Royal Never Give Up
Record: 2-4 (0-2 series record)
Unfortunately for Royal Never Give Up, its efforts to reach a second Pro Circuit event this season have ended up falling short, as the squad finished in 4th place in The Bucharest Minor China Qualifier. While the squad did end up at the bottom of the standings in this Minor qualifier, the team still managed to put together a commendable performance against its regional rivals, with both of its series against Team Root and EHOME being relatively competitive 1-2 losses. That may not be the greatest of silver linings for the team and its fans, and the squad’s failure to return to the Pro Circuit stage is a disappointing development. However, the team’s solid but unsuccessful play across both the Major and Minor qualifiers keeps it in a favorable position as one of the stronger teams in the Chinese region. RNG will almost certainly have its chance to shine on the international level again, it just may have to wait a while before the next opportunity arises.