TEAM TEAM claims NA slot in Bucharest, Pro Circuit debut with a dominant performance in the regional 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 North American region officially becomes the third region to complete 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 2 of them (compLexity Gaming and TEAM TEAM) returning from the Major qualifier while the other 2 (test321 and Anime11Esports) were making their first appearances at a North American Pro Circuit qualifier this season. 1 of the teams (test321 [as paiN X]) in the field had previously attended the last Pro Circuit Major, while another (compLexity Gaming) had been a participant in the previous Minor. As for the rest of the teams in this qualifier, the opportunity to make their debut on the Pro Circuit stage was at stake. In the end though, only 1 of them proved to be successful, as TEAM TEAM was the squad to come out on top against its regional rivals and lock down the sole North American slot in Bucharest. Though only TEAM TEAM 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.
1st (Qualified for The Bucharest Minor)
Record: 6-1 (3-0 series record)
TEAM TEAM came into this Minor qualifier staring down what was perhaps its biggest opportunity to finally make a breakthrough within the North American region. After fighting in the Tier 2 scene all season long and avoiding the disbanding and frequent roster moves of its constituents, the squad has been rewarded for its stability and strong play with an appearance on the Pro Circuit stage in Bucharest. The team certainly looked the part of a Minor attendee, as TEAM TEAM dominated this qualifier and put together an impressive performance against its regional rivals. The team was easily able to dispatch Anime11Esports 2-0 in its initial series, and even brought down test321 in a significantly more contentious 2-0 victory that required back to back late-game comebacks from TEAM TEAM. After that, the team claimed its final victory over compLexity Gaming with a 2-1 series that saw it suffer its first loss of the qualifier while locking down the lone North American spot at the Minor. With the TEAM TEAM roster possessing a handful of players with previous experience playing on the international level, the squad has an interesting opportunity to make a strong impression in its debut on the Pro Circuit stage.
Record: 5-5 (2-2 series record)
Wits its new roster and new trio of Southeast Asian players, compLexity Gaming entered this Minor qualifiers with a few questions that still needed answering with regards to its potential and level of play within the North American region. While the squad came just short of the mark to earn a return trip to the Pro Circuit stage, what we saw from compLexity Gaming in this qualifier was a rather positive sign for the newest iteration of the squad. The team posted a 5-5 overall record in this event, losing its initial series against test321 before bouncing back with a 2-0 win over Anime11Esports and a 2-1 victory in a rematch against test321. That put the squad in the Grand Finals of the qualifier, where it narrowly lost 1-2 to TEAM TEAM to finish in 2nd place among the field of 4 teams. The team’s newest additions certainly showed their worth in this qualifier run, but it was Limmp that put together some of the most impressive performances for compLexity Gaming. The Midlaner averaged 8.2 kills and 9 assists with just 2.6 deaths per game across the team’s 10 matches, and played a vital role in getting the team as close as it came to earning a place in Bucharest. When the addition of Meracle, Deth, and 343 was announced, the organization introduced them as trial players, so we can’t be sure whether any of them will remain on the compLexity Gaming roster moving forward. If they do though, there appears to be a solid foundation to build in as compLexity Gaming looks to reclaim a place near the top of the North American hierarchy.
Record: 3-4 (1-2 series record)
This Minor qualifier marked the first matches for test321 (formerly known as Ex-paiN X) as a North American squad, as the team transitioned to the region after being disqualified from The Chongqing Major South American Qualifier. While the squad was unable to earn itself a place at the Minor, test321 did manage to put together a solid showing against its new regional rivals. The team defeated compLexity Gaming 2-0 in its initial series of the qualifier, but lost to TEAM TEAM in the Upper Bracket Finals before falling 1-2 in a rematch with compLexity Gaming in the Lower Bracket Finals to finish 3rd overall. Considering the fact that the team’s roster remained intact through its shift to the North American region, this finish in the lower half of the standings may come as a bit of a disappointment. However, given the level of success that this team experienced within the South American region over the first few months of the season, it seems like only a matter of time before test321 becomes a more prominent fixture in the North American hierarchy.
Record: 0-4 (0-2 series record)
Anime11Esports did not come into this qualifier with the highest of expectations, as the squad had only recently been formed and did not have much experience as a team. That being said, it was still hoped the the squad would be able to put together some sort of solid first impression in this Minor qualifier. That did not end up happening in the slightest, as Anime11Esports lost all 4 of its qualifier matches in decidedly one-sided fashion to finish its run at the event without a single win to its name. Across its 4 matches, the team was out killed by a score of 45-116 with an average game length of just 22 minutes. Given the team’s poor performance in this qualifier and the relative instability of the Tier 2 and 3 scene in North America right now, this may very well be the last we see of Anime11Esports. The players will more than likely continue to appear in regional qualifiers, but it seems unlikely that the current roster will remain intact moving forward.