Chaos Esports Club hopes to maintain its place at the top as a field of new challengers and returning foes look to make their mark in the DreamLeague Season 11 Major South American Qualifier
With The Chongqing Major concluded and Team Secret crowned as the season’s second Major Champion, the time has come to begin a new set of Pro Circuit Qualifiers. Across the 6 Dota 2 regions, squads are preparing themselves for a chance to fight their way onto the Pro Circuit stage and earn their place at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major in March. As the half-way mark of the season approaches, we seem to have a fairly strong impression of what the hierarchies of each respective region looks like. However, an impressive performance in these qualifiers or a significant setback from a regional leader has the potential to change a team’s standing among its regional rivals. Like the previous Pro Circuit qualifiers, the Closed Qualifiers for the DreamLeague Season 11 Major will be split into 2 groups, with 1 group running from the 1st through the 3rd of February, while the other runs from the 4th through the 6th. The South American region has been included in that first group of qualifiers, with the participating teams set to battle it out for a place in Stockholm. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the teams that will be looking to earn their place on the Pro Circuit stage and represent South America on the international level.
The South America Qualifier features 8 total teams, with 4 of the them (Chaos Esports Club, Thunder Predator, Playmakers Esports, and Infamou) being directly invited while the other 4 (Jesus e Amigos, rei do picolé, Gorillaz-Pride, and SG e-sports) reached the Closed Qualifier stage through the region’s 2 open qualifiers. Of those 8 teams, 5 of them (Chaos Esports Club, Thunder Predator, Playmakers Esports, Infamous, and Gorillaz-Pride) have previously attended a Pro Circuit qualifier, with 4 of them (Chaos Esports Club, Thunder Predator, Playmakers Esports, and Infamous) having also qualified for a Pro Circuit event. Up for grabs in this regional qualifier are 2 spots at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major in March, and the chance to claim a position as a leading squad in the South American region and make a run up the Pro Circuit Rankings as well. While every team in the field for this qualifier has a shot at earning 1 of the those slots in Stockholm, some squads enter this event with stronger resumes than their regional rivals. With that in mind, we will take a look at how each of the 8 Major hopefuls stacks up heading into this qualifier, with the four categories of Favorites, Contenders, Maybe Ifs, and Long Shots returning from the previous qualifier previews.
These squads are the elite of the group, comprised mostly of squads that attended one of the prior Pro Circuit events this season or have emerged as dominant forces within their home region and contenders on the international level. These are the teams that will likely be considered as favorites in this qualifier regardless of the match up that they face, and if a team in this section does not earn itself a place at the Major, then it will come as a bit more of a shock and a disappointment compared to the other squads in the field.
Chaos Esports Club
Aliwi “w33” Omar
Otávio “Tavo” Gabriel
Danylo “Kingrd” Nascimento
Rasmus “MISERY” Filipsen
The team may have made a change in its organization, but the squad formerly known as paiN Gaming continues to be the strongest team in the South American region under the Chaos Esports Club banner. Of course, the team comes into this qualifier off the back of a middling performance on the Pro Circuit Stage at The Chongqing Major, but considering the fact that the South American region has found very little success on the international level as a whole this season, that result is not particularly concerning for the squad. The focal point for Chaos Esports Club heading into this qualifier will be its performance against its regional rivals, which has been exemplary to this point in the season. In its 2018-2019 campaign, Chaos Esports Club holds an incredible 19-2 overall record against other South American teams, cementing its status as the top team in the region. Given the squad’s continued dominance over its regional rivals, it would come as a rather massive shock if Chaos Esports Club was unable to claim a place on the Pro Circuit stage in Stockholm.
Juan “Atun” Ochoa
Leonardo “LeoStyle-” Sifuentes
Frank “Frank” Arias
Farith “Matthew” Puente
Sergio “Prada” Toribio
Thunder Predator may have needed a little help to earn its debut on the Pro Circuit stage, but the fact remains that the Peruvian squad has worked its way into a position of strength with the removal of test123 from the regional hierarchy. The departure of Jeimari from the roster in December threatened to destabilize the team, but the addition of LeoStyle- to the lineup has helped this squad maintain its momentum within the South American region. Since LeoStyle-‘s addition to the team, Thunder Predator has put together a 9-3 record against its regional rivals. Adding on to the team’s strong record at home is its newfound experience on the international level, with the squad coming into this qualifier off the back of a 9th-12th place finish at The Chongqing Major. The team’s performance at that event was not particularly impressive, but international experience in the South American region is often hard to come by, and even that small advantage helps to establish Thunder Predator as one of the leading teams in the region and an early favorite to claim a place in Stockholm.
The squads in this section are the ones that fall just a small step below the favorites in terms of their skill, level of success, or perceived strength of their lineup. Teams in this section are ones that may have attended one of the previous Minors but not a Major, or struggled on the Pro Circuit stage in general. These are the teams that could fairly easily claim 1 of the 2 spots up for grabs in this tournament, but aren’t necessarily expected to win out over the entire field. These teams will likely be right at the cusp of success in this qualifier, and are the ones that seem most probable to end up as direct invitees to the upcoming Minor Qualifiers if it cannot secure a place at the Major.
Alonso “Minoz” a.k.a. “Kotarō Hayama” León
Jeremy “Jeimari” Ruiz Aguinaga
Jose Andree “Sword” Nicosia
Elvis “Scofield” De la Cruz Peña
Christian “Accel” Cruz
Playmakers Esports had finally made its breakthrough within the South American region with its Pro Circuit debut at the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor, pushing past its regional rivals to earn a place at the event. However, the team’s 7th-8th place finish and 0-6 record at said event prompted some changes from the organization. With the addition of Jeimari and Scofield, Playmakers Esports hopes to both maintain its momentum at home and improve its ability to compete on the international level. In this instance, the former goal takes a significantly higher priority level than the latter, as the path for Playmakers Esports back onto the Pro Circuit stage is far from easy. Teams like Chaos Esports Club and Thunder Predator may stand as leaders in the region, but behind them sits a cadre of squads waiting in the wings for their opportunity to strike. Playmakers Esports stands among those squads, but even if 1 of those leading squads falters in this qualifier, the team will still have to push its way past a handful of other regional rivals looking to stake their own claims to a place at the top of the South American hierarchy.
Sebastian Cerralta “Robo-Z” Velarde
Enzo “Timado” Gianoli
Mariano “Papita” Caneda
Romel “Wu” Quinteros
Joel Mori “MoOz” Ozambela
The last few months have been a rather turbulent time for Infamous as a team, as the squad has seen a quartet of players come and go from its roster. At the end of November, Wisper and Scofield were sent down to the organization’s youth squad to make space for EternaLEnVy and Sneyking, only for that duo to depart the roster less than a month later to form their own squad. Even before EternaLEnVy and Sneyking had officially left though, Infamous was playing within the South American region with this current iteration of the roster, having finished 2nd in Liga Pro Gaming Season 5. In the interest of full disclosure though, the team’s run at that event was not quite as impressive as it first appears, as the squad was directly invited to the Semifinals of the entire event and ended with a 1-2 overall record. However, those 3 matches did give up a glimpse at what this current version of the team’s roster looks like, and instilled a fair bit of hope in the squad’s potential to return to a leading position within the South American region. With the skill and experience of Timado and Papita on its side, Infamous will surely be a threat in the field for this qualifier, but until we see what its newest members are fully capable of, the squad will remain a step or two below the favorites in the region.
The “Maybe, ifs..”
This section is where we start to get into some particularly interesting scenarios, as we take a look at some of the squads with somewhat lower expectations for this qualifier. These squads are more than capable of putting on a good show and potentially taking a spot at the Major, but they more than likely will need a little bit of help to get there. The squads in this section are most likely ones that attended prior Pro Circuit qualifiers, but did not earn places at an event, and represent the upper echelon of the Tier 2 scene in their region. Whether its a favorable group, a particularly beneficial match up, or the opportunity to avoid playing one of the stronger teams, these squads are the ones that might just need a little outside help to claim a place on the Pro Circuit stage.
Jesus e Amigos
Leonardo “Mandy“ Viana
Adriano de Paula “4dr” Machado
Fabio “Gambling” Sarellas
Kaue “Cys” Camuci
Heitor “Duster” Pereira
At this point, it is beginning to be something of a tradition to see one of Duster’s teams make a run through the open qualifiers to reach the closed qualifier stage. The Brazilian Support has appeared in both of the previous Major qualifiers with squads of largely lesser known players from the region. This time though, he brings a squad to the qualifier that has a bit more experience and fame on its side, with Jesus e Amigos being formed from a group of notable players, including some that are ostensibly still signed by other organizations. Regardless of the implications for those other squads, this team comes into the qualifier as a potential contender with a fair bit of skill and experience under its belt. The only things holding this team back from being projected further up in this preview is the fact that we have not seen it play outside of its successful open qualifier run. Should the squad show that its communication and team play are both solid and on point, then there’s no reason to believe that Jesus e Amigos can’t threaten for 1 of the South American region’s slots in Stockholm.
rei do picolé
Guilherme Silva “Costabile” Costábile
João Pedro “Lanaro” Lanaro
Lucas “Hyko” Morais
Thiago de Oliveira “Thiolicor” Cordeiro
Lucas Raphael Ferreira “bardo” Barbosa
With teams like test123, SG e-sports, and paiN Gaming either leaving the region, losing their rosters, or completely rebuilding their lineups, the free agent pool within the South American region is absolutely brimming with talent. Rather than waiting for an organization to come calling, many players in the region have opted to band together to form squads of their own, with rei do picolé being one of those squads. Formed from a combination of 3 former SG e-sports players and a duo of somewhat lesser known talents, the squad is hoping to establish itself within the regional hierarchy and potentially compete for 1 of the region’s spots on the Pro Circuit stage. Considering the level of skill and experience on its roster, rei do picolé certainly has the potential to be a legitimate threat in the field for this qualifier. However, the team’s lack of official matches outside of its open qualifier run to reach this stage means that the expectations will have to be on the lower side until we see just how well this team can compete against the best opposition that the South American region has to offer.
The Long Shots
In this final section, we find the squads that have very little in terms of expectations for this qualifier. These are the underdogs, the Cinderella stories, and the teams that would frankly send shock waves through the regional scene should they manage to claim a spot at this event. These are the squads that many have probably already counted out of the fight for a place on the Pro Circuit stage, but we’ve seen underdog stories and unbelievable runs before, and these teams will be hoping to add their names to the list of squads that have shocked the Dota 2 world.
Bernardo David “Berna” Rocca Alarcón
Eliseo “Faker” Arancibia
Steven “StingeR” Vargas
Alexis “Sl4d1n” Cepeda
Álex “Masoku” Dávila
Gorillaz-Pride once again finds itself in the field of a Pro Circuit Qualifier, but the Peruvian squad comes into this event with yet another iteration of its lineup due to another set of roster changes. This time around, the squad will be joined by Midlaner Faker and Offlaner Stinger, both of whom come over after their recent departures from the Playmakers Esports roster. This current version of Gorillaz-Pride certainly appears to have a fair bit of skill and experience on its side, and the team has put together an impressive 19-4 record within its home region in the time since its last Pro Circuit qualifier run. However, there is something of a caveat to the squad’s recent success, as Gorillaz-Pride played many of those matches with a different roster from the one that will be participating in this qualifier. On top of that, the team’s opposition has often been against teams that would be considered a lower caliber than the ones that Gorillaz-Pride will face in this event. Overall, Gorillaz-Pride have the potential to find success in this qualifier, but we would need to see an absolutely incredible performance from the squad against the top squads in its region in order for the team to earn a place in Stockholm.
Vacilios “Golem” Mavrommatis
Pedro “mini” Rezende
Diego “Sexyfat” Barini
Marcello “MahhxD” Yamamoto
Daniel “Luci” Rodrigues
When SG e-sports released its roster at the prior to the start of this 2018-2019 Pro Circuit season, there were many who wondered what the future would hold for the Brazilian organization. 2 months later, the organization answered that question with the announcement of a new roster of mostly lesser known players. With the team essentially starting from scratch with a new roster with limited experience, SG e-sports no longer stands as the same regional leader that it was in times past, but the squad is hoping to kick start its rebuilding process with a strong performance in this qualifier. The problem with that plan, though, is that the team has almost no experience playing against the top squads in its region. The team has played in just 3 open qualifiers so far this season, with the most recent of those qualifiers being the one that earned it a place at this event. The good news for the squad is that those open qualifier runs have all been relatively strong, with SG e-sports finishing in the Top 4 across all 3 of them. However, against squads like Chaos Esports Club, Thunder Predator, Infamous, and Playmakers Esports, open qualifier experience is not going to cut it. Unless SG e-sports manages to put together a near miraculous performance in this qualifier, don’t expect much from the squad in its first Closed Qualifier appearance.