Pro Circuit Qualifier Preview – DreamLeague Season 11 Major Southeast Asia Qualifier

Fnatic, TNC Predator look to earn third straight Major appearances against a field of familiar foes and new challengers in the DreamLeague Season 11 Major Southeast Asia Qualifier.

Winter is officially in full swing in the Dota 2 world, and while the majority of the fanbase awaits the new Ranked season and the release of a new hero, the wait for more Pro Circuit action will be coming to an end as well. The regional qualifiers for the DreamLeague Season 11 Major are about to get underway, with squads from all 6 of the Dota 2 regions set to fight it out for a chance to travel to Stockholm and take their places on the Pro Circuit stage. Just as it was with the previous 2 set of Pro Circuit qualifiers, the qualifiers for the DreamLeague Season 11 Major will split the 6 regions into 2 groups, with 1 group featuring 4 regions, while the other will include the remaining 2 regions. That first group of regions will include Southeast Asia, as the region’s best teams will look to claim a place at the Major beginning on the 1st of February. At this point in the season, we have a fairly clear idea of what the regional hierarchy looks like, but this qualifier offers opportunities for squads to potentially disrupt the status quo and improve their standing among their regional rivals. With that in mind, we can take a look at the teams that will be participating in this Closed Qualifier and how they stack up against their regional rivals coming into this event.

The Southeast Asia qualifier will feature a field of 8 teams, with 4 of them (Fnatic, TNC Predator, BOOM ID, and Mineski) having been directly invited while the remaining 4 (PG.Barracx, Lotac, WarriorsGaming.Unity, and DeToNator) came up through the region’s 2 open qualifiers. Of those 8 teams, 6 of them (Fnatic, TNC Predator, BOOM ID, Mineski, Lotac, and WarriorsGaming.Unity) have previously participated in Pro Circuit qualifier this season, and 3 of them (Fnatic, TNC Predator, and BOOM ID) have made appearances at a Minor or Major. On the line for these participating squads are 2 spots at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major in March and the opportunity to improve their position both within their regional hierarchy and in the Pro Circuit Rankings. 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.

 

The Favorites

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.

Fnaticlogo Fnatic
Roster:

Pyo “MP” No-a
Abed “Abed” Azel L. Yusop
Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang
Djardel Jicko B. “DJ” Mampusti
Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong

Fnatic enters this regional qualifier off the back of one of its most impressive performances of the season, with the squad having finished in the 5th-6th place position at The Chongqing Major. That showing on the Pro Circuit stage served as a solid reminder of the strength of this Fnatic squad on the international level, but now the team has to show that same level of excellence against its regional rivals. Finding success within the Southeast Asian region has not been a problem for Fnatic so far this season considering the fact that the team has earned 1st place finishes across its last 3 regional appearances. Against other Southeast Asian squads, Fnatic holds an incredible 30-6 record this season, including a 15-5 mark against the other teams in this qualifier. Between the team’s strong play on the international level and its continued dominance within its home region, Fnatic is a clear favorite to claim a spot in Stockholm and retain its position at the top of the Southeast Asian hierarchy.

Tncproteam TNC Predator
Roster:

Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte
Armel Paul “Armel” Tabios
Carlo “Kuku” Palad
Timothy “Tims” Randrup
Michael “ninjaboogie” Ross Jr.

TNC Predator will come into this regional qualifier fresh off of a 9th-12th place finish at The Chongqing Major. While the team’s final position at that event may not be quite as impressive as some had been hoping for, the good news for the squad is that it now officially has Kuku back into the active roster following his ban from the Major. TNC Predator has been one of the most consistent teams across the entirety of the Southeast Asian region so far this season, and the team has posted an impressive 15-4 record against its regional rivals in the time since its last Pro Circuit qualifier run. With a track record of success against its fellow Southeast Asian teams and its full roster back together, TNC Predator will come into this qualifier as a clear favorite to earn its third straight appearance at a Major.

 

The Contenders

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.

Boom ID BOOM ID
Roster:
Randy “Dreamocel” Sapoetra
Rafli “Mikoto” Fathur
Saieful “Fbz” Ilham
Tri “Jhocam” Kuncoro
Alfi “Khezcute” Nelphyana

After spending the entire first half of the season working its way up the hierarchy in the Southeast Asian region, BOOM ID finally had its efforts rewarded as the team made its Pro Circuit debut at The Bucharest Minor. Unfortunately, the team’s performance at that event was not quite as strong as it may have hoped, with BOOM ID finishing in the 7th-8th place position with a 3-6 overall record. However, experience on the international level is a valuable asset, regardless of the team’s overall record as the event. The team has been relatively consistent within its home region so far this season, and so long as the squad avoids any significant setbacks, that strength at home should set the team up as a legitimate threat in this qualifier. While the team may not quite be on the same level as favorites like Fnatic and TNC Predator just yet, all BOOM ID needs is one breakthrough performance to potential earn its first Major appearance of the season.

 

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.

600px-Mineski-dota_logo Mineski
Roster:

Lai “Ahjit” Jay Son
Kam “Moon” Boon Seng
Damien “kpii” Chok
Kim “Febby” Yong-min
Johan “pieliedie” Åström

Mineski comes into this qualifier as a squad that has gone through quite an ordeal so far this season, having fallen from a projected regional leader into a squad struggling to find answers against its regional rivals. However, the team is hoping to change that as it enters this qualifier with a new player in the lineup, as Ahjit was added to the roster to replace JT- after the latter was loaned to Newbee. The good news for Mineski is that the squad has been on something of a upward trend of late, with the team earning back to back 1st place finishes in its 2 event appearances since its previous Pro Circuit qualifier. Across those 2 events, the squad has posted a 12-5 overall record, and the team is hoping that the addition of Ahjit to the lineup will allow it to maintain its newfound momentum heading into this qualifier. However, we’ve seen Mineski fall short of expectations multiple times now in Pro Circuit qualifiers, so until we see proof that the squad can find success on this stage, the projections will be somewhat modest for the team as it looks to earn its first Pro Circuit appearance of the season.

Lotac Lotac
Roster:
Marc Polo LuisRaven Fausto
Kee ChyuanChYuan Ng
KhooOhaiyo Chong Xin
Rolen Andrei GabrielSkemberlu Ong (Stand-in)
Ng “YamateH” Wei Poong

There was a fair bit of hype surrounding the formation of Lotac during the offseason, but that hype has dissipated to a certain degree as the squad has struggled to distance itself from its regional rivals this season. The team’s performance has not been weak by any means, as the squad has 8 Top 4 finishes across 9 total appearances in the Southeast Asian region this season. However, the team’s inability to put together that breakout performance against its regional rivals has become an increasingly larger concern for Lotac as the season goes on. Adding on to those complications is the fact that the team will come into this qualifier with a slightly altered lineup, as Skemberlu (currently an inactive member of compLexity Gaming) will be standing in for the squad in the place of eyyou. Even with the change to its roster, Lotac appears to have all of the talent and experience it needs to find success in this Pro Circuit qualifier. Until the squad proves that it can replicate its regional success on this stage though, the expectations will be kept cautiously low for Lotac.

DeToNator DeToNator
Roster:
RyanBimbo Jay Qui
BenhurBenhur Lawis
Samson Solomon EnojosaSam_H Hidalgo
KennethFlysolo Coloma
Ralph RichardRR Peñano

DeToNator is an organization that has not enjoyed a fantastic level of success in the Dota 2 world, but the team came into the 2018-2019 Pro Circuit season with a new roster and aspirations of climbing its way up the regional hierarchy. Just 2 months into the season though, the squad was making changes to its roster, and now the squad comes into this qualifier with just 2 members of that original squad left on the roster. The changes appear to have worked out for DeToNator though, as the team’s performance in the Southeast Asian region over the last month or 2 had been solid, though not particularly impressive. In the time since the squad’s big roster change in November, DeToNator has put together a 14-13 record against its regional rivals (not counting open qualifiers), which demonstrates some of the potential for this new roster. The team’s recent record may not blow anyone away, and it certainly doesn’t compare to the likes of Fnatic and TNC Predator. However, when combining those recent results with the level of experience on the roster, DeToNator at least appears to have a potential path to success in this qualifier, though it will almost certainly take a herculean effort from this quad to push past its regional rivals and claim a spot on the Pro Circuit stage in Stockholm.

 

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.

PG.Barracx PG.Barracx
Roster:
Felix “Ifr1t!” Malau
MuhammadAzur4 Lutfi
Nicolas “Francoeur” Batara
Fahmi “Huppey” Choirul
“Spaceman”

PG.Barracx is a squad that has popped up from time to time in the Southeast Asian region, but the squad has never managed to consistently establish itself as a legitimate contender within the regional hierarchy. However, this appearance in a Pro Circuit qualifier presents the squad with the potential to finally put together that break out performance against its regional rivals. Unfortunately for the team, the odds of claiming 1 of the Southeast Asian slots in Stockholm does not appear to be particularly high considering its limited experience outside of its own subsection of the Southeast Asian region. It could be that PG.Barracx is able to mount an unexpected surge as an underdog candidate and take its regional rivals by surprise, but such a performance from the squad would surely come as one of the more shocking developments in the region to this point in the season.

WarriorsGaming Unity WarriorsGaming.Unity
Roster:
NikolayNikobaby Nikolov
Cheng “NothingToSay” Jin Xiang
Kim “Velo” Tae-sung
Chong “FelixCiaoBa” Wei Lun
Chua “KaNG” Soon Khong

WarriorsGaming.Unity is a squad that we’ve seen quite a few times in Pro Circuit qualifiers, as this DreamLeague Season 11 Major Southeast Asia Qualifier will be the team’s third run of the season so far. The team comes into this event with a slightly altered lineup though, as Mercury left the team earlier this month and was replaced by Nikobaby. The team is hoping that the roster change will help it improve upon its qualifier record, as the team’s 2 previous Pro Circuit qualifier runs ended with the squad finishing at the bottom of the standings. Unfortunately, the only official matches that we’ve seen from the team’s new roster came in its 2 open qualifier runs to reach this stage. While the team’s open qualifier performances allowed it to reach this stage, they don’t necessarily give us a clear picture of whether the team’s new lineup will be any more capable of finding success against its regional rivals than the previous ones. Until we see WarriorsGaming.Unity in action against some of the stronger teams in the region, the expectations will be set low for the team heading into this qualifier.

 

 

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