A former regional power returns to the forefront of the scene as Mineski joins Fnatic to represent the SEA region at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major
The first batch of regional qualifiers for The DreamLeague Season 11 Major are coming to a close, and the field of teams that will take to the Pro Circuit stage in Stockholm is beginning to take shape. Southeast Asia is the second region in this initial group of 4 to close out its qualifier run, and we now know which 2 teams will be representing the region at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major in March. The regional qualifier began with a field of 8 teams, each hoping for an opportunity to find success against their regional rivals and secure a place on the Pro Circuit stage. However, just 2 of those teams were able to make their way to the top in this regional qualifiers, with one being a familiar face while the other is a team that had been struggling to this point in the season. The duo of Fnatic and Mineski have managed to claim the region’s 2 slots at the Major, and will make the journey to Stockholm in March to represent Southeast Asia on the international level. For those teams that didn’t make the cut this time around, a potential spot in the Minor qualifiers awaits, as the 6 unsuccessful squads from this event still have another shot at reaching the Pro Circuit stage. For now though, the time has come to take a look at how each of the squads performed in this qualifier, with the participants divided based upon their final positions in the event standings.
Top 2 (Qualified for DreamLeague Season 11 Major)
Record: 6-1 (2-0 Group Stage [Default Win vs PG.Barracx], 4-1 Playoffs)
After another strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage at The Chongqing Major, Fnatic entered this regional qualifier as one of the leading teams in Southeast Asia. In addition to the team’s strong play on the international level, the squad had also yet to finished anywhere below 2nd place in any of its regional appearances, and the squad ended up having very few difficulties keeping that streak alive in this qualifier. Fnatic absolutely dominated its regional rivals this time around, with a 8-1 overall record (6-1 in terms of matches that it actually played) that displayed just how far ahead this team seems to stand at this stage in the season. With its successful run in this qualifier, Fnatic had earned its third straight Major appearance, and the team appears to be putting together some of its best Dota right at a critical juncture in the 2018-2019 campaign. Fnatic has shown that it is more than capable of maintaining its position as a leader within the Southeast Asian region, and now the focus for the squad will shift towards doing the same on the Pro Circuit stage as the team works towards becoming the first Southeast Asian squad to secure a direct invite to TI9.
Record: 9-3 (4-0 Group Stage, 5-3 Playoffs)
It’s been a long time coming this season, but it appears that Mineski has finally found the right formula for success after a disappointing start to its 2018-2019 campaign. With an impressive 9-3 record in this qualifier, the team pushed its way past its regional rivals to secure its first Pro Circuit appearance of the season in Stockholm. The team looked confident across its matches in this event, playing with a level of poise and a sense of comfort that was not quite as present in its previous regional appearances. That comfort and confidence showed up in the results as well, as Mineski’s average game time across its 9 victories was just over 32 minutes. Perhaps even more impressive was the play of the team’s newest addition to the lineup, as AhJit averaged an impressive 8.58 kills and 9.17 assists with just 2.17 deaths per game across the team’s qualifier run. In fact, the play from the team as a whole was incredibly impressive as well, as no member of Mineski averaged more than 4 deaths per game across 12 total matches for the squad. That kind of performance is exactly what we’ve been hoping to see from Mineski all season long, and now the question for the team will be whether it can continue to play at that level as it prepares for its season debut on the Pro Circuit stage.
Record: 9-7 (4-2 Group Stage, 5-5 Playoffs)
When BOOM ID successfully fought its way through the regional qualifier for The Bucharest Minor back in December, it looked at though the team had finally managed to breakout within its home region and establish itself as a rising power within Southeast Asia. While the squad’s performance at the Minor itself did not prove to be overly impressive, BOOM ID had an opportunity to return home and prove to its regional rivals that its recent successes were more than just a fluke. The bad news for the team is that it didn’t end up qualifying for the Major, as BOOM ID put together a 9-7 overall re cord that put it in 3rd place when all was said and done in this qualifier. The good news though, is that the team still proved itself to be a legitimate contender with its finish in the top half of the standings for the qualifier. What was particularly impressive for BOOM ID in this qualifier run was the play of its core trio, as Dreamocel, Mikoto, and Fbz combined to average 19.53 kills and 30.6 assists with 12 deaths per game as it spearheaded the team’s efforts against its regional rivals. With its 3rd place finish in this event, BOOM ID is essentially guaranteed a direct invite to the Minor qualifiers, and if it can continue to get that kind of production from its core trio, then BOOM ID will stand as one of the favorites in the field as it will look to secure back to back Minor appearances.
Record: 6-8 (4-3 Group Stage, 2-5 Playoffs)
Lotac has spent the majority of the season to this point as a squad that has appeared to be just short of the mark needed to compete with the top squads in the Southeast Asian region, and that trend continued with its 4th place performance in this Major qualifier. The squad started out its qualifier run looking fairly solid, going 4-3 in the Group Stage of the event and beating out TNC Predator for a place in the Upper Bracket of the Playoffs. Unfortunately, things did not go quite so well for Lotac from that point on, as the squad lost to Fnatic 0-2, then salvaged a hard fought 2-1 win over WarriorsGaming.Unity before ultimately falling 0-2 to BOOM ID in Round 3 of the Lower Bracket. To be fair to Lotac, it was not an easy out for its opponents in this qualifier, as the team still put together a respectable 6-8 overall record and had an average game time of just under 41 minutes across its 14 total matches. Overall, the team did well enough to hold its own against its regional rivals, but the team continues to be unable to make that last push to get over the edge and find success in these Pro Circuit qualifiers. The good news though is that the team’s 4th place finish in this Major qualifier means that Lotac will almost certainly be receiving a direct invite to the upcoming Minor qualifiers, giving the squad another chance at finally earning its debut on the Pro Circuit stage.
Record: 3-7 (0-4 Group Stage, 3-3 Playoffs)
At the end of the day, WarriorsGaming.Unity walks away from this qualifier with a somewhat decent results, having finished in the 5th-6th place position in the 8 team field. However, the team’s play as a whole left quite a lot to be desired as it finished with a 3-7 overall record against its regional rivals. The team got its qualifier run started with 5 straight losses, immediately putting it at a significant disadvantage that the squad struggled to come back from. The good news for WarriorsGaming.Unity is that it managed to go 3-2 over its final 5 matches to salvage something positive for itself and at least show that it is capable of putting together stronger showings against its regional rivals. However, the team still proved to be wildly inconsistent in this qualifier, and even the more positive half of its run saw it finish in the bottom half of the event standings. With the Minor qualifiers coming up soon, WarriorsGaming.Unity will potentially have a second chance at putting together a strong performance against its regional rivals, but as this stage the team is almost certainly going to need to go through another open qualifier in order to reach that event.
Record: 5-5 (2-2 Group Stage [Default Loss vs Fnatic], 3-3 Playoffs)
PG.Barracx came into this qualifier with relatively low expectations, as the Indonesian squad had only limited experience playing outside of its subsection of the Southeast Asian region. However, the squad manged to exceed those expectations with a solid showing against its regional rivals, though the team still ended up in the lower half of the event standings in the 5th-6th place position. Officially, the team’s record in this qualifiers stands a 5-7, though the squad’s record in games that it actually played is 5-5 after it forfeited a Group Stage series against Fnatic. 5-5 is a fairly impressive performance for a team that was considered to be one of the weaker squads in the field, but there is something of a caveat to the squad’s solid showing in this qualifier. Of its 10 played matches, 7 of them came against fellow Indonesian squad BOOM ID. If there was any team in this qualifier that PG.Barracx would feel the most comfortable playing against, it would be a squad from its own country. Even with that added familiarity, the team couldn’t quite put together a strong enough run to threaten for a place in Stockholm, but this showing was at least a positive sign for PG.Barracx moving forward. The team will more than likely need to go through the open qualifiers again to earn a place at the upcoming Minor qualifiers, but if it can do so then it will have a valuable opportunity to build upon this performance and potentially earn a place on the Pro Circuit stage.
Record: 4-7 (3-5 Group Stage, 1-2 Playoffs)
TNC Predator came into this regional qualifier as one of the favorites to claim a place in Stockholm, but the regional leader ended up falling short in a rather shocking way against its regional rivals. The return of Kuku to the team’s active lineup was meant to be a galvanizing, catalyzing force for the team, but instead we saw TNC Predator struggle in its matches across this qualifier. To be fair, the team was far from a pushover in this qualifier, as the squad posted a 4-7 record and had 3 of its 4 series go to a full 3 matches. However, the fact that the team ended up losing 3 of the 4 series as well is somewhat concerning for a squad that had long enjoyed a relatively comfortable position at the top of the regional hierarchy. The question facing the squad now is whether the team’s performance is dropping or if the rest of the region’s top squads are starting to grow and catch up with it. Either way, the finish at the bottom of the standings in this qualifier is an incredibly shocking development both for the squad and for the region as a whole. TNC Predator won’t be pushing that panic button just yet though, as the squad will still likely have its shot at returning to the Pro Circuit stage in the upcoming Minor qualifiers. After this poor performance though, the team might just find itself having to fight through the open qualifiers in order to earn that second chance.
Record: 2-6 (1-4 Group Stage, 1-2 Playoffs)
Coming into this qualifier, a fair bit of the reasoning behind a potential run from this DeToNator squad was the experience of the players on its roster. Unfortunately, that experience did the team little good in the end, as DeToNator finished at the bottom of the event standings with a 2-6 overall record. To its credit, the team didn’t go down without a fight, putting together some solid efforts and at least claiming match wins against TNC Predator and PG.Barracx. Those wins exposed something of a weakness for the team though, as DeToNator appeared to be entirely reliant upon strong starts to propel it forward towards a win. Across the team’s 6 losses, it showed an inability to recover and turn the tides in the mid and late-game stages, though there were a couple of losses where the squad at least managed to draw things out before losing. Still, no team can be reliant solely upon blowout wins to find success in the Dota 2 world, and DeToNator found that out the hard way with its performance in this qualifier. The squad will potentially have another shot at reaching the Pro Circuit stage if it earns a place in the upcoming StarLadder ImbaTV Invitational Season 6 Minor Qualifiers, but it will need to put together a much improved run in that event if it wants to do any better than we saw in this Major qualifier.