TEAM TEAM, compLexity Gaming look to hold off a duo of new challengers to become North America’s lone representative at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor
The regional qualifiers for the DreamLeague Season 11 Major may officially have come to an end, but the path to the Pro Circuit stage is still open for those squads that proved unable to earn themselves a place in Stockholm. The qualifiers for the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor are set to begin shortly, with squads from the 6 regions of the Dota 2 world hoping to earn an opportunity to lay claim to valuable Pro Circuit Points and take their shot at winning the 16th and final spot in the field for the DreamLeague Season 11 Major. Before we get into talking about which team will claim that final slot and the title of Minor Champion, we need to get through the regional qualifiers first. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor North America Qualifier, where 4 teams will be fighting for 1 spot on the Pro Circuit stage in Kiev. With that reduced field compared to the Major qualifier, we will be dividing the team’s into the 2 sections that have been used for the previous 2 Minor qualifiers: Favored and Unfavored Teams.
The team(s) in this section represent the more formidable or accomplished teams in the field for the qualifier that appear to have the best chance at claiming a spot at the Minor. Given how small the field is for these qualifiers (4 teams per region), the margin between the squads in this section compared to the other may not be particularly high, but these teams have at least some small advantage based upon their roster or results in the previous Pro Circuit qualifiers.
Galvin “Meracle” Kang Jian Wen
Linus “Limmp” Blomdin
Yang “Deth” Wu Heng
Zakari “Zfreek” Freedman
Adam “Adam” Shah
After coming up one series short in the previous Major qualifier, compLexity Gaming now finds itself with another chance at earning its second Pro Circuit event appearance of the season. During its most recent qualifier run, the team ended up playing with a stand-in, with monkeys-forever replacing Adam for the event. As of right now, it is unclear if Adam will be available for compLexity Gaming for this qualifier, or if the team will be needing another stand-in. Seeing as how monkeys-forever has qualified for this Minor qualifier with another team, he will not be available for compLexity Gaming this time around. Regardless of who fills that final roster spot for compLexity Gaming though, the squad will enter this qualifier as one of the more formidable squads in this admittedly small field of participants. Between the team’s regional experience and new talent in the form of its Southeast Asian players, compLexity Gaming should have a solid chance at making its way back to the Pro Circuit stage and claiming the lone North American slot at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor.
Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao
Eric “Ryoya” Dong
Rodrigo Lelis “Liposa” Santos
Jingjun “Sneyking” Wu
Francis “FrancisLee” Lee
Note: On February 9, Flying Penguins traded Gunnar to TEAM TEAM in exchange for Ryoya. This change is not reflected in the following preview
The newest squad from the duo of EternaLEnVy and Sneyking managed to put together a relatively strong performance in its first foray in a Pro Circuit qualifier, as Flying Penguins finished in the 5th-6th place position in the DreamLeague Season 11 Major North America Qualifier with a 4-5 overall record. That final record is not necessarily the most impressive, and under normal circumstances a squad with that kind of middling performance within its home region would not come into another qualifier carrying a fantastic level of confidence. However, Flying Penguins gets the benefit of the doubt in this scenario for a couple of reasons. First is the team’s veteran leadership, as the squad has a quartet of regional veterans built up around the younger talent of Gunnar. The second factor working in the team’s favor is that none of its opponents in the field for this qualifier have been nearly consistent enough within the region to definitively be considered favorite over it in a head to head match up. It’s not exactly the prettiest of potential paths to success, but if Flying Penguins can put together a strong enough run to earn a place on the Pro Circuit stage, then its players won’t likely care much about how it gets there.
Samuel “Sammyboy” Anderson
Nico “Gunnar” Lopez
Braxton “Brax” Paulson
Jason “Newsham” Newsham
Michael “ixmike88” Ghannam
Note: On February 9, TEAM TEAM traded Ryoya to Flying Penguins in exchange for Gunnar. This change is not reflected in the following preview
TEAM TEAM comes into this regional qualifier off the back of a decent performance in the recent Major qualifier, where the squad posted a 4-6 record en route to a 5th-6th place finish overall. TEAM TEAM did not particularly impress in that Major qualifier, with with the region’s heavy hitters now removed from the field, the squad now looks to be on par with the rest of its regional rivals in this Minor qualifier. While success is far from a guarantee for TEAM TEAM with only 1 slot available at the Minor, the team does have one factor potentially working in its favor heading into the event. That advantage for TEAM TEAM is the fact that its roster has been together for significantly longer than its opponents in this qualifier, all of whom have either made recent roster changes or just recently formed in general. Even with the team’s relative roster stability adding a degree of consistency to its play, TEAM TEAM will still need to put together an impressive show against its regional rivals in this event if it wants to earn its second straight Minor appearance of the season in Kiev.
I know that “favored” and “unfavored” may not be the most dramatic of terms to divide the field for these qualifiers, but with just 4 teams per regional qualifier, it seems the most appropriate. The teams in this section aren’t necessarily underdogs or long shots, they’re just the teams that come in a little bit below the other squads in the field. Whether its a roster change or a poor performance in the previous Pro Circuit qualifier, the teams in this section don’t appear to be quite as strong as the others, though there is still a solid chance that one of them manages to make their way to the Minor.
wut the frog
Mason “mason” Venne
Quinn “CC&C” Callahan
Jaron “monkeys-forever” Clinton
Noah “Boris” Minhas
Andrew “Jubei” Evelynn
To be honest, it simply wouldn’t feel like a true North American qualifier in this 2018-2019 Pro Circuit season if we didn’t have at least 1 squad of free agents band together for open qualifier runs, and we have a squad that fits that bill perfectly in the form of wut the frog. Comprised of a quintet of experienced North American players, the team has fought its way through the open qualifiers and now has a chance to push its way onto the Pro Circuit stage by claiming the lone North American slot in Kiev for the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor. Considering the fact that this team only recently came together though, wut the frog’s chances of claiming that spot at the Minor appear to be slightly lower than those of the other squads in the field, though not by much. With the team’s competition for this qualifier proving to be relatively inconsistent in their own rights in recent times, the path to success for wut the frog is far from unattainable as it looks to earn its first appearance on the Pro Circuit stage.