Dota 2 Pro Circuit Major Preview: DreamLeague Season 11 Major

Living the Dream: DreamLeague Season 11 Major brings Pro Circuit back to Stockholm for the season’s third Major Championship

The third Major of the 2018-2019 Pro Circuit campaign is just a few days away, and for the second time this season, the eyes of the Dota 2 world will turn to Stockholm, Sweden as the city plays host to the DreamLeague Season 11 Major. As its name would imply, the Major will be the eleventh event in the DreamLeague series of tournaments, and is organized and presented by legendary LAN-party, tournament, and computer festival organizer and gaming icon DreamHack. Beginning of the 14th of March and running through the 24th, The Major is set to bring 16 of the Dota 2 world’s best squads back to Stockholm for a chance to lay claim to the coveted title of Major Champion. The event itself will be held in the Annexet, a sub-venue of the Stockholm Globe Arenas (a.k.a Stockholm Globe City) with a capacity of around 4,000, although only the final 3 days of the competition are scheduled to be played in front of a live crowd. While every team in the field for this event will be receiving some amount of money and Pro Circuit Points, the difference between tiers in the event standings are significant in terms of earnings. With the Pro Circuit season entering its second act though, we’re beginning to see a more established hierarchy forming in the Pro Circuit Rankings, and the number of opportunities for squads to make bug pushes in said Rankings will dwindle as the season goes on. With that in mind, the $1,000,000 and 15,000 Pro Circuit Points that are available at this event take on an even larger level of significance, as each squad in the field will be looking to carve out the largest possible share of those prize pools. Said prize pools are set to distributed among the participating teams according to the following outline.

1st: $350,000 & 4,950 DPC Points

2nd: $170,000 & 3,000 DPC Points

3rd: $100,000 & 2,100 DPC Points

4th: $80,000 & 1,350 DPC Points

5th-6th: $60,000 (Per Team) & 900 DPC Points (Per Team)

7th-8th: $40,000 (Per Team) & 450 DPC Points (Per Team)

9th-12th: $15,000 (Per Team) & 150 DPC Points (Per Team)

13th-16th: $10,000 (Per Team) & 75 DPC Points (Per Team)

The format for the DreamLeague Season 11 Major is set to follow those of the previous 2 Majors that we’ve seen this season, beginning with the 16 teams being split into 4 groups of 4 teams each for the Group Stage. The Group Stage will feature GSL style groups, with all series being played in a Bo3 format.  The GSL format means that 2 of the 4 teams in a group will be randomly selected to play each other in the 2 Opening Matches. The winning teams from those Opening Matches will then play each other in the Winners’ Match to determine the top seed in the group, while the losing teams will play in the Losers’ Match to determine the bottom seed. From there, the loser of the Winners’ Match and the winner of the Losers’ Match will play each other in the Decider Match to determine the 2nd and 3rd seeds of the group. Unlike the recent Minor, the Group Stage of this Major will be played for seeding purposes only and will not eliminate any teams outright. Instead, the Top 2 teams from each group will be seeded into the upper half of the Main Event bracket, while the bottom 2 teams will end up in the lower bracket for the Main Event, putting 8 teams in each half. Said Main Event will feature a double elimination bracket, with all matches in Round 1 of the Lower Bracket being played in a Bo1 format. Beyond that first round though, the Main Event series will all be played in a Bo3 format up until the Grand Finals, which will feature a Bo5 series.

With the season shifting into its second half now and TI9 creeping ever closer this summer, most of the teams in this field will be feeling a bit of increased pressure to take advantage of this opportunity to put together a strong performance to improve or solidify their positions in the Pro Circuit Rankings. Coming into this Major, 15 of the 16 participating teams have previously attended a Pro Circuit event this season and as such already hold positions in the Pro Circuit Rankings. The only newcomer at this event is Southeast Asian squad Mineski, as the team will be making its first appearance of the season on the Pro Circuit stage, and the organizations fourteenth appearance overall. Of the 15 teams that have places in the Pro Circuit Rankings, 12 of them (Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Secret, Team Liquid, Virtus.pro, PSG.LGD, EHOME, Fnatic, Evil Geniuses, J.Storm, Forward Gaming, Chaos Esports Club, and Vici Gaming) either hold or are tied for a position in the Top 12 of the Pro Circuit Rankings and would receive a direct invite to TI9 if they can hold those positions through the end of the season. 2 of those squads (Team Secret and Virtus.pro) have already secured enough qualifying points to lock down their direct invite status, but they may be joined by a few more squads by the time this event ends. As of right now, 1 squad (Evil Geniuses) could earn direct invite status with a 5th-6th place finish or higher, and any squad that finishes 1st in Stockholm would earn enough points to punch their ticket to TI9 as well. With that in mind, this event takes on a special significance for many of the teams in the field, and the time has now come to take a look at how each of the squads in that field stack up against each other heading into the 2018-2019 season’s third Major.

Please note that the “projected finishes” for each team are my own predictions and do not constitute any official or necessarily objective ranking based upon specific statistics or data. Also note that projected finishes are a reflection of the perceived strength of each squad and do not take into account the specifics of the groups draws for this event.

 

Ninjas in Pyjamas Ninjas In Pyjamas

Region: Europe

Qualification: Europe Qualifier 1st Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 5th (1420 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard
2. Adrian “Fata” Trinks
3. Neta “33” Shapira
4. Martin “Saksa” Sazdov
5. Peter “ppd” Dager (Captain)
C. AaronClairvoyance Kim

Projected Finish: 7th-8th

As the second half of the 2018-2019 Pro Circuit campaign gets underway, Ninjas in Pyjamas finds itself standing in one of the more favorable positions both within the European region and on the international level as well. NiP is one of the highest ranked squads in the Pro Circuit Rankings, and the only European team to possess a higher Pro Circuit Point total at this stage in the season is Team Secret; a team that has already secured enough points to guarantee itself a TI9 invite. The team has not always been the most consistent performer this season, with the European squad going through a couple of setbacks and disappointing showings across the first half both at home and on the international level. However, NiP has managed to persevere and put together strong performances when it has mattered most with 4th place runs in its 2 Pro Circuit appearances this season. With the DreamLeague Season 11 Major serving as the squad’s third Pro Circuit event of this 2018-2019 campaign, Ninjas in Pyjamas will be looking to once again rise to the occasion as it faces off against the Dota 2 world’s best teams once again. While a poor showing in Stockholm would likely be only somewhat detrimental to the team’s place in the Rankings, a strong performance on the Pro Circuit stage would cement NiP’s position as one of the elite squads in the Dota 2 world.

The last Pro Circuit appearance for NiP came near the beginning of the year, as the European squad participated in the first event of 2019 at The Bucharest Minor in January. Despite some early struggles in the Group Stage, the team managed to put together a commendable run in the Playoffs of the event in order to secure itself a 4th place finish on the Pro Circuit stage. Since the end of that Minor, NiP has been hard at work defending and expanding upon its favorable positions both within Europe and on the international level as well. On the home front, the team has made 1 appearance in a European competition in the form of the DreamLeague Season 11 Europe Qualifier, where it posted a 6-2 record against its regional rivals to claim its place on the Pro Circuit stage in Stockholm. Away from home, NiP has managed to find a fair bit of success as well, with the team making 3 event appearances since the conclusion of The Bucharest Minor. The team claimed a 2nd place finish at the mixed Europe and and CIS WePlay! Dota 2 Valentine Madness, and followed up that performance a week later with a 5th-6th place run at ESL One Katowice 2019. Most recently though, the squad participated in the WePlay! Dota 2 Tug of War: Radiant, where NiP claimed a 1st place finish in a mixed European and CIS field after claiming a win in a rare Bo7 Grand Finals series. In total, Ninjas in Pyjamas has put together a 29-18 record since its previous Pro Circuit appearance, with 18 of those 29 victories coming against Pro Circuit teams (teams to have qualified for or attended at least one Pro Circuit event this season). The fact that the team has been able to hold its own against some of its strongest competition certainly bodes well for NiP’s prospects heading into its second Major appearance of the season. While the squad has not been quite as much of a dominant force as teams like Virtus.pro and Team Secret, its strong results over the last couple of months should have Ninjas in Pyjamas entering the DreamLeague Season 11 Major with a fair bit of confidence as it looks to lock down its third straight Top 4 finish on the Pro Circuit stage.

Ninjas in Pyjamas comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as one of the more interesting stories in this 16 team field. The team’s roster is brimming with veteran experience and talent, but so far we’ve yet to see the squad really put all of its pieces together on a consistent basis. To be fair, this squad has been absolutely incredible when playing in its top form, as evidenced by the pair of Top 4 finishes that NiP has been able to earn on the Pro Circuit stage. However, those strong showings on the international level have been somewhat countered by some disappointing results for the team as well, with the squad losing a number of match ups in which it has appeared to be significantly favored. The good news for the team is that its most recent stretch of play in the aftermath of The Bucharest Minor has had far more positive results than negative ones, and there is hope that perhaps the squad is finally starting to work towards adding that level of consistency to its already impressive talent and experience. Coming into this event, NiP is projected to finish in the top half of the event standings, with a predicted position in the 7th-8th place range. At this stage in the season, we know how well the squad is capable of playing, but in every instance so far the squad has struggled to come out on top against the elite teams on the Dota 2 world. Squads like VP, Team Secret, EG, and PSG.LGD have repeatedly stymied the team’s efforts on the intentional level, and even squads like Fnatic, EHOME, and Keen Gaming have given NiP issues this season. The team certainly appears to have the skill and experience to get past most of those opponents, but we’ve yet to see this team pull that off with any sort of consistency this season. With that being said, this predicted outcome seems the most prudent for Ninjas in Pyjamas, and it will be up to the European squad itself to prove that it is ready to take the next step as it hopes to shatter expectations in Stockholm.

 

Team Secret Secret_logo

Region: Europe

Qualification Method: Europe Qualifier 2nd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: T-1st (7,950 Pro Circuit Points) (Qualified for TI9)

Roster:
1. Michał “Nisha” Jankowski
2. Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng
3. Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg
4. Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat
5. Clement “Puppey” Ivanov (Captain)
C.
Lee “SunBhie” Jeong-jae

Projected Finish: Top 4

Looking at the team in its current state, it’s somewhat hard to believe that Team Secret came into this 2018-2019 season with questions as to whether its new roster would be able to compete at the top level on the Pro Circuit. At the time, those questions seemed relatively appropriate, as the team had added a pair of new players to its roster, including the young Nisha who had shown promise but had not yet exploded into the absolute star that he is today. The European juggernaut has blown all of those doubts and concerns out of the water though, as Team Secret stands as both the defending Major Champion and one of the best teams in the entirety of the Dota 2 world heading into this third Major of the season. The squad has smashed its way past every obstacle placed before it, and comes into this event with enough Pro Circuit Points to have already secured itself a place in Shanghai for TI9 (so long as the team does not lose any points through penalties or roster changes). While the squad’s place at TI9 appears to be secure, don’t bet on Team Secret taking things easy over the final half of this Pro Circuit season. The opportunity to continues testing its mettle against the best squads in the world is one that Team Secret won’t be likely to pass on as it looks to claim back to back Major titles for just the fourth time in Dota 2 history.

Team Secret’s last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came back in January at The Chongqing Major, where the squad earned its third Major Championship title with a 1st place finish at the event. In the time following that victory, the team’s winning ways have continued, both within its home region and on the international level as well. In Europe, the squad has made a single appearance in the time since the last Major, appearing in the DreamLeague Season 11 Europe Qualifier at the beginning of February. With a 7-2 record against its regional rivals, Team Secret was able to secure itself a place on the Pro Circuit stage, finishing in the combined 1st-2nd place position alongside Ninjas in Pyjamas. More recently, the squad has taken its talents to the international level with an appearance at ESL One Katowice 2019 near the end of February. With a prize pool on par with a Pro Circuit Minor and put together by one of the most well known organizers in esports, the third party event carried more than a fair bit of prestige, and Team Secret rose to the occasion in spectacular fashion. With an incredible 16-1 performance, the squad swept its way past every opponent that it faced to secure itself a 1st place finish and the title of ESL One Katowice 2019 Champion. Since the start of 2019, Team Secret has put together a record of 37-9, with 31 of those wins coming against Pro Circuit teams (teams to have attended or qualified for at least 1 Pro Circuit event this season). That record has fueled the squad to 3 straight 1st place finishes as well in the 2019 section of this season, and has Team Secret standing as one of, if not the, best squads in the Dota 2 world as it looks to defend its title in Stockholm.

Team Secret comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as the defending Major Champion, and the squad will be eager to retain its title as it takes on the best that the Pro Circuit has to offer in Stockholm. Even with the team’s place at TI9 already secured, the European juggernaut will be looking to make a statement as it hopes to become just the fourth team in Dota 2 history to win back to back Major Championships. Heading into this event, Team Secret looks to be in a pretty favorable position to do just that, with the squad dominating both within the European region as well as on the international level. Since the start of the 2019 section of the season, Team Secret has posted an insane 37-9 overall record, and has lost just 3 series of 2 or more games in that same time frame. Add on to that record the fact that Team Secret has claimed 3 straight 1st place finishes, including back to back LAN wins on the international level, and the squad is clearly a force to be reckoned with as it makes its way to Stockholm. With that in mind, Team Secret will enter this Major as an obvious leader in this field, with a projection in the Top 4 range. Anything lower than that would come as a rather massive shock considering just how dominant this team has been so far this season.

 

Team Liquid 600px-Team_liquid_logo_2017

Region: Europe

Qualification Method: Europe Qualifier 3rd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 10th (450 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen
2.
Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi 
3.
Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov
4.
Maroun “GH” Merhej
5.
Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi (Captain)
C. Roman “rmN-” Paley

Projected Finish: Top 4

Team Liquid has long enjoyed a position as one of the strongest squads within the European region, as well as a consistent contender on the international level as well. After dominating the Pro Circuit last season with 8 Major appearances and 6 Top 4 finishes across those appearances though, the team’s presence on the Pro Circuit stage has been somewhat diminished in this 2018-2019 campaign. The squad’s season debut at a Pro Circuit event did not come until January at The Chongqing Major, but the TI7 Champion did not let that opportunity go to waste. With that singular Pro Circuit appearance, Team Liquid has already pushed itself into the Top 12 of the Pro Circuit Rankings, and the team will be looking to further improve that position as it kicks off the second half of the season with this performance in Stockholm. Squads like Team Secret, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and even Alliance have held the spotlight within the European region for most of the season so far. However, Team Liquid comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major hoping that a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage will serve to reiterate the team’s status as a leading squad both among its regional rivals and on the Pro Circuit as a whole.

As previously mentioned, Team Liquid’s most recent Pro Circuit appearance this season was also its first, as the team made its 2018-2019 Pro Circuit debut at The Chongqing Major back in January. Though the squad ended up playing with a stand-in for the entirety of the event, Team Liquid still managed to put together a 6-5 record to earn a 7th-8th place finish at the major. In the time since that Pro Circuit appearance, the team has participated in just 2 events, with one coming within the European region while the other came on the international level. Fortunately for the squad though, it was able to represent itself well across both of those appearances, beginning with the DreamLeague Season 11 Europe Qualifier near the start of February. Against a field of 7 other European squads, Team Liquid posted an 8-3 record that secured it 1 of the region’s 3 slots at this upcoming Major. Just a few weeks later, the team once again tested its mettle on the international level with an appearance at MDL Macau 2019 against a field of Chinese, CIS, and North American squads. After putting together a 12-3 overall record at the event, Team Liquid walked away with a 1st place finish and its second LAN title of the season. Since the start of 2019, Team Liquid holds an impressive 26-11 overall record that includes a 20-10 mark against other Pro Circuit teams (teams to have attended or qualified for at least 1 Pro Circuit event this season). Between its solid play at home and its recent victory on the international level, Team Liquid will come into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as a team with more than its fair share of confidence as it looks to put up a strong showing in its second straight Major appearance.

Team Liquid comes into this Major as a squad looking to reclaim its position as a leading team within the Dota 2 world. After dominating the Pro Circuit stage last season, the team’s 2018-2019 campaign has suffered multiple setbacks, with Team Liquid withdrawing from one Pro Circuit event (DreamLeague Season 10 Minor) and playing with a stand-in in another (The Chongqing Major). This time around though, Team Liquid is looking like it will have its full lineup available on the Pro Circuit stage, which bodes well for the squad’s chances to find success in Stockholm. Despite the team’s numerous setbacks and issues this season, Team Liquid comes into this event with more than a few reasons to expect success on the Pro Circuit stage. The squad has held its own in what has been an incredibly crowded European region, claiming Top 4 finishes in 3 of its 4 regional appearances this season. The international level has seen Team Liquid put together impressive performances as well, with the team finishing no lower than the 7th-8th position across its 3 event appearances and claiming 2 LAN victories at MegaFon Winter Clash and the more recent MDL Macau 2019. It’s important to note that those 2 successful LAN runs for Team Liquid came with the entirety of its roster available for the events. Between the team’s recent success on the international level, its roster ostensibly being at full strength for this event, and teams like EHOME and PSG.LGD going through their own lineup issues, Team Liquid appears to be in line for a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage in Stockholm. With all of that in mind, the TI7 Champion will come into this Major with a projected finish in the Top 4 range, though that prediction is far from set in stone. A strong surge from a squad like PSG.LGD or Fnatic, or an underwhelming performance from Team Liquid itself could easily knock the squad off of the path to success. However, the European squad should be able to fend off those challengers so long as it avoids any significant setbacks on the Pro Circuit stage in Stockholm.

 

Virtus.pro virtus pro new

Region: CIS

Qualification Method: CIS Qualifier 1st Place

Pro Circuit Rank: T-1st (7,950 Pro Circuit Points) (Qualified for TI9)

Roster:
1. Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev
2.
Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko
3.
Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov
4.
Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan
5.
Alexei “Solo” Berezin (Captain)
C.
Arsenij “ArsZeeqq” Usov

Projected Finish: Top 4

Virtus.pro comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as one of the top squads in the Pro Circuit Rankings, and perhaps the most successful teams in the short history of the Pro Circuit as a whole. While the team ended up just short of the mark for a victory at The Chongqing Major, the CIS juggernaut already holds an incredible 5 Major Championship titles; more than any other team since the implementations of Dota 2 Majors back in 2015. At this stage, VP appears to be marching its way into the discussion as one of the greatest teams in professional Dota 2 history, though the title of TI Winner has proven elusive for the squad in what has otherwise been a near flawless period of over 2 years. The good news for the team is that it has already secured itself a shot at claiming that TI title, with VP currently holding enough Pro Circuit Points (7,950) to guarantee itself a direct invite to Shanghai for TI9. The team’s place in the field for the biggest event in the Dota 2 world may already be secure, but don’t expect VP to be entertaining any thoughts of letting up or taking things easy against its opponents on the Pro Circuit stage. This iteration of VP has prided itself on testing its mettle against the strongest opposition at every possible opportunity, and the chance to put together another strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage and potentially earn its sixth Major Championship title will be more than enough motivation for the squad to play at its absolute best in Stockholm.

The last appearance for Virtus.pro on the Pro Circuit stage came not so long ago, as the team attended The Chongqing Major back in January and put together an 11-6 overall record for a 2nd place finish at the event. Since the end of that Major, the squad has made 2 event appearances, one within its home region and one on the international level. On the home front, the squad has continued to be the dominant presence that we’ve come to expect, with the team putting together a masterful showing in the DreamLeague Season 11 Major CIS Qualifier. VP did not drop a single match against its regional rivals in this event, posting a perfect 8-0 record to rather handily secure itself a place in Stockholm for its third straight Major appearance of the season. So far this season, VP has posted a 32-7 record against its fellow CIS squads, making its position at the top of the regional hierarchy essentially unquestionable for the foreseeable future. While the team’s play within its home region has been terrifyingly consistent, its performance on the international level has been just as impressive. The squad’s most recent international appearance only added to its strong record of success, with the team attending MDL Macau 2019 at the end of February. Despite some early struggles in the Group Stage of the event, VP managed to bounce back in the Playoffs with 3 straight series victories to secure itself a 3rd place finish behind Evil Geniuses and eventual event winner Team Liquid. That performance marked the team’s fifth Top 4 finish in 6 event appearances on the international level this season, as VP has reiterated its ability to compete with the very best teams in the Dota 2 world. Between the squad’s continued dominance at home and its stellar record of success on the international level, VP will make its way to Stockholm as a clear favorite to claim the third Major Championship title of this 2018-2019 season.

Virtus.pro comes into this Major as a clear leader on the Pro Circuit, as the team is tied for 1st place in the Pro Circuit Rankings and has already earned enough points to secure itself a direct invite to TI9. Even with its spot in Shanghai looking like a sure thing, the CIS powerhouse will make its way to Stockholm with the intent of reiterating its position at the top of the Dota 2 world. Based upon the play that we’ve seen from the squad so far this season, there really aren’t many reasons to believe that VP won’t be able to do just that as it looks to claim the organization’s sixth Major Championship title. The CIS squad has been absolutely dominant in this 2018-2019 campaign, both at home and on the international level. Within the CIS region, VP has yet to finish any lower than 2nd across its 3 regional qualifier appearances, and has lost just 2 series of 2 games or more against regional rivals. Outside of its home region, VP has earned 5 Top 4 finishes across 6 event appearances, and it has taken near heroic efforts from some of the Pro Circuit’s other top squads to slow the team down. Of VP’s 9 total series losses this season (2 or more games), 5 of them have come against squads currently sitting in the Top 4 in the Pro Circuit Rankings. When a team needs to be one of the best in the world to have a reasonable shot at handing VP a defeat, it’s clear that the CIS juggernaut is one of the premier teams on the Pro Circuit. As such, Virtus.pro comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as an easy choice for a Top 4 projection, standing right alongside Team Secret as the 2 clear favorites to claim the Major Championship title in Stockholm. Whether the squad actually manages to claim that sixth title remains to be seen, but it would come as a significant shock if VP was not at least in contention for it in the final days of this event.

 

Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) Na'Vi

Region: CIS

Qualification Method: CIS Qualifier 2nd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 19th (100 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Vladislav “Crystallize” Krystanek
2. Idan MagicaL” Vardanyan
3. Evgeniy “Blizzy” Ree
4. Evgeniy “Chuvash” Makarov
5. Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev (Captain)
C. AndreyMagChipenko

Projected Finish: 9th-12th

When Na’Vi committed to rebuilding its roster in the run up to this 2018-2019 season, there were many who wondered just how the team’s new lineup would stack up compared to some of the legendary iterations to have played for the organization in days past. After a first half filled with ups and downs and some mixed results for the squad, Na’Vi finds itself back on the Pro Circuit stage with its second event appearance of the season and its first Major of the 2018-2019 campaign. The road certainly hasn’t been an easy one for Na’Vi, but the team comes into this event as one of a handful of contenders within the CIS region, sharing the regional spotlight with squads like The Pango and Gambit Esport. If the squad wants to separate itself from those regional rivals though, it is going to need to distinguish itself on the international level as well, with this appearance at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major providing the squad with the perfect opportunity to do just that. Putting together that kind of performance is much easier said than done though, and at this stage Na’Vi’s current roster has not fully proven itself to be ready to consistently perform on the international level. However, this trip to Stockholm and the opportunity to test itself against some of the best teams in the Dota 2 world will be a strong indicator of where this current iteration of Na’Vi stacks among the potential challengers on the Pro Circuit.

Na’Vi’s last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came near the very beginning of the season, with the team attending the first Pro Circuit event of the 2018-2019 campaign at the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor back in November. The squad impressed in its season debut on the Pro Circuit stage, posting a 13-7 overall record while coming just 1 win short of a Minor Championship title as it finished in 2nd place at the event. Since then, the team has continued to put together some solid performances, both within its home region and against its European neighbors. In the months that have followed that Minor appearance, Na’Vi has participated in 2 CIS exclusive events, both of which were Pro Circuit qualifiers. The first of those qualifiers occurred just 3 weeks after the team’s appearance at the Minor, with Na’Vi earning itself a 5th-6th place finish in The Chongqing Major CIS Qualifier and missing out on its chance to attend the Major itself. The more recent of the team’s regional qualifier runs came earlier this month, with the team posting an 11-6 record in the DreamLeague Season 11 Major CIS Qualifier to lock down a 2nd place finish and a trip to Stockholm for its second Pro Circuit event of the season. While those 2 qualifiers were the team’s only CIS exclusive appearances, Na’Vi has also participated in a quartet of mixed Europe and CIS tournaments and qualifiers in the time since its last Pro Circuit appearance. Near the end of November, the squad finished 1st in the MegaFon Winter Clash Closed Qualifier, and followed up that performance with a 2nd place run just 2 weeks later at the main MegaFon Winter Clash itself. In February, the squad participated in a pair of events put together by WePlay!, finishing 3rd in WePlay! Dota 2 Valentine Madness and ending up in the 5th-8th place position in WePlay! Dota 2 Tug of War: Radiant. In the time since Na’Vi’s run at the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor, it has put together an 11-10 record against teams from outside of its home region, and is 33-26 across all of its non-open qualifier matches in that same time frame. With that record including a 27-21 mark against other Pro Circuit teams (teams to have attended or qualified for at least 1 Pro Circuit event this season), Na’Vi will not come into Stockholm as an interesting, but not particularly favored, squad. However, the team’s performance in recent times suggests a capability to at least contend with other squads on the Pro Circuit, and those capabilities are set to be put to the test as the team prepares for its first Major appearance of the season.

Na’Vi come into its first Major appearance of the 2018-2019 season as a team with an incredible opportunity to strengthen its position both on the international level and among its regional rivals. VP is still clearly the top dog in the CIS region by an incredibly wide margin, but no squad has truly risen up to lay claim to a position as the region’s second leading team. Team’s like Gambit Esports and The Pango have certainly taken their shots at it, but neither team has been quite consistent enough to fully separate themselves from the rest of the pack. With that in mind, Na’Vi makes its way to Stockholm with a chance to add its name to the list of potential leaders within the CIS region. In order to do that though, the team will need to put together a successful run on the Pro Circuit stage, a scenario that doesn’t look to be particularly easy for the CIS squad. As previously mentioned, Na’Vi’s play outside of the CIS region has been decent, but not overly impressive. The team’s 11-10 mark on the international level since its last Pro Circuit appearance hints at the team’s potential ability to compete on the international level, but potential does not always translate into expectations in the Dota 2 world. Na’Vi will be going up against some of the best teams that the Pro Circuit has to offer in Stockholm, and as of right now there is little to suggest that the team will be able to hold its own against some of the titans of the Dota 2 world. With that in mind, Na’Vi come into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major projected to finish in the 9th-12th place range. With experienced leadership and a wealth of younger talent, Na’Vi certainly has the potential to push for a stronger position in the event standings in Stockholm, but until we see proof that this squad can contend with top squads on the international level, the expectations for the CIS team will have to be kept in the cautiously optimistic area.

 

PSG.LGD PSG LGD

Region: China

Qualification Method: China Qualifier 1st Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 4th (2,250 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Wang “Ame” Chunyu
2.
Guo “Xm” Hongcheng (Stand-in)
3.
Yang “Chalice” Shenyi
4.
Xu “fy” Linsen (Captain)
5.
Jian Wei “xNova” Yap
C.
Yao “QQQ” Yi

Projected Finish: 5th-6th

PSG.LGD comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as the highest ranked Chinese squad in the Pro Circuit Rankings, putting together a solid series of results both within its home region and on the international level. However, the biggest story line for this squad as it returns to the Pro Circuit stage is centered around the team’s current roster situation as opposed to its recent play. At the end of January, the organization announced that star Midlaner Somnus丶M (a.k.a Maybe) would be taking a break from the professional scene, with CDEC Gaming member Xm stepping in to serve as a long-term stand-in for the squad. With one of its most talented players inactive for this event, PSG.LGD makes its way to Stockholm with some big questions to answer in its third straight Major appearance of the season. Fortunately for the team, its prior success on the Pro Circuit stage affords it an incredibly favorable position in the Pro Circuit Rankings; one that is not likely to be significantly diminished no matter the team’s result at this event. Even with that being the case, PSG.LGD comes into this Major hoping that its temporarily altered roster will be strong enough to earn the team another successful showing on the Pro Circuit stage, and bring the Chinese leader one step closer to claiming its place in Shanghai for TI9.

PSG.LGD’s last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came not so long ago, as the Chinese juggernaut participated in The Chongqing Major near the end of January and came away with an impressive 4th place finish at the event. In the time since the end of that Major, PSG.LGD has actually been relatively inactive in terms of its total number of event appearances, attending just a single event within its home region. That regional event was the DreamLeague Season 11 Major China Qualifier, in which the team posted a 7-3 record against its regional rivals to secure itself a place in Stockholm. That qualifier run gave us our first view of PSG.LGD with Xm in the lineup, and the fact that the squad was able to put together a strong performance in this event certainly bodes well for its continued success within the Chinese region. Though the team’s play in China was fairly impressive, PSG.LGD will come into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major without a single official match on the international level with Xm in the lineup. The squad was set to participate in the recently concluded MDL Macau 2019, but a medical issue with one of its players forced the team to withdraw its participation prior to the start of the event. Even with Xm in the lineup instead of Somnus丶M, PSG.LGD will enter the Major with the majority of a roster that has consistently impressed on the international level intact. However, the team will still have a few doubts and questions lingering around it as it makes its way to Stockholm for its third straight Major appearance of the season.

PSG.LGD will enter the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as one of the leading squads on the Pro Circuit, but the Chinese team will make its way to Stockholm with one significant a rather obvious concern with regards to its roster. The temporary loss of Somnus丶M, one of the game’s most skilled and famous players, raises a number of questions for the squad as it prepares to take the Pro Circuit stage for the third time in this 2018-2019 campaign. At first glance, the concerns for PSG.LGD appear to be fairly superficial, as the squad will still be bringing 4 of its usual roster members to this event. As strong as Somnus丶M is as a player, he is not the only reason for PSG.LGD’s rather significant success over the past year. In fact, the team managed to turn in a strong performance within its home region without its star player, earning itself a 1st-2nd place finish in the very qualifier that earned it a spot in this event. The team’s temporary stand-in, Xm, held his own in that event with averages of 5.6 kills and 10.3 assists on just 3.3 deaths per game. Of course, the fact that Xm has not played any official matches with PSG.LGD on the international level still comes as something of a concern, especially with the squad set to take on some of the best teams in the entirety of the Dota 2 world in Stockholm. Even with that in mind though, PSG.LGD can’t really be counted out heading into this event, with the Chinese leader holding a projection in the 5th-6th place range. With teams like VP, Team Secret, and EG still at the top of their game, and squads like Team Liquid and Fnatic on the rise, PSG.LGD’s stand-in situation puts it at a small disadvantage. However, in this kind of scenario it seems far more likely that Xm and the rest of the PSG.LGD roster step up rather than fall back, and while the team may not quite have enough strength to expect a Top 4 finish, falling out of the top half of the event standings seems highly unlikely for a squad that has made its mark through consistent performances on the international level.

 

EHOME 800px-EHOME

Region: China

Qualification: China Qualifier 2nd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 8th (720 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Yang “END” a.k.a “NeverEnd” Pu
2. Li “ASD” Zhiwen
3. Zhao “XinQ” Zixing (Stand-In)
4. Jiang “天命” An
5. Zhang “y`” Yiping (Captain)
C. Zhang “xiao8” Ning

Projected Finish: 9th-12th

EHOME comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as one of the more interesting stories this season, both within the Chinese region and on the Pro Circuit as a whole. The team’s roster rebuild in the lead up to the start of this 2018-2019 season went largely unheralded, with many looking at its new lineup as a potential contender, but not an immediate threat. Now, it appears that the squad is capitalizing on that potential a bit earlier than some may have anticipated, with EHOME catapulting itself to a position as both a leader among Chinese squads and a power on the international level. With the team’s rise to prominence on the Pro Circuit coming so rapidly, there are those who wonder whether EHOME can maintain its success on a consistent basis as the second half of the 2018-2019 season gets underway in Stockholm. The squad’s second straight Major appearance will be a crucial test for EHOME, though it will be one that the team faces with a couple of extra challenges thrown into the mix. Offlaner Faith_bian will not be with the team due to an injury that he sustained in the team’s previous event appearance, and Carry eGo was recently replaced in the team’s roster by END. Should the rising Chinese star prove itself capable of pushing past those added obstacles and put together another successful showing on the Pro Circuit stage, it will have a chance to propel itself into the realm of the elite teams of the Dota 2 world.

EHOME’s last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage was a fairly recent one, as the Chinese squad got the chance to play on home soil at The Chongqing Major less than 2 months ago near the end of January. The team put together an impressive performance at the event, pushing past even the most optimistic of expectations to earn itself a 5th-6th place finish. In the time following that appearance at the Major, EHOME has participated in 2 other events, one within its home region of China and the other on the international level. The team’s lone appearance in the Chinese region was the DreamLeague Season 11 China Qualifier, which saw the squad post a 6-2 record that included series victories over both PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming to secure itself a place in Stockholm for this very event. That strong showing against some of its top regional rivals was a welcome sign for the squad, as EHOME was able to reinforce its emerging position as a leader within the Chinese scene. Unfortunately, the squad was not able to replicate that regional success in its most recent expedition on the international level, as EHOME struggled in its appearance at MDL Macau 2019 near the end of February. After finishing at the bottom of the Group Stage standings, EHOME found itself bounced out of the Playoffs by regional rival Newbee in a Bo1 elimination match to bring its overall record at the event to a dismal 2-6. That record saw the team finish in the 7th-8th place position in an eight team field, which is not a highly encouraging scenario for a team about to take the stage on the Pro Circuit level. Most recently, the squad did manage to put together a slightly more impressive 5th-8th place finish as WESG 2018, but the nationality restrictions of the event (all teams must field players of the same nationality) meant that EHOME wasn’t always facing the same squads that it would have encountered on the Pro Circuit level. While the team’s performance in its most recent appearance was less than stellar, it should be noted that EHOME was playing with at least 1 stand-in over the entirety of both events. That stand-in situation is set to continue through at least the end of this Major, but the hope is that the team will still be able to put its most recent struggles behind it and put together another impressive showing on the Pro Circuit stage in Stockholm.

EHOME is set to come into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major looking like a very different team from the one that lifted the trophy at The Bucharest Minor just 2 months ago. With one player out with an injury and another removed from the roster entirely, this EHOME squad has more than a few questions to answer as it prepares to take the stage in Stockholm. Prior to its recent roster changes, EHOME was on a course to become a powerful contender on the Pro Circuit, with the team having won The Bucharest Minor and put together an impressive 5th-6th place finish at the subsequent Chongqing Major. Over the past few weeks though, we’ve seen EHOME take a a bit of a backwards step as the squad begins adjusting to playing with both a stand-in and an entirely new member of the roster. While the majority of the team’s previous lineup remains intact, it is hard to determine at this stage how much of the team’s prior success could be attributed to the 2 players that will not be with the team in Stockholm. With that in mind, the Chinese squad will come into this Major with a projection in the 9th-12th place range, putting it just under the cut to earn a spot in the top half of the event standings. That prediction does come with something of a caveat though, as EHOME could very easily find itself pushing past that projection into a top 8 position in Stockholm. The play of the team’s new and temporary members will certainly play a role in EHOME’s potential success at the Major, but the biggest factor that will affect the team is the play of the rest of the squad. 天命 and y` must use all of their experience and veteran leadership abilities to serve as stabilizing presences for this squad, and ASD is going to have to put together a superstar performance for this team to find success. If all of that happens, then the play of stand-in XinQ and new Carry END won’t have much of a chance to negatively impact the team, and EHOME will have a solid shot at putting together another impressive showing on the Pro Circuit stage. Having all of those factors fall perfectly into place though is easier said than done, and until we see for sure that the squad is still on track on the Pro Circuit stage, expectations for this team will remain at this modest level heading into the Major.

 

Keen Gaming Keen Gaming

Region: China

Qualification: China Qualifier 3rd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 20th (90 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1.
Wang “old chicken” Zhiyong
2.
Zhai “一” Jingkai
3.
Ren “eLeVeN” Yangwei
4.
Hu “Kaka” Liangzhi
5.
Song “dark”‘ Runxi (Captain)
C. Wu “Fyms” Junying

Projected Finish: 9th-12th

For most of this initial half of the 2018-2019 Pro Circuit season, teams like PSG.LGD, Team Aster, and Vici Gaming have looked like the predominant powers within the Chinese region. While PSG.LGD continues to hold its spot at the top of the regional hierarchy, those later 2 squads are beginning to cede ground to a new wave of challengers; a wave that Keen Gaming finds itself a part of. As the team prepares for its first Major appearance of the season, there’s a fair bit of hype and hope surrounding this Keen Gaming roster. The squad’s performance within its home region has been fairly consistent in recent times, but now Keen Gaming will find itself truly tested as it takes on some of the Dota 2 world’s strongest teams in Stockholm. Will the up and coming Chinese squad be able to rise to the occasion, or will the pressures of its first Major appearance prove too much for Keen Gaming to handle on the Pro Circuit stage?

Keen Gaming’s most recent appearance at a Pro Circuit event this season also happened to be its first, as the Chinese squad made its 2018-2019 debut on the Pro Circuit stage in January at The Bucharest Minor. After putting together an 8-8, the squad came away from Bucharest with a 3rd place finish and its first Pro Circuit Points of the season. Since then, Keen Gaming has participated in 2 events within the Chinese region, coming away with Top 4 finishes in both of them. The first event for Keen Gaming was the DreamLeague Season 11 China Qualifier in February, in which the squad put together a 9-5 record against its regional rival to claim the third and final Chinese slot for this upcoming Major. Later that month, the team claimed a 1st place finish in the ESL One Mumbai 2019 China Qualifier, earning itself a place in that event which is set to occur in April. More recently, Keen Gaming even took a step outside of its home region through its participation in the mixed Chinese and Southeast Asian JJB Spring Cup, where it put together another 1st place run with an 11-2 overall record. Around 1 week later, the squad was able to claim a 2nd place finish at WESG 2018, falling just short of a victory after losing 0-2 to TNC Predator in the Finals of the event. Since the end of The Bucharest Minor, Keen Gaming has put together an impressive 39-13 mark across 4 different events, which is certainly an encouraging sign for the squad as it prepares for its return to the Pro Circuit stage. Considering its impressive play as a whole in recent times, and its success at the previous Minor, Keen Gaming still has more than a few reasons to be confident as it makes its way to Stockholm.

Keen Gaming comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as a rising star within the Chinese region, as the squad has strung together some impressive performances within its home region. The challenge for the team now is taking that next step and transforming itself from a regional contender into a potential power on the international level. Keen Gaming has already begun that process with its 3rd place finish at The Bucharest Minor, but now it will face its toughest test yet as it faces off against the best teams in the Dota 2 world on the Pro Circuit stage in Stockholm. The squad’s play on the home front has been incredibly solid and consistent in recent times, and though the squad’s experience on the international level has been somewhat limited this season, what we’ve seen so far has been fairly encouraging. The consistency of Keen Gaming’s play this season is really the biggest driving factor for the squad heading into this event, and one of the team’s greatest strengths in general. While teams like Na’Vi, Mineski, and EHOME have garnered more attention for themselves in this 2018-2019 campaign, they have shown a fluctuation in their results that Keen Gaming has often avoided. Between those somewhat inconsistent performances and the roster issues that many of the teams in this field have had to endure, Keen Gaming’s steady play only seems to grow more valuable as an asset for the squad. Even with that in mind, Keen Gaming will enter this Major with a projected finish in the 9th-12th place position, just barely missing out on a place in the top half of the event standings. Based on the team’s solid play in recent times, it wouldn’t be much of stretch to imagine Keen Gaming pushing past that projection, though that scenario is far from a sure thing for the Chinese squad. One of the few downsides of Keen Gaming’s consistent performances is that it also gives us a feel for where this team’s ceiling is in terms of its level of play. Should a team projected to finish in the lower half of the standings make an unexpected run, there is a strong chance that the Chinese squad will not be able to elevate its own play to match said opponent. However, in this scenario it appears like a far better plan to bet on Keen Gaming’s continued strength and consistency as opposed to worrying about a surprise challenge from another opponent. Of all the teams in the field for this event, Keen Gaming is one of the squads that appears to have the most room to potentially rise or fall in the event standings, and we will have to simply hope for the best as the Chinese squad prepares for its first Major of the season in Stockholm.

 

Fnatic Fnaticlogo

Region: Southeast Asia

Qualification Method: Southeast Asia Qualifier 1st Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 6th (1,350 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Pyo “MP” No-a
2.
Abed “Abed” Azel L. Yusop
3.
Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang
4.
Djardel Jicko B. “DJ” Mampusti
5.
Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong (Captain)
C.
Kim “DuBu” Doo-young

Projected Finish: 5th-6th

All season long, Fnatic has stood as the leading squad within the Southeast Asian region, appearing to stand a step or two above its closest regional rival: TNC Predator. Heading into this event, that gap looks to be widening, as Fnatic’s play on the international level has been improving at the same time that squads like TNC Predator, Tigers, and BOOM ID appear to still be either struggling or stagnating. At this point in the season, Fnatic’s position within its regional hierarchy looks about as secure as it could be, which leaves the squad free to turn its attention to its play on the international level and its standing on the Pro Circuit. Fnatic has worked its way into one of the more favorable positions in the Pro Circuit Rankings, but this appearance at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major provides the Southeast Asian squad with a perfect opportunity to push itself into the discussion as one of the truly elite teams in the Dota 2 world. In order to do that, the team is going to need to put together another successful performance on the Pro Circuit stage, and once again hold its own against the very squads whose positions it is looking to usurp as Fnatic prepares for its third straight Major appearance of the season in Stockholm.

The last time that Fnatic was seen on the Pro Circuit stage was just under 2 months ago in January, as the team put together an impressive 5th-6th place run at The Chongqing Major. In the time following the end of that event, Fnatic has continued to impress with solid showings both within its home region and on the international level. On the home front, the team has participated in 2 regional events in the form of the DreamLeague Season 11 Major Southeast Asia Qualifier and the ESL One Manila Southeast Asia Qualifier. The squad was dominant against its regional rivals, dropping just 1 match across the entirety of both events for an 15-1 overall record en route to securing spots at both LANs in rather emphatic fashion. Heading into this Major, Fnatic holds a ridiculous 47-8 record against its fellow Southeast Asian squad and is clearly the most dominant force within the region by a rather wide margin. As impressive as the squad’s play has been at home, Fnatic has also been putting together strong performances on the international level as well. The team recently made another appearance outside of its home region at ESL One Katowice near the end of February, earning itself a 4th place finish among a field of 12 participants. Out of 4 total appearances on the international level this season, Fnatic has earned Top 4 finishes in 2 of them, and has yet to finish in the bottom half of the standings across any of those events. With a dominant string of performances within its home region and examples of relatively consistent success on the international level, Fnatic is set to enter this Major as a force to be reckoned with as the squad looks to further improve its favorable position in the Pro Circuit Rankings with a strong showing in Stockholm.

Fnatic makes its way to Stockholm as the top ranked Southeast Asian squad in the Pro Circuit Rankings, and the team stands as one of the strongest teams in the Dota 2 world as it prepares for its third straight Major appearance of the 2018-2019 campaign. The squad’s performance so far this season has been incredibly impressive, with the team putting together consistent successes at home while rapidly improving its standing on the international level. At home, Fnatic has won every single regional event that it has participated in, putting together 1st place finishes across its first 5 Southeast Asian qualifiers. Outside of its home region, the team has yet to finish in the lower half of the event standings across 4 total appearances, and have earned 2 Top 4 finishes as well. Narrowing things down to just the Pro Circuit level, we have seen a strong level of improvement for Fnatic over the course of the season. The squad’s first Major of the season in Kuala Lumpur earned it a 7th-8th place finish, and Fnatic’s next appearance at The Chongqing Major in January saw it move up to the 5th-6th place position in the event standings. Between the squad’s dominance at home, and its continued growth on the international level, there is little reason to believe that the team won’t be able to put together another impressive showing on the Pro Circuit stage in Stockholm. The team comes into the Major with a projection in the 5th-6th place range, though even that prediction might be underselling the Southeast Asian powerhouse. The trio of Team Secret, Virtus.pro, and Evil Geniuses seem unlikely to stumble from their positions at the top of the Pro Circuit Rankings, but that final spot in the Top 4 is looking somewhat more obtainable heading into this event. PSG.LGD will be playing without one of its star players in Stockholm, leaving a potential opening that Fnatic will be looking to exploit for its first Top 4 finish on the Pro Circuit stage this season. However, PSG.LGD won’t be going down without a fight, and with squads like Team Liquid and Ninjas in Pyjamas also thrown in to the mix, the path to success is far from clear for Fnatic. If the squad can prove that it can overcome those rivals, then it could easily push past its already strong predicted outcome and contend for a Top 4 finish in Stockholm. Even if the squad can’t reach that mark though, everything that we’ve seen from this squad to this point in the season makes it hard to believe that the squad won’t find itself sitting fairly comfortably in the top half of the event standings when all is said and done at the Major.

 

Mineski 600px-Mineski-dota_logo

Region: Southeast Asia

Qualification Method: Southeast Asia Qualifier 2nd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: None (0 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Lai “Ahjit” Jay Son
2. Kam “Moon” Boon Seng
3. Damien “kpii” Chok
4. Kim “Febby” Yong-min
5. Johan “pieliedie” Åström (Captain)

Projected Finish: 9th-12th

The season so far has been a somewhat strange, and somewhat frustrating, period for Mineski. After spending just about all of the previous season as one of the leading squads in the Southeast Asian region, Mineski has been hamstrung in its 2018-2019 campaign by roster changes and inconsistent performances. The start of 2019 didn’t bring an end to the changes for the team either, as Mineski is still a little over a month removed from bringing in Ahjit at the Carry position. This time though, it appears that Mineski may have finally found a combination and a style that works for it, as the squad was able to push past its regional rivals to earn its long awaited return to the Pro Circuit stage. The question for the team now is whether or not its new lineup can make the same kind of breakthrough on the international level, with the eyes of the Dota 2 world watching intently as Mineski faces off against some of the best opposition that the Pro Circuit can offer in Stockholm.

With the DreamLeague Season 11 Major serving as Mineski’s season debut on the Pro Circuit stage, there is nothing to look at in terms of previous Pro Circuit experience for this team in the 2018-2019 campaign. Looking at the team’s performance over the course of the entire season though, we can see a fairly clear narrative take form in terms of the squad’s improvement within its home region and on the international level as well. Within Southeast Asia, Mineski has undergone a dramatic reversal in fortune in terms of its results after what was a disappointing start to its season. The team began the season with an underwhelming 5th-6th place performance in The Kuala Lumpur Major Southeast Asia Qualifier; a performance that forced the squad into 3 straight open qualifier runs in order to return to a Pro Circuit closed qualifier. After slogging through those open qualifiers though, Mineski has been hitting its stride against its regional rivals, with the team putting together 5 straight Top 4 finishes that include 1st place runs at the DreamHack Mumbai Invitational 2018 in December and the ESL One Manila Philippines Qualifier earlier this month. The story has been a similar one for Mineski on the international level, as the squad has been able to recover from a disappointing start on that front as well. The team’s first international event of the season came at ESL One Hamburg 2018, where the squad finished well below expectations with an 11th-12th place position in the event standings. Since then, the team has managed to bounce back with a 1st place finish at the AMD Dota 2 Pro Series 2018 in December, and a more recent 5th-6th place run at ESL One Katowice 2019. Between those 2 performances, Mineski took what was a dismal 2-8 international record and transformed it into a much more respectable 15-17 mark against teams outside of Southeast Asia. To be sure, this squad still has quite a lot to prove as it makes its way to Stockholm for its first Pro Circuit appearance of the season. However, the squad’s recent performances have shown some solid improvement for the team compared to its weak start to the season, and there is certainly hope that the team can continue that growth as it prepares to take the Pro Circuit stage.

Mineski’s appearance at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major represents a potential turning point in what has been a less than ideal season so far for the Southeast Asian squad. The team has struggled for much of its 2018-2019 campaign, and while it has not fallen out completely within the Southeast Asian scene, it comes into this event a far cry from the regional leader that it was just a season ago. With a new roster and newly rekindled hope, Mineski is looking to change that with this opportunity to play on the Pro Circuit stage in Stockholm. The team’s record on the international level has taken a turn for the better in recent times, as Mineski has put together a roster of skilled and experienced players that has shown significant improvement over the last few months. The team’s growth has been impressive, but the question heading into the Major will be whether it has been enough to allow Mineski to compete with some of the elite teams of the Dota 2 world on the Pro Circuit stage. As it stands right now, Mineski doesn’t quite look ready for that task, and the team comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major with a projected finish in the 9th-12th place range. The squad’s 15-17 record this season against teams outside of the Southeast Asian region still leaves quite a lot to be desired in terms of the squad’s ability to consistently compete on the international level. At this stage, we simply haven’t seen enough from this new iteration of the lineup to be sure that Mineski can reclaim its position as a leading squad on the Pro Circuit level. Based on the skill and experience of the players on its roster, the squad certainly has the potential to return to a prominent position on the international level. However, until we see some definitive proof that Mineski in its current form can contend with top Pro Circuit squads, and more importantly do so with relative consistency, the Southeast Asian squad will hold modest expectations as it prepares for its season debut on the Pro Circuit stage.

 

Evil Geniuses Evil Geniuses

Region: North America

Qualification Method: North America Qualifier 1st Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 3rd (4,200 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
2.
Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan
3.
Gustav “s4” Magnusson
4.
Andreas Franck “Cr1t-“ Nielsen
5.
Tal “Fly” Aizik (Captain)
C.
Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale

Projected Finish: Top 4

North American titan Evil Geniuses finds itself in a rather favorable position as it prepares for its third straight Major appearance of the 2018-2019 season. The squad currently sits 750 Pro Circuit Points away from having a high enough total to mathematically guarantee itself a direct invite to TI9, after beginning its season with back to back 3rd place runs at the first two Majors. A finish in the 5th-6th place position or higher in Stockholm would be enough to lock the team into a place in Shanghai, and the team will be gunning to reach that mark as it takes on a field of some of the Dota 2 world’s strongest opposition. With the team standing so close to the mark in terms of its Pro Circuit Point total, it appears nigh impossible for the squad to miss out on earning that direct invite considering there are still 3 Majors and 2 Minors left to be played this season. However, the North American squad would almost certainly prefer to do away with any stress or anxiety with regards to its invite status as quickly as possible, and as such will assuredly be playing at the top of its game heading into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major.

EG’s last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came a little under 2 months ago, as the team managed to take home a 3rd place finish at The Chongqing Major. Since the end of the Major, Evil Geniuses has attended 2 events, with 1 coming within its home region while the other was on the international level. The team’s lone appearance within the North American region was the very one that earned it this place in Stockholm, as EG put together a 7-3 record against its regional rivals to claim a 1st place finish in the DreamLeague Season 11 Major North American Qualifier. That performance brought the team’s season record within the North American region to a mark of 27-10, putting EG above its biggest regional rivals by a sizable margin. Outside of its home region, the squad has also managed to continue its impressive play. The squad’s single foray back on to the international level in the time since the previous Major was also the team’s most recent appearance in general, with EG participating in MDL Macau 2019 near the end of February and finishing in 2nd place after falling 1-3 to Team Liquid in the Grand Finals of the event. That 2nd place performance marked the team’s third straight Top 4 finish this season, and across the squad’s 4 total appearances on the international level so far, EG has yet to finish any lower than the 5th-6th place position. Between the team’s consistent success at home as well as its string of strong results on the international level, EG comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as a squad that can be relied upon to put together an impressive showing on the Pro Circuit stage, regardless of who its finds itself facing off against.

Evil Geniuses comes into this Major as the focus of yet another meme in the Dota 2 scene, as many have joked that the team has become synonymous with “3rd place” after finishing in the position at TI8 and each of the first 2 Majors of the season. The jokes are good for a chuckle or two, but the fact that EG has been able to string together those kinds of performances in the 3 biggest events within the last 7 months is a fairly impressive feat, and there is a slew of teams below EG in the Pro Circuit Rankings that would give anything to consistently put together Top 4 finishes on the international level the way that EG has been doing in recent times. With squads like VP and Team Secret taking up a large portion of the spotlight so far this season, EG’s incredibly consistent success has been slightly less noteworthy that it might otherwise have been. However, the squad will still come into this event with 3 Top 4 finishes in 4 international appearances this season, and needs a 5th-6th place finish or higher in Stockholm to secure itself a direct invite to TI9 this summer. Considering just how well this team has played so far this season, there is little reason to believe that EG won’t be able to hit that goal in this Major. The team has only finished outside of the Top 4 a single time this season, and even that event yielded the squad a 5th-6th place finish at ESL One Hamburg 2018. With that in mind, Evil Geniuses will come into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major with a projected finish in the Top 4 range and the expectation of locking down its direct invite status for TI9. While it is still possible that this event marks the end of the team’s impressive run in this 2018-2019 campaign, it would come as a huge shock for this team to suddenly lose its grip on what has been an incredibly consistent stretch of success.

 

J.Storm J Storm Small

Region: North America

Qualification Method: North America Qualifier 2nd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 11th (270 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. David “Moo” Hull
2.
Jonathan “Bryle” De Guia
3.
Lee “FoREv” Sang-don
4.
Clinton “Fear” Loomis
5.
Park “March” Tae-won (Captain)
C.
Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho

Projected Finish: 13th-16th

J.Storm’s season to this point has been a tale of 2 different teams, as the squad has proven itself to be fairly successful and consistent in the North American region, but has failed to carry that momentum onto the international level. The team’s previous 2 appearance on the Pro Circuit stage this season have been somewhat disappointing affairs, but its continued solid play at home has afforded J.Storm another shot at displaying its strength on the international level. For all of the concerns about the team’s play away from its home region though, J.Storm still finds itself in a decent position in the Pro Circuit Rankings and is very much still in contention for 1 of the 12 direct invites to TI9. With 2 more sets of Majors and Minors to be played after this event though, J.Storm will likely need to put together at least one strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage in order to fend off a host of potential challengers.

Like many of the other squads in the field for this event, J.Storm’s most recent appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came at the end of January at The Chongqing Major. Unfortunately, the event did not go particularly well for the North American squad, as J.Storm won just a single match while finishing in the 9th-12th place position overall. Since the end of that Major, the team has focused its efforts entirely on its play within its home region. At the beginning of February, the squad participated in the DreamLeague Season 11 Major North America Qualifier, putting together a 6-3 record against its regional rivals to secure itself a place at this Major in Stockholm. More recently, the squad was able to secure itself a place at another LAN event, with J.Storm claiming a 1st place finish in the ESL One Mumbai 2019 North America Qualifier. While the team will come into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major with some strong recent results in its home region, the same cannot be said in terms of its experience on the international level. The team has not played any official matches outside of North American since the conclusion of the previous Major, which does not bode well for a squad that has already been dealing with some struggles outside of its home region. The fact that the team continues to perform well in North America is a decent silver lining for J.Storm, but the squad will have have more than a few issues and questions to resolve as it makes its way to Stockholm for its third Major appearance of the season.

At the beginning of this 2018-2019 Pro Circuit season, J.Storm was billed as a rising power within the North American region; a squad that could potentially challenge Evil Geniuses’ long-held position as the premier North American team. While the team has put together impressive performances within its home region, it has not come even remotely close to threatening EG’s position on the international level or the Pro Circuit. Aside from a 2nd place finish near the start of the season at the World Showdown of Esports #1, J.Storm has been fairly unimpressive outside of its home region, with back to back 9th-12th place finishes in the season’s first 2 Majors. The squad’s struggles on the Pro Circuit stage make it hard to have a high level of confidence in the team heading into this event. The team’s roster has more than its fair share of experience playing on the international level, and the addition of one of the region’s best known veterans in Fear should have served to bolster what was an already strong lineup for J.Storm. Instead, the changes don’t appear to have had a significant effect on the team at all, with J.Storm continuing to put up impressive results at home while under performing on the Pro Circuit stage. With that in mind, the team comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major with a projection at the bottom of the event standings in the 13th-16th place position. While that prediction isn’t exactly a positive one for J.Storm, it is one that the North American squad is very much capable of out performing. The team’s chances of finishing in the top half of its group standings don’t appear to be particularly high at the moment, but if the North American squad can survive the dreaded Bo1 matches in the first round of the Playoffs, then it would avoid a finish at the bottom of the event standings. Considering what we’ve seen from this squad on the international level so far this season though, it would take a near heroic level of effort from this team to push any further up the standings than that in Stockholm.

 

Forward Gaming Forward Gaming

Region: North America

Qualification Method: North America Qualifier 3rd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: T-12th (225 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Yawar “YawaR” Hassan
2.
Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok
3.
Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora
4.
Arif “MSS” Anwar
5.
Avery “SVG” Silverman (Captain)
C.
Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling

Projected Finish: 13th-16th

As we stand around the halfway mark of this 2018-2019 Pro Circuit season, there really is only one word that seems to truly encapsulate the performance of Forward Gaming: disappointing. While the team has managed to at least hold its own against its regional rivals in North America, Forward Gaming’s play on the international level has consistently failed to live up to expectations. Even with that being the case, the team sits in a decent position in the Pro Circuit Rankings due to its appearances in the first 2 Majors of the season. Whether the squad manages to hold on to that position or not will depend almost exclusively on the squad’s ability to turn its early season struggles on the international level around, and the DreamLeague Season 11 Major could prove to be that vital first step on the path to the team recovering its position as a contender in the Dota 2 world.

As is the case with the majority of the squads that will be participating in this Major, Forward Gaming’s most recent appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came less than 2 months ago at The Chongqing Major in January. Things did not go well for the North American squad in that previous appearances, as Forward Gaming ended up finishing at the bottom of the event standings in the ignoble 13th-16th place position. In the time following the end of that Major, we’ve seen Forward Gaming continue to do what it has done all season, which is to play well at home while struggling on the international level. Within the North American region, the team has participated in a single event in the form of the DreamLeague Season 11 Major North America Qualifier. With a 9-2 record in said qualifier, Forward Gaming was able to once again hold its ground against its regional rivals to secure its third straight Major appearance of the season. While the team’s recent play at home has remained solid, its results on the international level continue to be relatively weak in comparison. The team is just a few weeks removed from its appearance at ESL One Katowice 2019, where the squad posted an underwhelming 3-7 record that had it finish in the 9th-10th place position while failing to advance out of the Group Stage. At this point in the season, we’re looking for even the smallest sign that Forward Gaming is ready to make its breakthrough on the international level. Heading into this Major though, the team’s continued struggles leave a high number of doubts and questions around this squad as it makes its way to Stockholm.

Forward Gaming will enter this Major as a team still looking to find its first success on the international level. The squad’s play outside of its home region has been a near continual disappointment, with Forward Gaming finishing no higher than the 5th-6th place position at any international event so far this season. The team has simply struggled to find any sort of momentum for itself away from home, which is made all the more frustrating by the fact that its play within the North American region has been strong and consistent all season long. The DreamLeague Season 11 Major represents the most recent opportunity for Forward Gaming to finally snap out of this slump, but the odds don’t look fantastic for the North American team heading into this event. At the end of the day, Forward Gaming’s lineup is brimming with talent and experience, but the fact that it has repeatedly failed to leverage those advantages on the international level makes it hard to have much confidence in this squad as it makes its way to Stockholm. Prior to the start of play at the Major, Forward Gaming is projected to finish at the bottom of the event standings in the 13th-16th place position. The silver lining for the team is that it could very easily fight its way past that incredibly meager prediction, but it will need strong performances from its veteran roster in order to do so. Individual performances aren’t going to get it done for Forward Gaming on the international level, as the team’s Carry/Mid duo of Resolut1on and YawaR have combined to average 14.79 kills and 18.83 assists on 7.91 deaths per game so far this season but still have not been able to lead the squad to success outside of its home region. If Forward Gaming wants to have a shot at breaking out of this frustrating stretch of poor performances, then it is going to have to put together an incredible showing across every single position. Judging by how things have gone for this team so far this season though, it appears best to keep hopes high and expectations low for the squad as it prepares for its third Major appearance of the 2018-2019 campaign.

 

Chaos Esports Club chaos

Region: South America

Qualification Method: South America Qualifier 1st Place

Pro Circuit Rank: T-12th (225 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. William “hFn” Medeiros
2.
Aliwi “w33” Omar
3.
Otávio “Tavo” Gabriel
4.
Danylo “Kingrd” Nascimento (Captain)
5.
Rasmus “MISERY” Filipsen
C. Robson “TeaGuvnor” Merritt

Projected Finish: 13th-16th

The organization formerly known as Digital Chaos made some waves to kick off 2019, rebranding itself as Chaos Esports Club and signing the roster of South American squad paiN Gaming to mark its return to the Dota 2 world. The former paiN Gaming lineup came to its new organization already holding on to a position as the leading team within the South American region, but position is under fire as the team prepares for its third Major appearance of the season (its second as Chaos Esports Club). Regional rival Thunder Predator sits just a few spots below it in the Pro Circuit Rankings, and other squads like Infamous (the other South American attendee of this Major) and Team Odd look to be gearing up for runs of their own over the second half of the season. As of this moment, Chaos Esports Club still appears to be significantly favored against those potential challengers, but a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage would certainly help to widen the gap between the team and those squads looking to usurp its place as regional leader.

Chaos Esports Club is less than 2 months removed from its most recent appearance on the Pro Circuit stage, as the team represented the South American region at The Chongqing Major in January. The squad’s performance at that event was solid but not overly impressive, with Chaos Esports Club posting a 3-6 record to finish in the 9th-12th place position overall. The time between the end of that previous Major and the start of the DreamLeague Season 11 Major has seen the squad participate in 2 events, with 1 coming within its home region and the other being played on the international level. Within the South American region, Chaos Esports Club’s lone appearance since the end of the last Major happened to be the very qualifier that earned it a spot in this one. The team blew past its regional rivals in the DreamLeague Season 11 Major South America Qualifier back at the beginning of February, putting together a perfect 8-0 record to lock down its place in Stockholm. The team’s lone appearance outside of the South American region in the time following the previous Major was not quite as successful. Chaos Esports Club recently attended ESL One Katowice 2019 near the end of February, and the event was not particularly kind to the South American squad. After beginning the event with a decent run through the Group Stage, the squad fell 1-2 to Mineski in Round 1 of the Lower Bracket to finish in the 7th-8th place position with a 7-6 overall record. That performance is not exactly disastrous by any means, but with the team now sitting with just 1 Top 4 finish across 4 international appearances this season, it is clear that the squad will need to step things up in order to find success on the Pro Circuit stage in Stockholm.

Chaos Esports Club comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as a team in need of a strong performance on the Pro Circuit stage. The squad sitting right on the edge of the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Rankings, but regional rivals like Thunder Predator and Infamous are making pushes of their own to usurp the team’s position as the top ranked South American squad. This event represents an opportunity for the team to simultaneously distance itself from those regional challengers, and strengthen its own standing on the international level as a whole, but Chaos Esports Club’s path to success in Stockholm does not appear to be an easy one. After starting the season with an impressive 4th place finish at ESL One Hamburg 2018, the team’s strength on the international level waned rather significantly, with the squad finishing in the bottom half of the event standings across its next 3 international appearances. Those recent struggles outside of its home region has served to sap some of the confidence away from this squad as it prepares for its third Major of the 2018-2019 season. We’ve seen what this squad is capable of when it’s playing in top form, and the level of skill and experience on the team’s roster is more than apparent. However, Chaos Esports Club simply hasn’t been able to bring all of those assets together against top teams from other regions, and there is little reason to believe that that trend is going to come to a sudden halt in Stockholm. Coming into the Major, Chaos Esports Club is projected to finish at the bottom of the event standings in the 13th-16th place position. On paper, pushing itself out of that rather dismal prediction shouldn’t be difficult for the squad. A strong showing in the Group Stage of the Major or a victory in the Bo1 matches in the Lower Bracket Round 1 of the Playoffs would serve to lift the team out of the basement of the standings, and at this stage we know that the squad is at least capable of accomplishing those feats. The problem for Chaos Esports Club is that there is a rather large divide between what is possible and what is expected from this team. In order for the South American squad to overcome its relatively pessimistic projection, Chaos Esports Club will need to prove early on in this event that it is fully ready to put its recent struggles on the international level behind it and put its strength on display on the Pro Circuit stage.

 

Infamous LOGO-INFAMOUS-COMERCIAL

Region: South America

Qualification Method: South America Qualifier 2nd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 30th (35.84 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Mason “mason” Venne
2. Enzo TimadoGianoli
3.
Mariano “Papita” Caneda
4. Joel Mori “MoOz” Ozambela
5.
Romel “Wu” Quinteros

Projected Finish: 13th-16th

Infamous comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as a squad that has seen quite a bit of change already over the first half of the season. The team that began this 2018-2019 Pro Circuit campaign under the Infamous banner is still mostly intact, with 3 of its members remaining with the organization through every iteration of its roster so for this season. However, the other 2 spots on the roster have shifted significantly, with the team already having 6 different players depart its roster in less than 6 months time. This time around, the organization has to hope that it has finally found the right combination of players, as Infamous prepares for its first Major appearance of the season in Stockholm. With squads like Thunder Predator and Chaos Esports Club standing above in the Pro Circuit Rankings, this chance to perform on the Pro Circuit stage could just be the perfect opportunity for this relatively new Infamous roster to make its mark and push for a position as a leader within the South American region.

The last Pro Circuit appearance for Infamous game all the way back in November, as the squad was the South American representative in the season’s first event: the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor. The event actually went fairly well for Infamous, as the squad put together a 6-7 overall record but ended up claiming a 4th place finish among the 8 team field. Through the myriad of roster changes that followed that Minor run though, the squad’s efforts have been focused exclusively on the South American region, with every single one of the team’s appearances since having come in home territory. Those efforts have managed to bear fruit for the squad at least, with Infamous putting together 6 non-open qualifier appearances in its home region since the conclusion of the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor and has claimed Top 4 finishes in all but 1 of them. Those 5 Top 4 finishes include a 1st place showing at Liga Pro Gaming Season 4, along with 2nd place runs in Liga Pro Gaming Season 5, The Bucharest Minor South America Qualifier, the DreamLeague Season 11 South America Qualifier, and the recent Liga Pro Gaming Summer Madness. Across those events, the team has earned a 28-21 record against its regional rivals, showing a strong but not necessarily dominant level of play within its home region. However, the squad will come into this Major without any recent experience on the international level, which is a rather massive potential weakness for a squad that is about to face off against some of the elite teams in the Dota 2 world.

Infamous comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as a squad that has seen more than its fair share of roster changes in recent times. With this current iteration of its lineup, the team is hoping that it will be able to finally return its focus to a push onto the international level. After attending the first Minor of the season, the squad’s presence outside of its home region was drastically reduced, but the hopes are that this appearance on the Pro Circuit stage could potentially put Infamous back on the map in the wider Dota 2 world. The good news for Infamous is that its play within the South American region has been incredibly consistent in recent times, with the squad rattling off 5 straight Top 4 finishes across its 5 previous regional appearances (not including open qualifiers). The biggest problem for the team though, is its rather glaring lack of recent experience on the international level. As previously mentioned, Infamous has not played any official matches outside of its home region since the conclusion of the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor back in November. That’s not a great position to be in for a squad that is about to take on some of the Dota 2 world’s most formidable and most accomplished teams, and the fact that 2 of the team’s players weren’t even part of the team during that last Pro Circuit appearance doesn’t help the team’s cause either. Without any recent experience on the international level, it is nearly impossible to have confidence in this Infamous squad heading into the Major, and that is reflected in the team’s projection at the bottom of the event standings in the 13th-16th place range. While that prediction is certainly a pessimistic one, Infamous will not be entirely without hope coming into this event. The duo of Timado and Papita have proven themselves capable of putting together some incredible performances in the past, and the addition of mason tot he lineup gives Infamous a dangerous new trio of core players. If Infamous can get consistent production out of those 3 then it could be enough to lift the squad out of the basement of the event standings. Granted, those kind of performances would likely still not push the team anywhere close to a finish in the top half of the standings, but it would certainly be a better outcome than the team would see otherwise.

 

Vici Gaming VICI_Gaming

Region: China

Qualification Method: StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Winner

Pro Circuit Rank: 7th (1020 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Zhang Paparazi灬Chengjun
2.
Zeng  “Ori”Jiaoyang
3.
Zhou “Yang”Haiyang
4. Pan “Fade” Yi
5.
DingDyCong
C. Bai “rOtK” Fan

Projected Finish: 7th-8th

Vici Gaming makes its way to the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as the most recent addition to the field of 16 teams that will be competing in Stockholm. The team has to put in a little bit of extra work to claim its place at this event, with the Chinese squad fighting its way to a 1st place finish at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor just a few days ago. The team came into this third Major/Minor pair as the subject of rumors and speculation in regards to the future of its roster, but the team’s impressive performance at the Minor has dispelled those rumors, at least for the time being. A temporary reprieve is not likely to be enough for the team’s players though, and if the team can follow up its Minor victory with a triumph at the Major as well, then those rumors will likely be gone for good. The team is no stranger to competing on the biggest stages in the Dota 2 world, and Vici Gaming will make its way to Stockholm as a squad on a mission as it looks to become the first team this season to claim Top 4 finishes at both a Minor and its subsequent Major.

Vici Gaming’s victory at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor was its most recent success on the international level, but it hasn’t been the team’s only experience way from its home region. The team has seen action in 5 total international events in its 2018-2019 campaign, and has finished in the top half of the event standings in 4 of those event appearances. In addition to the squad’s 1st place run at the previous Minor, Vici Gaming has earned itself 1 other Top 4 finish on the international level in the form of its 2nd place performance at ESL One Hamburg 2018 back in October. Since the beginning of the 2018-2019 season, Vici Gaming holds a fairly impressive 37-23 record against teams outside of its home region. The team’s solid performances on the intentional level are only complemented by what has been an even more impressive stretch against its felow Chinese squads, as Vici Gaming stands as one of the leading teams within its region. In 9 total appearances within the Chinese region this season, Vici Gaming has managed to secure itself Top 4 finishes in 7 of them, displaying a strong level of consistency against its main regional rivals. Included among those 7 Top 4 finishes are 1st place runs in the 2018 Sanya DOTA2 New-Stars Play Closed Qualifier in October, as well as the main 2018 Sanya DOTA2 New-Stars Play event itself and the Dota2 Professional League Season 6 in December. Between the team’s continued strength on the home front and its strong presence on the international level as well, Vici Gaming comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as a team with experience and proven success as it attends its third Major of the season.

Vici Gaming comes into the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as a team that has made a powerful statement with its victory at the previous Minor. However, the squad will be looking to send an even more impactful message as it heads to Stockholm for its third straight Major appearance of the 2018-2019 campaign. The squad has shown a remarkable level of consistency this season, both within its home region and on the international level. In fact, the only issues that seem to have had any real effect on the team so far this season has been the speculation about potential changes to its roster. To be honest though, it’s hard to imagine any other version of the team’s lineup being able to find success more consistently than this squad had. Vici Gaming’s stability has been one of its strongest assets this season, and while the squad had not been able to claim a Top 4 finish on the Pro Circuit stage prior to its most recent Minor victory, it hadn’t needed one. The team’s 76th-8th place finishes in the season’s previous 2 Majors had it sitting rather comfortably inside the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Rankings, and those position only stands to improve with this third Major appearance. Between the squad’s consistent performances both at home and on the international level, Vici Gaming comes into this event as a formidable force among the field of 16 teams. The Chinese squad is projected to finish in the 7th-8th place position, though there is potential for the squad to rise even further than that under the right circumstances. Vici Gaming’s dominant performance at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor showed us that the squad is capable of pushing itself even further that what we’ve come to expect from this team. While the strength of its opposition will be significantly higher in Stockholm compared to what it faced at the Minor, the last thing that anyone should expect from the Chinese squad at this stage is a regression.

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