Pro Circuit Qualifier Preview – MDL Disneyland Paris Major China Closed Qualifier

Vici Gaming begins its Major Championship title defense with a test against its regional rivals in the MDL Disneyland Paris Major China Qualifier

The DreamLeague Season 11 Major may have just recently come to an end, but the action on the Pro Circuit is already ramping up again as the regional qualifiers for the MDL Disneyland Paris Major are set to begin soon. The MDL Disneyland Paris Major China Closed Qualifier will be among the second group of regional qualifiers, with the event set to begin March 30 and run through the 1st of April. The field of teams for the qualifier itself is made up of 8 teams from the Chinese region, with 4 teams (PSG.LGD, Vici Gaming, Keen Gaming, and EHOME) receiving direct invites to the Closed Qualifier, while the other 4 (Royal, Newbee, Team Sincere, and Royal Never Give Up) earned their places through the 2 open qualifiers. Of the 8 participating squads in this qualifier, 5 of them (PSG.LGD, Vici Gaming, Keen Gaming, EHOME, and Royal Never Give Up) have previously made appearances on the Pro Circuit stage, while another (Newbee) has previously participated in a Pro Circuit qualifier but failed to qualify for an event. As for the final 2 squads in the field (Royal and Team Sincere) this will be the first Pro Circuit qualifier appearance for either team.

The 8 teams in the field will be divided into 2 GSL style Groups of 4 teams each, with the top 2 teams from each group advancing to the Upper Bracket of the Playoffs while the third place teams from each group will begin the Playoffs in the Lower Bracket. The teams that finish at the bottom of each group will be eliminated from the qualifier and will not advance to the Playoffs. Said Playoffs will feature a double elimination bracket, with all series across both the Group Stage and Playoffs being played in a Bo3 format. The China qualifier will see 3 team’s qualify for the Major, with the victors of both of the Upper Bracket matches and the winner of the Lower Bracket Finals claiming places in Paris. With some basic information about the event and its format covered, we can take a look at each of the 8 teams in the field for this regional qualifier, with the teams being divided into our usual 4 categories: Favorites, Contenders, Maybe Ifs, and Long Shots

The Favorites

These squads are the elite of the group, comprised mostly of squads that attended one of the prior Pro Circuit events this season or have emerged as dominant forces within their home region and contenders on the international level. These are the teams that will likely be considered as favorites in this qualifier regardless of the match up that they face, and if a team in this section does not earn itself a place at the Major, then it will come as a bit more of a shock and a disappointment compared to the other squads in the field.

PSG LGD PSG.LGD
Roster:

Wang “Ame” Chunyu
Guo “Xm” Hongcheng (Stand-in)
Yang “Chalice”‘ Shenyi
Xu “fy” Linsen
Jian Wei “xNova” Yap

With Somnus丶M (a.k.a Maybe) still out of the team’s lineup, it appears that PSG.LGD is set to make another appearances with Xm in the lineup as a stand-in. So far, that hasn’t proven to be much of an issue for the Chinese squad, as Xm has integrated himself into the team’s lineup with relative ease so far. Across 2 events with the team, Xm has averaged 7.17 kills and 11.17 assists on just 3.52 deaths per game, helping the squad earn a 1st-2nd place finish in the DreamLeague Season 11 Major China Qualifier and a 5th-6th place finish at the actual Major itself. Between those solid performances both at home and on the international level, Xm and PSG.LGD as a whole does not appear to be hurting too much due to Somnus丶M’s absence. With that in mind, it becomes incredibly hard to see this team suffering a sudden setback in this qualifier, and PSG.LGD will almost assuredly be a heavy favorite to claim 1 of the region’s lost in Paris for its fourth Major appearance of the season.

Vici Gaming small Vici Gaming
Roster:
Zhang Paparazi灬Chengjun
Zeng  “Ori”Jiaoyang
Zhou “Yang”Haiyang
Pan “Fade”Yi
DingDyCong

This one is about as easy a prediction as possible, as the team that has won both the recent Minor and Major is guaranteed to be a favorite heading into a Pro Circuit qualifier. Vici Gaming put its strength on display against some of the strongest teams in the Dota 2 world, and its success on the Pro Circuit stage proved that the squad belonged among the elite teams on the international level. Up against some of its most prominent regional rivals though, there is a small chance that Vici Gaming suffers some sort of setback in this qualifier. However, it would come as quite a shock for a squad that just overcame the best opposition that the Pro Circuit could offer to suddenly take a step backwards and fail to secure itself a spot in Paris for the next Major.

Keen Gaming Keen Gaming
Roster:
Wang “old chicken” Zhiyong
Zhai “一” Jingkai
Ren “eLeVeN” Yangwei
Hu “Kaka” Liangzhi
Song “dark”‘ Runxi

Keen Gaming comes into this regional qualifier off the back of an incredibly impressive performance on the Pro Circuit stage, as the squad was able to claim a somewhat surprising 5th-6th place finish in Stockholm at the recent DreamLeague Season 11 Major. That kind of strong performance on the international level would already have a team looking good heading into a regional qualifier, but Keen Gaming has put together a string of solid results within its home region as well to back up its recent success at the Major. Since the start of 2019, Keen Gaming has attended 4 tournaments and qualifiers in China and has earned Top 4 finishes in 3 of them, including a pair of 1st place runs in the JJB Spring Cup and the ESL One Mumbai 2019 China Qualifier. The squad appears to be hitting its stride at a key point in its Pro Circuit campaign, and should be considered as a leading candidate to claim another appearance on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris.

The Contenders

The squads in this section are the ones that fall just a small step below the favorites in terms of their skill, level of success, or perceived strength of their lineup. Teams in this section are ones that may have attended one of the previous Minors but not a Major, or struggled on the Pro Circuit stage in general. These are the teams that could fairly easily claim 1 of the 2 spots up for grabs in this tournament, but aren’t necessarily expected to win out over the entire field. These teams will likely be right at the cusp of success in this qualifier, and are the ones that seem most probable to end up as direct invitees to the upcoming Minor Qualifiers if it cannot secure a place at the Major.

Royal Never Give Up Royal Never Give Up
Roster:
Du “Monet” Peng
Gao “Setsu” Zhenxiong
Sun “Srf” Runfa
Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng
Tue “ah fu” Soon Chuan

Royal Never Give Up comes into this regional qualifier in a somewhat interesting position as a team. On the one hand, the squad’s recent performances on the international level have been less than ideal, with the team finishing in the bottom half of the event standings at both the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor and at MDL Macau 2019. On the other hand, the team has been putting together some solid showings against its regional rivals since the start of 2019, with RNG claiming Top 4 finishes across all 6 of its regional qualifier runs in that span (including open qualifiers). Luckily for the team, its play on the home front will the focus for its coming into this event, as the team tries to earn its first Major appearance of the season and its third Pro Circuit event of the 2018-2019 season in general. While the squad might not be a favorite in this stacked field of teams, the squad has shown itself to be more than capable of finding success against its regional rivals in recent times, and should be considered a legitimate threat to potentially claim a place in Paris.

The “Maybe, ifs..”

This section is where we start to get into some particularly interesting scenarios, as we take a look at some of the squads with somewhat lower expectations for this qualifier. These squads are more than capable of putting on a good show and potentially taking a spot at the Major, but they more than likely will need a little bit of help to get there. The squads in this section are most likely ones that attended prior Pro Circuit qualifiers, but did not earn places at an event, and represent the upper echelon of the Tier 2 scene in their region. Whether its a favorable group, a particularly beneficial match up, or the opportunity to avoid playing one of the stronger teams, these squads are the ones that might just need a little outside help to claim a place on the Pro Circuit stage.

800px-EHOME EHOME
Roster:
Yang “END” Pu
Luo “Ferrari_430” Feichi
Zhang “xiao8” Ning
Zhao “XinQ” Zixing
Zhang “y`” Yiping

Note: On March 29, EHOME announced that Xio8 and Ferrari_430 would be playing with the team for this qualifier. The following preview was written prior to that information being released and does not take it into account

As of the writing of this preview, EHOME has still yet to announce what its roster is going to look like for this qualifier. With ASD and 天命 both inactive for the organization, the team is down to just 3 active players with no replacements or stand-ins announced as of yet. The remaining trio of END, XinQ, and y` constitute a formidable threat regardless of who is thrown in to round out the roster, but this team is a far cry from the one that claimed a Pro Circuit title at The Bucharest Minor in January. While the team is still likely to be a threat to any of its regional rivals in this qualifier, the fact is that EHOME has fallen out of what had been a favorable position for it in this field. No matter who are chosen to replace ASD and 天命, EHOME is going to need fantastic performance across the board from its entire roster if it wants to have a shot at making a return to the Pro Circuit stage in Paris.

Newbee_logo Newbee 
Roster:
Xu “Moogy” Han
SongSccc Chun
Wen “awen” Lipeng
YanWaixi Chao
Wang “SanSheng” Zhaohui

It seems as though every time we see Newbee in a Pro Circuit qualifier, the Chinese squad has made some sort of change to its roster since its last appearance, and that trend remains unbroken heading into this event. The team is just a few days removed from the shift that brought awen and SanSheng to the roster, with the organization hoping that the mix of younger talent and veteran experience will be enough to push Newbee back into contention within the Chinese region. Whether the squad is able to pull that off and put together a strong performance in this qualifier remains to be seen, but the squad’s struggles to this point in the season have left it with a number of questions that it has not been able to answer as of yet. However, if the team’s new additions can hold their own against its regional rivals, and the Carry/Mid duo of Moogy and Sccc can turn in some strong showings, then Newbee at least has a chance as earning itself a place on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris.

Royal Royal
Roster:

圣子华炼
又输辣
Su “Flyby” Lei
Xue “September” Zhichuan
Leong “ddc” Fat-meng

Throughout the entirety of the season to this point, almost all of the attention that has been paid to the Royal Club organization in the Dota 2 world has gone to Royal Never Give Up. With this appearance in the Major qualifier though, Royal has the chance to step out from the shadow of its sister squad and make a name for itself within the Chinese region. The squad has not been able to find much in the way of success in China so far, but this most recent iteration of the team’s lineup has a fair bit of potential, at least in theory. The team has a pair of somewhat experienced and well known players in Flyby and September, a veteran presence in the form of ddc, and a duo of younger and lesser known talents at the Carry and Mid positions. That mix of veteran experience and young talent has proven successful for many teams in the past, but Royal will still need top tier performances across the entirety of its lineup to stand a chance of finding success in this fairly stacked field for the Major qualifier.

The Long Shots

In this final section, we find the squads that have very little in terms of expectations for this qualifier. These are the underdogs, the Cinderella stories, and the teams that would frankly send shock waves through the regional scene should they manage to claim a spot at this event. These are the squads that many have probably already counted out of the fight for a place on the Pro Circuit stage, but we’ve seen underdog stories and unbelievable runs before, and these teams will be hoping to add their names to the list of squads that have shocked the Dota 2 world.

Team Sincere Team Sincere
Roster:
“Magi”
“zone-”
MengXiao2lei” Lei
“66”
“detachment”

Team Sincere comes into this Major qualifier as a team that was essentially unheard of prior to its successful open qualifier run, as the team was not considered to be a significant power within the Chinese region. With a roster of lesser known, or in some cases unknown, players, the squad is all but guaranteed to enter this event as a significant underdog in a field of formidable regional rivals. Of course, anything is possible in the Dota 2 world, and we’ve seen several examples of underdog teams defying the odds and coming victorious in so called “unwinnable” scenarios. However, considering the strength of the teams in the field for this event, Team Sincere and the players on its roster will likely need to put together the absolute greatest performances of their careers to lay claim to a place on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris.

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