Rise of an Empire: Team Empire to make 2018-2019 Pro Circuit debut as it joins Virtus.pro as the CIS region’s representatives at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major
The first qualifier for the MDL Disneyland Paris Major has officially come to a close, as the CIS region wrapped up its qualifier run today after 3 days of matches. In the end, the 8 teams in the field were reduced to just a pair of victorious squads, as Virtus.pro and Team Empire earned their places in Paris for an appearance on the Pro Circuit stage. While VP is not stranger to the Pro Circuit stage with 3 straight Major appearances this season, Team Empire will be making its first appearance of the 2018-2019 campaign. As for the 6 unsuccessful squads, the upcoming Minor qualifiers will potentially give them a second chance at earning a place on the Pro Circuit stage. While those squads will be looking towards the future, the time had come for us to take a look at how each of the teams in the field performed in this regional qualifier, with the participating teams categorized based upon their final positions in the standings.
Top 2 (Qualified for MDL Disneyland Paris Major)
Record: 8-2 (4-0 Group Stage, 4-2 Playoffs)
For the fourth time in this 2018-2019 season, Virtus.pro will be making an appearance at a Pro Circuit Major, as the CIS leader has once again come out on top against its regional rivals and has secured itself a place in the field at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. The team’s 8-2 overall record in this qualifier saw it take 4 straight series victories en route to locking down one of the region’s 2 spots in Paris, and with VP once again seeming to out play its opponents with an incredible level of consistency. At this point, we’ve simply come to expect greatness from this VP squad, but that doesn’t make the team’s accomplishments any less impressive as the squad prepares for its opportunity to claim the organization’s sixth Major Championship title in Paris.
Record: 9-6 (4-3 Group Stage, 5-3 Playoffs)
Team Empire certainly didn’t come into this qualifier as a team that immediately jumped out as a contender to claim 1 of the CIS region’s 2 slots at the MDL Disneyland Major. However, the squad managed to out perform expectations and put together an incredibly impressive performance against some of its most prominent regional rivals to fight its way to its first Pro Circuit appearance of the 2018-2019 season. The team’s 9-6 overall record becomes even more impressive considering the fact that it had to face off against regional leader Virtus.pro twice over the course of the qualifier. In fact, 4 of the team’s 6 total losses came at the hands of the Pro Circuit leader, though the squad was able to work around those defeats with 4 series wins over Old but GOld and Na’Vi (2 series each). All season long, the position of 2nd best squad in the CIS region has been up for grabs, with no one able to definitively lay claim to the title. With this strong qualifier run and an upcoming appearance on the Pro Circuit ring, Team Empire has officially thrust itself into that discussion as the team prepares for its 2018-2019 Pro Circuit debut in Paris.
Record: 9-7 (4-1 Group Stage, 5-6 Playoffs)
After a somewhat disappointing 13th-16th place performance at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major, Na’Vi came into this Major qualifier looking to put its strength on display at the expense of its regional rivals. While the team certainly managed to do that with a solid 9-7 overall record, it fell just short of the mark to reach back to back Majors as it finished 3rd in the event standings. Coming so close to earning a place on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris will surely be disappointing for Na’Vi, but the team’s play in this qualifier gives it quite a lot to be happy about. The team’s Carry/Mid duo of Crystallize and MagicaL averaged a combined 17.54 kills and 21.13 assists on just 6.40 deaths per game across the team’s 15 qualifier matches as the team ended up just 1 win short of earning a place at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. The good news for Na’Vi is that its strong performance in this qualifier essentially guarantees the team a place in the upcoming Minor qualifier, giving the squad a shot at winning its first Minor Championship title.
Record: 9-6 (5-2 Group Stage, 4-4 Playoffs)
Gambit Esports came into this qualifier as the closest thing to a second leader within the CIS region behind Virtus.pro, as the team had been consistently finding success against its regional rivals at home and was coming off of back to back 2nd place finishes in the previous 2 Minors. The team appeared to have one of the best shots at earning itself a place in the field for the upcoming Major, and despite putting together a strong performance in this event with a 9-6 record, Gambit Esports ended up falling short of that goal. The good news for Gambit Esports is that it managed to come away with a positive record in this event, and that its Carry/Mid duo of Daxak and Afoninje put up some strong numbers in the process. The two players combined to average 11.27 kills and 18.33 assists on just 4.27 deaths per game across the team’s 15 total matches in this qualifier. If the squad can get that same level of production from the duo moving forward, then Gambit Esports will be a clear favor in the field for the upcoming Minor qualifiers.
Record: 3-7 (3-5 Group Stage, 0-2 Playoffs)
Uvajenie came into this regional qualifier with relatively low expectations, as the majority of its lineup had been part of a Pavaga Gaming roster that had failed to impress within the CIS region. Despite those struggles and the team’s meager projection, Uvajenie managed to put together a respectable, though unsuccessful, performance against its regional rivals. The team’s overall record in this event was 3-7, with all 3 of those victories coming in the Group Stage of the qualifier as Uvajenie claimed a surprising 2-1 victory over Gambit Esports while earning its last victory in a 1-2 series loss to Na’Vi. While the team couldn’t quite manage to put together a stronger record in this event, the squad did at least get some impressive performances from its Carry/Mid duo of Palantimos and Pikachu. The two players combined to average 13.70 kills and 18.20 assists on 8.80 deaths per game across the team’s 10 matches in this qualifier, leading the way for their team. If that core duo can continue putting up those kinds of numbers, then perhaps Uvajenie has a shot at earning itself a second chance at reaching the Pro Circuit stage if it can fight its way to the upcoming Minor qualifier.
Old but Gold
Record: 3-7 (3-5 Group Stage, 0-2 Group Stage)
After breaking out into the CIS scene with a series of impressive performances, and a solid follow up to that regional success in the form of a Top 4 finish at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor, Old but Gold came into this event looking like potential contender within its home region. Unfortunately, the squad wasn’t quite able to replicate its prior success against its regional rivals in this qualifier, as the taem posted a 3-7 record to finish in the 5th-6th place position overall. The team’s qualifier run didn’t get off to a great start after a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Team Empire, and the fact that the team needed a full 3 game series to dispatch CoM19SpadaNJI in the Losers’ Match of its group came as something of a concern. Back to back 0-2 losses to Team Empire and Gambit Esports only highlighted the issues for the squad, as the team’s qualifier run came to an underwhelming end. The silver lining for the team was that its Carry/Mid duo turned in some solid performances, as Illidan and G combined to average 15.90 kills and 18.40 assists on 8.80 deaths per game across the team’s 10 total matches. That kind of production will be essential for the team moving forward, as Old but Gold will likely set its sights on the upcoming Minor qualifiers as it seeks to make a return to the Pro Circuit stage. Considering the team’s less than ideal performance in this qualifier though, Old but Gold may very find itself having to fight through the open qualifiers first to even reach that next Pro Circuit qualifier.
Record: 1-4 (1-4 Group Stage)
The good news for CoM19SpadaNJI is that the team managed to avoid going winless in this regional qualifier with a single match victory. The bad news was basically everything else regarding the team’s performance in this event, as the squad struggled against its regional rivals. Across the team’s 5 total matches, the squad never had a match last more than 30 minutes as all of its games ended up being one sided from the early stages of play. With the team’s performance in this event ending up being less than ideal, it is unclear what the future holds for CoM19SpadaNJI. If the team opts to remain together moving forward, then its next potential appearance would most likely be the open qualifiers for the upcoming Minor.
Record: 0-4 (0-4 Group Stage)
Things did not go all that well for FlyToMoon in this regional qualifier, as the team finished without a single win against its regional rivals and to wind up at the bottom of the event standings. Of the team’s 4 matches in this qualifier, FlyToMoon’s longest match lasted just over 31 minutes of game time, as the squad was simply out played and out matched. Over the course of the team’s 4 matches, no member of the lineup earned more than 5 kills in any single match, leaving the team with very little to look at in the way of silver linings from this performance. In the aftermath of this poor showing against its regional rivals, we will have to see what the future holds for this team and whether the team will stay together long enough to take a shot at competing in the subsequent Minor qualifier.