A trio of familiar squads return to the Pro Circuit stage as Team Secret, Team Liquid, and OG lock down Europe’s 3 slots at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major
The first group of regional qualifiers for the MDL Disneyland Major are coming to an end now, with the first teams officially locking in their places in the field for the season’s fourth Major. After a 3 day qualifier, the 8 teams in the field for the MDL Disneyland Major Europe Closed Qualifier was reduced to just 3 victorious squads, as Team Secret, Team Liquid, and OG all punched their tickets to Paris for an appearance on the Pro Circuit stage. All 3 squads have previously made appearances at a Pro Circuit event this season, with Team Secret having attended 3 Majors, Team Liquid having attended 2 Majors, and OG having made 2 Minor appearances. As for the 5 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 3 (Qualified for MDL Disneyland Paris Major)
Record: 6-0 (4-0 Group Stage, 2-0 Playoffs)
In a bit of news that should shock absolutely no one, Team Secret is once again heading to the Pro Circuit stage, as the team has secured its fourth Major appearance of the season and a place in the field for the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. The squad continued its run of dominance within the European region, putting together a perfect 6-0 record that saw it sweep past The Final Tribe, OG, and Ninjas in Pyjamas. At this stage in the season, this kind of showing from Team Secret is simply something that we’ve come to expect from the squad, though the feat itself is no less impressive. With the team’s Pro Circuit Point total already high enough to secure the squad a direct invite to TI9, the team won’t have to care much about the specifics of its final position in Paris, aside from the obvious goal of claiming the team’s second Major Championship title of the 2018-2019 campaign.
Record: 6-3 (4-2 Group Stage, 2-1 Playoffs)
In the aftermath of a shockingly poor performance at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major, Team Liquid came into this regional qualifier with some rather important questions that needed answering. The team had taken a gut check on the Pro Circuit stage, and it was unclear exactly how the squad would respond to that adversity. As it turned out, Team Liquid was able to bounce back with a fantastic performance against its regional rivals in this qualifier, posting a 6-3 record to claim itself a place in the field for the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. The team claimed 2-1 series victories over Alliance, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and OG to claim its place at the Major, with the team’s Carry/Mid duo of MATUMBAMAN and Miracle- leading the way with a combined average of 16 kills and 15.56 assists on just 5.11 deaths per game. With this impressive showing against its regional rivals, Team Liquid has likely alleviated some of the concerns from its debacle on the Pro Circuit stage in Stockholm, but those doubts more than likely won’t dissipate fully until we see that the team can replicate this recent regional success on the international level.
Record: 9-5 (4-3 Group Stage, 5-2 Playoffs)
As the team’s first official appearance since the return of ana to the lineup, the hopes were high for OG as it attempted to reach its first Major of the 2018-2019 season. Apparently, getting their TI8 winning roster back together proved to be quite the catalyst for success for OG, as the squad put together a 9-5 record against its regional rivals to claim 1 of the 3 European slots at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. Speaking of ana, the Australian Carry had quite an impact in his first event back with the team, averaging 10.43 kills and 7.07 assists on just 3.93 deaths across the team’s 14 total qualifier matches. If he and the rest of the OG lineup can manage something even close to those kinds of numbers on the international level, then OG could potentially carry over its regional success into a strong result on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris.
The Final Tribe
Record: 5-8 (3-5 Group Stage, 2-3 Playoffs)
Throughout the team’s history, The Final Tribe has seemed to make a habit out of coming just short of the mark when it comes to qualifiers. Unfortunately, that trend continued in this Major qualifier, as The Final Tribe put together a 5-8 overall record against its regional rivals that left it one series short of qualifying for a place on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris. The team at least managed to put up a strong enough fight to draw out its matches, with The Final Tribe’s average game time being just shy of 40 minutes across 13 total games. More often that not though, it appeared that The Final Tribe needed those extended matches, as the average game length of its 5 wins was just over 43 minutes while its 8 losses had average lengths of around 37 minutes. Those numbers are somewhat concerning for the squad right now, but the silver lining is that The Final Tribe still managed to put together a fairly strong performance in this qualifier that had it one series win away from reaching the Major. With that in mind, the team will likely go into the Minor qualifier with a fair bit of confidence in itself, but it will still have more than a few places in need of improvement if it wants to earn a return to the Pro Circuit stage.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
Record: 6-7 (5-3 Group Stage, 1-4 Playoffs)
After a solid but somewhat underwhelming 9th-12th place finish at the recent DreamLeague Season 11 Major, Ninjas in Pyjamas came into this Major qualifier with something to prove against its regional rivals. The team’s performance against its fellow European squads to this point in the season had been relatively consistent, but considering the strength of many of the other participants in the field for this qualifier, the team had an opportunity to make a statement with a solid showing. The team did manage to put together a decent performance in this event, but unfortunately that performance proved insufficient to earn NiP a place in Paris. After posting a 5-3 Group Stage record that included series wins over Goblin Legs and Alliance, the team ended up falling to Team Secret and The Final Tribe in the Playoffs to finish in the 5th-6th place position with a 6-7 overall record. Finishing in the lower half of the qualifier standings will certainly come as a disappointment for NiP, but the squad will at least have a second chance at returning to the Pro Circuit stage with the Minor qualifiers on the horizon.
Record: 3-6 (3-4 Group Stage, 0-2 Playoffs)
With miCKe sitting this qualifier out for Alliance, the squad came into the event with questions regarding how it would stack up against its regional rivals with a stand-in in the lineup. The team wasn’t considered to be a favorite to claim a spot on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris, but it was at least included among the squads that could reasonably contend for a spot. Unfortunately, the squad’s 3-6 record left it short of the mark to earn a place on the Pro Circuit stage, but the team’s play overall was respectable considering its roster situation. The core trio of Madara, qojqva, and boxi put together a combined average of 16.9 kills and 27.22 assists on 9.88 deaths across the team’s 9 total matches; a solid, though not particularly impressive, performance for the team. The fact of the matter was that we expected Alliance to take a bit of a step back with one of its key players out of the lineup, and that’s exactly what appears to have happened in this qualifier. However, with miCKe’s hiatus not scheduled to end for another few weeks, Alliance will have to try and regroup with its current roster and put together a stronger performance in the upcoming Minor qualifiers.
Record: 1-4 (1-4 Group Stage)
Things didn’t go particularly well for SexyAsF in this regional qualifier, as the squad ended up finishing at the bottom of the event standings. However, this result wasn’t entirely unexpected for the team, especially considering the strength of the other squads in the field. The good news for SexyAsF is that it managed to claim 1 win against its regional rivals in a 1-2 loss to The Final Tribe, and the team at least looked competitive in that series against the Swedish squad. At this stage, there appears to at least be some potential for this squad moving forward, but the question will be whether SexyAsF opts to remain together for the foreseeable future. The qualifiers for the Minor could potentially offer the squad a second chance to reach the Pro Circuit stage, but the team would almost certainly need to make another successful open qualifier run to reach that stage after this somewhat poor showing in the Major qualifier.
Record: 1-4 (1-4 Group Stage)
At 1-4, the record for Goblin Legs in this qualifier doesn’t look all that impressive, but this result wasn’t exactly unexpected for the recently formed squad. The squad was a clear underdog coming into this event, and the fact that the team managed to at least claim 1 win in its qualifier run is a positive sign for it moving forward. With the Minor qualifiers on the horizon, there is a chance that Goblin Legs can put together another successful open qualifier run to earn a place in that event at take a second shot at reaching the Pro Circuit stage. However, the team will have to put together a much stronger performance that what we saw in this qualifier if it wants to have any chance at making that scenario a reality.