Deja Vu: Keen Gaming, PSG.LGD, and Vici Gaming to once again represent China on the Pro Circuit stage as the victors of the MDL Disneyland Paris Major China Qualifier
The second and final group of regional qualifiers for the MDL Disneyland Major are beginning to wind down now, with the last of the teams in the field for the season’s fourth Major locking down their places at the event. After a 3 day qualifier, the 8 teams in the field for the MDL Disneyland Major China Closed Qualifier were reduced to just 3 victorious squads, with Keen Gaming, PSG.LGD, and Vici Gaming all claiming spots in Paris for an appearance on the Pro Circuit stage. All 3 squads have previously made appearances at a Pro Circuit event this season, with Keen Gaming having attended 1 Major and 1 Minor, PSG.LGD having attended all 3 previous Majors, and Vici Gaming having made 3 Major and 1 Minor appearance. 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: 7-4 (5-4 Group Stage, 2-0 Playoffs)
In the aftermath of its 5th-6th place finish at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major, Keen Gaming was looking to keep its momentum going in this Major qualifier. The team had been a consistent force within the Chinese region over the past few months, and its strength did not wane in the face of its regional rivals in this event. The team posted a 7-4 overall record that was capped off by a 2-0 sweep of defending Major Champion Vici Gaming as it laid claim to the top spot in the event standings to lock down its place at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. The team was firing on all cylinders in this qualifier, with the core trio of Old Chicken, 一, and eLeVeN combining to average 19.27 kills and 37.18 assists on 9.55 deaths across 11 matches. As for the team’s Support duo, kaka and dark combined to average 30 assists per match as the squad claimed wins in 3 of its 4 total series in this qualifier. That kind of balanced attack from a team is a truly terrifying thing to have to contend with, and the hope for Keen Gaming will be that it can continue to play with that level of intensity as it prepares for its second Major appearance of the season in Paris.
Record: 6-2 (4-2 Group Stage, 2-0 Playoffs)
For the fourth time in this 2018-2019 season, we will be seeing PSG.LGD on the Pro Circuit stage at a Major, as the Chinese powerhouse locks down another Major appearance at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. The team continued its run of impressive performances against its regional rivals with a 6-2 record in this qualifier that included 3 straight series victories to lock down its place at the Major. This event marked the return of Somnus丶M (a.k.a Maybe) to the team’s active lineup, and the start player certainly put up some big numbers in his first matches back with the squad as he averaged 8.88 kills and 8.25 assists on 2.38 deaths per game. Not to be outdone though, Ame put together an impressive qualifier run of his own with averages of 8 kills and 7.5 assists on just 1.88 deaths per game. With its star Carry/Mid duo dominating the competition, and its full lineup seemingly back in action, PSG.LGD has its sights set on success in Paris as the team looks to claim both a Major Championship title and enough Pro Circuit Points to earn a direct invite to TI9.
Record: 8-3 (4-1 Group Stage, 4-2 Playoffs)
The defending Major Champion will be returning to the Pro Circuit stage to defend its crown, as Vici Gamign has locked up its slot at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. The team looked strong against its regional rivals with an 8-3 record that saw it drop just a single series against Keen Gaming on its path to another Major appearance. The team’s performance wasn’t exactly flawless, but it proved to be more than enough to get the squad over the finish line and back on the Pro Circuit stage. Considering the level of consistency and strength that this team has displayed both at home and on the international level ,Vici Gaming will be one of the most formidable squads in the field in Paris as it looks to claim back to back Major Championship titles.
Record: 6-7 (4-5 Group Stage, 2-2 Playoffs)
For pretty much the entirety of the season so far, Royal has been overshadowed by its sister squad, Royal Never Give Up. Because of that, the team did not come into this qualifier as a contender for a place at the Major, but Royal managed to exceed expectations with an impressive showing in the event. At 6-7, the team managed to hold its own against some of its most prominent regional rivals, with Royal posting a 4-7 record against the top 3 Chinese squads in the Pro Circuit Rankings (Vici Gaming, PSG.LGD, and Keen Gaming). Impressive as well for Royal was the play of Midlaner 897, who averaged 6.38 kills and 5.15 assists on just 3.31 deaths per game across the team’s 13 total matches. Of course, a single strong performance within its region is not enough to fully put Royal in the conversation among the top tier teams in China, but this impressive performance at least sets the squad up in a favorable position heading into the upcoming Minor qualifier, as the team will look to earn its debut on the Pro Circuit stage.
Record: 4-6 (4-2 Group Stage, 0-4 Playoffs)
After another round of roster changes for Newbee, the squad headed into this qualifier hoping that it had finally put together the right combination of players to get itself back into consistent contention within the Chinese region. Unfortunately, the team ended up falling short of the mark to claim a place in Paris with a 4-6 overall record against its regional rivals. The team actually got itself off to a fairly encouraging start in this qualifier, winning 2 series against EHOME in the Group Stage to put itself into a favorable position in the Playoffs. From that point though, things quickly went poorly for Newbee, as the squad suffered back to back 0-2 losses to PSG.LGD and Royal to finish in the 5th-6th place position in the event. The good news for Newbee in all of this is that it got a fairly solid performance out of its core duo, as Moogy and Sccc combined to average 9.6 kills and 13.10 assists on 5.4 deaths per game across the team’s 10 total matches. If that duo can continue to produce at that level moving forward, then perhaps Newbee has the potential to bounce back from this performance with a stronger showing in the upcoming Minor qualifier.
Record: 2-6 (2-4 Group Stage, 0-2 Playoffs)
Considering the recent changes to its roster, EHOME came into this qualifier as a team with somewhat tempered expectations. As it turned out, those lowered expectations proved to be warranted, as the new EHOME lineup struggled against its regional rivals with a 2-6 overall record. Aside from a 2-0 series win over an overwhelmed Team Sincere, EHOME wasn’t able to generate much momentum for itself in this qualifier, but the team still has a second chance to earn its return to the Pro Circuit stage. Withe Minor qualifiers just a few days away, EHOME will have another opportunity to show its strength against its regional rivals, but the team will have to prove that it has adapted to its recent roster changes if it wants to have a real shot at claiming a palce at the OGD Dota PIT 2019 Minor.
Royal Never Give Up
Record: 2-4 (2-4 Group Stage)
Royal Never Give Up may not have come into this qualifier as a heavy favorite to claim a spot at the MDL Disneyland Pairs Major, but the squad was certainly considered to be a legitimate contender within this field. Unfortunately, the team ended up falling a bit short of those expectations, as the team lost back to back 1-2 series against PSG.LGD and Keen Gaming to finish in the 7th-8th place position in the standings with a 2-4 overall record. To be fair to RNG, the team at least managed to push both series to a full 3 games against the 2nd and 3rd highest ranked Chinese teams in the Pro Circuit Rankings, which is by no means an easy feat. The question now for RNG was whether this result was more a product of poor play or unfavorable match ups, and based on the team’s overall performance in this event it would appear to be the latter. The team’s Carry/Mid duo of Money and Setsu combined to average 14.16 kills and 17.33 assists on 7.83 deaths per game across the team’s run, but those efforts weren’t quite enough to get the squad over the hump this time around. Overall, the team’s performance in this qualifier wasn’t quite as bad as its final position may suggest, but the squad is unlikely to be satisfied by that silver lining as its quest to return to the Pro Circuit stage continues.
Record: 1-4 (1-4 Group Stage)
The expectations for Team Sincere weren’t particularly high coming into this qualifier, and unfortunately for the squad, it didn’t have any Cinderella runs in it against its regional rivals. Despite posting a 1-4 overall record, the team’s performance in this event did not come without its bright spots, as the squad managed to claim its lone victory in a 1-2 series defeat against defending Major Champion Vici Gaming. While that victory didn’t prevent the squad from finishing at the bottom of the event standings, it does come as some sort of silver lining for the team in what was otherwise a fairly unremarkable performance. The upcoming Minor qualifiers would ostensibly give Team Sincere a second shot at reaching the Pro Circuit stage, but the team will assuredly need to go through another round of open qualifiers to reach that stage after this relatively poor showing in the Major qualifier.