Pro Circuit Qualifier Preview – OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019 China Qualifier

Round 2 of the quest for the Pro Circuit stage begins in China, as 5 returning squads and 3 new challengers compete for 2 spots in Split in the Minor qualifier

The OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019 China Qualifier will be the second of the regional qualifiers to get underway, with the event running from April 3 through the 4th. A field of 8 teams will be looking to claim 1 of 2 Chinese spots at the Minor and punch their ticket to Split, Croatia for a shot at the title of Minor Champion and that coveted 16th slot in the field for the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. Included in the 8 team field for this event are the 5 unsuccessful teams from the previous Major qualifier (Royal, Newbee, EHOME, Team Sincere, and Royal Never Give Up), as well as a trio of new challengers from the open qualifier (Newbee Young, CDEC Gaming, and IamPoint Club).

With an expanded field compared to the other Minor qualifiers that we’ve seen this season, the format for this qualifier will be somewhat different as well. The 8 participating teams have been seeded into a single elimination bracket, with all series in the qualifier being played in a Bo3 format. With the field expanded from the usual 4-6 range, we will be reusing the categories from the Major qualifier preview (Favorites, Contenders, Maybe Ifs, and Long Shots) to evaluate the expectations for each squad coming into this event.

Note: The format for the China Qualifier has been changed by the organizer from a single elimination bracket to a double elimination bracket. All series in the Lower Bracket will be played in a Bo1 format up until the Losers’ Finals, with said series and all Upper Bracket series being played in a Bo3 format.


The Favorites

These squads are the ones that appear to be in the most favorable situations heading into this Minor qualifier. Comprised mostly of squads that attended one of the prior Pro Circuit events this season or put together an impressive performance in the recent Major qualifier, these are the teams that will likely be considered as favorites in this qualifier regardless of the match up that they face. Considering the fact that the majority of the team’s in this qualifier missed out on earning a place at the upcoming Major, success in this Minor qualifier is far from guaranteed. However, if a team in this section does not earn itself a place at the Minor, then it will certainly be considered as more of a disappointment compared to the other squads in the field.

Royal Royal

Tang “897” Zhirui
Su “Flyby” Lei
Xue “September” Zhichuan
Leong “ddc” Fat-meng

Royal was note necessarily considered to be one of the heavy hitters coming into the recent Major qualifier, but the squad managed to surprise quite a few people with an impressive run against its regional rivals that got it just 1 series away from a place in Paris. Against the trio of teams that qualified for the Major (Keen Gaming, PSG.LGD, and Vici Gaming), Royal posted a 4-7 overall record in the previous qualifier, which is significantly more than can be said of any other team in the field for this Minor qualifier. Of course, previous success is never a guarantee that a team will perform in a similar manner, and Royal will still certainly have a daunting task before it as it looks to out perform its regional rivals again. However, if the squad can replicate its level of play from its previous qualifier run, then it should be in a favorable position as it looks to earn its first appearance on the Pro Circuit stage in Split.

Yang “END” Pu
Luo “Ferrari_430” Feichi
Zhang “xiao8” Ning
Zhao “XinQ” Zixing
Zhang “y`” Yiping

The takeaways from EHOME’s performance in the previous qualifier are something of a mixed bag considering the squad’s roster situation. On the one hand, the team’s 2-6 record and 5th-6th place finish at the event are a bit disappointing for a squad that was looked at as a potential leading team in its home region. However, the fact that the team had announced its new lineup just the day before the qualifier began meant that its roster was playing in a somewhat uncomfortable situation. With a bit more experience playing together, the hope is that the new EHOME roster comes into this Minor qualifier with its confidence restored and its strategies a bit more clearly defined. This team has an absolutely incredible level of skill and experience in the lineup, with 3 TI winners in the roster as well. With that level of proven success and experience on its side, it’s hard to believe that this version of EHOME won’t be able to bounce back from its previous performance and contend for a place on the Pro Circuit stage this time around.

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 previously attended a Pro Circuit event, or finished in the middle of the pack in the recent Major qualifier. These are the teams that could fairly reasonably come out on top against its regional rivals, but aren’t necessarily expected to win out over the entire field. That being said, these teams are the ones that are in a favorable enough situation that a beneficial match up or a key series win could be enough to push them onto the Pro Circuit stage.

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

Although the team came into the recent Major qualifier with yet another different iteration of its roster, Newbee actually put together a surprisingly solid showing against its regional rivals last time around. To put things a bit more accurately though, it should be said that the team put together a solid showing for half of the Major qualifier. The team looked confident in the Group Stage of the event, but fell apart in the Playoffs with back to back 0-2 losses to PSG.LGD and Royal. This version of Newbee appears to have the skill and the experience that it needs to find success, but the issue will be consistency for the squad heading into this Minor qualifier. If the team can avoid those same setbacks and drop offs that affected it in the Major qualifier, then Newbee has a solid shot at contending for 1 of the 2 Chinese spots at the Minor.

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

Royal Never Give Up put ended up finishing at the bottom of the standings in the recent major qualifier with an unimpressive 2-4 overall record. However, the team’s woes in that event weren’t solely its own fault, as the team was faced with one of the harsher pair of match ups in the qualifier in the form of series agaisnt both PSG.LGD and Keen Gaming. With that in mind, the team’s 2-4 record can be seen in a significantly more positive light, as the squad managed to remain competitive against a pair of Major bound squads despite losing the series. If the team manages to play at the same level in this Minor qualifier, then it is likely to find much more favorable results against a field that features much weaker squads than the ones it had to face in the Major qualifier. Of course, the issue for this team will be maintaining that level of play heading into this Minor qualifier, as consistency has proven to be a somewhat elusive concept for the squad across the season so far.

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 at least capable of putting on a good show and potentially taking a spot at the Minor, 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 have either limited experience in Pro Circuit qualifiers, or inconsistent results in them. 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.

CDEC Gaming CDEC Gaming
GuoEve Yuhang
Guo “Xm” Hongcheng
Shen “Newbie” Chao
Zhou “James” Yifu
Chen “Victoria” Guanhong

CDEC Gaming is not a squad that fans outside of the Chinese region have seen that much of so far this season, as the team’s efforts in this 2018-2019 campaign have largely been limited to smaller regional tournaments and open qualifier runs. Unfortunately, those runs have not been overly successful for the team, as CDEC Gaming has just 4 Top 4 finishes across 22 total appearances this season. Of course, the team has recently received a boon in the return of Midlaner Xm, who had been loaned to PSG.LGD for its run at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major. Perhaps Xm’s experience and success playing on the international level with one of the Chinese region’s best squads will help him bring a new level of strength to the roster of CDEC Gaming. Should that turn out to be the case, then CDEC Gaming could potentially contend for a spot at the Minor with a strong showing against its regional rivals.

Newbee Young Newbee Young
Lai “Fonte”‘ Xingyu
Yin “Aq” Rui
Tan “kaidou” Yunxi
Zeng “Faith” Hongda

The Newbee organization has struggled to a rather significant degree so far this season, and those issues have not been contained to just its main squad. The organization’s youth and development team, Newbee Young, has been working through its own problems within the Chinese region, with this appearance in the Minor qualifier serving as a potentially crucial moment in the team’s 2018-2019 campaign. So far this season, Newbee Young has earned 5 Top 4 finishes across 26 total appearances, with 4 of those 5 Top 4 finishes coming in open qualifiers. To be fair to Newbee Young, a youth squad is not necessarily expected to find consistent success within its home region, but that certainly won’t stop the team from trying to overcome its regional rivals in this Pro Circuit qualifier. The problem for the team coming into this event though is that it has consistently come up well short of the mark to find success in its previous regional appearances so far this season. If Newbee Young can put its previous experience to good use and play at its absolute best, then perhaps there is a chance for it to put together a competitive run in this event, but the odds are not fantastic for the team coming into the qualifier itself.

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.

IamPoint Club IamPoint Club
Hou “Siumang” Xiaomeng
He “Ruoruo” Lang
Xiang “Nemesis” Lei
Zheng “Hy” Shuo

As the last squad to find its way into the field of participants for this Minor qualifier, IamPoint Club enters the event with relatively low expectations. The be fair to the squad though, its performance to this point in the season has not been quite as poor as some might expect, with IamPoint Club putting together 7 Top 4 finishes across 19 total appearances. Unfortunately for the team, that track record does not appear to be nearly enough for the squad to have a realistic shot at finding success in this Pro Circuit qualifier. With the single elimination format of this qualifier, there is always the possibility of and underdog putting together a surprise run to find success, but such a feat is still an incredibly daunting task for any team. IamPoint Club would need to win back to back Bo3 series in which it will assuredly be considered the underdog. It’s a near impossible task for the team to pull off, but there’s always hope that a lesser known squad can shock the Dota 2 world, and IamPoint Club certainly has nothing to lose as it looks to earn its debut appearance on the Pro Circuit stage.

Team Sincere Team Sincere
MengXiao2lei” Lei

Expectations were incredibly low for Team Sincere in the previous Major qualifier, and at 1-4 it appeared that those expectations matched up perfectly to the team’s overall performance. The silver lining from the team’s qualifier run was that its single win came against the defending Major Champion in Vici Gaming, which at least spoke to the potential of this Team Sincere squad. While the top squads in the region have locked down their spots in Paris and won’t be participating in this Minor qualifier, the path to success does not appear to have gotten any easier to walk for Team Sincere. The team’s lone win against Vici Gaming isn’t enough to instill confidence that the squad will be able to overcome its regional rivals with any significant degree of consistency. However, that win does serve as a reminder that underdogs are always at least capable of taking down anyone. For Team Sincere to secure itself a spot at the Minor though, it is going to need to put together perhaps the greatest underdog run of the season agaisnt this field of opponents.



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