Infamous, Thunder Predator look to hold back a field of threatening regional rivals and make a return to the Pro Circuit stage in the OGA Dota PIT 2019 Minor South America Qualifier
The first trio of regional qualifier for the OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019 are beginning to come to a close, which means that the second trio of regions is set to get underway now as the final teams in the field for the season’s fourth Minor will be determined. The South America region will be up first among the final 3 regional qualifiers, with a field of 8 teams looking to lay claim to the region’s lone spot in Split, Croatia. The field for this event contains 5 of the defeated teams from the Major qualifier (Infamous, Thunder Predator, Gorillaz-Pride, Pacific eSports, and SG e-sports) as well as 3 new challengers from the open qualifier (TLC Gaming, Team X, and Midas Club). The qualifier itself will feature 2 days of matches, with the Quarterfinals to be played on April 4 and the Semifinals and Finals to be played on the 5th.
With an expanded field compared to the other Minor qualifiers that we’ve seen this season, the format for this regional 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.
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.
Juan “Atun” Ochoa
Leonardo “LeoStyle-” Sifuentes
Frank “Frank” Arias
Farith “Matthew” Puente
Sergio “Prada” Toribio
Thunder Predator came into the recent Major qualifier as one of the perceived leaders within the South American region. While the squad didn’t quite manage to secure itself a spot at the Major, it did put together a relatively impressive performance that has the team sitting in a solid position heading into this Minor qualifier. With a 7-6 overall record, Thunder Predator was able to take advantage of some favorable match ups while also holding its own against its top regional rivals to finish 4th in the event standings. With Chaos Esports Club and Butterfly Effec (now paiN Gaming) no longer in the field, the way appears to have been cleared for Thunder Predator to have a much stronger shot at claiming a place on the Pro Circuit stage, so long as the team can continue to play at the level that we just saw in its last qualifier run.
Oliver “oliver” Lepko
Enzo “Timado” Gianoli
Mariano “Papita” Caneda
Joel Mori “MoOz” Ozambela
Malthe “Biver” Winther
Infamous comes into this Minor qualifier having come just 1 series short of the mark to reach the MDL Disneyland Paris Major just a few days ago. With the team having recently added a duo of new players, there were some concerns regarding how well the squad would be able to integrate its newest members. With a 9-8 record in that previous qualifier, it appears that those concerns were mostly unwarranted, as Infamous sits in a rather favorable position heading into this Minor qualifier. With the two teams (Chaos Esports Club and Butterfly Effect) that accounted for 6 of Infamous’ 8 total losses not participating in this qualifier, it appears that the path to success could be much more clear for the squad as it looks to make its third appearance of the season on the Pro Circuit stage.
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.
Alonso “Kotarō Hayama” León
Jeremy “Jeimari” Ruiz Aguinaga
Abraham “Kingteka” Canez
Farith “Matthew” Puente
Christian “Accel” Cruz
After withdrawing from the event due to changes to its roster, the majority of the Demolition Boys roster has returned under a new name to once again contend with the top squads in its home region. Playing under the name Team X with a pair of new players in its lineup, the squad still represents a formidable force in the field for this Minor. Granted, the changing of 2 of its players could always have a negative impact on the team’s overall level of play. However, considering the fact that we just saw the majority of this roster put together a solid showing against its regional rivals just a few days ago, it becomes much easier to give Team X the benefit of the doubt. Without seeing the squad’s new lineup in action, Team X can’t quite be put on the level of significant favorites like Thunder Predator and Infamous, but the squad should at least come into this Minor qualifier as a strong contender and a potential threat to claim the region’s lone spot on the Pro Circuit stage.
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.
Vacilios “Golem” Mavrommatis
Pedro “mini” Rezende
Diego “Sexyfat” Barini
Marcello “MahhxD” Yamamoto
Caio “Nuages” Oliveira
SG e-sports did not put together the most impressive of performances in the recent Major qualifier, with the Brazilian team posting a 2-4 overall record that had it finishing in the 7th-8th place position in the event. However, the team’s performance was not quite as bad as its record would imply, as SG e-sports managed to take 1 win off of both Infamous and Demolition Boys. Those victories displayed a bit of the skill and potential of the team’s relatively inexperienced roster, and gives the squad at least a small degree of hope coming into this Minor qualifier. To be fair, the team would still need a herculean effort from every member of its roster to have a shot at claiming the lone South American spot at the Minor, but that scenario seems slightly more possible for SG e-sports compared to some of the weaker squads in the field in the wake of its performance in the Major qualifier.
Christian Eduardo “Madara” Kimura Trinidad
Sebastian Cerralta “Robo-Z” Velarde
Benjamín “Benjaz” Lanao Barrios
Alexis “Sl4d1n” Cepeda
Álex “Masoku” Dávila
Gorillaz-Pride did not perform all that well in the recent Major qualifier, as the squad put together a record of 2-6 in the event to finish in the 5th-6th place position. At first glance, that performance may not look like a complete disaster, but considering the fact that the team’s 2 victories came against a Pacific eSports squad that failed to win a single game in the qualifier, the accomplishments for Gorlliaz-Pride aren’t exactly awe inspiring. Still, the team did manage to keep things relatively competitive across its 6 losses, although it consistently seemed to collapse in the late-game stage. With that in mind, the expectations for Gorillaz-Pride won’t be very high coming into this Minor qualifier, but the skill and previous experience of the players on its roster at least gives the squad the potential to find success if it can put together a strong and coordinated performance against its regional rivals.
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.
Despite next to nothing being known about the roster of TLC Gaming, the team’s successful run through the open qualifier of this event does at least give us some indication of the individual skill of its players and the potential that the squad may hold. Up against some of the strongest squads in the South American region though, the odds don’t appear to be favoring the team heading into this Minor qualifier. Very rarely does a team come through the open qualifier as a complete enigma within the regional scene to find success agaisnt its more prominent and established rivals, but TLC Gaming will be hoping to do just that as it prepares for this event. Considering the single elimination format for this qualifier, and the fact that there is somewhat limited information available regarding the team, perhaps TLC Gaming can pull off some sort of upset or put together an unexpected run to contend for a place on the Pro Circuit stage. While those scenarios are certainly possible, it would take an unbelievable strong effort from this team in order to make that happen, and that kind of occurrence doesn’t appear to be very likely coming into the Minor qualifier.
Adrian “Wisper” Cespedes Dobles
Kaue “Cys” Camuci
Expectations were already low for Pacific eSports heading into the recent Major qualifier, but the squad managed to disappoint even in that scenario as it failed to record a single win in the event. The team’s 0-4 record in that previous qualifier makes it incredibly hard to have any real sense of confidence in its potential to find success a second time around in this Minor qualifier. Of course, the possibility always exists for the team to suddenly turn things around and put together some sort of miracle run to take down its regional rivals and secure a spot on the Pro Circuit stage. However, such a scenario seems so unlikely based on what we’ve seen from the squad, that it appears essentially impossible for Pacific eSports to come anywhere close to contention for the lone South American spot at the MInor.
Higor “H1j4ck” Albuquerque
Lucas “hyko” Morais
John “Dashka” Kether
Javier “Teckla8” Peña
Sergio “rZs” Gonçalves
Midas Club ended up needing a little bit of outside help in order to find its way into the field for this event, as the team’s 3rd place run in the open qualifier had it initially missing out on participating in this event. However, the withdrawal of Demolition Boys from the event created an extra open qualifier spot that the squad was able to fill to earn a place in this Minor qualifier. Unfortunately, being the team that needed an extra slot to qualify from the open qualifiers is not a situation that appears to be overly conducive to success. Add to that situation the fact that most of the team’s lineup has somewhat limited experience playing against top level opposition in its home region, and the odds appear to be stacked rather significantly agaisnt Midas Club coming into this event. Cinderella runs and underdog upsets have been a staple of the Dota 2 world since the earliest days of the professional scene, and Midas Club is going to have to put together an absolutely incredible level of effort if it wants to add its name to the long list of unexpected victors and underdog winners and claim itself a place on the Pro Circuit stage in Split.