A trio of regional powers look to return to the Pro Circuit stage, while 5 new challengers hope to pull off an upset to claim the lone Southeast Asian spot at the OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019
With the first group of regional qualifiers now coming to an end, the time has come for the second trio of regions to get their own qualifier runs out of the way to lock down the full field of participants for the OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019. The Southeast Asian region finds itself included in this second trio of qualifiers, with a field of 8 teams looking to lay claim to the lone Southeast Asian spot on the Pro Circuit stage in Split, Croatia. The field for this event contains 6 defeated teams from the Major qualifier (TNC Predator, EVOS Esports, BOOM ID, Neon Esports, WarriorsGaming.Unity, and TIgers) as well as a pair of new challengers from the open qualifier (Geek Fam and TaskUs Titans). The qualifier itself will feature 2 days of matches, with the Quarterfinals to be played on April 5 and the Semifinals and Finals to be played on the 6th.
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.
Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte
Armel Paul “Armel” Tabios
Carlo “Kuku” Palad
Timothy “Tims” Randrup
Nico “eyyou” Barcelon
After putting together an 8-5 record in the recent Major qualifier and coming 1 game away from earning itself a place at the event on two different occasions, TNC Predator comes into this Minor qualifier as a clear favorite among the field of participants. The team has shown a level of consistency within its home region that few of the other squads in the field can match, and the extensive experience of its roster both at home and on the international level is a distinct advantage for the squad. Of course, success is never guaranteed for any squad in the Dota 2 world, but it would come as something of a shock if TNC Predator was not still in the mix for the lone Southeast Asian spot at the Minor near the end of this regional qualifier.
Randy “Dreamocel” Sapoetra
Rafli “Mikoto” Fathur
Saieful “Fbz” Ilham
Tri “Jhocam” Kuncoro
Alfi “Khezcute” Nelphyana
BOOM ID found itself finishing in the lower half of the event standings in the recent Major qualifier, as the squad posted a 4-7 overall record against its regional rivals. Considering the fact that 8 of the team’s 11 total matches came against opponents that are not currently ranked in the Pro Circuit Rankings, BOOM ID’s struggles in that previous qualifier are cause for some concern heading into this event. However, BOOM ID is a team that we have seen play at a consistent level for the vast majority of the season so far, and its solid track record makes it a bit easier to have faith that the Indonesian squad can bounce back with a stronger performance against its regional rivals this time around. Should the team manage to get back to its previous level of play, then BOOM ID should factor as one of the leading candidates to lay claim to the lone Southeast Asian spot at the Minor, but it’s going to need to put together an impressive showing in this event in order to do that.
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.
Muhammad “inYourdreaM” Rizky
Usep “Facehugger” Satiawan
Adit “Aville” Rosenda
Indra “Vlaicu” Utama
Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon
The performance from EVOS Esports in the recent Major qualifier came as something of a pleasant surprise, as the squad was able to significantly out perform expectations with a 4-8 overall record and a 4th place finish in the event. The team struggled against some of the leading teams in the field, as its posted a 0-6 record against the duo of TNC Predator and Mineski. With the latter squad not in the field for this Minor qualifier, the team appears to have a slightly less dangerous path to success against its regional rivals. However, the team still has something to prove coming into this event that could keep it from contending for a spot on the Pro Circuit stage. To this point in the season, EVOS Esports has not been a particularly consistent squad within the Southeast Asian region, with its 4th place finish in the Major qualifier constituting one of its strongest performances in this 2018-2019 campaign. It remains to be seen if the squad’s relative success in its last appearance is something that the team can actually sustain moving forward. If the team can maintain its stronger play within its home region, then it will be a solid contender for the lone Southeast Asian spot at the Minor. If not, then a regression back towards its previous inconsistent results could be in the cards for EVOS Esports, beginning with this Minor qualifier.
Christian-John “Skadilicious” Abasolo
Marc “Marc” Mamales
Rafael “Rapy” Sicat Palo
Prieme Ejay “PlayHard” Banquil
Josef Leonard “`JL” Brazal
The expectations had been set relativity low for Neon Esports coming into the recent Major qualifier, but the squad managed to put together a fairly impressive showing against its regional rivals to finish in the 5th-6th place position overall with a 6-7 record. While the team wasn’t quite on the same level as regional leaders like Fnatic, it more than held its own against the rest of the field, winning 2 series against BOOM ID while taking hard fought 1-2 losses to TNC Predator and EVOS Esports. The team flashed a fair bit of skill and potential in its previous qualifier run, but the question coming into this event will be whether or not the team can build and improve upon that solid showing. While the team’s performance in the Major qualifier was certainly an impressive one, it isn’t yet clear if Neon Esports will be able to maintain that level of play coming into this Minor qualifier. Should the team prove that its strong performance against its regional rivals wasn’t a fluke or an aberration, then Neon Esports stands in a position to contend for the lone Southeast Asian spot at the Minor and could potentially earn its debut appearance on the Pro Circuit stage in Split.
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.
Marc Polo Luis “Raven” Fausto
Danil “Dendi” Ishutin
Kim “Velo” Tae-sung
Kenny “Xepher“ Deo
Sivatheeban “1437“ Sivanathapillai
Note: Raven will be playing for Tigers in the place of 458.
Tigers did not impress in its run through the recent Major qualifier, as the team put together a 1-4 overall record to finish at the bottom of the event standings in the 7th-8th place position. Considering the team’s lackluster showing against its regional rivals, it is somewhat hard to have faith in the squad’s abilities coming into this Minor qualifier. In this instance, Tigers is getting the benefit of the doubt due to the extensive level of experience that it has on its roster. Granted, that experience doesn’t raise expectations by much, but it at least keeps the team out of a projected finish at the bottom of the standings for the second event in a row. The team appears to have the skill and experience that it needs to make a return to the Pro Circuit stage, we simply haven’t seen Tigers manage to put all the pieces together into a solid and coordinated performance just yet. if the team can mange to get its act together quickly, then the potential exists for the squad to be a more formidable threat in this field. Until we see for sure that the squad has put its recent struggles behind it though, the expectations must remain on the lower side for Tigers coming into this Minor qualifier.
Nikolay “Nikobaby“ Nikolov
Kee Chyuan “ChYuan” Ng
Khoo “Ohaiyo” Chong Xin
Chong “FelixCiaoBa” Wei Lun
Ng “YamateH” Wei Poong
The new roster for WarriorsGaming.Unity did not have the most impressive of introductions to the rest of the Southeast Asian region, as the team posted a 1-4 record in the recent Major qualifier to finish in the 7th-8th place position in the event. However, the fact that the team’s matches came against the duo of Fnatic and BOOM ID makes its somewhat poor performance a bit more understandable, though still disappointing. With Fnatic off the Major and not in the field for this qualifier, there is some hope that WarriorsGaming.Unity will be able to put together a stronger performance against the rest of its regional rivals. Considering the level of skill and experience that this team has on its roster, that kind of solid showing certainly appears to be a possibility for the squad. Until we actually see for sure that the squad is playing at a higher level though, the expectations have to be kept on the lower side for WarriorsGaming.Unity as it prepares to take another shot at making its season debut on the Pro Circuit stage.
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.
Justine Ryan Evangelista “Tino” Grimaldo
Vincent “AlaCrity” Hiew Teck Yoong
Lee “kYxY” Kong Yang
Mark “Shanks” Redira
Pang “BrayaNt“ Jian Zhe
For most of the season to this point, Geek Fam has not played a significant role within the Southeast Asian hierarchy, with the organization being essentially inactive until January when it announced a new roster. Said new roster has seen mixed results in the months since its formation, with the team posting 3 Top 4 finishes in 5 regional appearances, including the open qualifier that earned it a place in this event. Across those 5 appearances, the team has put together a 2-5 record against the other teams in the field for this event, which puts Geek Fam in a somewhat poor position heading into the qualifier. Considering the fact that the team has some experienced players on its roster, there is always a possibility that Geek Fam could put together a strong enough performance to threaten some of the other squads in this field. However, with the team’s experience this season being fairly limited and its results a bit inconsistent, the squad would have to play at an extremely high level in order to do that.
Homer “H.God” Medina
Carlo Chua “BDz” Manalo
Jaunuel “Jaunuel” Arcilla
TaskUs Titans comes into this Minor qualifier as a team with relatively inexperienced players on its roster. The team has made just 5 total appearances within the Southeast Asian region this season, but only 3 of those appearances have come with the squad’s current roster. The good news for the team is that 2 of those 3 appearances have resulted in Top 4 finishes, but both of those events were open qualifiers and only its most recent performance actually earned the team a spot in a subsequent closed qualifier. With limited experience and success to its name, TaskUs Titans is pretty much guaranteed to be an underdog in any match up that it faces in this qualifier. If the team wants to have any chance at being a legitimate threat in this field, then TaskUs Titan will have to defy its low expectations with a near perfect series of performances against its regional rivals in this event.