Dota 2 Pro Circuit Major Preview: MDL Disneyland Paris Major

Vive la France!: Paris plays host to the first ever Pro Circuit event in France at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major

The penultimate Major of the 2018-2019 Pro Circuit season is fast approaching, as fans across the Dota 2 world turn their attention to Paris, France for the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. Organized by Mars Media in cooperation with the Disneyland Paris Event Group, the latest event in the Mars Dota 2 League (MDL) series of tournaments is set to bring 16 squads to the French capital for a chance at claiming a Major Championship title on the Pro Circuit stage. Beginning May 4 and running through the 12th, the Major will be played in the Disney Events Arena with a stated capacity of up to 6,000 people. With the Pro Circuit season entering its final months now, the hierarchy of teams is becoming more and more solidified, and the opportunities for a squad to make some sort of last minute push up the Pro Circuit Rankings are beginning to dwindle. With that in mind, the $1,000,000 and 15,000 Pro Circuit Points that are available at this event take on an even larger level of significance, as each squad in the field will be looking to carve out the largest possible share of those prize pools. Said prize pools are set to distributed among the participating teams according to the following outline.

1st: $350,000 & 4,950 DPC Points

2nd: $170,000 & 3,000 DPC Points

3rd: $100,000 & 2,100 DPC Points

4th: $80,000 & 1,350 DPC Points

5th-6th: $60,000 (Per Team) & 900 DPC Points (Per Team)

7th-8th: $40,000 (Per Team) & 450 DPC Points (Per Team)

9th-12th: $15,000 (Per Team) & 150 DPC Points (Per Team)

13th-16th: $10,000 (Per Team) & 75 DPC Points (Per Team)

The format for the Major will basically be the same as what we’ve seen at every other Major so far this season, beginning with the 16 teams being divided into 4 groups of 4 teams each for the Group Stage. The Group Stage will feature GSL style groups, with all series within said Group Stage being played in a Bo3 format. The GSL format means that 2 of the 4 teams in a group will be randomly selected to play each other in the 2 Opening Matches. The winning teams from those Opening Matches will then play each other in the Winners’ Match to determine the top seed in the group, while the losing teams will play in the Losers’ Match to determine the bottom seed. From there, the loser of the Winners’ Match and the winner of the Losers’ Match will play each other in the Decider Match to determine the 2nd and 3rd seeds of the group. As has been the case with the previous Majors, the Group Stage at this event will not feature any elimination scenarios, as the teams will simply be playing for the purposes of seeding for the Playoff bracket. The top 2 teams from each group will be seeded into the upper half of the Playoff bracket, while the bottom 2 teams will end up in the lower bracket for the Playoffs. Those Playoffs will feature a double elimination bracket, with all series aside from Round 1 of the Lower Bracket and the Grand Finals being played in a Bo3 format. Round 1 of the Lower Bracket will feature Bo1 matches, while the Grand Finals of the Major will be played as a Bo5 series.

With the number of Pro Circuit events being to dwindle as we approach the end of the 2018-2019 season, many of the teams in this field, and across the Dota 2 world in general, will begin to feel an increased level of pressure to make some sort of move to improve their position in the Pro Circuit Rankings. Coming into this event, 14 of the 16 participants have previously attended a Pro Circuit event and already hold a position in the Pro Circuit Rankings. The duo of newcomers in this field is comprised of CIS squad Team Empire and South American team paiN Gaming (formerly Butterfly Effec), as the squads will be making their first appearances on the Pro Circuit stage this season. Out of the 14 teams that have attended a prior Pro Circuit event, 9 of them (Virtus.pro, Team Secret, Vici Gaming, Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, PSG.LGD, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Keen Gaming, and Team Liquid) currently hold positions in the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Rankings and will  receive direct invites to TI9 should they hold those positions through the end of the season. In fact, 4 of those squads (Virtus.pro, Team Secret, Vici Gaming, and Evil Genisues) have already secured themselves enough Pro Circuit Points to be statistically guaranteed a direct invite, and that number will increase by the time this event is over. Southeast Asian squad Fnatic could secure a direct invite with a finish of at least 7th-8th in Paris, while Chinese squad PSG.LGD could secure its own direct invite with a 4th place finish or higher. European team and recent Minor winner Ninjas in Pyjamas needs to finish at least 3rd to lock down its direct invite to TI9, and another Chinese squad in Keen Gaming could punch its ticket to Shanghai with a 2nd place finish in Paris. Of course, whichever team manages to win the Major would also be guaranteed enough Pro Circuit Points to secure direct invite status, so the number of available direct invite slots could decrease to a significant degree in the aftermath of this event. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how each of the teams in the field for this event stack up against each other heading into the fourth Major of the 2018-2019 campaign.

Please note that the “projected finishes” for each team are my own predictions and do not constitute any official or necessarily objective ranking based upon specific statistics or data. Also note that projected finishes are a reflection of the perceived strength of each squad and do not take into account the specifics of the groups draws for this event.

 

Team Secret Secret_logo

Region: Europe

Qualification Method: Europe Qualifier Top 2

Pro Circuit Rank: 2nd (9,300 Pro Circuit Points) (Qualified for TI9)

Roster:
1. Michał “Nisha” Jankowski
2. Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng
3. Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg
4. Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat
5. Clement “Puppey” Ivanov (Captain)
C.
Lee “SunBhie” Jeong-jae

Projected Finish: Top 4

Team Secret comes into this Major as one of the premier teams on the Pro Circuit and in the Dota 2 world as a whole. With a Major Championship title under its belt in this 2018-2019 season, and a direct invite to TI9 locked up, the squad appears to have already hit its goals for this Pro Circuit campaign. Even with that being the case, don’t expect the European juggernaut to suddenly take things less seriously on the Pro Circuit stage, as Team Secret are unlikely to play with any less intensity than it has to this point in the season. The opportunity to continues testing and improving itself against some of the top squads in the Dota 2 world is one that Team Secret likely values very highly, and one that the team will not be taking for granted as it prepares for its fourth straight Major appearance of the season. At this stage in its 2018-2019 campaign, Team Secret may not need another success on the Pro Circuit stage, but the chance to once again display its strength to the Dota 2 world and potentially claim the organization’s third Major Championship title will be more than enough motivation for Team Secret to be at its best in Paris.

Team Secret’s most recent appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came just over a month ago at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major in Stockholm, where the squad came away with a 4th place finish overall. Since the end of that event, the team has seen its overall level of activity decline a bit, as Team Secret has seen action in just a single regional qualifier coming into this Major. Said qualifier was the one that earned the squad its place at this event, as Team Secret put together a perfect 6-0 record against its regional rivals to secure a 1st-2nd place finish in the MDL Disneyland Paris Major Europe Qualifier. That lone qualifier run may have been the team’s only recent experience at home, but at this stage in the season we don’t really need any more examples of Team Secret’s dominance in Europe. Since the start of the 2018-2019 campaign, the squad holds a near superhuman 42-6 record against its fellow European squads. The team’s overall record on the international level is not quite as strong as its record at home, but the results have been just as impressive for Team Secret on that front as well. Across the team’s 7 international appearances this season, it has earned Top 4 finishes in 6 of them, including 4 LAN victories at the PVP Esports Championship, ESL One Hamburg 2018, The Chongqing Major, and ESL One Katowice 2019. Time and time again, this Team Secret roster has proven itself to be one of the strongest teams in the Dota 2 world, and that status will assuredly make it one of the most formidable opponents in the field for this Major.

Team Secret will come into this Major as one of the most dominant forces we’ve seen both within the European region and on the international level as a whole. The squad’s play so far this season has been incredible, with the team displaying a level of strength and consistency that few others have come even close to matching. Team Secret has not displayed much in the way of weaknesses in its 2018-2019 campaign, and with 4 LAN victories on the international level coming into this event, it doesn’t look like that trend is set to suddenly come to an end in Paris. With that in mind, Team Secret enters this Major as a clear favorite for a Top 4 finish on the Pro Circuit stage once again, and a leading contender to lay claim to the title of Major Champion. While its true that Team Secret has already earned its place at TI9 and no longer needs any more Pro Circuit Points, the European juggernaut will still have a reason to play at the top of its game at this event. All the boot-camping and scrimmaging in the world can’t quite compare to taking on the top squads in the Dota 2 world in a true competitive environment, and Team Secret will no doubt be looking to further hone its strategies and teamwork on the Pro Circuit stage as it looks to claim its third Major Championship title in the organization’s history.

 

Team Liquid 600px-Team_liquid_logo_2017

Region: Europe

Qualification Method: Europe Qualifier Top 2

Pro Circuit Rank: 12th (525 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen
2.
Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi 
3.
Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov
4.
Maroun “GH” Merhej
5.
Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi (Captain)
C. Roman “rmN-” Paley

Projected Finish: 9th-12th

Team Liquid comes into the MDL Disneylad Paris Major in a rather precarious position on the Pro Circuit as the squad prepares for its third Major appearance of the 2018-2019 season. While the team currently sits inside the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Rankings, there are more than a few squads on the other side of that divide who could reasonably knock Team Liquid down from its favorable position. With that in mind, the squad makes its way to Paris in need of a strong showing at the Major, but the team will need to bounce back from what was an incredibly underwhelming performance in its last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage. Despite the team’s recent inconsistencies on the international level, Team Liquid’s roster still boasts a high level of skill and experience, and the squad will hope to use both to turn things around and find success on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris.

Team Liquid’s last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came just over a month ago at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major in Stockholm, Sweden. Said Major did not end up going well for the team, as it posted a somewhat surprising 2-5 record to finish at the bottom of the event standings in the 13th-16th place position. In the time since that disappointing performance, Team Liquid has seen action in just a single regional event in the form of the qualifier for this upcoming Major. With that opportunity to once again take on its regional rivals, Team Liquid was able to put together a much stronger performance, as the team posted a 6-3 record to finish in the 1st-2nd place position in the qualifier and claim its place on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris. The team’s performance within its home region has been solid in recent times, though perhaps not quite as strong as the team may prefer considering its 14-10 record since the start of 2019. Perhaps more concerning than its play at home though is Team Liquid’s performances on the international level, as the team has not played any official matches outside of its home region since its last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage. Since the beginning of 2019, Team Liquid’s performance on the international level appears fairly stable, as the squad holds a 20-11 record and even claimed a 1st place finish at MDL Macau 2019 back in February. However, the squad’s list of recent appearances on the international level also includes its incredibly underwhelming 13th-16th place run at the previous Major, which makes it somewhat hard to tell which version of the squad will end up taking the stage in Paris.

Team Liquid comes into this event as a team with 2 LAN victories already under its belt this season, but the squad is still searching for success on the Pro Circuit level as it makes its way to Paris. The team’s previous appearance at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major proved absolutely disastrous for the squad, and served to cast quite a bit of doubt on the squad’s ability to bounce back from that poor performance. On the one hand, we know that this squad has more than enough skill and experience to find success on the Pro Circuit stage, as the Team Liquid roster of today is the same one that claimed victory at TI7. On the other hand, it appears that every time Team Liquid looks to be regaining its momentum, some sort of setback comes about to reintroduce the doubts and questions for this squad. After winning the MegaFon Winter Clash in December, the team attended The Chongqing Major without Miracle- in the lineup and received a significant penalty to the Pro Circuit points it earned for its 7th-8th place finish. And just 2 months ago after winning MDL Macau 2019, the squad turned in its abhorrently poor 13th-16th place run at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major. As much as it hurts to say it, Team Liquid has reached a point in its 2018-2019 campaign where the squad can’t necessarily be trusted to play consistently on the international level, as we just can’t be sure which version of the team will show up to a given event. Because of that, Team Liquid is projected to finish in the 9th-12th place position at this Major, though the team appears to have quite a lot of room in either direction to potentially move depending upon its play in Paris. If the team can recapture the form that we’ve seen in its regional victories and its 2 LAN title runs, then perhaps the squad can turn things around and push itself into the top half of the standings at this Major. However, anything short of its best at this event is likely to see Team Liquid put up another disappointing or otherwise hampered performance on the Pro Circuit stage.

 

OG 425px-OG_RB_Logo

Region: Europe

Qualification Method: Europe Qualifier 3rd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 27th (48 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Anathan “ana” Pham
2. Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen
3. Sébastien “7ckngMad” Debs
4. Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka
5. Johan “N0tail” Sundstein
C. 
Titouan “Sockshka” Merloz

Projected Finish: 9th-12th

After something of a slow start to its TI title defense, OG finally got itself onto the Pro Circuit stage in 2019 with a pair of Minor appearances before locking down a trip to Paris for the team’s first Major of the season. At this stage in the season, OG sits quite a ways down in the Pro Circuit Rankings, and finds itself in need of a significant run over the final months of the 2018-2019 campaign to have a shot at earning itself a direct invite to Shanghai for TI9. Fortunately for the squad, this appearance at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major gives it that exact opportunity, as a strong showing in this event would help catapult the TI8 Champion up the Pro Circuit Rankings. With the team’s TI8 lineup having fully reformed in recent times with the return of ana, OG will come into this event hoping to establish some sense of momentum for itself heading into the final days of the season. However, the team will be facing some significant challenge in Paris as it prepares to take on some of the Dota 2 world’s elite squads on the Pro Circuit stage.

OG’s most recent appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came at the beginning of March at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor in Kiev, where the squad finished in the 5th-6th place position. That performance and the 4-4 event record that came with it were somewhat disappointing for the team as it missed out on an opportunity to put its strength on display on the international level. Since that event, OG’s efforts have been limited exclusively to the European region, with the squad making just a single event appearance. Said event was the MDL Disneyland Paris Major Europe Qualifier, in which the team put together a 9-5 record against its regional rivals to secure itself a place on the Pro Circuit stage at this Major. With a 38-23 record within its home region and 3 Top 4 finishes across 5 appearances in European exclusive events, OG’s performance at home has been solid to this point in the season, if a little bit inconsistent. However, the team’s play on the international level will be the real concern for it coming into this Major, as the team’s results away from home have been a bit less easy to predict. The good news for the squad is that it holds a positive record on the international level and does have a recent Top 4 finish under its belt with its 3rd place performance at ESL One Katowice 2019. The bad news though, is that the team’s record sits at just 22-20, and the team has not played any official matches outside of its home region since its aforementioned Minor appearance back in March. Even with the return of ana to the lineup, the lack of recent results on the international level for OG will have the squad coming into this Major with a few questions to answer as it looks to reestablish its position at the top of the hierarchy in the Dota 2 world.

OG comes into the MDL Disneyland Paris Major looking for its first Top 4 finish on the Pro Circuit stage this season. After ana’s return to the active lineup and a successful qualifier run, the defending TI Champion is hoping for a return to prominence that would certainly receive a rather massive boost from a strong showing in Paris. The team has proven itself to be fairly strong within the European region, but away from home the squad’s play has been a bit more inconsistent. For the most part though, OG has been able to put up solid numbers, with the squad holding a 19-16 record against non-European squads since the start of 2019, and a 36-30 record against Pro Circuit teams in that same time frame. While those records may not be the most impressive that we’ve ever seen, it should be noted that OG managed to put together that record amidst a period in which the team was playing with a long-term stand-in for over two months. With ana back in the lineup, there is hope that the team’s play on the international level will become stronger and more consistent. OG could certainly use an extra degree of strength and consistency, especially against the heavy hitters of the Pro Circuit. Since the start of 2019, OG’s record against teams currently in the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Rankings is 7-12. While that record isn’t too poor, it does reflect upon the situation that the team currently sits in, which is that the squad has not yet returned to the level at which it can consistently contend with the elite teams of the Pro Circuit. With that in mind, OG’s prospects coming into this Major are somewhat on the lower side, with the team projected to finish in the 9th-12th place range. Perhaps the return of ana to the team’s lineup sparks a return for the team to its TI8 winning form, but until we see proof that the squad is truly back to full strength, the expectations will remain low for the team on the Pro Circuit Stage.

 

Virtus.pro virtus pro new

Region: Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)

Qualification Method: CIS Qualifier 1st Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 1st (10,950 Pro Circuit Points) (Qualified for TI9)

Roster:
1. Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev
2.
Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko
3.
Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov
4.
Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan
5.
Alexei “Solo” Berezin (Captain)
C.
Arsenij “ArsZeeqq” Usov

Projected Finish: Top 4

Virtus.pro enters the MDL Disneyland Paris Major as veritable kings of the Dota 2 world, or at least kings of the Pro Circuit. With an insane 10,950 points, the squad stands at the very top of the Pro Circuit Rankings in 1st place, and has already secured itself direct invite status for TI9 in Shanghai. Add on to that the fact that the team’s victory at The Kuala Lumpur Major earlier in the season gave the organization sole possession of the record for most Major Championship titles (previously tied with OG) in Dota 2 history, and it would appear that the squad has hit just about all of its goals prior to the start of TI9 itself. However, VP hasn’t gotten to the position it is in today by being content with its prior accomplishments, and there’s little reason to believe that the CIS juggernaut is planning on bringing anything but its best to the Pro Circuit stage in Paris.

VP’s last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came just around one month ago at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major, where the squad fell just one game short of claiming another Major Championship title in a 2-3 Grand Finals series against Vici Gaming. In the wake of that 2nd place finish at the Major, VP has not been very active, with the CIS leader having participated in just a single event within its home region. That event was the qualifier for this upcoming Major, which saw VP put together an 8-2 overall record en route to securing its fourth straight Major appearance of the season with a 1st place finish in the qualifier. The team’s most recent qualifier run only served to reinforce the squad’s position as the clear leader within the CIS region, as VP currently holds an incredible 40-9 record against its regional rivals and has never finished any lower than 2nd across 5 CIS or mixed CIS and European events this season. With the MDL Disneyland Paris Major Europe Qualifier serving as the team’s only event appearance since the previous Major, VP will be coming into this upcoming Major without any recent matches on the international level. For other teams, this would come as a significant concern, but at this stage, VP’s exemplary play away from home makes that concern essentially nonexistent. Across the entire season, VP holds a 64-44 record against teams outside of the CIS region, and has earned 5 Top 4 finishes across 6 international appearances. With that kind of success both at home and on the international levels, it is fairly clear to see just why VP holds the top spot in the Pro Circuit Rankings and why the squad is considered one of the most formidable opponents in the Dota 2 world.

Virtus.pro enters this Major as one of, if not the most, dangerous squad in the entirety of the Dota 2 world. The team currently sits at the top of the Pro Circuit Rankings, has secured itself a direct invite to TI9 this summer, and holds the record for the most Major Championship titles in the history of the game. The squad is an absolute powerhouse of the Dota 2 world, and the squad will be looking to add even more to its legacy as it enters this event. At this stage in the season, we begin to run out of superlatives to use when trying to quantify just how impressive this VP team has been. The squad has consistently gone toe to toe with the other elite squads on the Pro Circuit, and its dominance over the CIS hierarchy is so absolute that every other team in the region knows that it is fighting for the chance to be considered the second best CIS team. Taking all of that into consideration, VP is a clear favorite coming into this Major, and is projected to rather easily find its way back into a Top 4 position in the event standings. After finishing no lower than 2nd across any of the three previous Majors this season, it would come as an unbelievable shock it the squad even came remotely close to falling out of the Top 4 in Paris. In fact, the last time VP attended a Major and didn’t claim a Top 4 finish was all the way back at the DreamLeague Season 8 Major back in December of 2017. That kind of consistent success is basically impossible to ignore, and VP will effectively be expecting to continue that streak as it prepares for its fourth straight Major appearance of the 2018-2019 campaign.

 

Team Empire 600px-Team_empire

Region: Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)

Qualification Method: CIS Qualifier 2nd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: None (0 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Kiyalbek “dream`” Tayirov
2. Konstantin “kodos-“ Kogai
3. Igor Andreevich “Maden” Modenov
4. Oleg “sayuw” Kalenbet
5. Rinat “KingR” Abdullin (Captain)
C.
Andrey “KaHT” Shulgin

Projected Finish: 9th-12th

The season so far for Team Empire has been a rather interesting one, to say the least. The CIS squad will be making its first appearance of the season on the Pro Circuit stage at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major, but the path to this moment has not been a particularly easy one for the squad. After playing most of the season with 2 squads under the Team Empire organization (Team Empire Faith and Team Empire Hope), the organization opted to consolidate its assets and resources to reform a singular Team Empire roster. Fortunately for the team, the shuffling of its roster appears to have been for the best, as Team Empire has been enjoying something of a revival within the CIS region in recent times. With an improved level of play and stronger results to go along with it, Team Empire has emerged as a potential contender in its home region, but the true test of strength for this squad will be whether it can compete on the international level as well. Up against some of the elite teams in the Dota 2 world though, Team Empire is set to undergo a trial by fire as it makes its season debut on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris.

With the MDL Disneyland Paris Major serving as the team’s first Pro Circuit appearance of the season, Team Empire doesn’t have any recent experience to speak of on that level. However, the squad has been fairly active in the time since its reformation into a single roster, building up a solid string of results for itself in both the CIS and European regions. In that time frame, Team Empire has participated in 9 total events across the aforementioned regions and has managed to finished in the Top 4 in all but 1 of them. Included among those 8 Top 4 finishes are a pair of 1st-2nd place performances in Pro Circuit open qualifiers, as well as a 1st place finish in the BTS Spring Cup: Europe in March. While those performances are certainly encouraging for Team Empire, there is a significant concern for the squad coming into this Major stemming from the fact that it has no true international experience since the formation of its current roster. While the squad’s appearances in 2019 have allowed it to play against European squads, Team Empire has not played any official matches agaisnt squads outside of either the European or CIS regions. The squad’s 14-14 record against European squads across that time frame does at least offer some small degree of hope that it can potentially hold its own on the international level. However, without any official matches outside of those 2 regions, it is difficult to predict just how Team Empire will respond to playing against top level opposition from the other regions of the Dota 2 world.

Team Empire comes into this Major looking to put together an impressive season debut on the Pro Circuit stage with a strong showing in Paris. Considering the fact that there is still no clear second leader in the CIS region behind Virtus.pro, this event also gives the squad the opportunity to leap frog its way over some of its main regional rivals and claim a favorable position in the Pro Circuit Rankings. Against those regional rivals, Team Empire been putting together some impressive showings in recent times, but the team’s experience on the international level has been somewhat lacking within that time frame. To be fair to Team Empire, it has put together 8 Top 4 finishes in the 9 total appearances that it has made since reforming its lineup in January. However, all of those appearances have come against CIS and European squads, and even its record against teams from its neighboring region has been solid but not particularly impressive. As previously mentioned, Team Empire has posted a 14-14 record against European teams since the merging of its two rosters, and its record against Pro Circuit teams (teams that have attended at least 1 Pro Circuit event this season) sits at 24-25 within that same period. While those records aren’t terrible, they have come against competition that many would argue falls short of the kind that the squad will see on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris. Against teams inside the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Rankings, Team Empire has a 3-10 record since January. With 9 of those Top 12 squads being participants at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major, there doesn’t appear to be a particularly high level of upwards mobility for Team Empire unless it can successfully match up against those elite teams. With that in mind, Team Empire comes into this Major projected to finish in the 9th-12th place range. The squad’s solid play within the CIS and European regions appears to give it a small advantage over the weakest teams in the field for this event, but we have yet to see the evidence that Team Empire can take on the powerhouses of the Pro Circuit with any degree of consistency.

 

Keen Gaming Keen Gaming

Region: China

Qualification: China Qualifier Top 2

Pro Circuit Rank: 8th (990 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1.
Wang “old chicken” Zhiyong
2.
Zhai “一” Jingkai
3.
Ren “eLeVeN” Yangwei
4.
Hu “Kaka” Liangzhi
5.
Song “dark”‘ Runxi (Captain)
C. Wu “Fyms” Junying

Projected Finish: 5th-6th

Keen Gaming comes into the MDL Disneyland Paris Major as something of a surprise contender within the Chinese region. The squad has made impressive strides over the course of this 2018-2019 season, transforming itself from a team with skill and potential into a powerhouse to rival the likes of Vici Gaming and PSG.LGD. In more recent times, the squad’s success has spilled over onto the international level as well, with the team’s performance at the previous Major having catapulted it into the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Rankings. With relatively consistent success at home and a budding level of power and influence on the international level, Keen Gaming finds itself in a position to truly cement its place as a leader on the Pro Circuit as it makes its way to Paris for its second Major appearance. In order to do so though, the Chinese squad will have to prove that its previous performance on the Pro Circuit stage was something that it can maintain as it prepares to face off against the elite teams of the Dota 2 world once again.

The last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage for Keen Gaming came in March at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major, in which the squad put together an impressive 5th-6th place run in its first Major of the season. Since then, the team has been putting together some absolutely dominant performances both at home and on the international level. Within the Chinese region, the team has earned itself back to back 1st place finishes in a pair of regional qualifiers. At the end of March, the team claimed a 1st place position in the MDL Disneyland Paris Major China Qualifier, and just two weeks later it finished 1st in the ESL One Birmingham 2019 China Qualifier as well. Across those 2 regional qualifier runs, Keen Gaming put together a 13-5 record against its fellow Chinese squads which brought its overall record in the region up to 41-19 since the start of 2019. On the international level, the squad comes into the Major with a bit of recent success as well stemming from its 1st place showing at ESL One Mumbai 2019. The team put together a 14-3 record and lost just as single series at the event en route to claiming its first LAN victory of the season. In total, Keen Gaming has made three appearances in the time since its last Pro Circuit appearance, and has managed to claim 1st place finishes in each of them. With an impressive string of victories across its recent efforts, Keen Gaming is set to come into the MDL Disneyland Paris Major with more than a fair bit of confidence and momentum on its side as it looks to continue its run of success with a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage.

Keen Gaming makes its way to Paris as one of the most formidable squads both within the Chinese region, and on the international level. However, the team’s favorable position within the Pro Circuit Rankings is not quite a secure as it may prefer, and a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris would go a long way towards alleviate any concerns of the squad falling out of that all important Top 12 group. The team has certainly been trending in the right direction of late, with the squad putting together impressive performance against regional rivals and international opposition alike. On the home front, the squad has strung together 5 straight Top 4 finishes against its regional rivals, while also putting up 3 Top 4 finishes on the international level and a 5th-6th place performance at the previous Major. All of that appears to put Keen Gaming in a rather favorable position coming into this event, especially considering the fact that the squad has posted a 19-17 record against teams currently inside the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Rankings since the start of 2019. However, there is still one small caveat for Keen Gaming, and that is the team’s play against the teams at the very top of that Top 12 group. Against teams ranked above it the Pro Circuit Rankings (teams ranked 1-7), Keen Gaming’s record in that time frame drops to 11-12. While that record against the elite teams of the Dota 2 world is still incredibly impressive, it does still appear to put Keen Gaming just a half step behind those top tier squads. With that in mind, Keen Gaming is projected to finish in the 5th-6th place position in Paris, with the potential for a push into the Top 4 depending on whether or not it can get over that last hump. If any team projected to finish inside the Top 4 ends up stumbling to even a limited extent in Paris, Keen Gaming will be waiting in the wings to take advantage of that weakness as the squad looks to cement its place among the elite teams of the Dota 2 world.

 

PSG.LGD PSG LGD

Region: China

Qualification Method: China Qualifier Top 2

Pro Circuit Rank: 6th (2,790 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Wang “Ame” Chunyu
2.
Lu “Somnus丶M” a.k.a. “Maybe” Yao
3.
Yang “Chalice” Shenyi
4.
Xu “fy” Linsen (Captain)
5.
Jian Wei “xNova” Yap
C.
Yao “QQQ” Yi

Projected Finish: 7th-8th

For the first time in over 5 months, PSG.LGD does not stand as the top Chinese squad in the Pro Circuit Rankings, as the team’s position has been usurped thanks to Vici Gaming’s Major Championship run at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major. The team’s position in the Pro Circuit Rankings is still an incredibly favorable one, but PSG.LGD will likely come into this Major looking to reclaim its place as top dog within the Chinese hierarchy. With star Midlaner Somnus丶M having recently rejoined the active roster after a brief hiatus, PSG.LGD appears to be back at full strength just in time for another bout on the Pro Circuit stage. Whether the squad will be able to immediately bounce back to its previous level on the international level remains to be seen, but no one will be taking PSG.LGD lightly as the squad looks to put together a strong showing at this Major and potentially secure itself a direct invite to TI9.

The last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage for PSG.LGD came just over a month ago in Stockholm at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major. At the time, the squad was still playing with Xm as a stand-in, but still managed to put together an impressive 8-5 record to finish in the 5th-6th place position at the event. Since the conclusion of that Major and the return of Somnus丶M to the lineup, PSG.LGD has only participated in a single event in the form of the qualifier that earned it a place in this upcoming Major. The team certainly managed to put together a strong showing against its regional rivals, as PSG.LGD posted a 6-2 record en route to a 1st-2nd place finish that secured it a place in the field in Paris. Of course, the fact that PSG.LGD made its qualifier run without having to face any of Vici Gaming, EHOME, or Keen Gaming (the other 3 Chinese teams ranked inside the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Rankings) does still leave questions unanswered as the squad heads into this event. Another concern for PSG.LGD coming into the Major is its lack of recent results on the international level, as the team has not played a single official match outside of its home region since the previous Major, and has not played an international match with Somnus丶M in the lineup since The Chongqing Major back in January. Given the squad’s extensive experience and its track record of success over the last 2 seasons though, it seems easier to give PSG.LGD the benefit of the doubt as the squad enters this Major as one of the more formidable teams in the field.

PSG.LGD comes into this Major with its eyes on guaranteeing itself a place in the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Ranking and locking down a direct invite to TI9 this summer. In order to claim that position outright though, the squad is going to need a very strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage, as it needs to finish at least 4th to guarantee a direct invite before the end of this event. Considering the team’s impressive play in recent times, as well as the fact that the squad once again has Maybe in the active lineup for this event, PSG.LGD appears to be in a favorable position coming into this Major. The team has continued its dominance within the Chinese region, with PSG.LGD finishing in the Top 4 across 5 of its 6 total appearances so far this season. On the international level, the team has earned 3 Top 4 finishes across 5 total appearances, and holds a solid record of 33-29 against teams currently inside the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Rankings. All of that, combined with the return of a star player of Maybe’s caliber, points towards PSG.LGD being one of the stronger squads in the field for this event, but the team won’t make its way to Paris without some concerns. The biggest among those concerns is the fact that much of the team’s previously mentioned success against Top 12 teams has come against its own regional rivals. Against Top 12 ranked squads outside of the Chinese region, PSG.LGD’s record drops to a respectable but somewhat less impressive 13-16 mark on the season. The team has been able to contend with the best teams in the Dota 2 world, but top international opposition has forced the team into a slightly less consistent level of play in this 2018-2019 campaign. Because of that, PSG.LGD is projected to finish in the 7th-8th place position at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major, though there are more than a few scenarios that could easily see the team advancing higher than that. If Maybe is able to prove that he’s right back to his previous dominant form, and the team builds up some early momentum for itself against non-Chinese opponents, then PSG.LGD could potentially contend for the title of Major Champion in Paris. However, until we see that kind of strong start from the team, the predictions will have to remain modest, but cautiously optimistic for PSG.LGD as it enters its fourth Major appearance of the season.

 

Vici Gaming VICI_Gaming

Region: China

Qualification Method: China Qualifier 3rd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 3rd (5,850 Pro Circuit Points) (Qualified for TI9)

Roster:
1. Zhang Paparazi灬Chengjun
2.
Zeng  “Ori”Jiaoyang
3.
Zhou “Yang”Haiyang
4. Pan “Fade” Yi
5.
DingDyCong
C. Bai “rOtK” Fan

Projected Finish: Top 4

The defending Major Champion is set to make a return to the Pro Circuit stage in Paris, as Vici Gaming looks to add itself to a list of elite company in the Dota 2 world by becoming just the fourth team to ever claim back to back Major Championship titles, and the fifth to win multiple Majors. The team’s pursuit of that goal will be helped by the fact that the Chinese squad no longer has to contend with the pressures and anxieties related to the rat race that is the Pro Circuit Rankings. With the squad’s victory at the previous Major, Vici Gaming earned enough Pro Circuit Points to be guaranteed a direct invite to TI9 in Shanghai, meaning the squad doesn’t have to worry about its position within the Pro Circuit Rankings over the final months of the season. Despite the fact that its place at TI is already secured, Vici Gaming is not likely to come into this event feeling like it wants to take things easy on the Pro Circuit stage. The opportunity to continue testing its strength against the top squads in the Dota 2 world, and the chance to add itself to a list of elite teams in the history of the game, should be more than enough motivation for Vici Gaming to bring its “A” game to Paris as it looks to defend its title as Major Champion.

Vici Gaming’s last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage also happened to be the organization’s most successful, as the team claimed its first Major victory and its second Pro Circuit title with its 1st place performance at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major in Stockholm. Since then, the squad has seen its level of activity decline to a certain extent, as Vici Gaming has only participated in a single event. That event was the MDL Disneyland Paris Major China Qualifier, in which the team put together an 8-3 record against its regional rivals to claim a 3rd place finish and a place on the Pro Circuit stage to defend its title. That lone event has been the team’s only official matches in the wake of its successful Major run, but Vici Gaming’s season to this point has been marked by some consistent performances within its home region. So far this season, the team holds an 81-39 record against its fellow Chinese squads, and has put together 8 Top 4 finishes across 10 regional appearances. Vici Gaming will also be coming into this event without any official matches on the international level since the end of the previous Major, but considering the fact that the team is coming off of back to back Minor and Major Championship runs, it seems safe to assume that the squad is still at the top of its game in terms of its play away from home. With strong and consistent results both within its home region and on the international level, Vici Gaming comes into the MDL Disneyland Paris Major as a force to be reckoned with as the squad looks to claim its second Major Championship title of the 2018-2019 season.

Vici Gaming makes its way to Paris as a squad that has undergone something of a transformation in recent times. Just a few months ago, the squad was perceived as a solid contender within the Chinese region and a respectable, but perhaps not elite, team on the Pro Circuit with a position inside the Top 12 of the Pro Circuit Rankings. After victories at both the recent Minor and Major though, Vici Gaming has significantly increased its standing in the Dota 2 world. The defending Major Champion now stands among elite company in the Pro Circuit Rankings, and is one of just 4 squads to have already secured itself a direct invite to TI9. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Vici Gaming’s recent surge of international success is that fact that is wasn’t the result of a change to the team’s lineup, its coaching staff, or the positions of its players. The squad simply appeared to have finally found its focus and played up to the level of potential that many believed it held since the introduction of its new lineup at the beginning of the season. Considering all of that, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Vici Gaming comes into this Major with high expectations, as the squad is projected to finish inside the Top 4 in Paris. Of course, just because a team wins one event does not necessarily mean that it will be able to find success in another. However, for Vici Gaming to go from winning both the previous Minor and Major to falling out of the Top 4 entirely in this event, it would take a rather shocking series of mistakes or setbacks from the team. Based on the way that we’ve seen this team play in recent times though, that many issues popping up at once doesn’t seem particularly likely for Vici Gaming as the squad looks to claim back to back Major Championship titles in Paris.

 

Fnatic Fnaticlogo

Region: Southeast Asia

Qualification Method: Southeast Asia Qualifier 1st Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 5th (3,450 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Pyo “MP” No-a
2.
Abed “Abed” Azel L. Yusop
3.
Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang
4.
Djardel Jicko B. “DJ” Mampusti
5.
Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong (Captain)
C.
Kim “DuBu” Doo-young

Projected Finish: Top 4

As Fnatic prepares itself for a fourth Major appearance of this 2018-2019 season, it does so in one of the most favorable positions in the Dota 2 world. The squad stands as the top Southeast Asian squad in the Pro Circuit Rankings, and at the time of writing this preview sits just 241 Pro Circuit Points away from securing itself a direct invite to TI9. To put things another way for Fnatic, a finish inside the top half of the event standings at this Major guarantees it a place at TI, though a finish in the bottom half could still allow the team to punch its ticket to Shanghai depending on where the rest of the points in the prize pool end up being distributed. With the squad right on the cusp of such an important milestone in its 2018-2019 campaign, we can expect the Southeast Asian leader to come into this Major with an extra sense of urgency and intensity as it looks to lock down its chance to play on the biggest stage in the Dota 2 world. Standing in its way though is a field of some of the game’s premier team, all of whom will be looking to put together impressive performances of their own on the Pro Circuit stage, potentially at Fnatic’s expense.

The last appearance for Fnatic on the Pro Circuit stage came just over a month ago at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major in Stockholm, where the Southeast Asian squad put together its strongest result on the Pro Circuit stage so far this season. With an 11-7 record, the team managed to finish in 3rd place at the event and claimed its first Top 4 finish at a Pro Circuit event this season. Since then, the team has not been particularly active, with all of its efforts being focused upon its home region. Said efforts amount to just a single appearance within the Southeast Asian region in the form of Fnatic’s 1st place run in the MDL Disneyland Paris Major Southeast Asia Qualifier. The team truly put its strength on display against its regional rivals in that event, posting an 8-1 overall record while taking series victories against two of its most prominent competitors in TNC Predator and Mineski. The team’s play within its home region has been incredibly consistent all season long, but it’s the results on the international level that will likely be the bigger concern for Fnatic coming into this event. In the time since Fnatic’s last Pro Circuit appearance, the team has not played any official matches outside of its home region. Under normal circumstances, this would be a somewhat significant point of concern for a team heading to the Pro Circuit stage. However, Fnatic has just come off of a Top 4 finish at the previous Major, and prior to that the squad claimed a 4th place finish at ESL One Katowice 2019 back in February and a 5th-6th place finish at The Chongqing Major in January. In terms of strength on the international level, Fnatic has proven itself to be more than capable of holding its own agaisnt some of the elite teams of the Dota 2 world, which puts the team in a position as a formidable challenger as it makes its way to Paris for its fourth straight Major appearance of the season.

Fnatic comes into this Major right on the cusp of locking down a direct invite to TI9, with the squad needing to finish at least 8th at this event to earn that direct invite status outright. The squad’s growth in terms of its results on the international level this season has been nothing short of staggering, as the Southeast Asian team has developed into a powerhouse on the Pro Circuit and one of the elite teams of the Dota 2 world. The team comes into this Major with with back to back Top 4 finishes on the international level under its belt, and every time it has attended a Pro Circuit event his season, it has improved upon its previous performance. Since the start of 2019, the team holds a 29-17 record against teams outside of the Southeast Asian region, and there is little reason to believe that its trend of strong play on the international level will suddenly come to an end in Paris. As such, Fnatic comes into the MDL Disneyland Paris Major with a projection in the Top 4 range and should be one of the more formidable squads in the field. The team’s level of play and sense of confidence have only seemed to increase as this season has progressed, and at this stage it would take a rather catastrophic meltdown from the Southeast Asian powerhouse for it to fall short of claiming that coveted direct invite status at this event.

 

Mineski 600px-Mineski-dota_logo

Region: Southeast Asia

Qualification Method: Southeast Asia Qualifier 2nd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 22nd (96 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Lai “Ahjit” Jay Son
2. Kam “Moon” Boon Seng
3. Damien “kpii” Chok
4. Ryan “Bimbo” Jay Qui
5. Michael“ninjaboogie” Ross Jr. (Captain)
C. Tang “71” Wenyi

Projected Finish: 9th-12th

Things have gotten very interesting very quickly with regards to Mineski, as the Southeast Asian squad prepares for its second Pro Circuit appearance of the season in Paris. After a season of near misses in regional qualifiers, the squad finally managed to find its way to the Pro Circuit stage at the previous Major, only to drop two of its players just days after the conclusion of its run at said event. The move was certainly a surprising one, but Mineski is hoping that its new lineup can carry it even further forward, both within its home region and on the international level as well. The squad is in for quite a challenge in Paris, as it will face off against some of the top teams on the Pro Circuit. However, a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage has the potential to fuel a massive push up the Pro Circuit Rankings for Mineski as the team looks to reestablish itself as a leading squad in the Dota 2 world.

Mineski’s last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came just over a month ago at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major in Stockholm, where the squad put together a 9th-12th place finish before initiating a change to its roster. In the time since that event and the changes to its lineup, Mineski has put together some impressive results, both within the Southeast Asian region and on the international level. On the home front, the squad has participated in a pair of regional qualifiers and earned Top 4 finishes in both of them. At the beginning of the month, the team finished 2nd in the MDL Disneyland Paris Major Southeast Asia Qualifier, posting a 10-6 record against its regional rivals to secure a place at this event. Around 2 weeks later, Mineski once again claimed a 2nd place finish among its regional rivals in the ESL One Birmingham 2019 Southeast Asia Qualifier, though this time around it wasn’t enough to earn the squad a spot at a LAN event. Away from home, the team’s run of 2nd place finishes was continued, as Mineski put together a 2nd place run just a few days ago as ESL One Mumbai 2019 with an 8-7 overall record. With three straight Top 4 finishes since its appearance at the previous Major, Mineski appears to be on the right track as its new lineup prepares for another appearance on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris.

After struggling significantly through the first sections of this 2018-2019 campaign, Mineski appears to finally be finding its footing as it looks to mount a surge over the final months of the Pro Circuit season. The team’s debut performance on the Pro Circuit stage at the previous Major was not exactly awe inspiring, but the squad is hoping to improve upon that showing with a stronger run in Paris. To the team’s credit, Mineski has been showing all the right signs for a squad looking to improve and gear up for a return to the Pro Circuit stage. The team has been strong within its home region and even reached the Grand Finals of an international event just about two weeks ago at ESL One Mumbai 2019. The problem with this picture though is that Mineski still has one glaring weakness across its trio of Top 4 finishes since the previous Major, with that weakness being a consistent inability to take down top level opposition. Across its three previous appearances, Mineski has played 16 matches against teams ranked inside the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Rankings (TNC Predator, Fnatic, and Keen Gaming). In those 16 games, the team holds a 2-14 record, which does not bode well for the team’s chances as it prepares to enter an event in which the vast majority of the teams in the field are considered to be at a comparable or higher level than those three squads. Mineski’s recent improvement have been impressive and can be seen as a massive step in the right direction for the Southeast Asian squad. However, until we see that the team can stand up against the best teams on the Pro Circuit with any level of consistency, the expectations have to remain fairly low for the team. With that said, Mineski is projected to finish in the 9th-12th place range at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major, though there is some hope for the squad to potentially push for a place in the top half of the event standings. The addition of its new Support duo of Bimbo and ninjaboogie could be a potential catalyst for the squad, and the return of Coach 71 to the organization will certainly give the squad a boost as well. Even if those recent additions prove to be play out for the squad, Mineski is still going to need an incredibly strong performance at this event if it wants to out perform its projection.

 

paiN Gaming (Formerly Butterfly Effec)paiN Gaming alt

Region: South America

Qualification Method: South America Qualifier 1st Place

Pro Circuit Rank: None (0 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Leonardo “Mandy” Viana
2.
Adriano de Paula “4dr” Machado
3.
Rodrigo Lelis “Liposa” Santos (Captain)
4.
Thiago de Oliveira “Thiolicor” Cordeiro
5.
Anderson “444” Santos

Projected Finish: 13th-16th

After losing its previous roster to the Chaos Esports Club organization, it was believed by many that paiN Gaming would not be away from the Dota 2 scene for long. Those beliefs proved to be valid, as the organization made its return to the South American region by picking up the roster of Brazilian squad Butterfly Effec. The new squad finds itself with an immediate opportunity to find success and establish itself as a power within the South American region with this appearance on the Pro Circuit stage. Considering the fact that many of its main regional rivals in the form of squads like Thunder Predator, Demolition Boys, and Infamous are either undergoing roster changes or have disbanded altogether, a strong showing at this event could put the new paiN Gaming in a position as a leading squad among South American teams.

With paiN Gaming having only picked up its latest roster at the end of March, the team itself has yet to play any official matches under the banner of its new organization. However, the roster did put together a few appearances under its previous name of Butterfly Effec with a pair of regional qualifier runs. The first of those qualifier runs was a 1st-2nd place performance in the MDL Disneyland Paris Major South America Open Qualifier #1, which earned the team its place in the subsequent Closed Qualifier. In said Closed Qualifier, Butterfly Effec put together an 8-2 overall record against its regional rivals to finish 1st in the event and claim its place on the Pro Circuit stage at this upcoming Major. While the team’s play was fairly impressive in those two regional qualifiers, the big concern for paiN Gaming coming into this Major will be its lack of play on the international level. The team’s efforts since its formation have been exclusively focused on its home region, and while the individual members of the team have seen action on the international level with their previous teams, it is unclear how the team as a whole will respond to the challenge of taking on the elite teams of the Dota 2 world at the Major. With that degree of uncertainty hanging around it, paiN Gaming will make its way to Paris with something to prove as its new roster prepares for its first appearance together on the Pro Circuit stage.

paiN Gaming comes into this Major as the newest power to emerge within the South American region, but the team is hoping that a strong showing at this event could potentially establish it as a contender on the international level as well. The problem for this squad is the same one felt by every recently formed team that makes its first event appearance, with that problem being a simple lack of experience as a unit. The team’s roster has its fair share of talent and experience, with many of its members having made previous appearances on the Pro Circuit stage with other squads. However, the squad has only existed for just over a month now, and its experience together is limited to two open qualifiers and the Closed qualifier that it won to reach this Major. Those regional performances were impressive feats for the team, but they don’t quite give us a feel for how well this squad can perform on the Pro Circuit stage against some of the strongest teams in the Dota 2 world. In the absence of recent results on the international level, it seems most prudent to set the expectations low for the new paiN Gaming roster coming into this Major, with the squad projected to finish in the 13th-16th place range in Paris. Unfortunately for paiN Gaming, this season has not been one in which we’ve seen squads with limited international experience make much of an impact when taking their talents to a Major. The majority of such cases have usually come about in the Minors this season, with those successful squads then taking the next step up on the Pro Circuit. With this appearance on the Pro Circuit stage in Paris, paiN Gaming is hoping to bypass that step and immediately establish itself as a competitor on the international level. While the ambition of such a goal is certainly commendable, paiN Gaming is likely about to find out why no one else has been able to do it this season as it prepares to take the stage in Paris.

 

Chaos Esports Club chaos

Region: South America

Qualification Method: South America Qualifier 2nd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 13th (375 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. William “hFn” Medeiros
2.
Aliwi “w33” Omar
3.
Otávio “Tavo” Gabriel
4.
Rasmus “MISERY” Filipsen (Captain)
5.
Danylo “Kingrd” Nascimento
C. Robson “TeaGuvnor” Merritt

Projected Finish: 13th-16th

As the top South American squad in the Pro Circuit Rankings, Chaos Esports Club comes into the MDL Disneyland Paris Major as a clear leader within its home region. Despite that favorable position among its regional rivals, Chaos Esports Club still has quite a bit of work to do if it wants to count itself among the squads earning direct invites to TI9 this summer. The team is currently sitting just outside of the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Rankings, and with just 1 Minor and 2 Majors left to be played in this 2018-2019 season, the squad finds itself in need of a strong performance on the Pro Circuit stage if it wants to avoid the rigors and risks of the TI9 Qualifiers. Success on the international level has proven to be somewhat elusive for this team since the start of 2019, but hopefully the fact that the Pro Circuit season is beginning to wind down will add that sense of urgency that will push Chaos Esports Club to success in Paris.

The last time we saw Chaos Esports Club on the Pro Circuit stage was just over a month ago at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major in Stockholm. The event did not go quite as well as the South American squad may have been hoping for though, as Chaos Esports Club posted a 3-6 record to finish in 9th-12th place at the event. In the time following that appearance on the Pro Circuit stage, Chaos Esports Club has not been particularly active, with the squad competing in just a single event. Said event was the MDL Disneyland Paris Major South America Qualifier, which saw the team post an 8-3 record against its regional rivals to lock up 1 of the region’s 2 slots at this Major. Finding success on the home front has not been much of an issue for Chaos Esports Club, as the squad has put together a 16-3 record in South America since the team’s roster was signed back in January. The real issue for Chaos Esports club has been its play on the international level, as the squad has finished in the bottom half of the event standings in all three of its appearances outside of the South American region. The team’s record against international opposition sits at just 13-18 at this point in the season, and the fact that the squad has not played any official matches on the international level since its last Pro Circuit appearance certainly doesn’t help matters. While the team’s roster still has considerable levels of skill and experience on its side, Chaos Esports Club is going to have to step things up if it finally wants to break through on the Pro Circuit stage and put together a strong performance in Paris.

Chaos Esports comes into this event as a squad sitting just outside of that prestigious Top 12 group in the Pro Circuit Rankings, with a strong showing at this Major having the potential to push the squad over the edge and into that coveted territory. The team and its players are not strangers to playing on the international level, but the experience alone will not be nearly enough to guarantee success for the squad as it prepares to take the stage in Paris. Since the squad came under the Chaos Esports Club banner back in January, its play on the international level has been incredibly underwhelming. As previously mentioned, the squad holds just a 13-18 record outside of South America in that time and has not finished in the top half of the event standings in its last last three international appearances. Despite the skill and experience on the team’s roster, that extended period of inconsistency away from its home region makes it incredibly hard to have confidence in its chances of finding success on the Pro Circuit stage. With that in mind, Chaos Esports Club is not expected to have a significant impact on events at the Major, with the South American squad projected to finish in the 13th-16th place range. At this stage in the season and after repeated disappointments on the international level, it would take a turnaround of near miraculous proportions for Chaos Esports Club to get out of this slump and push for a position in the top half of the event standings. From the results that we’ve seen from this squad in times past, we at least know that the team is capable of success on the international level, but the outlook for Chaos Esports Club will be painfully pessimistic until we see proof that it is ready to the corner on this disappointing period in its season.

 

Evil Geniuses Evil Geniuses

Region: North America

Qualification Method: North America Qualifier Top 2

Pro Circuit Rank: 4th (4,650 Pro Circuit Points) (Qualified for TI9)

Roster:
1. Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
2.
Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan
3.
Gustav “s4” Magnusson
4.
Andreas Franck “Cr1t-“ Nielsen
5.
Tal “Fly” Aizik (Captain)
C.
Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale

Projected Finish: 5th-6th

Evil Geniuses enters this Major as the only squad in the North American region that no longer has to concern itself with its place in the Pro Circuit Rankings, as the team has already earned enough Pro Circuit Points to secure a direct invite to TI9. While the team won’t be under the same levels of pressure that some of the other teams in the field will be, that doesn’t mean that the North American leader will be taking things easy in its fourth Major appearance of the season. The opportunity to once again test its strength against the elite teams of the Dota 2 world is one that the squad will certainly be looking to take advantage of. Adding further motivation for the squad in Paris is the fact that EG is still chasing its first Major Championship title as an organization, as well as the first Major Championship title for any North American squad in general. The task is certainly a daunting one, but if there was ever a team that appeared to be in a position to finally claim that coveted title for the North American region, it would be Evil Geniuses.

The last Pro Circuit appearance for Evil Geniuses came near the end of March, as the squad put together a 7th-8th place performacne at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major in Stockholm. Since the conclusion of that event, the squad has participated in just a single event within its home region. That event was the MDL Disneyland Paris Major North America Qualifier, in which the squad posted a 6-1 record against its regional rivals to claim a 1st-2nd place finish and lock down its place at this event. Aside from that lone qualifier, EG has gone pretty much silent in terms of its official matches, as the team’s focus has shifted towards boot-camping and scrimmages in preparation for the Major. Under normal circumstances, a lack of official matches leading up to a Pro Circuit event would come as something of a red flag for a team, but EG’s results in recent times makes it a bit easier to give it the benefit of the doubt in this instances. The team has finished no lower than 3rd in any of its 4 regional appearances this season, and its record on the international level has been fairly solid as well with 3 Top 4 finishes in 5 appearances. Without any recent matches outside of its home region, there is always the possibility that EG could suffer a dramatic fall off in terms of its level of play in this event, but its track record so far this season suggests that the squad will still be a formidable force in this field as EG takes to the Pro Circuit stage for the fourth time this season.

EG makes its way to Paris as a team that has already locked down its direct invite status for TI9, and as such is not under nearly the same level of pressure as some of the other teams in the field for this event. Even with that being the case, the North American leader will still be looking to put together a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage, for the purposes of both testing its strength in preparation for TI9 and pursuing the organization’s first even Major Championship title. The team has certainly put together an impressive string of performances on the international level so far this season, with EG claiming 3 Top 4 finishes in 5 total international appearances in its 2018-2019 campaign. However, the team has had one significant weakness coming into this event, with that weakness being an inability to contend with the top squads on the Pro Circuit with much consistency. Against the duo of VP and Team Secret (the teams ranked 1st and 2nd in the Pro Circuit Rankings, respectively), EG’s record is 5-12 this season. Considering those are the two highest ranked teams in the Dota 2 world, that record isn’t exactly damning for EG, but part of the team’s success in its previous Pro Circuit appearances has stemmed from the fact that it has usually only met those other two squads late in the bracket. Should EG be forced into an earlier match up with either squad, the odds of success don’t appear to favor it. Because of that, EG comes into this Major projected to finish in the 5th-6th place range. Should the North American squad manage to either raise its level of play to overcome either VP or Team Secret, or manage to avoid those two squads until the final days of the event, then EG could find itself pushing for a place in the Top 4 in Paris. Based upon what we’ve seen so far this season though, those scenarios seem somewhat unlikely to occur at this event.

 

compLexity Gaming 727px-Col_big_logo

Region: North America

Qualification Method: North America Qualifier Top 2

Pro Circuit Rank: T-29th (16.384 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Galvin “Meracle” Kang Jian Wen
2.
Linus “Limmp” Blomdin
3.
Jaron “monkeys-forever” Clinton
4.
Zakari “Zfreek” Freedman 
5.
Adam “Adam” a.k.a “343” Shah (Captain)
C.
Murielle “Kips” Huisman

Projected Finish: 13th-16th

After a season of struggling its way back up the hierarchic in the North American region, compLexity Gaming has finally found its way to a Major, but it does so with a slightly altered lineup from the one that originally qualified for the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. The organization recently parted ways with Offlaner Yang “Deth” Wu Heng, bringing in monkeys-forever to replace him at this event as a trial player. Any time a squad makes a change to its roster so close to the start of an event like this, it’s going to raise a few questions for the team involved, and compLexity Gaming is no exception to that. Whether the squad will be able to fully integrate its new addition into the roster and its overall game plan and strategies remains to be seen, but it adds another difficult aspect to the already daunting task of taking on some of the Dota 2 world’s best teams on the Pro Circuit stage.

The last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage for compLexity Gaming came all the way back in November at the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor; the first event of the 2018-2019 Pro Circuit season. In the time since that event, the team underwent a rather significant change to its roster, and has been fighting both at home and on the international level in the hopes of rising to a prominent level within its regional hierarchy. Within the North American region, the team has participated in 13 total qualifiers and regional events and has come away with Top 4 finishes in 12 of them. Of course, it should probably be noted that 5 of those 12 Top 4 finishes came in open qualifiers, but even that fact still leaves compLexity Gaming with a fairly impressive string of results within its home region. The bigger concern for the squad coming into this Major is its play on the international level, which has not been nearly as impressive as its record on the home front. In the time since the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor, compLexity Gaming has attended 2 events outside of its home region, and neither have gone particularly well for the team. The squad finished in the 9th-10th place position at ESL One Katowice 2019 in February, and more recently finished in the 7th-8th place position at ESL One Mumbai 2019 earlier this month. Across those two performances, compLexity Gaming put together an underwhelming 5-13 record against teams outside of the North American region, which doesn’t bode particularly well for the squad’s chances as it prepares to take on the elite squads of the Pro Circuit in Paris. Based upon the team’s results since its last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage, it is clear the compLexity Gaming has its work cut out for it as the squad prepares for its first Major appearance of the 2018-2019 season.

compLexity Gaming comes into this Major as a squad that has enjoyed something of a resurgence within its home region, as the squad has begun to pick up some momentum for itself within the North American scene. Unfortunately, the team’s play on the home front doesn’t do a whole lot to alleviate the concerns resulting from its recent struggles on the international level. The team’s 5-13 record outside of the North American region in its two most recent international appearances make it somewhat more difficult to have a high level of confidence in compLexity Gaming heading into this event. Add on to that the fact that the squad has recently made a change to its roster, and the optimism continues to decline for the team coming into this event. With that in mind, compLexity Gaming is projected to finish at the bottom of the standings at the Major in the 13th-16th place position. There is still some small degree of hope that compLexity Gaming can out perform that meager prediction, but it will take an absolutely masterful performance from some of the team’s more experienced players. The Carry/Mid duo of Meracle and Limmp will need to put together consistent production for the squad and cannot afford to go cold at any point in this event, but the real difference maker for the squad will likely be Zfreek. Across his last 100 official matches (all for compLexity Gaming), Zfreek’s play has had a particularly significant impact on the team’s strength as a whole, with the Support averaging just 9.67 assists across losses compared to 17.45 assists on average in the team’s wins. However, even if all of those factors fall into place for compLexity Gaming, the squad will still likely struggle to hold its own against what will be top level international opposition at this Major. Because of that, it’s best to keep the expectations low for this squad as it prepares for its first Major appearance of the 2018-2019 season in Paris.

 

Beastcoast (Formerly TEAM TEAM) Beastcoast

Region: North America

Qualification Method: North America Qualifier 3rd Place

Pro Circuit Rank: T-29th (16.38 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1. Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao
2.
Eric “Ryoya” Dong
3.
Braxton “Brax” Paulson
4.
Timothy “tmt” Ong
5.
Michael “ixmike88” Ghannam (Captain)

Projected Finish: 13th-16th

Note: TEAM TEAM was signed by Beastcoast on May 1.

After spending the majority of the 2018-2019 season as an up and coming squad within the North American region, the team now known as Beastcoast has finally made its way to a Major, though the team didn’t do so without some controversy with regards to its roster. The team recently parted ways with a duo of players in a highly publicized bit of drama that has sparked more than a little bit of debate and argument. Regardless of the controversy though, Beastcoast is still set to take the stage in Paris for the MDL Disenyland Paris Major, but it will do so with more than a few questions and concerns hanging around it. The most pressing among those questions is how its recent roster additions will perform on the Pro Circuit stage. As a team making its first appearance at a Major, the path to success was already looking like a difficult one for Beastcoast , but this matter with its roster has only appeared to add more obstacles for the squad as it prepares to take on the best teams in the Dota 2 world in Paris.

Beastcoast ‘s last appearance on the Pro Circuit stage came back in January at The Bucharest Minor, where the squad put together a 5th-6th place finish in what was its Pro Circuit debut (as TEAM TEAM). Since then, the team has basically shifted the entirety of its focus to the North American region, with almost all of its appearances in that time frame coming on the home front. In total, the team participated in 10 regional events and qualifiers, and managed to earn Top 4 finishes across 9 of them. Included among those 9 Top 4 finishes are a pair of 1st place performances in the North American Dota Challengers League Season 2 and the Premiere Division of Season 3. Of course, it should be noted that the squad’s lineup was not consistent throughout these regional appearances due to some roster changes, but the core of the squad remained intact for the most part. While the majority of the team’s time was spent playing in its home region, Beastcoast doesn’t come into this Major without some experience on the international level. In March, the squad represented the United States at the World Electronic Sports Games 2018, though it ended up finishing in the 13th-16th place position at the event. More recently, the squad attended ESL One Mumbai 2019 and finished in the 5th-6th place position at that event. In the time since its appearance at The Bucharest Minor, Beastcoast has put together a 10-10 record against teams outside of the North American region. That record isn’t exactly disastrous for the squad, but Beastcoast will certainly have to show that can do better than that if it wants to have a shot at taking on some of the elite teams of the Dota 2 world on the Pro Circuit stage.

Beastcoast comes into this Major as a squad attempting to move on from a rather dramatic, and perhaps controversial, change to its roster. The squad had been a relatively steady force within the North American region, but its presence on the international level has not been quite as significant as it may prefer at this point in time. Add on to that the team’s current roster situation and things don’t look all that favorable for Beastcoast as it prepares to take on the elite squads of the Dota 2 world in Paris. While the identities of the team’s new players have finally been revealed, the fact that they will join the team just days before the start of the event makes it incredibly hard to have much confidence that Beastcoast will be able to have much of an impact at this event. Add on to that the fact that one of the new additions (tmt) has extremely limited experience both at the professional level in general and on the international level specifically, and things don’t look fantastic for Beastcoast . With that in mind, the North American squad is projected to finish at the bottom of the event standings in the 13th-16th place position. Of course, there are a few scenarios that could see the squad out perform that prediction, with the most obvious one being an absolutely spectacular performance from EternaLEnVy or Ryoya. Considering the fact that EternaLEnVy has a reputation for wildly inconsistent play and Ryoya has had little time to fully integrate himself into the team’s game plan, those scenarios appear to be highly unlikely. For now, the most prudent outlook for Beastcoast appears to be to hold out hope but keep expectations low as the squad heads into its first Major appearance of the season in Paris.

 

Ninjas in Pyjamas Ninjas In Pyjamas

Region: Europe

Qualification Method: OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019 1st Place

Pro Circuit Rank: 7th (1,690 Pro Circuit Points)

Roster:
1.
Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard
2.
Adrian “Fata” Trinks
3.
Neta “33” Shapira
4.
Martin “Saksa” Sazdov
5.
Peter “ppd” Dager (Captain)
C.
Aaron “Clairvoyance” Kim

Projected Finish: 7th-8th

NiP makes its way to Paris having claimed the final slot in the field for the MDL Disneyland Paris Major via its victory at the OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019. The squad was able to claim the first Pro Circuit title in the organization’s history at that event, but now the team has its sights set on an even bigger prize as it looks to replicate Vici Gaming’s accomplishment of winning both a Minor and its subsequent Major. The season to this point has been an interesting one for NiP, as the squad has fluctuated between moments of looking like an elite force within the Dota 2 world and moments of looking dangerously close to dropping into what many would consider to be “Tier 2” status. With its victory at the Minor though, the squad sent a message that it was looking to bounce back and cement its place as a leader on the Pro Circuit, and this appearance at the Major gives the squad the perfect opportunity to emphasize and reiterate that message with a strong showing against some of the strongest teams in the world.

The team’s 1st place finish at the OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019 may have been the squad’s best result on the international level, but it certainly wasn’t the team’s only experience playing away from its home region this season. Since the beginning of the 2018-2019 campaign, NiP has attended 6 international events, and has managed to finish in the Top 4 across 3 of them. Aside from those events, the majority of the team’s experience this season has come in either regional qualifiers, or mixed Europe and CIS tournaments, with NiP earning 9 Top 4 finishes in 13 such events. With that much experience playing against squads from multiple regions combined with its recent success on the Pro Circuit, NiP appears to be in a strong position coming into this Major. Its 62-52 record this saeson against non-European opponents would seem to support that assessment, but NiP won’t make its way to Paris without some lingering issues. The most significant among these issues is that fact that NiP has struggled against the top teams on the Pro Circuit and has been frustratingly inconsistent against other highly ranked squads. Since the beginning of the season, NiP’s record against teams currently inside the Top 12 in the Pro Circuit Rankings is just 19-36, which presents something of a problem with 8 of the other squads in the field for this event being among those Top 12 teams. Whether the team’s recently found momentum is enough to counter out those previous struggles will likely be the the deciding factor in where the squad ends up in the event standings in Paris.

NiP comes into this event looking to become the second team in a row to win both parts of a Minor/Major pair this season, but the squad will have a daunting task laid out in front of it was it makes its way to Paris. The team’s play in recent times has improved to an impressive degree, both at home and on the international level, but it isn’t clear yet if those improvement will be enough to secure NiP success at this Major. The team’s victory at the previous Minor was an incredibly impressive feat for the squad, but the caliber of teams that the squad is set to face at this event is a significant step up from the opposition that it saw in Split. The team’s previously mentioned struggles against Top 12 ranked squads doesn’t instill a particularly high degree of confidence that the team will be able to handle that increase in strength from its opponents. With that in mind, NiP is projected to finish in the 7th-8th place position in Paris, straddling the line between the top and bottom halves of the event standings. Based upon what we’ve seen from this squad over the last few months, it is clear that NiP stands a step above some of the weaker or less experienced squads in the field for this event. However, its recent successes still haven’t alleviated concerns over its inconsistent play against the top squads on the Pro Circuit, and NiP still appears to be slightly below the level of those elite squads. If the team can show that it is ready to take that next step forward and consistently contend with those heavy hitters, then perhaps NiP can push itself further up the standings in Paris. For the time being though, the team’s expectations will keep it near the middle of the pack as the team prepares for its third Major appearance of the season.

 

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