Pro Circuit Qualifier Preview – MDL Chengdu Major & DOTA Summit 11 Minor

The 2019-2020 Pro Circuit season kicks off in style with 60 teams fighting for 23 available slots in the first combined Major/Minor Qualifier

The start of the 2019-2020 Pro Circuit season is finally upon us, as teams from around the Dota 2 world prepare to begin their quests for money, prestige, and a possible place one the game’s biggest stage at TI10. With the first Major/Minor pair set to begin in November with the DOTA Summit 11 Minor and MDL Chengdu Major, we turn our attention to the very first Pro Circuit Qualifier of the season. The qualifiers are set to begin on October 5 and run through the 7th, but before the action begins across the 6 Dota 2 regions, there are a few changes to the Pro Circuit system that will need to be explained.

First and foremost is the fact that every Major/Minor pair will no longer have their own, separate qualifiers for the 2 events. Instead, there will be a single round of qualifiers for each region, with the attendees of both the Major and Minor set to be determined by the results of said qualifiers. Each region will have 10 teams participate in its combined Major/Minor qualifier, with 8 of the teams being directly invited and 2 squads earning spots through the open qualifiers. The 8 directly invited teams will be determined by the Pro Circuit Point totals of each squad, with special cases being determined by Valve in situations where there are not 8 teams in a region to have earned Pro Circuit Points.

With the invitations to the regional qualifier being determined by Pro Circuit Points, there has also been a change to the way in which said points are distributed among participating squads. The teams that attend the Majors and Minors will still earn the lion’s share of points, but Pro Circuit Points will also be awarded to those who compete in the qualifiers. The team’s that are eliminated in the Group Stage of the qualifier will each earn 10 points, while teams that are eliminated in the Playoffs and do not qualify for an event will earn 20 points.

Speaking of Group Stages and Playoffs, we can talk about the new format for the qualifiers themselves. The 10 participating teams from each region will be divided into 2 groups of 5 teams each for a Bo2 Round Robin. The bottom 2 teams from each group will be eliminated outright, while the top 2 teams will advance to Phase 2 to compete for a spot at the Major. The 2 teams that finish 3rd in their groups, along with the squads from Phase 2 that failed to qualify for the Major, will then fight in Phase 3 for the available spots at the Minor.

With that in mind, we can shift our focus to previewing the field for the 6 regional qualifiers. Since the qualifier system has been changed for this upcoming season, the format of the qualifier preview posts will be changing as well. First, all 6 regions will be represented in a single preview instead of being split up into their own separate sections. Additionally, the categories into which we will be assigning squads will change as well, with the former list of “favorites”, “contenders”, “maybe, ifs”, and “longshots” being replaced by the categories of “Major Favorites”, “Minor Favorites”, “Underdogs” and “Longshots”. And so, let’s get things started with our first qualifier preview of the 2019-2020 season.

 

Major Favorites

As the name of this section would suggest, the teams included here are the ones that appear to be the most likely to qualify for the Major by finishing at the top of the qualifier standings. These teams will most likely represent the best that their respective regions have to offer, with rosters that include star players and veteran leadership in addition to having relatively recent success either against their regional rivals or on the international level. While it is possible that some of the teams in this section fail to reach the Major, having one of them fail to qualify for any event at all will certainly come as an unexpected shock.

 

Southeast Asia

TNC Predator TNC Predator
Roster:

Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte
Armel Paul “Armel” Tabios
Damien “kpii” Chok
Timothy “Tims” Randrup
Park “March” Tae-won

TNC Predator was one of the top squads in the Southeast Asian region last season, and with the team’s star duo of Gabbi and Armel still headlining its roster coming into the 2019-2020 campaign, there is little reason to believe that it loses its grasp on that favorable position. The addition of a pair of veteran players in kpii and March should only reinforce the squad’s strength to begin the season, as many of the other teams in the region adjust to the addition of younger and less experienced new pieces. Expect TNC Predator to come out of the gates looking to prove a point as it takes this first opportunity to reestablish itself at the top of the regional hierarchy.

Fnaticlogo Fnatic
Roster:

Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon
Kam “Moon” Boon Seng
Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang
Djardel Jicko B. “DJ” Mampusti
Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong

After a somewhat underwhelming performance in Shanghai at TI9, Fnatic opted for some drastic changes coming into this 2019-2020 season. The addition of an experienced presence in Moon should certainly come as a boon for Fnatic, but its other roster addition comes with a few concerns. 23savage has emerged as a young and talented player with a fair degree of potential, but we have yet to see if that potential will translate into tangible results for Fnatic this season. Regardless of whether 23savage is ready to carry this squad or not, the level of experience and reliability from the roster around him should put Fnatic in one of the stronger positions among the participants in this qualifier. If 23savage puts together a middling performance, Fnatic should still stand a solid chance of reaching the Major, and if he puts on a star showing against his regional rivals, then Fnatic should be close to unstoppable in this first qualifier of the season.

Geek Fam Geek Fam
Roster:
Marc Polo LuisRaven Fausto
EricRyoya Dong
CarloKuku Palad
KennyXepher Deo
Kim “DuBu” Doo-young

Geek Fam put together a new roster just under a month ago, but already the newly built squad has put together an impressive start to its season within the Southeast Asian region. After stumbling a bit in the mixed SEA/China Asia Communication League Season 2, the team turned around with a dominant 1st place finish in the ESL One Hamburg 2019 Southeast Asia Qualifier. That qualifier run included a combined 6-1 record against BOOM Esports and Sterling Global Dragons, both of whom are included in the field for this Pro Circuit Qualifier. Of course, the squad in its current form remains untested against the elite squads within the SEA region, but considering the level of skill and experience on the new Geek Fam roster, there are few teams that appear to be in as favorable of a position coming into this event.

 

China

Vici Gaming small Vici Gaming
Roster:
Zhang EurusChengjun
Zeng  “Ori”Jiaoyang
Zhou “Yang”Haiyang
Xiong “Pyw”‘ Jiahan
DingDyCong

With PSG.LGD officially sitting out the first Major/Minor pair, Vici Gaming is without a doubt the single strongest team in the field for this qualifier. Even with the replacement of Fade with Pyw, the squad retains the majority of the roster that claimed 2 Major Championship titles in the 2018-2019 season and put together a Top 6 finish at TI9. Vici Gaming comes into this season as one of the elite teams in the Dota 2 world, and while the Chinese region has always proven to be a contentious one, there is little reason to believe that the squad will suffer any sort of significant setback in its first qualifier appearance of the season. Expect Vici Gaming to be among the top squads in the standings in this first qualifier of the 2019-2020 season.

Royal Never Give Up Royal Never Give Up
Roster:
Du “Monet” Peng
Gao “Setsu” Zhenxiong
Su “Flyby” Lei
Gao “@dogf1ghts” Tianpeng
Lu “Fenrir” Chao

Coming off of a Top 8 finish at TI9, Royal Never Give Up comes into this 2019-2020 season poised to claim a position as one of the leading teams in the Chinese region. While the squad did make some changes during the offseason, the team’s core trio of Monet, Setsu, and Flyby remained intact. Additionally, the pieces that RNG did manage to add to the lineup were a pair of experienced supports in dogf1ghts and Fenrir. With the experience of the team’s new Support duo combined with the impressive play of its core trio, it stands to reason that RNG should be able maintain some semblance of the power and prestige that it closed out the previous season with.

600px-Ig_logo Invictus Gaming
Roster:
Jin “flyfly”‘ Zhiyi
Zhou “Emo” Yi
Thiay “JT-” Jun Wen
Hu “Kaka” Liangzhi
Chan “Oli” Chon Kien

It has been quite some time since Invictus Gaming was considered one of the leading teams within the Chinese region, but that trend may very well come to an end with the start of this 2019-2020 season. With PSG.LGD sitting out this first qualifier, there is an added opportunity for a Chinese squad to distinguish itself against its regional rivals, and iG comes into this first Pro Circuit Qualifier looking like a much improved squad. The team added a veteran presence in Kaka during the offseason, and recently put together a 1st place performance in the ESL One Hamburg 2019 China Qualifier that saw it post a 7-5 record against 3 of the squads that it will be facing in this qualifier (Team Aster, RNG, and CDEC Gaming). Of course, that one successful performance alone is not enough to guarantee that iG tops the standings in this qualifier, but considering the myriad roster changes that its regional rivals have undergone in recent times, a bit of early success against said regional rivals has the team sitting in a strong position heading into this qualifier.

 

CIS

Na'Vi Na’Vi
Roster:

Vladislav “Crystallize” Krystanek
Idan MagicaL” Vardanyan
Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov
Bakyt “Zayac” Emilzhanov
Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev

After embracing something of a youth movement over the past few years, Na’Vi has slowly but surely built itself back up into a major power within the CIS region. With the addition of a veteran presence and 5-time Major Champion in 9pasha, the squad looks primed to maintain its position near the top of the regional hierarchy. The team and its new lineup has already proven its strength once coming into this qualifier, with Na’Vi having claimed a 1st place finish at WePlay! Reshuffle Madness 2019 while taking series victories over fellow qualifier participants HellRaisers and Positive Guys. With traditional powerhouse Virtus.pro undergoing some drastic changes to its own roster while Na’Vi appears to be on the rise, the opportunity may even present itself for Na’Vi to take complete control over the scene as the CIS region’s top squad.

Gambit Esports Gambit Esports
Roster:

Kiyalbek “dream`” Tayirov
Danil “gpk” Skutin
Maxim “Shachlo” Abramovskikh
Danial “XSvamp1Re” Alibaev
Artsiom “fng” Barshack

Gambit Esports comes into this 2019-2020 season looking very different from the squad that ended the previous campaign, as every member of the team save for Captain fng has been replaced. Under normal circumstances, a roster change of that level of severity has a negative impact on a team’s odds coming into a Pro Circuit Qualifier. However, we have already had the chance to see the new Gambit Esports roster in action, and the team certainly appears to be having few issues adjusting to its new lineup. The team put together a 1st place finish in the GG.Bet Hamburg Invitational in September, beating out a mixed field of CIS and European squads with a perfect 7-0 record to earn a place at ESL One Hamburg 2019 later this month. With that impressive performance already under its belt, Gambit Esports seems to have a leg up on its regional rivals coming into this Pro Circuit qualifier.

 

Europe

600px-Team_liquid_logo_2017 Team Liquid
Roster:
Michael “miCKe” Vu
Max “qojqva” Bröcker
Samuel “Boxi” Svahn
Tommy “Taiga” Le
Aydin “iNSaNiA” Sarkohi

The former Alliance roster has found a new home with the Team Liquid organization, and the squad comes into this qualifier as a clear choice as a leading team in the field. With major regional powers like Team Secret, OG, and the former Team Liquid lineup sitting out this first Major/Minor pair, Team Liquid stands as the only participants in this qualifier to have kept its roster intact through the offseason period. That consistency, combined with the team’s solid play last season, instills more than a fair bit of confidence in this squad as it prepares to take on its regional rivals for the first time in this 2019-2020 campaign.

Ninjas In PyjamasNinjas in Pyjamas
Roster:
Oliver “Skiter” Lepko
Nico “Gunnar” Lopez
Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora
Malthe “Biver” Winther
Peter “ppd” Dager

NiP comes into this qualifier having made some major changes to its roster, with every member other than captain ppd being new to the organization. While we have not seen much from this NiP roster prior to the start of the qualifier, the extensive experience of veterans like ppd and UNiVeRsE helps to instill a certain level of confidence in the squad. Couple that experience with the fact that the majority of the other teams in the field have not found much success in their recent appearances, and NiP stands as one of the stronger squads for this event. The team may not be ready to take on the elite squads of the European region just yet, but with most of those elite squads skipping this first qualifier, NiP has a big opportunity to put its strength on display at the expense of its regional rivals.

 

South America

Team Anvorgesa Team Anvorgesa
Roster:
Hector Antonio “K1” Rodriguez
Jean Pierre “Chris Luck” Gonzales
Adrian “Wisper” Cespedes Dobles
Elvis “Scofield” De la Cruz Peña
Steven “StingeR” Vargas

While the squad is not longer associated with the Infamous organization, Team Anvorgesa still comes into this 2019-2020 season with the entirety of the roster that claimed a Top 8 finish in Shanghai at TI9. Between that incredible performance on the Dota 2 world’s biggest stage, the team’s roster consistency through the offseason, and the myriad changes that most of its major regional rivals are still adjusting to, Team Anvorgesa is a clear choice as one of the top squads in the entire South American region. The team has established itself as a consistent and reliable force against its regional rivals, and while the possibility does exist for a collapse in this first Pro Circuit Qualifier of the season, the odds of such an event occurring seem minimal at this stage. Expect Team Anvorgesa to find itself at or near the top of the standings as it looks to immediately reassert its place at the top of the South American hierarchy with a strong showing in this qualifier.

paiN Gaming alt paiN Gaming
Roster:
William “hFn” Medeiros
Adriano de Paula “4dr” Machado
Rodrigo “Lelis” Santos
Thiago de Oliveira “Thiolicor” Cordeiro
Anderson “444” Santos

Along with Team Anvorgesa, paiN Gaming is the only squad in the field for this qualifier to have kept its full roster intact through the offseason period, with the all-Brazilian squad standing pat with the lineup that finished 2nd in the TI9 South America Qualifier. Since picking up the roster of Butterfuly Effec back in March, paiN Gaming has consistently been at the forefront of the South American scene, and there’s little reason to believe that the squad won’t carry that trend over into the 2019-2020 season. Of course, it is possible that one of the recently formed squads or updated rosters of its regional rivals manages to take a big step forward in this qualifier. Even if that does end up being the case though, said squad will almost certainly have to fight its way past this paiN Gaming roster to usurp a position near the top of the regional hierarchy. Barring a massive setback, expect paiN Gaming to maintain its place as one of the region’s top squads with a strong showing in this qualifier.

 

North America

Evil GeniusesEvil Geniuses
Roster:
Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
Abed “Abed” Azel L. Yusop
Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev
Andreas Franck “Cr1t-” Nielsen
Tal “Fly” Aizik

While EG did undergo some big changes to its roster over this recent offseaon, the talent that the team added in the form of Abed and RAMZES666 should still make this team one of the most formidable within the North American region. The squad’s roster boasts an incredible level of talent and experience, and the concerns regarding the team adjusting to its new lineup can be considered somewhat trivial considering the fact that every other team in North America is in a similar situation. EG has long been the dominant force within its home region, surviving brief challenges from the likes of Complexity Gaming, J.Storm, and Forward Gaming in recent times. Considering the sheer skill and experience that the team’s new roster has, it would come as quite a shock if this new-look EG lineup didn’t find itself at or near the top of the standings in this first qualifier of the 2019-2020 season.

J Storm SmallJ.Storm
Roster:
David “Moo” Hull
Leon “Nine” Kirilin
Braxton “Brax” Paulson
Joel Mori “MoOz” Ozambela
Clinton “Fear” Loomis

Last season, J.Storm was looked at as one of the squads that had the potential to finally usurp EG’s long held status as the master of the North American region. While the squad couldn’t seem to find its footing on the international level, J.Storm did carve out a place for itself near the top of the regional hierarchy. While the squad comes into the 2019-2020 season with a slightly altered lineup, there is little reason to believe that J.Storm will be surrendering that favorable regional standing anytime soon. The squad has moved Moo back to the Carry role, and added both a veteran presence in Brax as well as a younger talent in MoOz. With its mix of skill and experience, J.Storm appears to have one of the strongest lineups in the North American region, and has put that strength on display with a pair of Top 4 finishes in the ESL One Hamburg 2019 North America Qualifier and WePlay! Reshuffle Madness 2019 to begin its season. Based on that early success for the squad, expect J.Storm to be one of the leading teams in the standings for this first Pro Circuit qualifier of the season.

No Team Logo Quincy Crew
Roster:
Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan
Quinn “CCnC” Callahan
Yawar “YawaR” Hassan
Arif “MSS” Anwar
Avery “SVG” Silverman

At long last, Dota 2 fans have the opportunity to see both of the Hassan brothers play for a single team in an official capacity, as SumaiL and YawaR have joined forces on the roster of Quincy Crew. With standout Midlaner CCnC on board with the squad in addition to a veteran Support duo of MSS and SVG, this team looks to be in a position to contend for a place near the top of the North American hierarchy. While we have yet to see the roster in its current form play any official matches, 3 of the team’s 5 players are coming off of a 9th-12th place run at TI9 with the Newbee organization. That respectable performance, along with the added star power of SumaiL and extensive experience of SVG, makes Quincy Crew one of the most formidable rosters coming into this qualifier, at least on paper.

 

Minor Favorites

The team’s in this section are the ones that appear to come into this qualifier just a step or two behind the “Major Favorites”, and as such would be in line to earn themselves places at the Minor. The teams mentioned here are likely the ones that sit just on the border between what many would consider Tier 1 and Tier 2, and have very likely proven their strength in smaller regional events and tournaments. Their ability to contend with the elite teams of their respective regions may be inconsistent, but these teams come into this qualifier as squads that at least appear to have the talent or experience needed to earn a place on the Pro Circuit stage.

 

Southeast Asia

Boom Esports BOOM Esports
Roster:

Muhammad “inYourdreaM” Rizky
Rafli “Mikoto” Fathur
Saieful “Fbz” Ilham
Randy “Dreamocel” Sapoetra
Alfi “Khezcute” Nelphyana

The offseason period saw some changes to the squad formerly known as BOOM ID, both in terms of the roster and the identity of the organization. The newly renamed BOOM Esports comes into the 2019-2020 season with inYourdreaM back on the roster, with Dreamocel shifting to the Support role in place of the departed Jhocam. BOOM Esports certainly has the talent to find success within the Southeast Asian region, and last season we saw the squad take a massive step forward with 3 Minor appearances and relatively consistent success against its regional rivals. With most of last season’s roster still intact, the team should expect to find itself in the mix for a spot at the season’s first Minor, with a potential push for a Major slot in the cards if the team can replicate the huge developments that it made last year.

Alpha x Hashtag Alpha X Hashtag
Roster:
Galvin“Meracle” Kang Jian Wen
Cheng “NothingToSay” Jin Xiang
Kim “Velo” Tae-sung
WilsonPoloson Koh Chin Wei
Chan “WinteR” Litt Binn

The team up of Southeast Asian organizations Hashtag E-sports and Alpha Pro Team was one that likely didn’t attract much attention in the wider Dota 2 world, as neither individual organization had managed to find much success within the Southeast Asian region to this point. However, the roster that the newly formed squad put together has turned a few heads, with Alpha X Hashtag forming a roster of experienced veterans and young talent. Names like Meracle, Velo, Poloson, and WinteR are well known within the Southeast Asian region, and the collection of these veterans around an exciting up and comer in NothingToSay sets the stage for an interesting 2019-2020 campaign for Alpha X Hashtag. The team hasn’t been able to accrue much experience to this point in the season, with its most prominent appearance being a run in the ESL One Hamburg 2019 Southeast Asia Qualifier in which it finished 4th out of 4 total teams. However, the team’s performance in that event at least hints at the potential that the roster may have, and that potential combined with its veteran experience gives Alpha X Hashtag a decent shot at earning itself a place on the Pro Circuit stage.

 

China

CDEC GamingCDEC Gaming
Roster:
Guo “Eve” Yuhang
Guo “Xm” Hongcheng
Shen “123” Chao
Zhou “James” Yifu
Chen “Victoria” Guanhong

CDEC Gaming has never quite been able to recapture that magic that led to the squad’s 2nd place run at TI5, but this 2019-2020 season could be the start of a step forward for the team in terms of its standing within the Chinese region. The squad’s roster may not have the same “star power” that some of its regional rivals may boast, but the lineup is full of up and coming talent along with some experienced leaders. Built around Midlaner Xm, who put in an impressive showing last season as a long-term stand-in for PSG.LGD’s Somnus`M, the squad is off to a strong start to the season already with a 2nd place finish in the ESL One Hamburg 2019 China Qualifier, along with a 1st place run in the Asia Communication League Season 2. Perhaps going up against the leading teams in its region will be a tough enough challenge to disperse the early-season momentum for CDEC Gaming, but for the time being, the squad enters this qualifier on something of a hot streak that has the team in a favorable position among the qualifier participants.

Team Aster Team Aster
Roster:
SongSccc Chun
Kee ChyuanChYuan Ng
LinXxs Jing
YeBoBoKa Zhibiao
Pan “Fade” Yi

Team Aster certainly came on strong at the start of the 2018-2019 season, seemingly carving out a place for itself within the Chinese regional hierarchy. Unfortunately, that initial surge subsided over the course of the season, as Team Aster rapidly lost ground to regional rivals while shuffling through multiple roster iterations. Coming into this season, the squad once again has a new look to its lineup, but this time around the team is hoping that it has put together the right mix of players to get itself back to the top of the Chinese region. The addition of big names in Sccc and Fade add some serious strength to Team Aster’s roster, but coming into this qualifier we haven’t quite seen that strength in full effect. The team’s lone appearance of the season so far was a middling 3rd place run in the ESL One Hamburg 2019 China Qualifier, in which the squad posted a 2-5 record against Invictus Gaming and CDEC Gaming (both of whom will be participating in this qualifier). That lone performance may not have been necessarily awe-inspiring, but it did give us a chance to see the potential power of the team’s new lineup, which is more than can be said for some of the other teams in the field who made significant changes to their own rosters this offseason.

 

CIS

virtus pro new Virtus.pro
Roster:

Egor “epileptick1d” Grigorenko
Vladimir “No[o]ne“Minenko
Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok
Vitalie “Save-“ Melnic
Alexei “Solo” Berezin

It seems almost blasphemous to have a qualifier preview in which VP is not expected to reach the Major, as the squad has absolutely dominated the CIS region for several years now. However, that is exactly the situation we now find ourselves in, as the squad has undergone a rather dramatic change to its roster over the course of the offseason. While the trio of No[o]ne, Resolut1on, and Solo bring an exceptional level of experience and success to the roster, the newest additions to the team’s lineup are not quite as proven. The duo of epileptick1d and Save- certainly represent interesting prospects for VP, but their potential has yet to be put on display in a major competitive environment. While the skill and experience of the team’s veterans will keep it in the mix for a spot on the Pro Circuit stage, the unproven nature of its newest players serve to lower the usually sky-high expectations for VP.

Positive GuysPositive Guys
Roster:
Igor “iLTW” Filatov
Egor “Ergon” Kozlov
Andrey “Ghostik” Kadyk
Alexander “Immersion” Hmelevskoy
Mihail “Misha” Agatov

Positive Guys presented itself as one of the more intriguing additions to the CIS scene this offseason, as the squad put together an exciting roster of young prospects and experienced veterans. The squad has wasted no time establishing a place for itself within the regional hierarchy, as Positive Guys has seen quite a bit of action in the time leading up to this first Pro Circuit Qualifier. The squad notched a 3rd-4th place finish at the GG.Bet Hamburg Invitational, as well as a 2nd place performance in WePlay! Reshuffle Madness 2019 while posting a 7-7 record against its fellow CIS squads across those 2 events. While that record isn’t overly impressive, it at least displays the team’s ability to contend with its regional rivals early in the season, putting Positive Guys in a somewhat favorable position to earn itself a place on the Pro Circuit stage.

 

Europe

Singularity esportsTeam Singularity
Roster:
Steve “Xcalibur” Ye
Anas “MagE-“ Hirzallah
Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek
Dino “dnz” Šavuk
Petu “Peksu” Vaatainen

Team Singularity comes into the 2019-2020 season as another of the European squads to make massive changes to its roster, with the squad rebuilding its lineup around Xcalibur with 4 new members. For the most part, the teams in the field for this event have either played a limited number of official matches, or have made multiple event appearances with inconsistent success. Team Singularity sits somewhere in between those two extremes, having made multiple appearances while putting together some moderately strong results. Across 5 total event appearances in September and October, the squad has put together a 2 Top 4 finishes, along with a respectable 5th-6th place run in the GG.Bet Hamburg Invitational. While those numbers may not be overly impressive at the moment, it should be said that they constitute a more consistent level of competition than many of the other squads in the field for this event. Team Singularity may not have shown us the strength to reach a Major just yet, but its solid performances to begin the season at least have it in the conversation in terms of squads that could earn a place on the Pro Circuit stage.

 

South America

NoPing e-sportsNoPing e-sports
Roster:
Therence “Therence” Coelho Ferreira
Leonardo “Mandy” Viana
Danylo “Kingrd”  Nascimento
Kaue “Dunha1” Camuci
Caio “Nuages” Oliveira

NoPing e-sports comes into this 2019-2020 season as one of many South American squads to be sporting a new lineup, as the organization signed the e-Lions roster at the end of September. As of right now, the squad has not played any official matches, which would severely limit a team’s expectations under normal circumstances. Fortunately for the team, these are not normal circumstances, as all but 2 teams in the field for this event feature altered or entirely new rosters in their own right. With the playing field relatively even in terms of recent experience, the differentiating factor for many of the squads will be the strength of those updated rosters, and NoPing e-sports certainly appears to have an advantage on that front. Its lineup is made up of players with a fair bit of experience both within the South American region and on the international level. That previous experience is no guarantee of success, but it at least gives the squad a leg up on its competition and sets NoPing e-sports up as a decent candidate to earn itself a place on the Pro Circuit stage to begin the season.

FURIA EsportsFURIA Esports
Roster:
Leonardo “RdO” Fernandes de Guzman
Henry “Murdoc” Felipe
Octavio ” Tavo ” Gabriel Cerqueira Silva
Lucas ” hyko ” Oliveira Morais
Hector ” Duster ” Pereira

FURIA Esports made its debut in the Dota 2 world on the back end of the 2018-2019 season, putting together a roster near the end of June that put together a decent, though not overly impressive 6th place showing in the TI9 South America Qualifier. The team showed off a bit of potential in that qualifier run, but it needed something of a boost coming into this season in order to have a shot at making significant improvements within its home region. The addition of veteran Offlaner tavo certainly comes as a boon for the squad, but the question will be whether tavo and team captain Duster can lead this relatively inexperienced squad to success against its regional rivals. With the team having an extremely limited number of official matches under its belt in general, and none with the current version of its roster, FURIA Esports is still far below the likes of paiN Gaming and Team Anvorgesa. However, their experience does at least give them a small advantage against some of the other new or altered lineups in the field for this event. Considering the lack of a clear hierarchy outside of the aforementioned duo of paiN Gaming and Team Anvorgesa though, even the smallest advantage puts FURIA Esports in a favorable position to compete for a place on the Pro Circuit stage.

 

North America

No Team Logo Fighting Pepegas
Roster:
Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao
Jonathan Bryle “bryle” Santos De Guia
David “MoonMeander” Tan
Jingjun “Sneyking” Wu
Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling

In what is beginning to feel like something of a trend, veteran player EternaLEnVy enters a Pro Circuit Qualifier with a new stack of free agents and regional talents, as Fighting Pepegas looks to begin its season with a strong showing against its regional rivals. The squad that EE has put together certainly appears to be a solid one, with Fighting Pepegas starting out its season with a victory in the ESL One Hamburg 2019 North America Qualifier that saw it take back to back series victories over J.Storm, one of the team’s most prominent regional rivals. While a singular event victory is far from a guarantee of further success, it does give Fighting Pepegas an advantage over the vast majority of the other squads in the field, most of whom have little to no official matches under their belt. As of right now, it is unclear is Fighting Pepegas has the strength to truly contend for a place atop the regional hierarchy, but the team certainly comes across as a solid contender for a place on the Pro Circuit stage in this early stage of the season.

Team Xolotl Team Xolotl
Roster:
Jesús Ángel “Ifrit” Valencia Bonales
Jose Esau “Esk” Perez Coronel
Alejandro Skinfill “Jano” Moreno
Eduardo “Raykill” Núñez
Héctor Adrián “hector” Garza Cárdenas

Allow me to present to you the full list of all teams in the North American region to enter the 2019-2020 Pro Circuit season with the same roster that it ended the 2018-2019 campaign with: Team Xolotl. The Mexican squad is the only team to have kept its roster intact through the offseason period, and while the squad never quite emerged as a true contender in North America last season, the roster stability should serve as something of an advantage for the team coming into this qualifier. The team started out its season with a 2nd place finish in the Dreamleague Season 12 North America Closed Qualifier, so it at least has some degree of recent success coming into a qualifier in which all of its rivals have either restructured their lineups or formed entirely new rosters. Is Team Xolotl on the verge of a sudden leap to the top of the North American hierarchy: almost certainly not. However, the team is one of the few in which be have a floor in terms of its potential performance, and that floor puts it at least a step above the majority of the field for this qualifier.

 

Underdogs

The teams in this section are likely ones that most fans have heard of in passing, but may not have actually seen much of in terms of professional matches. These squads will usually be the ones firmly entrenched in the Tier 2 scene, making a name for themselves with appearances in smaller regional events but lacking the consistent success needed to elevate them to the level of their more prominent regional rivals. These teams will likely come into this event with tempered expectations, with the squads and their fans hoping for success rather than necessarily expecting it. That isn’t to say that they don’t have the talent and potential to earn a place on the Pro Circuit stage, but doing so will require an inspired effort on their part to overcome the more prominent powers in their region.

 

Southeast Asia

Team Jinesbrus Team Jinesbrus
Roster:
James “XemistrY” Lee
Benhur “Nayeon” a.k.a “Benhur” Lawis
Lee “FoREv” Sang-don
Milan “MiLAN” Kozomara
Evgenii “Chuvash” Makarov

While this team shares the same name as the squad that finished just 1 game short of earning a spot at TI9 in the SEA Qualifier, this iteration of Team Jinesbrus is almost entirely different from that previous roster. Of that TI9 Qualifier roster, only FoREv remains with the squad, with the regional veteran having put together a new squad of SEA and European talent around him. The experience and skill of this new roster is certainly impressive, but there is one major thing holding back the expectations for this squad coming into this qualifier. That singular issue is the fact that we have not seen this team play any official matches with its current roster. Perhaps the new Team Jinesbrus has what it takes to shake up the Southeast Asian region and rampage its way to a position near the top of the region hierarchy, but until we actually get to see the team in action, the expectations will be tempered for the squad heading into the season and into this qualifier in particular.

Team Adroit new Team Adroit
Roster:
John Anthony “Natsumi-“ Vargas
Mc Nicholson “Mac” Villanueva
Jun “Bok” Kanehara
Marvin “Boombacs” Rushton
Bryle “cml” Alviso

All-Filipino squad Team Adroit has certainly been putting in effort to improve its standing within the Southeast Asian region this season, as the squad has already seen action across a number of regional events and tournaments. Including the team’s open qualifier run, Team Adroit has participated in 6 events since the beginning of September and has earned Top 4 finishes in 4 of those appearances. Across the team’s 6 event appearances, it has played a total of 9 matches against the other teams in the field for this qualifier, with Team Adroit posting a respectable 6-3 record in those matches. it should be noted that 4 of those 6 wins came against a single opponent (Sterling Global Dragons), but the team’s record does at least suggest that Team Adroit will be able to put up a solid fight against its regional rivals, even if the team isn’t a favorite to earn a spot on the Pro Circuit stage just yet.

 

China

Keen Gaming Keen Gaming
Roster:
Liu “Kamma” Chang
Zhai “一” Jingkai
Song “dark”‘ Runxi
Jiang “天命” An
Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung

Many people may look at this somewhat low position for Keen Gaming and wonder just what’s going on, as the Chinese squad ended the previous season as one of the stronger teams in the Chinese region despite finishing in the 13th-16th place position at TI9. The lowered expectations for Keen Gaming coming into this first qualifier of the 2019-2020 season though, stems from the fact that the majority of that roster from last year is no longer with the Keen Gaming organization. Of the team’s TI9 roster, only 一 and dark remain, with the organization having brought in 2 transfers in Kamma and Mushi while returning 天命 to an active role on the squad. While the team’s 3 roster additions certainly bring a fair bit of experience and talent, we haven’t seen enough from the new Keen Gaming roster to have much confidence in it coming into this qualifier. The team’s lone appearance of the season so far was a run in the ESL One Hamburg 2019 China Open Qualifier in which the team failed to advance past the Round of 8. The team’s roster boasts an impressive level of talent and experience, but we’ve yet to see Keen Gaming put those assets together into a cohesive unit, which severely limits the expectations for the team heading into this event.

800px-EHOME EHOME
Roster:
Cheng “vtFαded” Jia Hao
Tang “897” Zhirui
Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida
Zhao “XinQ” Zixing
Zhang “y`” Yiping

EHOME has gone through some big changes in recent times, as the organization added both vtFαded and 897 to the roster just before the roster registration deadline at the end of September. With said roster change coming so recently, we haven’t seen much from the current EHOME roster, save for an appearance in Midas Mode 2 that featured a heavily customized and modified rule set. The appearance in Midas Mode 2 at least spoke to the potential team work of this EHOME roster, as the team put together a 3rd place finish among a 4 team field. However, a 3rd place finish in a non-standard game mode is far from enough to instill confidence in this squad, especially as it faces off against some of its strongest and most prominent regional rivals. The team’s roster has skill and experience to be sure, but without any official matches to look at, EHOME’s expectations have to be significantly lowered coming into this qualifier.

 

CIS

HellRaisersHellRaisers
Roster:
Alik “V-Tune” Vorobey
Alexander “Nix” Levin
Dmitry “DM” Dorokhin
Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov
Ilya “ALOHADANCE” Korobkin

The return of the HellRaisers organization to the Dota 2 world was certainly an interesting development over the course of this offseason period, and the roster that the organization has managed to put together has it feeling fairly confident heading into the 2019-2020 campaign. The organization has acquired a trio of young prospects in V-Tune, Nix, and DM, while adding a veteran Support duo in Miposhka and ALOHADANCE to help balance out and guide its younger core trio. Across the team’s 2 event appearances this season, HellRaisers has posted a 8-6 overall record against other CIS squads. While that record won’t make HellRaisers a favorite coming into this qualifier, the squad’s ability to compete with its regional rivals at least instills a small degree of confidence in it heading into the event.

Old But Gold Old but Gold
Roster:
Ilya “Illidan” Pivcaev
Sergey Alexandrovich “G” Bragin
Stanislav “633” Glushan
Fedor “velheor Rusikhin
Ivan “VANSKOR” Skorokhod

After parting ways with the Team Spirit organization, the team’s former roster has now returned to its former identity as Old but Gold for the 2019-2020 season. While the team’s lineup certainly has quite a bit of experience under its belt, the team’s recent results have not been nearly as impressive. Old but Gold has made 4 regional appearances in the month of September, but the team has yet to finish any higher than the 7th-8th place position in any of those events. The team holds just a 1-5 record against other CIS squads, and a 2-8 overall record coming into this qualifier. Perhaps the team’s veteran experience will be enough to fuel a turn around with a spot on the Pro Circuit stage on the line, but the team’s recent performances don’t serve to instill much confidence in Old but Gold.

No Team Logo jfshfh178
Roster:
Nikita “Palantimos” Grinkevich
Yaroslav “Pikachu” Vasilenko
Vladislav “Kazl” Kozlovsky
Danil “Bignum” Shehovtsov
Sergey “HappyDyurara” Horonzh

The creatively named jfshfh178 comes into this event as 1 of the 4 squads to have successfully fought through the open qualifiers, with that event being the first appearance for the squad with its current lineup. Prior to that open qualifier, 3 of the team’s players (Palantimos, Pikachu, and Bignum) were members of Uvajenie.Hope, with that squad putting together 2 Top 4 finishes in 3 event appearances in the month of September. Though that trio picked up a duo of new players in Kazl and HappyDyurara, some degree of its previous momentum will have hopefully carried over, which gives jfshfh178 at least a small shot at success in this qualifier. The team’s overall odds are not particularly favorable, but the team at least appears to have the potential to survive the Group Stage, even if it falls short of the mark to reach the Pro Circuit stage itself.

 

Europe

GODSENTGODENT
Roster:
Charlie CharlieDota” Arat
Rasmus “Chessie” Blomdin
Maurice “KheZu” Gutmann
Jerry “EGM” Lundkvist
Andreas “Xibbe” Ragnemalm

The arrival of the GODSENT organization in the Dota 2 world was certainly an interesting development this offseason, but we have yet to really see much from the mostly Swedish squad in terms of its actual play. Since announcing its updated roster near the end of September, GODSENT has made just a single event appearance in the form of a 9th-16th place run in the DreamLeague Season 12 Europe Open Qualifier. All things considered, the team still appears to have enough talent and experience on its roster to be a potential threat in the field for this qualifier, but its limited number of matches as a unit does have the expectations a bit tempered for the Swedish organization.

Wind and RainWind and Rain
Roster:
Dimitry “Nefrit” Tarasich
Nairman “Hannah” Zhakitzhanov
Joni “Buugi” Fält
Niclas “Niqua” Westergård
Vladimir “yol” Basov

The newly formed roster of Wind and Rain presents itself as a rather interesting group of players heading into the 2019-2020 season. The organization opted to build up a new squad around veteran Offlaner Buugi, picking up an experienced Support duo of Niqua and yol before taking a chance on a relatively inexperienced Carry/Mid duo in Nefrit and Hannah. This formula is one that we have seen time and time again in the Dota 2 world, with younger talents teamed up with more experienced veterans in the hopes of creating a powerful and dynamic roster. The problem for Wind and Rain coming into this qualifier has not been the skill of its new roster, but the consistency with which it has played. The team has made 3 event appearances with its current roster, claiming Top 4 finishes in 2 of them while finishing in the 9th-16th place position in the other. Of course, we are still incredibly early in the season, and no team appears to have played enough matches at this point to have solidified any potential trends. That being said, Wind and Rain is going to have to put together a focused effort in this qualifier to turn its potential into tangible results against its regional rivals.

Alliance Alliance
Roster:
Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov
Linus “Limmp” Blomdin
Neta “33” Shapira
Simon “Handsken” Haag
Adrian “Fata” Trinks

The stack announced by regional veteran Fata has earned itself a direct invite to this first Pro Circuit Qualifier of the season and a new organization, as the squad formerly known as Cool Team will take its shot at earning a place on the Pro Circuit stage under the Alliance banner. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the chance to see the new Alliance in action just yet, with this qualifier being the squad’s debut performance in terms of official matches. The prowess of the team’s individual players still put Alliance in the realm of potential contenders in the field for this qualifier. However, until we see the squad in action against its regional rivals, it will have to be considered a step or two behind the stronger teams in the field for this event.

No Team Logo Ascomanni
Roster:
Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard
Jon “13abyKnight” Andersen
Mikki Mørch “HesteJoe-Rotten” Junget
Danny “Noia” Junget
“MaterRisk”

All-Danish squad Ascomanni comes into this qualifier a few familiar names on its roster, as the likes of Ace, 13abyKnight, HesteJoe-Rotten, and Noia have made frequent appearances on teams across the European and Southeast Asian region over the past few years. Though the team’s players have not always found consistent success, they have accrued a level of experience that makes them at least somewhat threatening heading into this qualifier. Adding to the team’s impressive prior experience is the fact that Ascomanni has already participated in previous qualifiers together, advancing out of the DreamLeague Season 12 Europe Open Qualifier to claim a 3rd place finish in the subsequent Closed Qualifier. While that previous performance isn’t quite enough to make Ascomanni a favorite for a spot on the Pro Circuit stage, it does at least make the Danish squad a potential threat to the other teams in the field coming into this regional qualifier.

 

South America

LOGO-INFAMOUS-COMERCIALInfamous
Roster:
Christian Eduardo “Alucard” Kimura Trinidad
Sebastian Cerralta “Robo-Z” Velarde
Benjamín “Benjaz” Lanao Barrios
Alexis “sl4d1n” Cepeda
Mariano “Papita” Caneda

After parting ways with the lineup that represented it at TI9, Infamous comes into this 2019-2020 season with a new squad as it hopes to remain one of the leading teams in the South American region. The team’s new lineup features some familiar names, with longtime player and captain Papita making a return to the organization alongside regional veteran Benjaz. The trio of Alucard, Robo-Z, and Sl4d1n are somewhat less known within the regional scene, though all three have put together respectable runs with other organizations in the past. At first glance, the team appears to have a fairly strong lineup, but the season has gotten off to a somewhat rocky start for the squad. Infamous is currently active in the Movistar Liga Pro Gaming Season 1, where it has posted a 3-5 overall record through the first 4 weeks of play. While that record is fairly underwhelming, the experience of the team’s leading players helps to buoy the new Infamous roster to a certain degree, keeping Infamous in a respectable position heading into this qualifier despite somewhat tempered expectations.

Team UnknownTeam Unknown
Roster:
Bernando “Berna” Rocca
Juan “Atun” Ochoa
Alexis “Greedy” Ventura
Nicolás “Wij” Moreno
Sergio “Prada” Toribio

The Team Unknown organization owns a bit of history in the Dota 2 world, as it was the first South American team to ever qualify for a Valve event with its attendance of the Frankfurt Major 2015. Since that accomplishment though, the team has faded into relative obscurity within the South American region, but a new roster for the 2019-2020 season has the organization hoping for a return to prominence. The team’s new lineup features some familiar names in the regional scene, with the trio of Atun, Greedy, and Prada being responsible for the vast majority of the team’s professional experience. What we’ve seen from the squad so far is at least somewhat encouraging, as Team Unknown currently holds a 4-4 record through 4 weeks of play in the Movistar Liga Pro Gaming Season 1. Aside from that event though, we haven’t seen any official matches from the squad in its current form, which somewhat lowers the expectations for Team Unknown heading into this first Pro Circuit Qualifier of the season.

EgoBoys new EgoBoys
Roster:
Eduardo “Nao” Valencia
Ricardo “Alone” Sánchez
Josué “NoName” Samaniego
José “d1smar” Carhuajulca
Julián “Flapjack” Carbajal

EgoBoys comes into the 2019-2020 season with an entirely new roster, with the organization having introduced its new lineup at the start of September. Said lineup is made up almost entirely of players that most fans will not have heard off, as the organization opted to start from scratch with a team of unproven talents. So far, we have only seen the team and its new roster play in a single event in the form of the ongoing Movistar Liga Pro Gaming Season 1. The good news for EgoBoys is that it has put together some encouraging performances in that event so far, with the squad holding a 4-4 record through 4 weeks of play. It isn’t much to go on, especially for a roster of new and inexperienced players, but those few matches for EgoBoys at least appear to be enough to keep the squad away from the absolute bottom of the qualifier standings for the time being.

Gorillaz-Pride Gorillaz-Pride
Roster:
“Cucahook”
Eliseo “Faker” Arancibia
Abraham “Kingteka” Canez
Junior Reyes “Yadomi” Rimari
Álex “Masoku” Dávila

Gorillaz-Pride comes into this qualifier with a team of relatively experienced players on its roster, with everyone save for Cucahoook having seen significant action within the South American region while also making appearances on the international level. However, we haven’t been able to see much from the team’s new roster prior to the start of the this qualifier, with the team’s only appearances so far this season coming in the Movistar Liga Pro Gaming Season 1, where the team holds a 4-6 record through 4 weeks of play. That record seems to indicate a squad that hasn’t quite hit its stride yet, but the fact that the team is competing at a relatively solid level against its regional rivals at least gives it some degree of hope coming into this Pro Circuit Qualifier. Gorillaz-Pride doesn’t quite have the big names or the recent success to make it a favorite for a spot on the Pro Circuit stage, but the squad could certainly find itself in the mix in this qualifier should it play well and catch a lucky break or two.

 

North America

No Team Logo Team Plus
Roster:
Luke “Yamsun” Wang
Raymond “Raylalisa” Lai
Andrew “Jenkins” Jenkins
Leonid “SoNiC” Vladimirovich Kuzmenkov
Nick “GOD_Z” Zhang

Team Plus comes into this first qualifier of the season as a team that likely won’t be familiar to the vast majority of fans. The squad was formed in the offseason period, and received a direct invite to this closed qualifier by virtue of being only one of handful of teams to have actually registered a roster in North America. That being said, the squad has at least been putting together some decent performances in its home region to begin the 2019-2020 campaign, with Team Plus notching 3 straight Top 4 finishes in its first even appearances. While the team has fallen short of the mark against some of its stronger regional rivals like Team Xolotl and J.Storm, the fact that the team has recent experience at a professional level already puts it at advantage compared to some of the other teams in the field. Don’t expect Team Plus to be a major contender in this qualifier, but the squad should at least provide a respectable challenge for its regional rivals.

No Team Logo Demon Slayers
Roster:
Guilherme Silva “Costabile” Costábile
“Qiyue”
“oldWhite”
FrancisFrancisLee Lee
Yixuan “xuan” Guo

Demon Slayers comes into this event as 1 of the 4 squads to have come through the open qualifiers. Unlike the other 3 open qualifier squads though, Demon Slayers has experience outside of their open qualifier runs and Ranked Matchmaking. The squad features a pair of relatively experienced players in Costabile and FrancisLee, and is coming into this qualifier off the back of a 1st place finish in the DreamLeague Season 12 North America Closed Qualifier. While that qualifier run didn’t put Demon Slayers up against some of the top competition in its region, that degree of early success does at least give the team an advantage over many of the other teams in the field for this event. The squad certainly won’t be considered a favorite to earn a place on the Pro Circuit stage, but Demon Slayers should at least put up a respectable fight against its regional rivals in this first qualifier of the Pro Circuit season.

 

Longshots

The teams in this final section are the ones that are likely to be considered relatively weak squads within their regional hierarchy, sitting somewhere on the back end of the Tier 2 scene or lower. These squads are the ones that casual fans likely won’t have heard of in recent times, with the teams often struggling to find consistent success even within smaller regional events and tournaments. While their potential and talent has at least earned them a spot in this qualifier, their lack of strong results and consistent presence within the regional hierarchies makes them incredibly unlikely to fight their way to the Pro Circuit stage. A team from this section earning itself a place at either the Major or the Minor would come as a rather massive shock to the regional scene as a whole.

 

Southeast Asia

Sterling Global DragonsSterling Global Dragons
Roster:
Justine Ryan “Tino” Grimaldo
Julius “JG” Galeon
Bhem “Bhm” Garacia
Mark “Shanks” Redira
Job Real “JobeeEZy”Ramos

Sterling Global Dragons has not quite emerged as a true contender within the Southeast Asian region, with the squad having always found itself languishing in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 scenes to this point in its history. However, the start of the 2019-2020 season has seen the team put together some encouraging signs heading into this first Pro Circuit Qualifier. The squad manged to put together a 2nd place effort in the ESL One Hamburg 2019 Southeast Asia Qualifier, falling to Geek Fam in the Grand Finals of that particular event. While that performance was at least somewhat encouraging, the team isn’t without its flaws, as Sterling Global Dragons also finished 4th in the ESL Clash of Nations 2019 Philippines Closed Qualifier out of a field of just 4 total teams. While the potential may be there for Sterling Global Dragons, the lack of consistency significantly lowers the expectations for the team coming into this qualifier.

Reality Rift Reality Rift
Roster:
Lukman “Luk” Yusoff Bin Nooraznan
Vincent “AlaCrity” Hiew Teck Yoong
Lee “kYxY” Kong Yang
Ravdan “Hustla” Narmandakh
Wong “NutZ” Jeng Yih

As one of the more recent additions to the Southeast Asian region, Reality Rift is a squad that most fans will not have heard of before, with the organization having only come into existence in June of 2019. While the team itself is new to the scene, many of the players on the Reality Rift roster are ones that fans have likely heard before, with the likes of AlaCrity, kYxY, and NutZ having previous experience with some of the bigger organizations in the region. However, the experience of those players hasn’t translated into immediate success for the squad, as Reality Rift has struggled to find its footing in the period following the formation of its lineup. In 8 total appearances since its creation, Reality Rift has just 2 Top 4 finishes, with both of those finishes coming into events that were limited to Singapore and/or Malaysian teams. Veteran leadership and experience can only take a team so far, and until we see that Reality Rift has what it takes to truly contend with its more prominent regional rivals, it’s best to keep the expectations low for this team heading into the qualifier.

Cignal UltraCignal Ultra
Roster:
Fernando “Nando” Mendoza
“Pio”
“Van”
EriceErice Guerra
JomariGrimzx Anis

Cignal Ultra comes into this 2019-2020 season as a relatively minor squad within the Southeast Asian region, as the team has not been able to make much of name for itself over the past year or so. While this successful open qualifier run marks something of a high water mark for the squad early in its Pro Circuit campaign, the squad does not appear to be in a fantastic position to contend with its regional rivals in this qualifier. The team has seen action in 5 regional events to this point in the 2019-2020 campaign, and has earned Top 4 finishes in just 2 of them. The most recent of those Top 4 finishes was this recent open qualifier run, while the other was a 3rd-4th place finish the WESG 2019-2020 Philippines Finals, an event that featured a field of just 4 teams. The team certainly has potential, as emphasized by its successful fight through the open qualifiers. However, that potential alone will not be enough to topple the elite squads of the Southeast Asian region, leaving Cignal Ultra’s chances of success on the lower end of the spectrum coming into this qualifier.

 

China

Team Sirius Team Sirius
Roster:
Lin “doodle” Zikai
Deng “Dstones”‘ Lei
Hu “Guvara” Sen
XuHym Zhi
Cheng “Mad” Han

While Team Sirius managed to close out the 2018-2019 season in relatively solid fashion with an appearance at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2, that lone flash of success was not enough to hold the squad together through the offseason. In September, the organization announced a near complete overhaul of its roster, introducing 4 new members situated around returning Support HYM. The team’s new roster does feature some exciting talents, with the Carry/Mid duo of doodle and Dstones being a tandem of particular interest. However, as of the start of this qualifier, we have not seen the new Team Sirius lineup play in any official matches. With that in mind, the team comes into the season with just its potential to rely on, with its new roster coming into the qualifier completely unproven as a unit. Perhaps the new Team Sirius manages to put all of its pieces together to find immediate success, but that kind of outcome is hardly something that one should expect from this squad coming into this event.

No Team Logo Look For Smile
Roster:
“左手烟神”
“onepumbman”
“狗东西”
Jiang “XuAn” Yixin
“Sgr”

Look For Smile certainly put together a solid performance in order to earn its place in this first Pro Circuit Qualifier of the season, as the team fought its way past a host of youth teams, development squads, and secondary rosters to find success in the open qualifier. The Chinese region has always been one of the most crowded in the Dota 2 world, and for Look For Smile to find even this small measure of success is a strong indicator of the team’s potential. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as though this qualifier will see the squad further advance in terms of turning that potential in tangible results. The field for this qualifier is incredibly strong, even with the absence of PSG.LGD, and Look For Smile doesn’t appear to have the star power or veteran experience to come out on top against all of these regional rivals. Of course, we have seen Chinese squads come out of nowhere to surprise us before, and this qualifier could be the coming out party for an up and coming Look For Smile roster. Prior to the start of this event though, the expectations will have to be kept on the lower side for this relatively inexperienced squad.

Newbee_logoNewbee
Roster:
Lai  “Fonte” Xingyu
Yin “Aq” Rui
Wen “Wizard” Lipeng
Yan “Waixi” Chao
Zeng “Faith” Hongda

Newbee suffered a rather harsh blow in the offseason, as the veritable face of its squad, Sccc, parted ways with the organization to join the roster of Team Aster. With his departure, the organization put together a mostly new roster, bringing in Fonte, Aq, and Faith to form a new lineup for the 2019-2020 season. Between the team’s struggles last season and its 17th-32nd place finish in the ESL One Hamburg 2019 China Open Qualifier to start this season, Newbee is not looking like the powerhouse that is has been in recent years. While the team’s successful run through this open qualifier is certainly a step in the right direction, it remains to be seen if this new Newbee lineup has what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the elite teams in its region. With that degree of uncertainty hanging around it, the Newbee roster comes into this qualifier with low expectations, with fans of the team having to simply hope that its reconstituted roster finds some sort of spark to fuel an unexpected run against its regional rivals.

 

CIS

No Team Logo Viet Flashbacks
Roster:
Semen “TTR” Melnikov
Vladislav “Imba4” Khoroltsev
Alexey “nongrata” Vasilyev
Rinat “KingR” Abdullin
Dmitriy “Fishman” Polishchuk

As one of the squads to have come out of the open qualifiers, Viet Flashbacks will not enter this Pro Circuit qualifier as a favorite in the field of participants. However, the team does bring a roster of relatively experienced players to this competition, most of whom will be familiar names for fans of the regional scene. Since this open qualifier run was the team’s first official appearance as a roster, Viet Flashbacks will almost certainly be relying upon the prior experience of its players to fuel any sort of successful effort against its regional rivals. The odds of Viet Flashbacks rising to the occasion and knocking off the top squads in the CIS region are extremely slim, with the squad’s best bet for this qualifier being a position as a minor but respectable obstacle in the path of its regional rivals.

No Team Logo timurdota2
Roster:
“Sergeiqa”
Artem “USHUSHUSH” Guriev
Vadim “Sedoy” Musorin
Dulat “goddam” Seidimomyn
Sergey “Ecnart” Slobodyanyk

timurdota2 comes into this qualifier as a squad with a handful of familiar names on it, as a fair bit of its roster has respectable levels of prior experience within the CIS region. However, that previous experience alone likely won’t be enough to buoy this squad to success against its regional rivals, even taking into account the team’s success in its appearances prior to this qualifier. The squad has notched a 4 straight 1st place finish coming into this event, though it should be noted that all of those appearances prior to the open qualifier came in local events with fields of between 2 and 4 total teams. Success against what most would consider to be Tier 3 or even semi-pro squads is not going to be enough to convince many that timurdota2 has what it takes to go up against the elite teams of the CIS region, putting the team’s expectations at the bottom of the list coming into this event.

No Team Logo MY MYTANTY
Roster:
“BoBiNA”
Alexanderkrylat Krylatov
“Limitless”
“Neks”
“Jst”

As 1 of 4 teams to have advanced through the open qualifier, MY MYTANTY doesn’t enter this event in a particularly favorable position. The majority of its roster is made up of relatively unheralded players, with its members having limited experienced playing at higher levels of competition. The only thing going for this squad coming into the first qualifier of the Pro Circuit season is the fact that the majority of its lineup has been together for longer than most of its opponents in the field. The team has appeared in 6 total events since the start of September, putting together 4 Top 4 finishes in those events. Unfortunately, those events have all been extremely minor in terms of their scale and the level of competition involved, which leaves MY MYTANTY with relatively little in terms of confidence boosting performances. With that in mind, the squad comes into this event with extremely low expectations, with the team needed what would effectively be a miracle run to have a shot at reaching the Pro Circuit stage.

 

Europe

Ad Finem Ad Finem
Roster:
Omar “Madara” Davasas
Dimitris “ThuG” Plivouris
Kharis “SkyLark” Zafeiriou
Verros “Maybe Next Time” Apostolos
Giorgos “SsaSpartan” Giannakopoulos

The reformation of the Ad Finem lineup was a nice story over the course of the offseason, as the team became a fan favorite for its underdog 2nd place run at The Boston Major back in 2016. However, the return of the all-Greek squad has not resulted in much success in the early stages of the 2019-2020 season, as Ad Finem has seen significant struggles to this point. Since the beginning of September, Ad Finem has appeared in 7 total events and has earned Top 4 finishes in just 2 of them, with both of those finishes coming in open qualifiers. The team and its players may have a history in the Dota 2 scene, but until we see a turnaround for the current iteration of the squad, the expectations will be low for Ad Finem coming into this qualifier.

HippomaniacsHippomaniacs
Roster:
Ondřej “Supream^” Štarha
Miroslav “BOOM” Bičan
Vojtěch “CURRY” Novák
Petr “Muf” Fojtík
Jan “Sehny” Sehnal

Hippomaniacs emerged as an intriguing, if somewhat inconsistent, Tier 2 squad within the European region last season, with the team making a couple of appearances in Pro Circuit qualifiers. However, the team has undergone a change to its roster in the offseason, parting ways with SabeRLight- while shifting the positions of some of its remaining players. The result is a squad that looks much like its previous iteration, but lacks the same level of competitiveness, at least at this early stage of the season. Hippomaniacs has made a total of 7 appearances within the the Europe and CIS regions, and has finished inside the Top 4 in just 2 of them, with both of those finishes coming in open qualifiers. The squad is clearly having difficulties finding its footing early in the season, which doesn’t bode well for its chances coming into this Pro Circuit qualifier. Perhaps this event is the catalyst that helps Hippomaniacs get itself back on track, but for now the Czech squad will enter the qualifier with modest expectations at best.

No Team Logo six eight three
Roster:
Aleksandar “zipzap” Ivanovski
Irakli “W1sh-” Peranidze
Tobias “Tobi” Buchner
Meretsky “forsemajor” Maksim
Marchenko “Antoha” Anton

After making an unsuccessful run in the TI9 Europe Qualifier under the name six eight two, the quartet of zipzap, W1sh-, Tobi, and Antoha have returned for another round of qualifiers under the appropriately named six eight three. While the squad’s ability to repeatedly fight its way through open qualifiers is certainly commendable, the squad has yet to prove that it can advance further than that level of play. Even with powerhouse squads like OG, Team Secret, and ex-Liquid sitting out this first qualifier, the level of competition that six eight three will face off against appears to be more than the squad is capable of handling at the moment. There is always the possibility that the squad is being underestimated though, and that six eight three has a miracle run in it that no one will be expecting. Such a performance from the unheralded squad would be incredibly entertaining to see, but the chances of that scenario actually occurring are incredibly low. Hope for the best from six eight three as it enters this first Pro Circuit Qualifier of the season, but keep expectations low for the squad until it finally proves that it is ready for its breakthrough moment.

 

South America

Luccini-Dilecom Luccini-Dilecom
Roster:
“Argius”
JeremyJeimari” Ruiz Aguinaga
“zpp”
DiegoJericho Rivera
ChristianAccel Cruz

Luccini-Dilecom comes into this qualifier with a few familiar names on the roster, with Jeimari, Jericho, and Accel having risen to relative prominence via their stints with the Thunder Predator organization. Those players may have built up a solid reputation for themselves, but it is unclear whether their strength will be enough to earn success for a squad that has traditionally situated itself in the periphery of the South American scene. With the squad’s open qualifier run being its only official matches with its current roster, it’s hard to have much confidence in Luccini-Dilecom’s ability to contend with its regional rivals in this qualifier. Considering the fact that many of the other teams in the field have put together new or updated rosters themselves, there is still some fleeting hope for this squad to succeed, but the expectations for the team are about as low as they possibly can be heading into the qualifier.

Incubus Gaming Incubus Gaming
Roster:
“Pakazs”
“Pokorn”
“Sacred”
“Michael”
“Aretes”

Incubus Gaming comes into this qualifier as a team that has not received much attention in the South American region, though the squad is looking to change that with a strong showing in this first Pro Circuit Qualifier of the season. The problem for the squad is that its roster features a quintet of largely unknown and unheralded players, which makes it somewhat difficult to guage their strength at this early stage of the season. If there is one positive for Incubus Gaming, it is that the squad has been performing well in the ongoing Movistart Liga Pro Gaming Season 1, posting a 7-1 record through its first 4 series of the event. However, it should be noted that just 2 of those series have come against other squads in this qualifier, with the team going 3-1 against Infamous and EgoBoys. Neither one of those squads stand as an elite team in the regional hierarchy at this time, which means that Incubus is still something of an unknown variable at the moment. The potential may be there for this squad, but until we see tangible results against the region’s top squads, the expectations will remain low for Incubus Gaming.

 

North America

No Team Logo Young Suck Gaming
Roster:
“Dark”
“dh”
“Paradise”
“Chives”
“empyreaN”

Outside of the fact that the team successfully fought its way through the open qualifiers for this event, there is basically no information regarding Young Suck Gaming on the professional level. Considering the fact that the North American region featured 4 open qualifier slots as well, the team’s push through said open qualifiers also loses a bit of its prestige coming into this competition. With no other official matches under its belt and a roster of almost entirely unknown players, the odds of Young Suck Gaming finding success and fighting its way to a place on the Pro Circuit stage are almost nonexistent. For this squad to find success in this qualifier would be one of the most shocking Cinderella stories in recent times in the Dota 2 world.

No Team Logo MidSoloKillnoob
Roster:
“IceFisher”
“AlienManaBanana”
“Faran”
“pingu”
“albinozebra”

Unless one is unbelievably deep into the North American scene, the names on the roster of MidSoloKillnoob will almost certainly be unfamiliar ones. While the players on the team have made previous appearances in other open qualifiers, the majority of their experience comes from pub matches and high level Ranked play. Unfortunately, strong play in pub matches is not going to be enough to instill any degree of confidence in this squad taking down some of the strongest professional teams in its region. Perhaps there is enough of a spark here for MidSoloKillnoob to fuel some sort of miracle run for a potential spot at the Minor, but even that slim possibility feels like a stretch for what is an entirely unproven squad even within its own regional scene. Hope for the best, but keep expectations as low as possible for this squad coming into the qualifier.

No Team Logo Team Named
Roster:
“topovoyatyan”
“Roma4keh”
“Shoe”
“Lucky16”
“Solitude8400”

Like the other North American squads in this section, the roster of Team Named has effectively no experience playing at a professional level. Considering the fact that the open qualifier for North America offered 4 slots to a field of just 22 total teams, it can’t be said that the squad faced particularly stiff resistance in its path to this stage. With that in mind, the odds of Team Named finding success in this qualifier against some of the top squads in its region are exceptionally small. Expectations for this squad are about as low as possible, although that also means that Team Named don’t have much to lose coming into this first qualifier of the season.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s