23 Teams set to take to the Pro Circuit stage as the 2019-2020 season’s first qualifiers produce early leaders in each region
The first set of qualifiers for the 2019-2020 Pro Circuit season are now officially in the books, as the identities of the 23 teams that will be taking the Pro Circuit stage in the season’s first Major and Minor have now been determined. 60 teams from across the Dota 2 world’s 6 regions battled it out for a chance to fight for title on the Pro Circuit stage, and those who succeeded will get the chance to represent their home regions with the eyes of the Dota 2 world watching them at the MDL Chengdu Major and the DOTA Summit 11 Minor.
With the qualifiers now concluded, we can take a look at how the participating teams performed in their first Pro Circuit action of the season. For the purposes of time, the teams included in this recap are only the ones that managed to advance beyond the Group Stage of their respective regional qualifiers. Said teams are divided based upon their final standing in their regional qualifiers, with the Major qualified teams group together, Minor qualified teams following, and then non-qualified Playoff teams after that.
Qualified for Major
Record: 9-1 (7-1 Group Stage, 2-0 Playoffs)
Even with the changes that the squad underwent this offseason, Fnatic came into this qualifier expected to retain its position at the top of the regional hierarchy in Southeast Asia. The team and its new lineup certainly lived up to that hype, as Fnatic posted a 9-1 overall record that saw it dominate its regional rivals. A large part of that dominance stemmed from the stellar play of the team’s young new star, as Carry 23savage put together a masterful showing in this qualifier. With average of 9.70 kills and 8.10 assists on just 2.20 deaths per game, 23savage served as the tip of the spear in an unstoppable charge from Fnatic that served to reaffirm its status as one of the elite teams in the Southeast Asian region. It remains to be seen if the 23savage, and Fnatic as a whole, can replicate this kind of performance on the international level, but if they do prove capable of doing such, Fnatic will be an incredible formidable power in the season’s first Major.
Record: 9-2 (7-1 Group Stage, 2-1 Playoffs)
Despite making some changes to its roster in the offseason, TNC Predator still entered this first qualifier of the 2019-2020 season as one of the elite teams in the Southeast Asian region. The squad’s star duo of Gabbi and Armel remained the focal point of the roster, and TNC Predator managed to add even more experience to the mix with the acquisition of kpii and March. With a 9-2 record against its regional rivals, TNC Predator proved more than capable of maintaining its position at the top of the regional hierarchy, with Armel and Gabbit combining to average 15.91 kills and 18.09 assists on just 6.55 deaths per game. With veteran experience backing up an ever improving star Carry/Mid duo, TNC Predator looks ready to do some serious damage on the Pro Circuit stage as the squad now prepares for the season’s first Major in Chengdu.
Record: 9-3 (6-1 Group Stage, 3-2 Playoffs)
Team Adroit came into this first qualifier of the season with a plan that we’ve seen many a squad attempt before, paring up new young talent with more experienced veterans. While that strategy doesn’t always pay dividends, Team Adroit certainly appeared to use it to devastating effect in this event, putting together one of the more impressive performance among the Southeast Asian teams. The squad looked strong in the Group Stage of the qualifier, sweeping past all of its regional rivals save for a 0-2 loss to a dominant Fnatic squad. Once the Playoffs began though, Team Adroit kicked things into an even higher gear, taking a hard fought 1-2 loss to TNC Predator before bouncing back with a big win over Cignal Ultra to lock down a place at the Major. While the team’s struggles against the elite teams of its region will likely come as a concern for Team Adroit going into the Major, the fact that this team managed to earn that place on the Pro Circuit stage is testament to just how strong this squad is, and the team’s potential to carve out a favorable place for itself in the Southeast Asian region this season.
Record: 8-3 (6-2 Group Stage, 2-1 Playoffs)
It would appear that the offseason moves made by Team Aster have payed off for the Chinese squad, as the team managed to fight its way past its regional rivals with an impressive 8-3 record to claim a place at the season’s first Pro Circuit Major. The team never lost a series, securing wins or ties in 5 straight match ups in an encouraging show of consistency at this early stage of the season. Speaking of consistency, the team’s Carry/Mid duo, consisting of ChYuaN and the recently acquired Sccc, were playing at an incredible level in this event. The 2 players combined to average 15.63 kills and 25.37 assists on 5.92 deaths per game, fueling the team to a strong showing that should have Team Aster looking like a formidable opponent heading into the season’s first Major. With a player of Sccc’s notoriety added to the mix, many were expecting good things from this squad to open the 2019-2020 season, and for now at least, the squad is living up to that hype with this strong showing against its regional rivals.
Record: 8-3 (6-2 Group Stage, 2-1 Playoffs)
Vici Gaming appears to be picking up exactly where it left off last season, as the Chinese powerhouse was quick to reassert its control within its home region with a strong showing in this qualifier. The team handled its business with a fair degree of consistency in this event, earning wins or ties in all 5 of its series en route to a place on the Pro Circuit stage at the MDL Chengdu Major. The team’s most recent addition, Support Pyw, but together a solid effort in his first official event with the squad, averaged 15.45 asssists on just 4.73 deaths per game. However, it was the team’s core trio that truly seemed to come alive in this qualifier, with Eurus, Ori, and Yang combining for an average of 23.73 kills and 38.18 assists on 10.18 deaths per game across the team’s 11 total matches. That kind of play is exactly what allowed Vici Gaming to set itself up as an elite power in the Dota 2 world last season, and it doesn’t look like the Chinese juggernaut is slowing down anytime soon.
Record: 9-5 (6-2 Group Stage, 3-3 Playoffs)
With the changes that EHOME made at the Carry and Midlaner positions this offseason, the expectations for the team coming into this event. The team still had veteran experience and leadership on the roster, but it was unclear just how well the duo of vtFaded and 897 would play fight off the bat. As it turned out, the team had little to be worried about in terms of the play from its Carry/Mid duo, as both players looked comfortable in what was a highly encouraging performance for the squad against its regional rivals. The team tied with Vici Gaming for the best record in its group, then put together a respectable 1-2 loss to Team Aster before toppling RNG 2-1 to lay claim to a place at the MDL Chengdu Major. Would the squad have earned this third and final Major slot if PSG.LGD were in the qualifier? Who knows. Is the team going to be able to contend with top squads on the international level at the Major itself? That remains to be seen. What we do know though, is that EHOME has put together a very encouraging start to its 2019-2020 campaign, and have some valuable momentum on its side to begin the new season.
Record: 11-2 (7-1 Group Stage, 4-1 Playoffs)
The 2019-2020 season opened in somewhat different fashion than previous campaigns in the CIS region, as powerhouse organization VP was undergoing changes to its roster and was not necessarily the clear regional leader that it had been in previous years. Despite adjusting to some changes to its own lineup, Gambit Esports had a big opportunity to push its way to the top of the regional hierarchy with a strong showing in this first Pro Circuit qualifier of the season. The squad did exactly that in this event, posting a 11-2 overall record against its regional rivals that was spearheaded by spectacular play from its new Carry/Mid duo. dream` and gpk combined to average 17 kills and 19.92 assists on just 4.67 deaths per game to lead Gambit Esports back to the Pro Circuit stage. If the team can continue to get those kinds of performances from its members, then Gambit Esports stands to be a formidable opponent at the season’s first Major in Chengdu.
Record: 11-4 (6-2 Group Stage, 5-2 Playoffs)
Positive Guys certainly came into this first Pro Circuit qualifier of the season as a team on a roll, as the CIS squad had already put together a couple of prior even appearances in its region. The results from those initial appearances were encouraging, but the question remained of just how well the squad would do against its top regional rivals with a spot on the Pro Circuit stage on the line. The change in stakes didn’t appear to effect Positive Guys much though, as the team put together an impressive showing against its fellow CIS squads in this event with a 6-2 run through the Group Stage. Once the Playoffs hit, the team managed to keep up its impressive form, taking down HellRaisers 2-0 and falling 1-2 to Gambit Esports before sweeping past Old but Gold in another 2-0 series to claim its place at the Major. With traditional regional power VP still looking to get its feet under it, the CIS region looks open for a new leader at this early stage of the season, and Positive Guys certainly appears to have a leg up on its competition in the race to claim that position.
Record: 10-3 (6-2 Group Stage, 4-1 Playoffs)
Alliance came into the 2019-2020 season with an exciting new roster of familiar and experienced names. However, the fact that the team had not played any official matches coming into this qualifier still left a few lingering questions as to just how strong the team could be against its regional rivals. As it turned out, the new Alliance roster proved itself to be just as impressive as many had hoped, with the squad claiming a place on the Pro Circuit stage with a 10-3 overall record in this event. What was particularly impressive from Alliance’s qualifier run was the play of Nikobaby, with the Carry dropping insane averages of 10.69 kills and 10.46 assists on just 1.23 deaths per game. With the team’s Carry putting up ridiculous numbers, and its other cores also averaging less then 3 deaths per game in this qualifier, Alliance is looking like an intimidating force to begin the 2019-2020 campaign.
Record: 12-3 (7-1 Group Stage, 5-2 Playoffs)
With the organization having signed the former lineup of Alliance, Team Liquid came into this qualifier looking like one of the leading teams in the field, especially with heavy hitters like OG, Team Secret, and ex-Liquid not participating in the first round of Pro Circuit Qualifiers. The squad was quick to establish its dominance against its regional rivals, posting a 7-1 record in the Group Stage before pushing past NiP 2-0 in its first Playoff series. After falling 1-2 to the new Alliance roster, Team Liquid bounced back with another victory over NiP, sweeping the team again to claim a place on the Pro Circuit stage in Chengdu. Throughout that run, the team got some impressive performances from every part of its lineup, with the Carry/Mid duo of miCKe and qojqva averaging a combined 17.13 kills and 28.80 assists on just 4.13 deaths per game, while the trio of Boxi, Taiga, and iNSaNiA averaged 48.6 combined assists per game as well. The strength of this roster when it had been under the Alliance banner was a balanced attack from the entirety of its lineup, and it appears that the team will continue to present that multi-faceted front heading into the first Major of the 2019-2020 campaign.
Record: 12-1 (8-0 Group Stage, 4-1 Playoffs)
After putting together the best TI showing that a South American squad has ever produced at TI9, the roster of beastcoast (formerly Team Anvorgesa and Infamous) entered this season as a clear leader within the South American region. The team certainly played like a top tier squad, dominating its regional rivals with a near perfect 12-1 run that saw it sweep past the vast majority of its competition. It took fellow regional powerhouse paiN Gaming to even slow beastcoast down, but even then the squad managed to claim a 2-1 series win to lock down its place on the Pro Circuit stage in Chengdu. We have seen just what this roster is capable of on the international level, and with beastcoast’s position at home now secure to begin the new season, look for the squad to play a significant role in the season’s first Major in China.
Record: 8-7 (4-4 Group Stage, 4-3 Playoffs)
Team Unknown came into this qualifier as a team with a handful of familiar faces on its lineup, but at this early stage of the season, it wasn’t fully clear just where this squad stood within its regional hierarchy. The team put together a solid 4-4 record in the Group Stage, but a 0-2 loss to paiN Gaming in its first Playoff series seemingly halted the squad’s modest momentum. However, Team Unknown managed to rally after that initial defeat, taking down Incubus Gaming 2-1 before taking revenge on paiN Gaming with a 2-0 victory to lock down a spot on the Pro Circuit stage at the MDL Chengdu Major. With a 8-7 overall record in this qualifier, Team Unknown certainly didn’t look flawless against its regional rivals, and there are some big concerns for the squad as it heads into international play at the Major. However, the fact that the team has that opportunity to play on the international level at all is testament to its strength and potential to emerge as a leader in the South American region.
Record: 10-1 (8-0 Group Stage, 2-1 Playoffs)
This qualifier offered us our first look at the new EG lineup, and it turns out that this iteration of the North American powerhouse didn’t have much to fear from its regional rivals. EG stormed its way through the Group Stage of the qualifier with a perfect 8-0 run, and took down former member SumaiL and his new squad Quincy Crew 2-1 to lock down a place on the Pro Circuit stage in Chengdu. The results for EG aren’t exactly unexpected, but seeing the team’s new lineup in action, even against somewhat lesser opposition in its home region, is certainly an encouraging sign for the team moving forward into international play.
Record: 9-1 (7-1 Group Stage, 2-0 Playoffs)
Fighting Pepegas entered this qualifier looking like a solid squad in a relatively weak field, and the EternaLEnVy led squad was quick to capitalize on its advantage over the majority of its regional rivals in this qualifier. The team posted a near perfect 7-1 record in the Group Stage, before pushing past J.Storm 2-0 to claim a coveted place on the Pro Circuit stage at the season’s first Major in Chengdu. The squad didn’t exactly face the most intimidating of competition en route to its spot at the Major, but its roster features enough veteran experience to have fans excited about Fighting Pepega’s potential on the international level.
Record: 8-4 (6-2 Group Stage, 2-2 Playoffs)
J.Storm came into this qualifier looking like one of the strongest teams in the North American region, but with EG still sitting atop the regional hierarchy and squads like Fighting Pepegas and Quincy Crew picking up momentum, the team had something to prove as it got its 2019-2020 season underway. The team started strong in the Group Stage, posting a 6-2 record that featured victories in ever match up aside from a 0-2 loss to an undefeated EG squad. Once the team hit the Playoffs though, there was a bit more resistance in its path, as J.Storm fell 0-2 to Fighting Pepegas before bouncing back with a dominant 2-0 win over Quincy Crew to claim the final North American slot at the Major. The team’s performance in this qualifier was certainly solid, but it is somewhat concerning that J.Storm lost both of its series against the other 2 NA teams that will be attending the Major. Hopefully, the squad can do away with those concerns with a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage, as J.Storm now prepares for a trip to Chengdu for the season’s first Major.
Qualified for Minor
Record: 11-5 (4-4 Group Stage, 7-1 Playoffs)
Geek Fam certainly entered the 2019-2020 season with an exciting lineup, as the organization had put together a roster of well known names for a shot at carving out a place for itself near the top of the regional hierarchy. This first qualifier of the season was the team’s first true test of strength, and Geek Fam appeared ready for the trials that were set out in front of it. The team put together a solid, though not overly impressive, 4-4 Group Stage record, but really turned things up to another level in the Playoffs. The squad swept past Team Jinesbrus and BOOM Esports with back to back 2-0 wins, before toppling Cignal Ultra 3-1 in the Grand Finals to lock down a place at the season’s first Minor. Throughout all of this, the team’s Carry/Mid duo of Raven and Ryoya turned in spectacular performances, combining for 16.96 kills and 21.63 assists on just 6.06 deaths per game across 16 total matches. Between the high levels of experience on the team’s roster and its impressive play in this qualifier, Geek Fam is set to enter the Minor as one of the more formidable squads in the field as the team attempts to cement its place as one of the more prominent contenders in the Southeast Asian region.
Record: 12-6 (5-3 Group Stage, 7-3 Playoffs)
Invictus Gaming came into this qualifier as an organization that had long been removed from its prior glory, as the squad in its various forms had lost much of its power within the Chinese region. However, this iteration of the roster had been performing well to begin the season, putting together a 1st place finish in the ESL One Hamburg 2019 China Qualifier prior to the start of this event. With that momentum on its side, the squad looked like a potential contender coming into this event, especially with regional powerhouse PSG.LGD absent. Invictus Gaming put together a 5-3 Group Stage record to reach the Minor Playoffs, and it was there that the team truly had its chance to shine. The squad pushed past Newbee 2-0 before taking back to back series against CDEC Gaming to lock down its spot on the Pro Circuit stage with a 7-3 Playoff record. Throughout the event, the Carry/Mid duo of flyfly and Emo managed a combined average of 14.73 kills and 18 assists on just 5.72 deaths per game. This version of Invictus Gaming has been rapidly improving over the early days of this 2019-2020 campaign, and will enter the season’s first Minor as an intriguing team as it looks to claim its first Minor Championship title.
Record: 6-4 (2-4 Group Stage [Default Win vs MY MUTANTI], 4-0 Playoffs)
Considering the big changes that VP made to its lineup coming into this season, many expected the CIS powerhouse to lose a step or two against its regional rivals. However, the team struggled to a degree that many may not have been expecting, going 2-4 in the Group Stage and only earning a place in the Minor Playoff due to an extra 2 points earned from a default win against MY MUTANTI. Once the team reached the Minor Playoff though, it appeared that VP was back on track, with the squad taking back to back 2-0 wins over Old but Gold and jfshfh178 to lock down a place at the Minor. It will likely feel strange not seeing VP at the Major (unless the squad manages to win the Minor), but the fact that the squad could make such a drastic change to its lineup and still find a way to earn a place on the Pro Circuit stage is certainly a positive sign for this team moving forward.
Record: 12-7 (7-1 Group Stage, 5-6 Playoffs)
The return of HellRaisers to the Dota 2 world was certainly met with some excitement, but the squad still had to prove their worth coming into the first Pro Circuit qualifier of the 2019-2020 season. The team came out on fire, as HellRaisers put up a nearly perfect 7-1 Group Stage record to advance to the Major Playoffs. Unfortunately, the squad stumbled once those Playoffs began, losing back to back series against Positive Guys and Old but Gold to fall into the Minor Playoff. A third series defeat at the hands of jfshfh178 had things looking bleak for HellRaisers, but the squad managed to rally, winning 5 straight matches and taking down both Old but Gold and jfshfh178 to claim the second CIS spot at the Minor. The squad proved that it could regroup and rally when it needed to, but the team’s somewhat inconsistent stretch to begin the Playoffs does present something of a concern moving forward. The squad appears to have the skill and experience to find success on the Pro Circuit stage, but another lapse like the one we saw in the middle of this qualifier run will do the squad no favors as it prepares to take to the international level at the Minor.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
Record: 11-7 (5-3 Group Stage, 6-4 Playoffs)
NiP certainly came into this qualifier as one of the more interesting teams in the European region, as the squad had undergone a near complete overhaul of its roster in the offseason. Joining captain ppd was NA veteran Universe, along with some younger talents in the form of Biver, Skiter, and Gunnar. The squad and its new lineup had potential, but this qualifier was set to be the first test of just how well that potential would translate into real results against its fellow European squads. As it turned out, the team held its own against its regional rivals, posting a 5-3 Group Stage record and a 6-4 mark in the Major and Minor Playoffs to secure itself a place at the DOTA Summit 11 Minor in November. While it is clear that the squad as it currently stands is a step below the likes of Team Liquid and Alliance (combined 0-6 against those 2 squads in this event), NiP put together a strong showing against the rest of the field that has earned it an important opportunity to display its strength on the international level with an appearance on the Pro Circuit stage. Considering the fact that the likes of Team Secret, OG, and ex-Liquid are set to return to the regional scene later this season, NiP will benefit greatly from establishing itself as a contending team in the European region as early in the campaign as it possibly can.
Record: 9-8 (4-4 Group Stage, 5-4 Playoffs)
The return of fan favorite squad Ad Finem was met with much excitement towards the end of the previous season, but the Greek squad still had quite a bit to prove coming into the first qualifier of the 2019-2020 campaign. After a middling 4-4 Group Stage performance, the squad managed to earn itself a place in the Minor Playoffs, where its level of play would take a turn for the better. After dropping its first series 0-2 to Team Singularity, Ad Finem would turn things around with a 2-0 victory over Ascomanni before earning its revenge against Team Singularity with a hard fought 3-2 win to lock down a place at the Minor. With a 9-8 overall record in this qualifier, Ad Finem does’t exactly come across as a favorite heading into said Minor. However, this team has become somewhat famous for its role as an underdog squad, and the experience of its roster will still make Ad Finem a potential threat as it prepares to take the Pro Circuit stage next month.
Record: 19-8 (8-0 Group Stage, 11-8 Playoffs)
Along with beastcoast, paiN Gaming entered this first qualifier of the season as one of the teams expected to establish itself as a leader within the South American hierarchy, as the organization featured one of the most experienced rosters in the region. Early on, the team looked like it was living up to those expectations, posting a perfect 8-0 Group Stage record to advance to the Major Playoffs. After taking down Team Unknown 2-0 in its first series of said Playoffs, the team suffered a hard fought 1-2 defeat at the hands of beastcoast to miss its first chance at reaching the Pro Circuit stage. A subsequent 0-2 loss to Team Unknown came as something of a shock, as paiN Gaming found itself falling into the Minor Playoffs. After losing its initial series of that event 1-2 to NoPing e-sports, some where beginning to panic for paiN Gaming. However, the team managed to bounce back after that defeat, pushing past Incubus Gaming and FURIA Esports with a pair of 2-0 victories before earning revenge against NoPing e-sports with a 3-2 win to secure itself a place at the Minor. Considering the team’s expectations coming into this event, this spot at the Minor instead of the Major may be a slight disappointment. However, the team still managed to put together an incredibly impressive 19-8 record against its regional rivals, with paiN Gaming proving its strength as an early leader within the South American region, and a serious threat in the field for the season’s first Minor.
Record: 15-6 (7-1 Group Stage, 8-5 Playoffs)
When the roster of Quincy Crew was announced, many immediately assumed that the squad would emerge as a leading team in the North American region, but the squad still had to prove that it could take down its regional rivals as it entered this first Pro Circuit Qualifier of the season. The team looked the part to begin the event, posting a 7-1 Group Stage record that saw it dominate its competition early on. Once the team hit the Playoffs though, it began to meet some serious resistance, losing out to EG 1-2 before falling 0-2 to J.Storm to drop into the Minor Playoffs. From there, the team had a slightly smoother path to success, taking out Team Plus and winning back to back series against Demon Slayers with a 7-1 run to lock down the lone NA spot at the Minor. Throughout the team’s qualifier run, Quincy Crew was led by some spectacular play from its Carry/Mid duo, as SumaiL and CCnC combined to average 15.76 kills and 18.66 assists on just 5.19 deaths per game across 21 total matches. Given the talent and experience on the team’s roster, Quincy Crew will likely prove to be a formidable force in the field for the season’s first Minor, and a potential contender within the North American region throughout the rest of the 2019-2020 campaign.
Did not qualify (Playoff teams only)
Record: 4-9 (3-5 Group Stage, 1-4 Playoffs)
With a roster of experienced players and young talent, Team Jinesbrus came into this qualifier with a bit of appeal as a sneaky, dark horse candidate to claim a place on the Pro Circuit stage. Unfortunately, the team didn’t quite live up to those hopes, with Team Jinesbrus putting together a largely forgettable performance against its regional rivals. The team went 3-5 in the Group Stage to earn itself a place in the Minor Qualifier/Playoff, but could not manage to generate any significant sense of momentum for itself at that stage. After dropping series to both Geek Fam and Cignal Ultra, the squad fell out of the Playoff bracket with a 1-4 mark to bring its overall record to just 4-9. It’s not exactly the most encouraging of performance for the squad, and rumors are already starting to form regarding a change in roster for the squad and parent organization T1. There are some positives for Team Jinesbrus to take from this otherwise underwhelming performance, but the real benefits of those positives will likely depend on just how much of this current roster remains moving forward.
Record: 7-11 (3-6 Group Stage, 4-5 Playoffs)
After welcoming back inYourdreaM to the roster in the offseason, BOOM Esports entered this 2019-2020 season with a slightly different look to its lineup. However, there was hope that the squad could pick up where it had left off last season, and continue its march up the regional hierarchy with a strong showing in this first Pro Circuit qualifier. Unfortunately, the team fell short of the mark to earn itself a spot on the Pro Circuit stage, posting a 7-11 overall record against its regional rivals. The Indonesian squad did not play particularly poorly in this event, but neither did it do much to really stand out compared to most of the other teams in the field. The result was a situation in which BOOM Esports was in the mix for a spot on the Pro Circuit stage, but never necessarily a favorite to actually earn said spot. The position is one that BOOM Esports found itself in multiple times last season, with the team managing to eventually break through and find its opportunities to place on the Pro Circuit stage. However, it is clear that the team will need a stronger effort moving forward if it wants to be able to replicate that prior success this time around.
Record: 10-13 (5-3 Group Stage, 5-10 Playoffs)
Cignal Ultra did not enter this first Pro Circuit qualifier of the season as a squad that many were looking at as a potential contender for a spot on the Pro Circuit stage. However, the Filipino squad defied expectations with an incredibly impressive performance against some of the strongest and most prominent teams in its region. The team put together a solid 5-3 Group Stage record to earn a spot in the Playoffs, but that next stage is where things began to fall apart. The squad suffered back to back 0-2 defeats at the hands of Fnatic and Team Adroit, then dropped another series 0-2 to BOOM Esports to begin the Minor Playoffs. From that point, the team managed to regroup for one final rally, pushing past Team Jinesbrus and BOOM Esports before falling 1-3 in the Grand Finals against Geek Fam. While the team’s overall performance was much more impressive than many might have been anticipating, it is somewhat concerning to see the vastly different levels of play that the squad showed between its strong Group Stage run and its stumbles in the Playoffs. If the team wants to take another shot at earning itself a place on the Pro Circuit stage, then Cignal Ultra will have to work on consistently playing at that high level while avoiding the slumps that we saw midway through its run.
Royal Never Give Up
Record: 8-12 (5-4 Group Stage, 3-8 Playoffs)
Coming off of the team’s TI9 appearance, RNG looked to be in a solid position to take a step forward within the Chinese region. The team had added a pair of experienced Supports in dogf1ghts and Fenrir, and retained its impressive core trio of Monet, Setsu, and Flyby. Unfortunately, the team’s new roster fell a bit short in this first qualifier of the season, despite a relatively strong start to the event. The team posted a 4-4 record in the Group Stage, and managed to defeat Newbee in a tiebreaker match to claim a spot in the Playoffs. Unfortunately, the Playoffs were where everything seemed to fall apart for RNG, as the squad dropped back to back series against Vici Gaming and EHOME to fall into the Minor Qualifier, only to lose back to back series again against CDEC Gaming and Newbee. Across the team’s 4 Playoff series, RNG posted a shockingly weak 3-8 record, with the team never quite seeming to hit its stride once the matches took on the added weight of a potential spot on the Pro Circuit stage. At this early stage in the season, it doesn’t appear time to press the panic button just yet on RNG, as the squad still had bright spots that it can capitalize on moving forward. However, the team has certainly missed a big opportunity here with regional powerhouse PSG.LGD not participating in this first qualifier of the season. RNG will assuredly have further opportunities to prove its strength, but the path to success will likely get harder and much more crowded moving forward.
Record: 6-9 (4-5 Group Stage, 2-4 Playoffs)
After struggling through most of the 2018-2019 season, Newbee entered this new campaign with an updated roster and renewed hopes that it could reclaim a prominent position within the Chinese hierarchy. The performance that the team produced in this qualifier certainly was a step up from some of its previous efforts, but still left Newbee a step or two behind the majority of its regional rivals. The team posted a 4-5 Group Stage record, losing a Bo1 tiebreaker against RNG that would have potentially put the team in the Major Playoffs rather than the Minor Playoff. Once in the Minor Playoff though, we saw the team struggle to put forth a consistent level of strength, as the team fell to iG in its first series but managed to claim a 2-0 victory over RNG in Round 1 of the Lower Bracket. Beyond that point though, the team’s momentum stalled, as Newbee fell 0-2 to CDEC Gaming to fall short of the Grand Finals with a 2-4 Playoff record. The encouraging takeaway from the team’s run is that is at least managed to get relatively far in the Minor Playoff, showing a modest improvement from the struggling squad that closed out the previous season. However, it is clear that the team will need a stronger and more consistent effort moving forward if it wants to have a true chance at returning to the Pro Circuit stage this season.
Record: 13-11 (4-5 Group Stage, 9-6 Playoffs)
CDEC Gaming came just 1 game short of earning a place at TI9 last season, as the squad fell 2-3 to RNG in the Grand Finals of the China Qualifier. With the team’s roster still fully intact heading into the 2019-2020 campaign, the team was hoping to take the next step forward and become a true contender within the Chinese region. The team’s quest to improve its regional standing didn’t get off to an overly impressive start, as the squad posted a 4-5 Group Stage record that saw it win a tiebreaker match against Keen Gaming to avoid elimination. After beating Look For Smile 2-0 in the Minor Qualifier Decider, the team had its opportunity to fight for a spot on the Pro Circuit stage, and it put together quite a fight for said spot. The team pushed past RNG 2-1 and put up a solid showing in a 1-2 loss to Invictus Gaming, then bounced back from that loss with a 2-0 win over Newbee to earn a place in the Grand Finals. Once again though, the team came just 1 win short of the mark to qualify, with CDEC Gaming losing 2-3 to Invictus Gaming to miss its chance to earn a place on the Pro Circuit stage. Even with that disappointment, it should be said that CDEC Gaming put together an impressive performance in this first qualifier of the season. The team held strong against some of its most powerful regional rivals, and came about as close as possible to claiming a spot at the Minor. It is clear that this team has the potential to break through in the Chinese region, but it will need to continue improving and making the most of its opportunities to contend with other regional rivals.
Old but Gold
Record: 8-10 (6-2 Group Stage, 2-8 Playoffs)
Old but Gold came into the 2019-2020 season with the same veteran roster that it had ended the previous campaign with. However, with a rush of new or updated squads in the regional scene, and traditional powerhouse VP rebuilding its own roster, it was unclear just where Old but Gold would end up in the regional hierarchy. The team got off to a very encouraging start to this event, posting a 6-2 Group Stage record to finish 2nd in its group and advance to the Major Playoffs. From there, things went somewhat poorly for the team, as Old but Gold fell to Gambit Esports 0-2 in its first series. A 2-0 victory over HellRaisers kept hope alive for the squad, but a subsequent 0-2 loss to Positive Guys pushed the squad into the Minor Playoffs, where it would continue to struggle. After losing back to back series against VP and HellRaisers, Old but Gold was bounced from the Playoffs entirely, posting a paltry 2-8 record in the Major and Minor Playoffs. The good news for the team is that we are already aware of what it is capable of when playing at its best, as the team’s veteran lineup has proven its ability to reach the Pro Circuit stage last season. However, the CIS region appears to be heating up to begin this 2019-2020 campaign, and Old but Gold will assuredly need to step things up if it wants to continue competing with its newly risen regional rivals moving forward.
Record: 6-9 (4-4 Group Stage, 2-5 Playoffs)
The squad known as jfshfh178 came into this first Pro Circuit qualifier of the season with some rather mixed expectations. On the one hand, the team had a handful of noteworthy names on its roster with decent levels of previous experience, but on the other hand, the squad had not played any official matches outside of its open qualifier run to reach this stage. Once the qualifier itself began though, the squad appeared to hold its own, going 4-4 in the Group Stage to advance to the Minor Playoffs before taking down HellRaisers 2-0 in its first series to reach the Upper Bracket Finals. From there though, the squad faltered, losing 5 straight matches to VP and HellRaisers to miss out on 2 chances to claim a place on the Pro Circuit stage. The team’s collapse on the back end of its run will certainly be the most memorable part of jfshfh178’s qualifier run, but the team does still have some reasons to be encouraging moving forward. The squad put up a respectable fight through the first half of the event, and displayed a level of strength and potential that could be built upon going further into the season. With the CIS region looking much more competitive this season than last, it stands to reason that jfshfh178 will have more opportunities to prove their strength in the future, so long as the team opts to continue playing together beyond this event.
Record: 4-8 (4-4 Group Stage, 0-4 Playoffs)
The all-Danish squad Ascomanni entered this qualifier as an intriguing squad in the field, especially considering just how crowded and competitive the European region had been in the previous season. With many of the region’s heavy hitters sitting this event out though, there appeared to be a potential opportunity for this squad to display its strength at the expense of its regional rivals. After a 4-4 Group Stage run, the squad was looking solid, though not particularly impressive as it advanced to the Minor Playoffs. Said Playoffs were where things started to go badly for Ascomanni though, as the team struggled to keep pace with its opponents. After losing 4 straight matches in a pair of 0-2 defeats at the hands of NiP and Ad Finem, the squad’s qualifier run was brought to a close, with the team posting a 4-8 overall record in the event. Unfortunately for Ascomanni, things are only likely to get harder as the season progresses, as the likes of Team Secret, OG, and ex-Liquid are set to return to the regional scene by the time the next Pro Circuit qualifiers begin. With that in mind, the Danish squad is going to have to put forth even greater efforts in the future in order to have another shot at claiming a place on the Pro Circuit stage this season.
Record: 9-12 (5-3 Group Stage, 4-9 Playoffs)
In a particularly crowded European region, Team Singularity’s roster doesn’t necessarily come across as a powerhouse lineup at first glance. However, with major European powers sitting out this first qualifier, there appeared to be a real opportunity for the squad to display its strength and get its season off to a strong start at the expense of its regional rivals. With a 5-3 Group Stage record, Team Singularity appeared to be making the most of its opportunity, as the squad earned itself a place in the Major Playoffs. Unfortunately, the likes of Alliance and NiP proved to be too much for Team Singularity to handle, as the team dropped back to back 0-2 losses to fall into the Minor Playoffs. Though the squad would slightly bounce back with a 2-0 win over Ad Finem, it would once again fall short of the mark with a 0-2 loss to NiP and a 2-3 loss to Ad Finem to miss out on earning a place on the Pro Circuit stage entirely. While the team will assuredly be disappointed in its failure to qualify for an event, Team Singularity does have some positives to build upon moving forward. In particular, the play of its Carry/Mid duo was fairly impressive, with MagE- and Xcalibur combining to average 15.53 kills and 23.09 assists on 8.09 deaths per game. With major regional powers like Team Secret, OG, and ex-Liquid set to return in the near future, the path to success is set to get much harder for Team Singularity, but the squad at least appears to have something that it can build upon and improve in the coming days as it looks for another opportunity to display its strength against its regional rivals.
Record: 6-11 (5-3 Group Stage, 1-8 Playoffs)
Incubus Gaming came into this qualifier as a relatively unknown squad within the wider South American region, but the mostly Peruvian team was hoping to make a name for itself with a strong showing against its regional rivals. The team certainly exceeded expectations in the first half of the qualifier, putting together a 5-3 Group Stage record to finish 2nd in its group. From that point though, the team’s momentum simply fell apart, with Incubus Gaming going 1-8 in the Playoffs in losses to beastcoast, Team Unknown, FURIA Esports, and paiN Gaming to miss out on a place on the Pro Circuit stage. Considering the hot start that the team got off to, its collapse in the Playoffs will certainly come as a disappointment for Incubus Gaming. However, we did get to see a fair bit of the squad’s potential in this qualifier, and the team did prove that it is at least capable of contending with some of its more prominent regional rivals. For now though, the biggest obstacle in Incubus Gaming’s path appears to be its own consistency, and the team will likely have further opportunities to work on improving that consistency as the season goes on.
Record: 6-9 (3-5 Group Stage, 3-4 Playoffs)
The addition of tavo in the offseason marked an exciting turn in the fortunes of FURIA Esports, as the squad went from an up-and-coming regional team to a potential contender within South America. The team’s qualifier run got off to a somewhat slow start though, as the team put together a 3-5 Group Stage effort that proved to be enough to advance it to the Minor Playoffs. The team began said Playoffs with an impressive 2-0 victory over Incubus Gaming, before falling 1-2 in a hard fought series against NoPin e-sports in the Upper Bracket Finals. After losing that series, the team suffered another defeat at the hands of paiN Gaming, ending the squad’s hopes of reaching the first evens of the Pro Circuit season. FURIA Esports missing out on reaching the Pro Circuit stage wasn’t exactly a surprising development, as the team had yet to prove itself capable of taking on the top squads in its home region. However, the squad did put together some impressive performances in this event, with Carry RdO averaging 7.53 kills and 9.53 assists on 3.80 deaths per game, while the Support duo of Hyko and Duster combined for 32.07 assists per game as well. The squad appears to have a solid foundation to build upon, but will still need to take some further steps as a team if it wants to truly contend for a position near the top of the regional hierarchy this season.
Record: 9-10 (3-5 Group Stage, 6-5 Playoffs)
With a lineup of experienced regional players on its side, NoPing e-sports entered this qualifier as a team that many expected to put together a strong performance against its regional rivals. The team didn’t get off to quite as strong a start as some may have expected though, with NoPing e-sports posting a 3-5 record in the Group Stage that advanced it directly to the Minor Playoffs. Said Minor Playoffs saw the squad put together a much strong showing though, with the team taking back to back 2-1 victories over paiN Gaming and FURIA Esports to earn itself a place in the Grand Finals. Unfortunately, the squad would fall just a game short of the mark to reach the Pro Circuit stage, falling 2-3 in a rematch with paiN Gaming. Despite coming up short in its quest to reach the Minor, NoPing e-sports still looked like one of the stronger teams in the field in this qualifier with a 9-10 overall record against its regional rivals. With the experience that the squad has on its roster, it seems clear that the team will have further opportunities to find success within its home region. However, the team still appears to be in need of some further improvements if it truly wants to claim a place as a leading team within the South American scene.
Record: 5-9 (3-5 Group Stage, 2-4 Playoffs)
Considering just how many of the teams in the field for this North American Qualifier consisted of pub stacks and open qualifier squads, Team Plus came into the event with at least a small degree of hope for success. The squad didn’t exactly field a roster of regional stars, but its players did have a fair bit of professional experience within the region that gave it a slight edge over some of the other teams in the qualifier. While the squad’s 3-5 Group Stage record didn’t exactly inspire a great amount of confidence, it was enough to push Team Plus into the Playoffs for the Minor Qualifier after taking down Young Suck Gaming 2-0 in the Decider Match. Beyond that point though, it was clear that Team Plus was a bit outmatched, as the squad lost to Quincy Crew and Team Xolotl with in back to back 0-2 losses to end its qualifier run. While the team’s run wasn’t overly impressive in this qualifier, it appears that the North American region will be a bit short on Tier 2 teams in the early stages of this season. If Team Plus opts to remain together moving forward, then there could be more opportunities for the squad to improve and take another shot at earning a place on the Pro Circuit stage.
Record: 6-8 (4-4 Group Stage, 2-4 Playoffs)
Team Xolotl came into this 2019-2020 season as the closest thing that the North American region had to a Tier 2 team, as the squad was one of the few to keep a relatively consistent lineup through the last offseason. With this first Pro Circuit qualifier though, the team was hoping to improve its standing within the region and finally emerge as a real contender in North America. Unfortunately, the squad still struggled to get over that hump, posting a middling 4-4 Group Stage record to advance directly to the Minor Playoffs. From there, the squad struggled, falling to Demon Slayers 0-2 in its first match up before avoiding elimination with a 2-0 victory over Team Plus, only to fall again to Demon Slayers in the next round. At 6-8, Team Xolotl’s overall performance wasn’t particularly bad, but it wasn’t overly noteworthy either, which keeps the squad in the exact same position that it ended the previous season in. Considering the fact that the North American region seems to lack any solidified Tier 2 scene at the moment, Team Xolotl stands to have multiple opportunities to prove its strength this season, but the team still appears to be in need of improvements if it is going to truly take advantage of those opportunities moving forward.
Record: 8-10 (3-5 Group Stage, 5-5 Playoffs)
Among the myriad of teams that entered this qualifier with relatively unheralded or unknown lineups, Demon Slayers stood out as a squad with some names that were a bit more familiar to the average spectator. With a 3-5 Group Stage record to begin the event though, the team didn’t exactly distinguish itself right off the bat. However, that record was enough to advance the team to the Minor Playoffs, where it put together a slightly more impressive showing. The team defeated Team Xolotl 2-0 before falling 1-2 in a respectable series against Quincy Crew, then proceeded to defeat Team Xolotl again in the Lower Bracket Finals to earn a rematch with Quincy Crew in the Grand Finals. Unfortunately, said Grand Finals proved to be massively one sided, as Demon Slayers fell 0-3 to miss out on its chance to reach the Pro Circuit stage. That being said, the team proved itself to be far more consistent than most of the other squads in the field for this qualifier, even with a somewhat underwhelming 8-10 record. With the North American region looking a bit sparse in terms of Tier 2 teams at the moment, Demon Slayers could find itself with multiple opportunities to fight for a place on the Pro Circuit stage in the future, so long as the squad opts to remain intact moving forward.