By Radu Muresan
October 5, 2019
The MDL Chengdu Major Qualifiers are starting tomorrow in all of the six DPC regions and the battle for the qualification spots will be very unusual. That’s because a large number of top teams are missing and some old giants have returned to the professional scene with renewed ambitions. I’ll give you an overview of the whole situation in the paragraphs below.
The MDL Chengdu Major Qualifiers are scheduled to take place between October 5th. The big regions (Europe, China and North America) all have three available spots for the Major. The other three regions (South America, Southeast Asia and CIS) have two slots each. The teams that place right below the qualified ones will go to the Minor that precedes the Major. I’m talking of course about DOTA Summit 11. And since this Minor will have eight participants, every region will get one spot except for South America and CIS. These regions will get two spots each.
The MDL Chengdu Major Qualifiers will not be as crowded as you might expect. For instance, even though Europe is filled to the brim with unbelievable teams, almost all of them have decided to skip this tournament and simply forgo the first Minor and Major of the new Dota Pro Circuit. It’s a rather strange decision but one that will make room for a lot of lesser teams to make a name for themselves, go to a Valve Major and potentially secure a spot for The International 2020 with their very first appearance at this competitive level.
These are the big teams that are missing from the MDL Chengdu Major Qualifiers:
Nobody’s sure what’s going on with the former Team Liquid roster but apparently they’ve decided not to get involved in the qualifications for the first Minor and Major of the season. Financially you can’t blame them, because their last three years have been very successful and everyone’s probably content as a result.
But it’s still surprising to see KuroKy give up on the opportunity to get a good start in the new Dota Pro Circuit. There are only five Majors and he’s practically ignoring 20% of the action.
Another thing that makes this decision questionable is the fact that two other big teams have decided to do the exact same thing. And as a result, for the second qualification tournament of the Dota Pro Circuit, there will be three big teams in the Open Qualifiers. That means that there’s a significant chance that at least one of them will miss the second Major as well, by failing to qualify for the Regionals.
After finishing 4th at The International 2019, Team Secret decided to take a break. They haven’t made any roster changes but decided that a break would do everyone good. Again, it’s not quite clear why this had to be done.
Looking from the outside, you’re thinking: “TI9 ended six weeks ago. Shouldn’t six weeks of vacation be enough?” But then again, Team Secret has been hugely successful financially so they’re obviously not compelled by anything to compete. Especially if the players want some time off.
The third big team that will miss the MDL Chengdu Major Qualifiers is OG. In their case, the decision is not surprising at all. After all, they did the same thing last year and let’s not forget that they won the last two TIs. That alone puts them in a class of their own.
I also suspect that ana has unofficially left the team again, and perhaps N0tail has not succeeded in finding a suitable replacement for him. So why bother with a mere Major when they’re more than secure financially and can just take it easy?
For most teams that would be fatal but in their case it really works. Just look at what they did last year: poor results all year and then they go into The International 2019 with a formidable drive to succeed. And they did, against all odds.
The Chinese organization has not yet managed to find a good replacement for fy and QQQ and as a result, they’ve decided to skip the MDL Chengdu Major Qualifiers. Keep in mind that PSG.LGD finished 3rd at The International 2019 and 2nd at The International 2018. So they are definitely comfortable from a financial standpoint. However, it’s not clear how they will replace their great captain. This loss may prove to be fatal in the Chinese region, where many powerful rivals are waiting to steal PSG.LGD’s spot.
These are The MDL Chengdu Major Qualifiers favorites for each region.
In Europe, the big teams are the following:
Ninjas in Pyjamas
However, keep in mind that the first three of these are not the teams you know from last season. Liquid is actually the former Alliance roster, NiP has an entirely new roster apart from ppd, who’s still the captain, and Alliance have replaced their roster after losing the old one.
As for Ad Finem, they’re exactly the team that played in the Grand Final of a Valve Major several years ago. They had some years of wandering in the wilderness, each player with his own adventures, but now they are back together and they might just qualify for MDL Chengdu Major. The competition is not that impressive, given that the three big teams in Europe have declined to participate in this qualifier.
The North American region is absolutely stacked for this season, with four teams that could easily grab one of the three Major spots. These are the most important competitors.
Evil Geniuses will be competing with their new roster after separating from Sumail and s4 and bringing in RAMZES and Abed. In principle, given that Fly is an outstanding captain, they should be just fine in their new formula. But it’s still hard to anticipate how strong they will be at the International level. Succeeding in the NA region shouldn’t be a problem for them but what will happen when they encounter the world-class opponents from other regions? Still, given that most of those opponents will not be present at the first Major of the season, we may even see EG winning that tournament.
J.Storm has a new roster and they are looking weaker than last season. But still, even though they lost Resolut1on and 1437 and have brought in Brax and MoOz, they have a good shot at qualifying for MDL Chengdu Major. After all, all they need to do is beat one of the other three strong teams.
Quincy Crew is SumaiL’s new team and he’s joined forces with his brother YawaR, for the first time in his professional career. Combine that with the fact that the three other crew members are CCnC, MSS and SVG and you can easily see how this team could become the strongest in North America and even one of the strongest in the world.
Fighting Pepegas is the 4th team worth mentioning here and it’s comprised of some really strong players, including EternalEnvy, MoonMeander and Aui_2000. I can’t wait to see them compete, as their chances of getting a top three result in the MDL Chengdu Major Qualifiers are fairly high. I don’t see them beating EG or Quincy but they could potentially defeat J.Storm.
In South America, the four teams to keep an eye on are the following:
All four of them have very experienced players in their rosters and stand a good chance of qualifying for MDL Chengdu Major. In particular, Team Anvorgesa finished 7th at The International 2019. Or at least, their roster did, while playing under a different name (Infamous). That alone makes them much more likely to win this qualification tournament than anyone else.
With PSG.LGD missing and a lot of strong teams waiting to prove themselves, China is a totally unpredictable region at this point. Even Vici Gaming, which won two of the five Dota Pro Circuit Majors last season and finished 5th – 6th at The International 2019, is a big question mark due to the fact that they lost their captain. And by the way, Paparazi changed his stage name to Eurus. So if you don’t see his name, don’t worry. He’s still on the team. But will that be enough? After all, Fade was instrumental in all of their successes. How will they win without their great strategist and can Pyw successfully replace him? We’ll have to see.
Other big favorites in the Chinese region are RNG, Keen Gaming and Team Aster. Keep in mind that Keen Gaming now has Mushi playing for them, Aster has Fade and Sccc, and RNG lost Monet and Setsu but has brought in dogf1ghts and Fenrir. So overall, they’re still good. At The International 2019, they finished 7th with their former roster and the core of that roster is still playing for them.
CIS is another big mystery. The big favorites are still Virtus.pro and Natus Vincere, but both teams are playing with a slightly different roster and need to prove themselves. In Na’Vi’s case, 9pasha’s presence will likely help a lot. But in VP’s case, the loss of RodjER, RAMZES and 9pasha will likely lead to much worse results at the International level. Keep in mind that VP won the 2017-2018 DPC and placed 2nd in the 2018-2019 edition.
Both times they had numerous Major Grand Final participations and won many trophies. But now they seem to be in trouble. Perhaps Resolut1on, epliptick1d and Save- can replace the superstars that left, but it’s unlikely. Resolut1on is of course a world-class player, but who are the other two? I’ve never heard of them until now and I’ve been following the scene for more than five years.
In the SEA region, there are four teams that could realistically qualify for MDL Chengdu Major. These are the following:
Their pecking order is completely unknown at this point, as many roster changes have muddied the waters. But we’ll find out soon enough who the best competitors are in this region.
Thanks for joining us for a quick look at the MDL Chengdu Major Qualifiers! Stay tuned for more Dota 2 news and updates as the Pro Circuit continues!