The third Dota 2 Pro Circuit season has gotten underway with regional qualifiers for the first Major of the season: the MDL Chengdu Major.
With changes implemented by Valve for this season, the qualifiers for the Major are the first phase of a five-day qualification process. In this phase, 15 teams advance from the pool of 40 across six Dota 2 regions to the Chengdu Major. From each region, four of the unqualified teams are advancing to region-specific double-elimination brackets to compete for a spot at the DOTA Summit 11 Minor. The winner of the Minor will be the 16th team competing in Chengdu.
Beyond the Summit is hosting the regional qualifiers, using the theme of “King’s Cup.” The set is dressed like something out of a fantasy game, with casters wearing bits and pieces of costumes including a wizard’s hat and knight’s armor.
So who qualified? Let’s take a quick peek by region:
There were three qualifying teams in China. Vici Gaming and Team Aster took the top spots, beating Royal Never Give Up and EHOME respectively. Team Aster is now playing with Pan “Fade” Yi, formerly of Vici Gaming. Xiong “Pyw” Jiahan replaced Fade on Vici Gaming. Both teams won in 2-1 contests, speaking to the strength of the competition in the region.
.@EHOMECN pulling ahead in this final game. Will they be the final China team to qualify for the MDL Chengdu Major?
— Beyond the Summit (@BeyondTheSummit) October 7, 2019
EHOME also recently made a roster change. The team took the third qualifier spot in China for the Major.
Notably, PSG.LGD is taking a break during this opening round of the DPC.
Perhaps the biggest shocker in the first set of qualifiers was Virtus.pro failing to qualify. The organization was a dominant force in the first two seasons of the DPC. Of course, Virtus.pro has undergone some significant roster upheaval and is currently playing with a pair of trial players. They’ll have a chance to compete for a spot at the Summit Minor.
In the meantime, representing the CIS region will be Gambit Esports and Positive Guys. Gambit Esports was an organization that came up just shy of qualifying for The International 2019. They’ve rebuilt a roster around captain Artiom “fng” Barshack, bringing in Kiyalbek “dream” Tayirov, Danil “gpk” Skutin, Maxim “Shachlo” Abramovskikh and Danial “XSvamp1Re” Alibaev. Of the four, Shachlo is a staple of the CIS Dota 2 scene, but the other three are relative newcomers, finding their first professional teams in the last year or so.
Positive Guys is another new stack, but this time a mix of CIS veterans and newcomers. It includes Igor “iLTW” Filatov, Egor “Ergon” Kozlov, Andrey “Ghostik” Kadyk, Alexander “Immersion” Hmelevskoy and Mihail “Misha” Agatov. Ergon and Immersion have played for 12-18 months each on professional teams, but the others have been around for four or more years with middling success.
It's @theAllianceGG reigning supreme and taking the first EU place for the MDL Chengdu Major
— Beyond the Summit (@BeyondTheSummit) October 8, 2019
Several organizations are taking a break in Europe for the first round of DPC events, including OG, the former Team Liquid roster and Team Secret. This pair of events will be a great opportunity for other Dota 2 teams in the region to get some experience and circuit points for potential The International 2020 qualification.
North America, like China, had three qualifying teams. Evil Geniuses beat out Quincy Crew (with Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan, formerly of EG) in a 2-1 battle. Fighting Pepegas (the Jacky “EternalEnvy” Mao stack) beat J.Storm to claim their own ticket, and then J.Storm beat Quincy Crew 2-0 to score the final invite.
It says something that of the eight teams competing in the region, only three had serious organizations and one of them was Team Xolotl. With no Complexity Gaming, Forward Gaming, Chaos Esports Club, Immortals nor beastcoast (who has hopped to the South American region after dabbling in NA at the end of last season), the region is experiencing a drought of reputable organizations to field Dota 2 teams.
By comparison to North America, South America’s stacked full of organizations. How long they can retain rosters is yet to be seen, of course.
The first SA team to make it to the MDL Chengdu Major is @beastcoast!
🇵🇪 Chris Luck
🇵🇪 Stinger pic.twitter.com/M2mEcDh8VK
— Beyond the Summit (@BeyondTheSummit) October 8, 2019
This was the final region to finish the Major qualifiers. Beastcoast took the top spot, with the former Team Anvorgesa stack (here’s hoping they don’t mind forever being referred to as the cat burgers).
The second spot went to Team Unknown, fielding a new roster as of September 12. It includes Bernando “Berna” Rocca, Juan “Atun” Ochoa, Alexis “Greedy” Ventura, Nicolás “Wij” Moreno and Sergio “Prada” Toribio as the captain. The last time Team Unknown competed at this level was the 2015 Frankfurt Major, where they finished in 9-12th place. Both Prada and Atun were on the Thunder Predator squad that competed at the Chongqing Major in the second DPC season, while Greedy was on the roster that competed in Frankfurt.
Last, but by no means least, is Southeast Asia. Three teams qualified from this region, giving us Fnatic, TNC Predator and relative newcomer Team Adroit. The latter is an organization from the Philippines that formed in May 2019. Qualifying for the Chengdu Major is by far their most exciting result so far. Perhaps some of the staple organizations in SEA should be worried?
Mineski was absent from these qualifiers. They aren’t currently fielding a Dota 2 team, which is unusual.
The next two days will see the DOTA Summit 11 Minor qualifiers play out. Each region will have one attending team, with Europe and CIS having two each. The Minor itself will take place from November 7-10. The MDL Chengdu Major will follow it, on November 16-24. You can catch the remaining qualifier action on Twitch across Beyond the Summit’s various channels.