Welcome to day two of the Kiev Major regional roulette. Today we are looking at the land of the meme, home of the flame, the Americas.
The Americas – The Teams
It came as no surprise when Valve announced that EG and Thunderbirds, formerly DC, would be receiving direct invites to the Major. What may have come as a surprise, however, was the decision to split the Americas qualifiers into North and South America. In total, there are three North American teams and one South American team attending. Let’s take a look at who will be heading to Kiev.
Evil Geniuses – Direct Invite
Position 1 (Carry) – Arteezy
Position 2 (Mid) – SumaiL
Position 3 (Offlane) – UNiVeRsE
Position 4 (Support) – Zai
Position 5 (Support) – Cr1t-
Heading into DAC, EG felt confident. Yes they hadn’t played in a competitive LAN since January, yes they were up drawn in the tougher group. However, EG should have been top four at DAC. Instead, they looked out of touch and behind the meta as they scrapped to a top six finish. When this roster was first announced, there were questions around whether Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen could transition into a captain. It seemed at first things were going to be fine for the new roster. However, at DAC, cracks began to show.
DAC gave the EG team a good idea of what improvements they need to make heading into Kiev. At DAC, EG started slow in the group stages. At Kiev, EG cannot afford to make this mistake again. With the introduction of the Swiss format, and also the single-elimination bracket, seeding will be very important to an extended run in the tournament.
One thing that is on EG’s side is history. Irrelevant of the players, in the last six Valve events, EG have finished top four at five of them. EG are a championship team that show up when they need to. Cr1t- and the boys will be hoping to add another trophy to the cabinet. They have the skill, all they need to do is apply it.
Thunderbirds (Formerly Digital Chaos) – Direct Invite
Position 1 (Carry) – Resolution
Position 2 (Mid) – w33
Position 3 (Offlane) – MoonMeander
Position 4 (Support) – MiSeRy
Position 5 (Support) – Saksa
If you have been living under a rock in the last week, the above picture will confuse you. Digital Chaos parted ways with the roster that came second at TI6 and won ESL One Genting. Rasmus “MiSeRy” Filipsen and the team have renamed themselves Thunderbirds, and are still going to compete at Kiev. They have retained the services of coach William “Blitz” Lee, and have also added fan favourite, Jacky “EternalEnvy” Mao, to the staff for the event. Blitz and EE bring a wealth of experience to the table and may be able to help Thunderbirds improve on some disappointing recent performances.
Thunderbirds started the year off with a victory at ESL One Genting. Since then, however, they have finished 7th – 8th at both events they have attended. Arguably, if they had not received a direct invite, they may not be at the event. Thunderbirds are starting a new chapter and should be coming into the event hungry for a win. They have a point to prove, both to their old organisation and any future organisations that are looking at a Dota 2 team. Rumors have been circulating with a few names being mentioned. One thing is for sure, all eyes will be on the Thunderbirds squad throughout Kiev.
Digital Chaos (Formerly Team Onyx) – North American Qualifier
Position 1 (Carry) – mason
Position 2 (Mid) – Abed
Position 3 (Offlane) – Bulba
Position 4 (Support) – DeMoN
Position 5 (Support) – DuBu
As mentioned above, Team Onyx have now been picked up by Digital Chaos after they dropped their previous team. The reasons behind this decision are still unclear, but this has happened now. With that in mind, the new DC squad will be under immense pressure. They have been thrust into the spotlight at the most inopportune of times.
DC are a pretty new team, and this is the first LAN the five of them have attended together. One thing they have going for them is an experienced core group of players. In Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho and Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale, they have two players who understand what it takes to win when no-one expects it. This is what DC will have to do if they are going to achieve a decent placing at Kiev. The field at Kiev is stacked from top to bottom with several teams capable of winning it all.
DC’s first step at Kiev will be to get a decent seeding out of the Swiss stage. Step two will be to finish above the former roster, putting any questions about the decision to bed. The former Team Onyx players were hoping to come into Kiev under the radar. Instead, they have a big flashing light hovering over them. It will be one of the more interesting story-lines to follow during the event.
SG esports – South American Qualifier
Position 1 (Carry) – hFn
Position 2 (Mid) – 4dr
Position 3 (Offlane) – Tavo
Position 4 (Support) – KINGRD
Position 5 (Support) – c4t
SG are going into Kiev with zero pressure. Of the 16 teams attending, they are most likely the weakest. They are expected to lose every game, and this could be where they pull off an upset. The South American scene is normally only referred to in memes. However, Valve are obviously attempting to help the scene grow by giving them a qualifier spot at Kiev. Beyond that, there is not really much else to say about SG. They will come in as underdogs, and no matter what happens, they should be immensely proud of attending the event.
The Americas – Summary
Of all the regions, the Americas have the most interesting story-lines heading into Kiev. Firstly, it will be old DC vs. new DC. In what seems like an odd decision by the DC organization, it may transpire to be a good decision in the long run. Old DC, now Thunderbirds, hope to increase their own value by finishing well at the event. With Immortals reportedly in the market for a team, Thunderbirds could find themselves with a new home by the end of the month.
Secondly, EG come into the event with questions about the current roster. This does seem weird considering they won Dota Pit in January. However, fans may find it hard to look past the issues shown at DAC. EG are still one of the best teams in the world and should be confident about adding a Major to the trophy cabinet.
Where do you think the American teams will place when it’s all said and done? Let me know in the comments below.
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