After Star Ladder and PGL Open Bucharest reintroduced competitive DotA in October, it’s finally time for the first Major of the year. Unlike Minors which only award a total of 300 Qualifying Points, DotA 2 Majors quintuple that number. The winning team of ESL One will earn more Qualifying Points than the total point pools of both previous Minors combined. This will be enough to earn them a comfortable lead until the next Major drops in early December. But this is a conversation for the future. For now, let us take a look at the teams that will be competing in the highest stakes tournament of the year so far.
Position 1 – Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen
Position 2 – Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barqawi
Position 3 – Ivan “MinD-ContRoL” Ivanov
Position 4 – Maroun “GH” Merhej
Position 5 – Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi
Liquid comes into ESL One on the heels of a victory at Star Ladder. Mineski proved themselves a capable team at the tournament, but not capable enough to triumph over the champions. As it turns out, Liquid hasn’t lost their touch in this patch despite taking a break after TI7. After all, they dropped only a single game in the entire tournament. At this point, Liquid seem to be the indisputable kings of the patch, but teams still have one last chance to change that. Regardless, Liquid are doubtless the favorites to win this tournament, and they seem poised and ready to do so.
Position 1 – Xu “Moogy” Han
Position 2 – Song “Sccc” Chun
Position 3 – Damien “kpii” Chok
Position 4 – Hu “Kaka” Liangzhi
Position 5 – Zheng “Faith” Hongda
Newbee had a rough tournament at Star Ladder after being knocked out in the group stage by CompLexity and Secret. Though the team is comprised of great talent, Newbee seems to have lost their edge since TI7. Their second place finish there is doubtless what earned them their invite to ESL One, but after their showing at Star Ladder they are the team with the most to prove.
Position 1 – Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard
Position 2 – Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng
Position 3 – Adrian “Fata” Trinks
Position 4 – Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat
Position 5 – Clement “Puppey” Ivanov
Though Secret managed third place at Star Ladder, they were eliminated in the group stage of PGL Open Bucharest. Their losses in the latter were to The Immortals and Infamous, South Korean and South American teams respectively. Perhaps one can contribute their losses there to unfamiliarity with those two region’s playstyles. Regardless, they’re going to have to adapt if they hope to earn the lion’s share of the Qualifying Points from ESL One.
Position 1 – Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
Position 2 – Sumail “Suma1l” Hassan
Position 3 – Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Aurora
Position 4 – Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen
Position 5 – Clinton “Fear” Loomis
Evil Genius showed us a mixed performance at PGL Open Bucharest. They made it to the playoffs, but proceeded to lose to LGD Gaming without taking a single game. More importantly though, EG showed us that they’re not willing to take some risks in the draft to earn a win. In their final game with VGJ.Thunder, an unorthodox offlane Bane pick coupled with a Drow Ranger strategy enabled them to dominate the laning stage. Once the snowball started down the hill there was no stopping it. VGJ found themselves defeated after just over 20 minutes.
While EG finds wins with these “cute” strategies, they will need consistency to survive in this single elimination tournament.
Position 1 – Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao
Position 2 – Steve “Xcalibur” Ye
Position 3 – Khoo “Ohaiyo” Chong Xin
Position 4 – Djardel “DJ” Mampusti
Position 5 – Johan “pieliedie” Åström
Fnatic is a very different team than they were a few months ago. The departure of Mushi in February of this year lead to a volatile time for the team. After a series of additions and departures, this new roster sees EternaLEnVy taking the Captain’s help from DJ. Depending on how this succession of power occurred, this could be either a good thing or a bad thing for the team cohesion.
Say what you want about Jacky Mao, but he is an experienced player who knows his way around a game of DotA. His aggressive style could be the edge his team needs at ESL One. It could also lead to ill-advised team fights that turn into team wipes.
Position 1 – Jin “zhizhizhi” Zhiyi
Position 2 – Zhai “荧” Jingkai
Position 3 – Song “dark” Runxi
Position 4 – Jiang “佞臣” An
Position 5 – Chen “Rong” Jingwu
Keen Gaming may seem like an unknown brand, but they are originally an offshoot of the EHOME brand. This isn’t to say that the EHOME.Keen brand was especially popular or successful though. Nevertheless in September of this year the current roster of EHOME.Keen chose to part ways with the organization.
The truth is that some of the players on this team have been playing DotA 2 professionally for less than a year. Most would use that as an excuse to call their talent into question. One has to remember that they earned their spot in this major through the Chinese qualifiers. Now they just have to prove themselves on the world stage.
Position 1 – Roman “RAMZES666” Kuchnarev
Position 2 – Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko
Position 3 – Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov
Position 4 – Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk
Position 5 – Alexei “Solo” Berezin
Virtus.pro made a surprising announcement that they would not be changing their roster after TI7. Don’t get me wrong, their team is talented, but teams that have actually won major tournaments have dropped players in the past. Their decision to maintain the same roster shows their confidence, and to be fair they had a great showing at TI7.
The key to Virtus.Pros victory at ESL One is going to be young RAMZES. Not since SumaiL have we seen such a mix of youth and execution. While he can be overly optimistic in team fights, he has a tendency to get just the right kills to turn the tide. He is definitely one to look out for in this tournament.
Position 1 – Guilherme “FuckinEh” Costábile
Position 2 – Adriano “4dr” Machado
Position 3 – Rodrigo “Liposa” Santos
Position 4 – Thiago “Thiolicor” Cordeiro
Position 5 – Lucas “Bardo” Bardosa
SG e-sports managed to defeat Vici Gaming 2-0 at Star Ladder before being swept by both Mineski and Liquid. It’s hard to fault SG for those losses though, since Liquid and Mineski look like the two strongest teams so far this season. While their win’s against Vici were far from one sided, they showed solid teamwork throughout the series. It seems like they can compete with some of the big players in the scene. Hopefully they’ve been studying their defeats leading up to the biggest tournament of the season so far.
ESL One Hamburg will run from Oct 26th – Oct 29th.
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