It has begun. Starting with the Star Ladder i-League Invitational this weekend, there is a ranking tournament for the next three weekends straight. The DotA 2 competitive dry spell is finally over.
The PGL Open Bucharest tournament is yet another Valve Minor, meaning 300 Qualifying Points will be up for grabs. While they are not weighed as heavily as Valve Majors, these early points can be very important for players to establish their position on the leaderboards. Very few teams from Star Ladder will make an appearance at PGL, so we have a lot to talk about. Let’s get started.
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
The TI5 Champions have played less than 20 games since TI7, but their performance has been healthy. It is hard not to contribute at least a portion of this success to the return of Fear as 5 position support and captain. Zai’s departure surely dealt a blow to team morale, but Cr1t- is perfectly capable of stepping up to that 4th position in his stead. Now freed from the stress and responsibility of captaining, Cr1t- can focus more on being the playmaker he needs to be. Other than a surprise loss to Leviathan during the i-League Invitational Qualifiers, EG has been proving that they’re as strong as ever coming into this season.
Position 1 – Wang “Ame” Chunyu
Position 2 – Lu “Maybe” Yao
Position 3 – Xu “fy” Linsen
Position 4 – Yao “Yao” Zhengzheng
Position 5 – Chen “Victoria” Guanhong
LGD’s performance has been a little more shaky since TI7 than our previously mentioned direct invitee. Thanks to their participation in a few extra Chinese tournaments, we have a pool of nearly 50 games played since TI to base this assertion off of. Nevertheless, this lineup contains some of China’s best talent, and it would be a mistake to underestimate them. After all, this is more or less the lineup that placed 4th at TI7. You don’t achieve that kind of accolade by being a second rate team.
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
There isn’t much to say about Team Secret that wasn’t already said in my StarLadder competition analysis. They have not had the chance to play enough since then to trigger a change of opinion. After qualifying for three minors back to back they’re still in a great position to get a head start in Qualifying Points this season.
Position 1 – Vladislav “Crystallize” Krystanek
Position 2 – Danil “Dendi” Ishutin
Position 3 – Victor “GeneRaL” Nigrini
Position 4 – Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan
Position 5 – Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev
Na’vi’s performance at StarLadder so far has been defined by solid team play and unpredictable picks. Unfortunately for Na’vi, their odd drafting picks have been met with mixed success. During their first game against Team Secret, Secret punished Na’Vi’s first pick Tiny hard. This effectively rendered the hero useless during the mid game where he needs to snowball into the late game. The third game was where things got really interesting, as Na’vi last picked an Ancient Apparition for Dendi to take mid. Ancient Apparition mid has not been seen in the meta for years, but it turned out to be exactly what their draft needed to counter Secret’s Timbersaw and Alchemist duo.
Regardless of the results of their erratic drafts, it makes for an incredible DotA watching experience. As long as the fans get good DotA to watch, isn’t that what is really important?
Position 1 – Kim “QO” Seon-yeob
Position 2 – Pyo “MP” No-a
Position 3 – Lee “Forev” Sang-don
Position 4 – Kim “Febby” Yong-min
Position 5 – Kim “DuBu” Doo-young
My familiarity with this roster as MVP.Phoenix makes it strange to call them The Immortals. Nevertheless, it’s exciting to see the Korean powerhouse make its return no matter what form it takes. Their return to DotA 2 has not been easy either. Qualifying for this PGL Open required The Immortals to beat teams like OpTic Gaming and Digital Chaos, which is no simple task.
After the original MVP.Phoenix disbanded in January of 2017, the players went their separate ways and played on other teams. Ironically enough, each player still participated in TI7 on teams like Fnatic, Secret and Digital Chaos. After gaining experience on those teams, they decided it was time to get the gang back together. The results will be exciting to watch.
Position 1 – Alonso “Kotaro Hayama” León
Position 2 – Mariano “Papita” Caneda
Position 3 – Steven “StingeR” Vargas
Position 4 – Elvis “Scofield” De la Cruz Peña
Position 5 – Christian “Accel” Cruz
Other than 5 position support “Accel”, this is not the same Infamous that attended TI7. With the departure of most of their TI7 roster, Infamous absorbed most of the roster of Elite Wolves in early September.
It is interesting to note that Infamous did not originally qualify for PGL Open Bucharest. Digital Chaos.SA originally held that spot. However, thanks to the disbandment of most of DC.SA’s roster after winning the South American qualifiers, Infamous took their spot after beating SG Esports in a replacements finals match 3-1.
It would be great to see a South American Dota team start to make it in the big leagues, but whether Infamous is that team remains to be seen.
Position 1 – Liu “Sylar” Jiajun
Position 2 – Liu “Freeze” Chang
Position 3 – Zhou “Yang” Haiyang
Position 4 – Pan “Fade” Yi
Position 5 – Fan “Ayo” Tianyou
I don’t profess to be an expert on Chinese DotA, but to me, this team seems built around Sylar. He is the most experienced member of this team, as well as the one that has seen the most professional success. At the end of the day though, DotA is a team sport, and the rest of the team are no slouches. After all, VGJ.Thunder had to beat teams like Invictus Gaming and LGD Forever Young to make it to PGL Open. If the team can continue to give Sylar the space he needs to do his thing, this team could go far in this tournament.
Position 1 – Kam “NaNa” Boon Seng
Position 2 – Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung
Position 3 – Daryl “iceiceice” Koh Pei Xiang
Position 4 – Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong
Position 5 – Michael “ninjaboogie” Ross Jr.
Mineski is the final team that is playing in both the current StarLadder tournament as well as the PGL Open. They got off to a bit of a rough start after losing to Team Liquid 0-2 at StarLadder. This result was almost expected though, as Liquid is still playing like the TI Champions that they are. Whatever ends up happening at StarLadder, Mineski can take comfort in knowing they’ll have another opportunity for Qualifying points right around the corner!
PGL Open Bucharest will be held in Bucharest, Romania from October 19th – October 22nd.
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