WePlay is hosting the second Dota 2 Major of the season with 18 teams playing on LAN in Kyiv. This is the final chance for any Dota 2 team to earn DPC points. The top twelve teams by DPC points secure a direct invite to The International 10.
The International is the biggest Dota 2 event with 25% of all crowdfunded battle pass sales going to the prize pool. Every year, the event breaks new records for the highest prize pool in esports. The International 10 has a prize pool of $40,018,195.
The tournament kicks off with the Wild Card stage on June 2. Two teams from Europe and China, one each from Southeast Asia and CIS will compete in the Wild Stage to try to qualify to the group stage.
The six teams play a round-robin wild card stage. Each match is a Bo2 series and every game becomes extremely important. The top two teams from the wild card stage advance to the group stage. The next four teams are eliminated and have to fly back home.
Here are the six teams that will take part in the second Dota 2 Major of the year.
Puppey and co. dominated the Dota 2 scene in 2020, but the team has looked relatively lacklustre so far in 2021. Despite not winning each and every tournament (let’s be real, that was unrealistic), Team Secret has already qualified for TI10. Secret’s players have a very high skill-ceiling and often innovate on an individual level to win matches.
Now an out-of-form Team Secret has still achieved a top-four finish at the Singapore Major and the recent DreamLeague Season 15. The team also finished first in DreamLeague Season 14. However, Team Secret has some tough competition in the Animajor Wild Card stage. If the Singapore Major showed us anything, it was that Chinese teams have a better grasp of the meta compared to European teams. There have been a few changes to the meta since then as Valve has released a few patch updates. It will be interesting to see what Team Secret brings to the table at Kyiv, and if it can upset some of the favorites in the Wild Card stage.
Nigma has faced problems with its skill ceiling in the previous roster. The team’s recent roster change saw Igor “iLTW” Filatov join Nigma. He is one of the best core players in the CIS region and is a prize catch for the team. His name stands for “I love to win” and Nigma is already looking extremely competitive.
Nigma has a slightly better chance than Secret, although the real battle is between the EU and China. With its full and improved roster, Nigma has significantly increased its hero-pool and the variety in the drafting phase. ILTW joins the team as the position 1 player and he is not afraid to participate in early fights. It will not be a massive surprise to see iLTW playing a more active role in the early-game while Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi farms his crucial items and gains levels.
The Singapore Major Champions will play their first few games without the full roster. Chan “Oli~” Chon Kien is unable to attend the major and Su “super” Peng will stand-in.
Oli will not be able to play for the team due to a false positive report. He will have to quarantine in himself. The team will play with super and this will inadvertently impact its chances to qualify to the group stage.
Invictus Gaming is one of the best Chinese Dota 2 teams and regularly puts up strong results on the domestic front. However, unlike other Chinese teams, IG has had a relatively successful history against western teams. The team’s prowess remains its strength in the drafting phase. After careful analysis of its opponents, Invictus Gaming brings forth a strong presence in the laning phase and moves on to a stronger mid-game.
Vici gaming completed the Wild-card to playoffs run last Major. The team went from the Wild Card into the top eight at the Singapore Major. Dota 2 fans can expect a similar result this time as well as Vici Gaming has looked even better in the domestic circuit.
As one of the few teams unaffected by roster changes and COVID, Vici is the heavy favorite to top the Wild card stage.
The CIS representatives have made a few roster changes which will affect the team’s performance at the Major.
No[o]ne and Russia SoNNeikO left the team on May 25th, Ukraine Lorenof and Russia 633 will stand-in at the Animajor. WIth two of the best players on the roster no longer a part of the lineup, Gambit’s chances of a strong finish look bleak.
The team could have been competitive with the original roster, but it might now struggle for the last two spots in the Wild Card stage. Any roster change inadvertently brings significant changes to the playstyle and player need to adapt soon. With just a week’s notice, it is unlikely that Gambit will be able to put up a strong showing.
The Southeast Asian representatives, on the other hand, are a mystery. The competitive nature of the SEA region is a big reason why Execration was able to qualify for the Major. In fact, despite a top six finish at the Singapore Major, NEON esports failed to qualify for the Animajor.
Execration’s playstyle displays an affinity for mobility and team fights. With heroes such as Axe, Void Spirit, Dark seer and others, Execration is always ready to fight in the mid-game. The players’ synergy and coordination makes this team a potent force. But its still highly doubtful that the roster will make it in the top two at the Animajor Wild Card Stage.
The Wild Card stage kicks off on June 2 with a match between Team Secret and AS Monaco Gambit. The Wild Card stage will bring forth new playstyles as teams adjust to the LAN environment and showcase their preparations in the latest patch.
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