The next Dota Pro Circuit major is the Dreamleague Season 11 in Stockholm. The event starts on the 14th of March 2019 and will continue for a period of ten days till the 24th of March 2019. The Dreamleague Season 11 Major will feature a total of sixteen teams and a prize pool of $1 million.
Over the past few days, we have seen the regional qualifiers for the Major take place. There were a total of six regional qualifiers: Europe, Asia, CIS, North America, South East Asia, China. The last three days of the LAN will take place in front of a live audience.
Here is a quick rundown on each regional qualifier as they happened and the teams that qualified from each qualifier.
- Team Liquid
- Team Secret.
The European qualifier featured some of the best Dota 2 teams in action. The quality of competition in the region is one of the best and we saw top tier Dota 2 in the qualifiers. NIP faced off against OG in the Upper Bracket of the qualifier. Despite being a 2-0 in favour of NIP, it was a very close affair. The games were extremely long, going well over 40 minutes each time. The first game saw NIP pick up a very tanky lineup including Chaos Knight, Elder Titan as well as Timbersaw. OG had a reliable Terrorblade, however, NIP was able to tank through the damage output and survive the team fights.
The game was a very long one and we could see how NIP was slowly inching towards victory. However, it could have gone either way and we would have very well seen OG as the winner in this match. The second game was relatively easier for NIP as they were able to push through with their advantage early in the game. The second game also had a similar strategy with the Sven and the Dragon Knight. However, NIP was able to get a much stronger laning phase and emerged as the winner. Since they were directly invited to the Upper Bracket, this victory meant that NIP qualified for the Dreamleague Major.
The other upper bracket qualification was Team Secret. They were up against Team Liquid in the Upper Bracket. Team Secret was always the team with the upper hand, but they managed to completely demolish Team liquid in their two games. It was a quick finish for Team Secret as their superior laning phase and their focus on objectives meant that they did not allow Liquid any leeway.
Team Liquid manage through to the Major via lower Bracket
Fortunately for Team Liquid, they managed to win through the lower bracket of the qualifier. They faced off against Vega Squadron for their qualification match. After upsetting OG in the Lower Bracket, Vega Squadron had proved themselves in the qualifier. Team Liquid picked Chen in both their matches, a rare pick especially after the changes to the hero. They were able to ensure a great mixture of physical and magical damage as they proceeded in the games.
It did not seem that Team liquid was out of their comfort zone against Vega Squadron. With this victory, they are the third and final team to qualify for the Stockholm Major.
The North American Qualifiers
- Forward Gaming
- Evil Geniuses
The North American Qualifiers was the last regional qualifier for the Stockholm Major. On Day 1, Evil Geniuses and J.storm secured their position at the Major with upper bracket victories. There were hardly any upsets in the NA Qualifiers with Forward Gaming, J.Storm and Evil Geniuses making it through. Forward Gaming did face a small hurdle in the form of EG when they lost 1-2 in the upper bracket.
EternalEnvy’s Flying Penguins were unable to win a single game as they lost 0-2 to Complexity and J.Storm. It is a promising team, but they showed no innovation and there was an obvious lack of synergy amongst the players. The other team that proved to be a disappointment is Complexity Gaming. After a poor Group stage where they lost to both J.Storm as well as Forward Gaming, Complexity was unable to defeat Forward in the Lower Bracket finals. Being one series win away from the qualification must hurt, however, they will have a chance to prove themselves in the upcoming Starladder Minor.
South East Asia
The South East Asian qualifiers were a very straightforward affair. Fnatic and Mineski were placed in different groups for the Qualifiers. After topping their respective groups; they won their upper bracket matches in order to qualify for the upcoming Major.
South East Asia receives only two spots and Fnatic and Mineski faced little to no competition. The winners’ final match between Fnatic and Mineski was a very close affair. The two teams were constantly trying to outsmart each other, especially in their drafts. The back and forth affair continued until the very end when Fnatic managed to defeat Mineski. iceiceice on the Timbersaw was instrumental in Fnatic having the upper hand in the final game. He was just too tanky for Mineski to even possibly consider a team fight with Fnatic.
Mineski received a small setback in Game 2 against Boom.ID. They were not prepared to lane against Cerenity’s Leshrac, which caused them to alter their gameplan. Unfortunately, it did not work and they lost Game 2. However, with a much superior draft in Game 3; Mineski was able to seal their Stockholm Major spot.
The Chinese qualifiers are one of the most competitive regions in Dota 2. With Chinese teams failing to make an impact at the previous Major, it was time for the organisations to prove themselves.
- Keen Gaming
There was little surprise to see PSG.LGD qualify easily to the Major. The best Chinese team has continued its dominance since TI8 in China. They are still not at the same level as some of the western teams as we saw during the Chongqing Major. LGD was playing with a stand-in, with Lu “Maybe” Yao out of the event as he had taken a break. Despite having a stand-in, Guo ”XM” Hongcheng PSG.LGD was able to easily defeat teams such as Aster and RNG en route to the Major spot. They were unable to move past Ehome in the Group stage, something that displayed their weakness with the stand-in.
Ehome’s performance during the past two months has catapulted them into a strong competitive team in Dota 2. After winning the Bucharest Minor, Ehome fell to Evil Geniuses at the Chongqing Major. However, they continue their splendid performance in China as they defeated PSG.LGD in the Group stages to top their Group B. In the Playoffs, Ehome was able to easily move past Vici Gaming and secure a presence at Stockholm. ASD has looked very comfortable in his role on the team. He was able to wreak havoc in the Vici Gaming lineup during their playoff series.
Keen Gaming was the final team to qualify for Stockholm. They had to go through the Lower Bracket to reach the final slot. It was a lengthy process; one which saw them defeat teams such as Aster, RNG and Team Root.
- Natus Vincere
- Virtus Pro
Traditionally providing some of the strongest Dota 2 teams, the CIS regional qualifiers had only two slots going into the Major. Natus Vincere and Virtus.Pro are the two teams which qualified through the CIS regional qualifiers.
There was little doubt that Virtus Pro would make it to the Stockholm Major. The team has dominated the Dota 2 scene for most of the past year and a half. Virtus Pro sailed through the entire qualifier without losing a single game. The team has already qualified for The Shanghai international 2019 and they remain dominant through the qualifier.
Their counterparts, Na’Vi had a much more difficult path en route to the top two spots. They had to traverse the entire length of the Lower Bracket. They passed through teams such as Pango, Winstrike, Old But Gold as well as Gambit Esports. It is great to see Na’Vi in a Dota 2 Major yet again. The CIS team remains a fan favourite and it will be interesting to see how far they can go at the Stockholm Major 2019.
- Chaos EC
The South American region is one of the weakest amongst all the regional qualifiers. However, there were little surprises in the South American scene as we had the two favourite teams qualify to the Major.
Infamous and Chaos EC faced each other in the Upper Bracket matches. Infamous managed to secure the second spot in the Group stage, which unfortunately led them to face off against Chaos EC in the Upper bracket matches. With Chaos EC winning this match 2-0, Infamous had to make the long lower bracket run to qualify. The defeated rei do picolé in the Lower Bracket Finals to win their slot into the major.
The South American regional qualifiers were devoid of any drama. The only ‘upset’ would be Thunder Predator winning their Group stage match against Infamous. However, it only led to a slightly longer qualification process for Infamous as they join Chaos EC at Stockholm as the South American representatives.
The Stockholm Major takes place in March and will feature some of the best teams in action. After a lengthy qualification process, we have our fifteen teams for the event. The final slot will go to the winner of the upcoming Starladder IMBATV Minor.