‘Tis the season of change

18:37, 05 Dec 2019

Last month the Dota 2 season kicked off with the MDL Chengdu Major. As has become something of a tradition for the first event of the season, several teams decided to forego attendance

These included big names like TI9 winners OG, the former Team Liquid squad which now competes as Nigma, PSG.LGD and Team Secret. This allowed for a surprising conclusion to the event which, at the time, was definitely well deserved. But it also left people wondering what competition would look like in a stronger field.

This week, teams have begun answering that question. OG is still missing, choosing instead to enter its OG Seed squad. Everybody else, however, has at least shown up to the qualifiers for the next Major in line: Dreamleague Season 13.

Of course, many teams have gone through roster changes and are still tightening their play. The matches were also the first on a new patch, which has significantly changed the game. Opinions on the update’s quality may vary, but going by this week’s matches it seems clear that players will need more time to adjust.

That said, all this did result in very entertaining games, as well as some surprising upsets.

Drama galore

The first of those came in China, where powerhouse PSG.LGD would fall in the second round of the open bracket. They were knocked out by a very aggressive FTD.apollo, who were swiftly disposed of in the next round themselves. None of the region’s open qualifiers would survive the closed gauntlet, but just like that one of TI’s top four teams were out before proceedings had even begun.

A little to the south, SEA squad TNC Predator had the hardest time getting out of groups. When they finally did, they got immediately run over by an undefeated Fnatic. This left the MDL Chengdu Major winners only the third place match to qualify, which they won 2-1 because their opponents got disconnected in game three.

In Europe, two-time International finalists Nigma were eliminated by a Team Secret carried by former teammate Lasse Aukusti "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen. Released from the squad before TI9, his 12-1-12 Weaver and 11-1-10 Anti-Mage games must have felt pretty good. To him at least. The other favorites Team Liquid, Alliance and Team Secret would all qualify in this region, while hardly dropping any games in their respective runs.

Comparatively, CIS may have seen the most volatile and entertaining series of them all. While other regions had squads which were clearly better than their competition, here teams’ relative strength was similar across the board. This was demonstrated in playoffs, where Virtus.pro, Natus Vincere, Gambit Esports and Team Spirit all ended up taking games off of each other, before the first two would make it through.

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Final results

We now have the following fifteen teams qualified for Leipzig:

Europe

Team Liquid, Team Secret & Alliance

China

Invictus Gaming, Vici Gaming & Team Aster

Southeast Asia

Reality Rift, Fnatic & TNC Predator

CIS

Virtus.pro & Natus Vincere

North America

Chaos Esports Club & Evil Geniuses

South America

paiN Gaming & beastcoast

One more will be added to this list, in the form of the WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020 winner. Qualifiers for this tournament, which is held a week before the next Major, are currently on-going.

The $1,000,000 USD, 15,000 DPC point Major itself will take place January 18th through 26th in Leipzig, Germany. Its schedule is available here.

If the trends we've seen develop this week continue, it's going to be a banger.

Images via Dreamhack

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