Get to know the teams attending the second Minor of the 2019-20 DPC season.

17:00, 08 Jan 2020

The upcoming WePlay! Bukovel Minor runs from Janthe. 9th to the 12th of January. Over four days of intense competition, eight teams from various regions will battle for $300,000 in prize money, 660 Dota Pro Circuit points, and, perhaps most importantly, the golden ticket to the DreamLeague S13 Major. that will provide a bulk of DPC points.

While the Minor might technically be of a lower- tier of competition, the qualifier system in place means that one or two bad days can seriously derail a team’s campaign. Yet, they remain important competitions, and not just for lower-tier teams to have a taste of the professional circuit, but Minor champions have had an immense track record when they compete at the Major.

Out of six different Minor winnersteams that managed to win the Minor tournament and qualify for the corresponding Major, five of them have ended in the top six of the Major field. This season’s first Minor champion, Invictus Gaming, had a standout performance at the Chengdu Major, placing third and defeating several top-tier teams in the process.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the favourites and dark horses in the WePlay! Bukovel Minor.

Favourites:

Nigma

Without a doubt, Kuro "KuroKy" Takhasomi and his squad will be the massive favourites for the event. While they’ve had a rough qualifying campaign during the DreamLeague qualifiers, KuroKy and the boys have proved one adage time and time again: count them out at your own peril.

They’ve looked a bit rusty since leaving Liquid and rebranding into a player-owned organization, but that can simply be chalked up to their extended break. After all, even PSG.LGD, the juggernaut in China, fell in the open qualifiers. After all, KuroKy’s squad also had an abysmal showing at The International 2019’s group stages before storming to the grand finals.

An elite combination of skill, experience, and expertise, Nigma has all the ingredients required to dominate the event. They will be the apex predator at Bukovel, but there certainly will be teams hungry to take them down.

Gambit Esports

Of the eight teams filling out the Minor roster, only the two CIS teams, Gambit Esports and Team Spirit, have made it to the first Major of the season, the MDL Chengdu Dota 2 Major. Their lackluster performances saw them ending dead last at the event, however.

While Team Spirit has continued their last-place streak, finishing last again at a Chinese invitational tournament, Gambit had an excellent showing at the ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational, only losing series to the two top dogs in Vici Gaming and Evil Geniuses.

Gambit comprises of two excellent CIS veterans and backed up by three promising pub stars that have made waves with their performances. Danil “gpk-” Skutin, in particular, has been a revelation and is a new mid- lane superstar in the making. Excellent on playmaking heroes like Ember Spirit and Queen of Pain, he’s also more than capable of taking later-game style heroes like Templar Assassin and Invoker. His immense mechanical skills does goet to his head at times though as he dives immensely deep for kills, but the wunderkind will undoubtedly be entertaining to watch.

Dark Horses

Royal Never Give Up

The Bukovel Minor will be RNG’s first DPC tournament. Having had to battle through the infamously difficult Chinese qualifier, RNG will look to take inspiration from compatriots Invictus Gaming.

The squad has changed two players since their top half finish at TI9, where they exceeded expectations under veteran leadership. While the organization still possesses one of China’s best carries in Du “Monet” Peng, their other core players have shown liabilities a tendency to crack under pressure.

Regardless, it’s always difficult to count out Chinese teams, especially with so many unknowns going into the tournament. It’s clear that the tough level of competition in the Chinese qualifiers can be considered a baptism of fire., where Sseveral teams routinely swap placements and qualifying slots, unlike other more top-heavy regions. It makes Chinese teams incredibly strong and competitive during the season, and it certainly won’t be surprising to see RNG finally stake their claim to a Minor throne.

Fighting PandaS & Ninjas in Pyjamas

While Evil Geniuses are undoubtedly the top team in North America, with Chaos EC likely a distinct second, the rest of the squads such as Fighting PandaS, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and J.Storm appear locked in an eternal struggle for third.

Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao’s stack has been surprisingly consistent this season. They’ve not made a single player change since the start of the season, but haves done some role swaps within the team to take advantage of Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling’s greedy support in today’s accelerated meta.

Dota 2 NiP
Image via ESL

NiP recently made a roster change, Oliver “Skiter” Lepko with Jason “TANNER” Weedon in hopes of injecting inspiration into the team. While it’s hard to discount Peter “ppd” Dager’s captaining pedigree, the team has looked rife of ideas and have a spotty record. While they’ve not yet shown the mettle to take on top-tier teams, ppd and Saahil “Universe” Arora’s incredible knowledge of the game alone might see NiP take unexpected series in Dota 2’s new meta.

Unknown properties

The three remaining teams in the field are Team Spirit, Geek Fam, and Furia Esports.

Unfortunately, it’s hard not to take Team Spirit’s recent string of poor performances into context. The organization has poached Alexey "nongrata" Vasilyev to try and combat their slump, but it will take more than just one player to help this team that seems entirely bereft of ideas. That being said, their young recruit Egor "Ergon" Kozlov has shown shades of potential and could very well prove to be the spark they needed to lift their spirits.

On paper. Geek Fam has a solid squad, poaching reinforcements from all over Southeast Asia. The team has so far failed to live up to their promise, proving unable to secure the generous third slot in the SEA Major qualifiers for the second time in a row. While touted as a strong favourite for The Summit 11, they succumbed in the group stage of the tournament.

There’s simply not much known about Furia Esports, the South American representative for the Minor. The all-Brazillian squad should look to the Infamous’ TI9 run as inspiration to play their own game, no matter how bizarre the strategy seems on the surface. South America’s aggression hasve become a defining trait of the region. If they want to pull off some massive upsets.Furia has to bring the jungle fury to Bukovel

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