Team Liquid’s DPC season has been one of disappointment so far, but not in the traditional sense. This has not been any fault of their own, mind you, as there have been no concerns for their future based on how they’ve been playing when they’re at full strength. Liquid have been unable to properly contend for a Major title so far, missing Kuala Lumpur entirely and forced to play with a stand-in for Miracle in Chongqing. Liquid are easily the most out-of-place team in the DPC rankings, holding only 450 points, below the likes of TNC and EHOME even though they likely belong at the very top, despite all of this.
The upside is that while Liquid have been unable to show off their true potential in a Major, we’ve had great showings from them outside of Valve events. In December they took first place at the MegaFon Winter Clash against an incredibly stacked field. More recently they took home first at MDL Macau, taking their only game loss in the playoffs during the Grand Finals against Evil Geniuses. This tournament is more important for them than any of the other top teams, as Liquid are effectively playing a DPC season where they only get three Majors opportunities while every other team gets five. Look to see Liquid firing on all cylinders at this event.
Fnatic have had a solid DPC Season so far. Despite coming in with some players who have struggled and others in new positions, they’ve performed above and beyond expectations. They easily became the most dominant team from the SEA region, winning qualifiers left and right and consequently earned their spot amongst the best teams in the world. They dominate lower-level teams and confidently take down teams who are in the middle of the pack although they still struggle a bit when it comes to defeating the best of the best. Considering the previous Majors were among Jabz’s first events as captains, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, however.
Now, things have changed. Fnatic’s roster has significantly more experience together, they finished in the top 8 at the Kuala Lumpur Major and improved upon that to finish in the top 6 at the Chongqing Major. Fnatic have steadily developed as a unit and if they continue on this upward trend, keep an eye on Fnatic to make a deep run.
The Chinese Powerhouse returns to the Dota Pro Circuit somewhat weaker than when we last saw them, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. PSG.LGD have been the go-to Eastern team for the past year. They were easily the best Chinese team during the season leading up to TI8 and they have continued to be the best Chinese team leading up to TI9. PSG.LGD have more than double the number of DPC points than Vici Gaming, the next highest Chinese team. This placement comes from their top 6 performance in Kuala Lumpur and their top 4 performance at Chongqing. Unfortunately, at both events they fell to their fellow Monster team and newly crowned “China Slayers,” Evil Geniuses.
Coming back to the present, Maybe decided to take a break, meaning that PSG.LGD would be looking to fill a gigantic hole in their stacked lineup. They settled on picking up Xm on loan from CDEC who will be substituting for Maybe until the latter returns to professional play. Regardless of Xm’s skill, it isn’t hard to admit that this is somewhat of a downgrade for PSG.LGD as any player would be when it comes to replacing Maybe. The important thing is that PSG.LGD have had a strong enough year already that they likely won’t need many more points to secure their qualification for TI so a top 8 finish in Stockholm would count as a tremendous success — something they should be more than capable of achieving even with a standin.
EG are ready as ever for the DreamLeague Major. They’re coming off a second-place finish at MDL Macau where they took down VP in a 3-game series and their only two series losses came at the hands of Team Liquid. All of this while playing with CCNC as a stand-in for Sumail, a truly impressive feat. As for the DPC, EG are essentially secure, having taken third place at both the Kuala Lumpur Major and the Chongqing Major they sit far above the rest of the competition. After finishing in third place at TI8, they followed that up with two more third-place finishes. Evil Geniuses, are hungry for a big win and we’re not talking about just any win — they want a Valve win.
At the Kuala Lumpur Major and the Chongqing Major they lost in the lower bracket finals to Virtus.Pro and Team Secret, respectively. Both of these teams are contenders at the top of the DPC standings and EG are excited to break their third-place streak to prove they belong there too. After MDL Macau, they seem poised to do so. If they can take a game off Liquid and beat Virtus.Pro with a sub, there’s no telling what they will do in Stockholm.
Na`Vi have had a difficult season. They failed to make it through the CIS qualifiers for the Kuala Lumpur Major. They then made it to the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor looking like one of the stronger teams in the event but unfortunately, they were defeated by 1437’s Tigers in the Grand Finals. Next, they would move on to the CIS qualifiers for the Chongqing Major. Sadly Na`Vi fell in the group stage. Thankfully though, no changes were made. Nothing obvious changed, but something clicked for Na`Vi. At their next event, the MegaFon Winter Clash, they 2-0’d both Virtus.Pro and PSG.LGD before losing out to Team Liquid in the Grand Finals. Those are three of the best teams in the world and Na`Vi confidently took down two of them.
If there was a time for Na`Vi to turn their season around, this was it… only it wasn’t their time. They were not invited to the Chongqing Major regional qualifier and ended up falling during the open qualifiers. Na`Vi lost in the first Minor of the season and failed to qualify for the 2nd.
After that they would head to the DreamLeague Major qualifiers, where they were sent to the lower bracket from the group stage by The Pango and Gambit Esports. Na`Vi would go on to pull off a miraculous run through the lower bracket, defeating both Pango and Gambit on the way to qualifying for the DreamLeague Major. It’s been a long road, but Na`Vi are going to their first Major of the season, and they’ve looked great doing it. Na`Vi is here. Na`Vi is resurgent. Na`Vi is back.