DPL returns for its sixth season and will feature the crème de la crème of Chinese Dota 2 teams.
The 12 who made it in – 10 from last season and two who qualified via an open qualifier – will fight for the lion’s share of the 1million Chinese Yuan prize pool.
The group stage sees the 12 teams split into two pools of six. Group A features last season’s winners Vici Gaming alongside Team Serenity, iG Vitality, Keen Gaming.Luminous, EHOME and CDEC Gaming.
The team with the best chance of topping the group appears to be Vici Gaming, not only because they won the tournament last time out, but also because they have been one of the most impressive Chinese teams in the new Dota season.
Recently, Vici Gaming finished 2nd in ESL One Hamburg, where they were very narrowly edged out by Team Secret in the grand final. The team also managed to qualify for the Kuala Lumpur Major as the 2nd-best Chinese team but were surprisingly eliminated by TNC Predator having slipped out of the upper bracket with another defeat to Secret.
Still, Vici Gaming are one of the favourites in this group and the talent available at their disposal should be enough for them to progress to the next stage.
EHOME and Team Serenity both look strong contenders to progress from the group stage given their success in the last few months.
While EHOME have not had much success to restore themselves to international fame in recent years, the team have started the current season impressively having already won three minors on home ground – STARLUCK DOTA2 Challenge, Asia Pro League and the World Electronic Sports Games 2018 China Finals. The TI1 finalists also won DPL Season 3 and will feel at home.
Team Serenity were one of the pleasant surprises on the stage of TI8 at the end of the last season with their 9-12th spot and have also built some great momentum during the current campaign with a win in World Showdown of Esports #1 and 2nd spot at STARLUCK DOTA2 Challenge.
KeenGaming.Luminous come in as a lower-profile team in comparison to some of the others in this group, but they have the potential to be one of the Trojan horses. The team demonstrated some great play to win the Asian Dota2 League last month and will be eager to test the top-tier teams.
The remaining two teams in this group are likely to endure a tough time but should not be written off easily. iG Vitality are rebuilding their squad, playing with an entirely new roster from the beginning of this season, while CDEC Gaming are actually yet to announce their roster for the upcoming tournament.
Team Aster, Invictus Gaming, Keen Gaming, PSG.LGD, Newbee and Taichi Gaming will battle in the second group of the tournament.
Group B features the tournament’s hot favourites, PSG.LGD, who arguably have been the best Chinese team by far since April this year.
The TI8 finalists nearly won the most coveted trophy in Dota 2 last August and, at time of writing, are among the top six teams of the Kuala Lumpur Major and considered one of the favourites to claim the trophy. The only question mark about their performance would be fatigue, as the Kuala Lumpur Major will conclude just three days before DPL S6 begins.
The group features other prominent names such as former TI winners Invictus Gaming and Newbee. The former did not have a great Dota 2 Pro Circuit season last year, and neither was their home season impressive. As a result, it’s not surprising that we find IG with an entirely rebuilt squad still looking to find their form.
Newbee are in a similar position, but they replaced only two of their players in an attempt to forge a team that matches their TI-winning ambitions. Newbee have been struggling to qualify for the international tournaments so far and DPL S6 will be a good testing ground for the new squad.
Team Aster are one of the fast-rising teams of Chinese Dota. While the team cannot yet be compared to PSG.LGD or Vici Gaming, the roster assembled by the legend BurNIng showed great potential on the stage of ESL One Hamburg and despite finishing in the bottom four in the Kuala Lumpur Major, Team Aster left a positive impression. This is a team with lots of potential and they can feature at the top of this group.
Keen Gaming are a team traditionally focused on the Chinese scene and only occasionally make an appearance in international tournaments. However, this season the squad has been rebuilt with some established names, such as Kaka and eLeVeN, stating their ambition to challenge the bigger players in the game.
Finally, Taichi Gaming remain an enigma – they are another team yet to announce their squad for this event.