DreamLeague Season 11 preview

DREAMLEAGUE SEASON 11 PREVIEW
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DreamLeague Season 11 is the third Major on the 2018/19 Dota 2 Pro Circuit.

The 16 teams that made the cut will battle it out for the lion’s share of a prize pool of US$1million, not to mention 15,000 DPC points.

The event takes place in the Annexet Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, from March 14-24.

Format

The 16 teams are divided into four groups of four. The initial two clashes in each group have been drawn and will be played in a best-of-three format.

The top two teams in each group advance to the upper bracket of the main event, while the bottom two head into the lower bracket.

All the games in the main event will be played as best-of-three series apart from the first round of the lower bracket and the grand final, which will be played over best-of-one and best-of-five respectively.

Teams

Ninjas in Pyjamas (Outright odds: 20.490) – Qualified in the European region, beating Team Secret in the process. The team finished 4th in the Kuala Lumpur Major, but failed to secure a spot for the Chongqing equivalent. NiP have demonstrated they can perform at the top level, but they are struggling with consistency, with players such as Fata and Ace not always delivering. Still, NiP have the potential to beat the best, as demonstrated in the qualifier.

Team Secret (3.370) – The winners of the Chongqing Major, are arguably the best Dota 2 team right now. Having also finished runners-up at the Kuala Lumpur Major, the team led by Puppey have already secured their spot at The International 2019. It comes as no surprise that they are favourites to win this major, as well. They have built on the high level of Dota they produced last season by bringing back zai and discovering the young star Nisha.

Team Liquid (4.000) – Having been among the best teams during the last DPC season, Liquid have been underperforming in the current campaign and have accumulated only 450 points from their 7-8th spot in the Chongqing Major, while entirely missing the Kuala Lumpur Major. The same line-up that won TI7 is playing nowadays and questions are starting to pop up about their future.

Virtus.pro (5.200) – It has been another impressive DPC season for VP, but when will this transform into a much-craved TI win? The Russian team haven’t made any changes to their line-up since the arrival of RodjER last year and rarely fail to deliver top-level Dota. Subsequently, expectations are high entering this event – the market has them as 3rd favourites. Virtus.pro won the first Major this season in Kuala Lumpur and finished 2nd in Chongqing.

Natus Vincere (37.350) – Na’Vi have been fighting to get back on the big stage of Dota 2. A new line-up featuring some former players was formed last September with long-term veteran Dendi stepping down. The new team is captained by SoNNeikO, who was rumoured to have issues working alongside Dendi in his previous spell. This will be the first Major of the team this season – they qualified as 2nd best in the CIS region.

PSG.LGD (12.680) – The big change for TI8 finalists PSG in this tournament will be the absence of Somnus丶M, who recently decided to take a break from competitive Dota. He has been a crucial figure as the organisation have been building squads around him for almost four years. That said, Xm has been a reliable replacement so far. PSG.LGD have been the best-performing Chinese team this season, finishing 5-6th at the Kuala Lumpur Major and 4th in Chongqing.

EHOME (15.670) – They are the Chinese team to have improved the most this season based on where they were at this point last year. Once a powerhouse, EHOME have been in obscurity for several years, but their recent performances signify a possible return to elite Dota. The team have TI6 winners y` and Faith_bian at their disposal, but the latter will be unavailable for this event. EHOME won the Chinese qualifier to earn their spot and will look to build on 5-6th spot in the Chongqing Major.

Keen Gaming (25.300) – Keen arrive as the 3rd-best Chinese team, qualifying at the expense of teams such as Vici Gaming and Team Aster. Keen are another team, thanks to players such as Kaka, old chicken and eLeVeN, that feature great talent, but they can be inconsistent. The Chinese failed to qualify for the previous two Majors and every point won here will be crucial on the road to TI9.

Forward Gaming (25.300) – Have struggled to repeat the good performances of TI8 and the roster changes at the beginning of the season have not led to the results hoped for. Despite that, the team have been regular participants when it comes to Majors – they finished in the bottom four in Chongqing and 9-12th in Kuala Lumpur. FG arrive as the 3rd-best team from the North American qualifier. The question is can they achieve more than 9-12th spot in this Major?

Mineski (31.340) – This team have been improving since pieliedie’s arrival in November as a captain. Another debutant on the Major scene this season, Mineski will test themselves against top opposition. Their last international tournament was ESL One Katowice where they finished 5-6th. The team qualified as the 2nd best from the SEA region, overthrowing TNC in the process, which is no small feat.

Fnatic (20.490) – One of the teams that have been gradually improving over the last several months. The SEA region has demonstrated that its teams have the potential to challenge the very best and in Chongqing Fnatic secured a deserved 5-6th spot, beating teams such as Team Liquid and EG in the process. It was an improvement on the 7-8th spot in Kuala Lumpur and it will be interesting to see how far Fnatic go this time.

Evil Geniuses (9.640) – Won the North American qualifier to reach this event. EG have been the emblem of NA Dota since its early days and have subsequently been able to attract top talent. The current roster is no different. With the acquisition of Fly and s4 last year, EG added star names and duly improved their results. They have finished 3rd in both Majors this season and are in a healthy position to secure preliminary qualification for The International 9. However, EG are yet to taste tournament victory this season and remain in the shadow of teams such as Team Secret and Virtus.pro, at least for now.

J.Storm (49.420) – Come into the event as the 2nd-best team from the North American qualifier. The team have been consistent in the previous two Majors – posting a 9-12th finish in both. J.Storm have an interesting roster composition – two former MVP Phoenix players, as well as TI6 finalist Moo and TI5 winner Fear.

Chaos Esports Club (37.350) – The Brazilian-European teamqualified as winners of the South American qualifier. Their recent results include 7-8th spot in Katowice, 9-12th in the Chongqing Major and a bottom-four finish in Kuala Lumpur (then under the paiN Gaming banner). Chaos are undoubtedly the most impressive team from the South American region, but they are not ready to face the big teams yet and look unlikely to be contending for the upper bracket.

Infamous (97.660) – A South American team coming in as the 2nd best from their region. While they failed to qualify for the previous two Majors, they have been on the stage of the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor in which they finished 4th. Infamous were recently boosted by the arrival of the veteran mason, a TI4 3rd-place finisher with EG.

Vici Gaming (13.340) – Stormed through last week’s StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor to earn the final spot at this tournament. Dominating throughout its entirety, the Chinese left few doubts from an early stage that they would emerge victorious. Their success came with only one lost game – in the group stage against Gambit Esports. Yang, in particular, impressed and is a key player for the team. Vici Gaming finished 7-8th in the previous two Majors.