Major number five is coming our way. What could be considered a rehearsal for The International 9 will be conducted in Moscow, Russia.
A total of 16 teams from six regions will fight over the prize pool of US$1,000,000 and a total of 15,000 Dota Pro Circuit points.
Here’s our preview of Group B which features Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, Infamous and Gambit Esports.
DPC ranking – 3rd with 6,750 points (qualified for TI9)
EG are the most successful North American Dota 2 team. The peak of their success was becoming TI5 champions. The current squad is about a year old with Fly and s4 arriving last year, while the core of Arteezy, SumaiL and Cr1t- has been together since 2016.
Being 3rd is perhaps the spot that has been defining EG’s performance ever since TI8 where they finished, you guessed it, 3rd. They have competed in every Major so far and finished 3rd in all of them, bar DreamLeague 11 in which they were 7-8th.
EG have top-tier players in every position but have been lacking that little something to make it to the very top. In terms of individual skill level, the self-proclaimed GOAT SumaiL can rightfully be considered a contender for the best Mid in the game, while Arteezy is a top-level carry player.
DPC ranking – 7th with 2,820 points (qualified for TI9)
Another big name in this group, Team Liquid have grown over the last four years into Dota 2 titans. Unfortunately for them, the TI7 champions have vastly underperformed this season and find themselves down in 7th spot in the rankings, having finished 2nd last season.
While Liquid reminded everyone of their best days in the Paris Major, where they reached the final, a change in one of the longest standing rosters seemed necessary. The man who left by mutual consent was MATUMBAMAN who had been part of the squad since 2015.
With his departure, Liquid will miss someone who could play a sacrificial carry role. They tend to prioritise Miracle-‘s farming (he is considered by many to be the best Mid in the world). Their new player is yet to be revealed and it will be interesting to see if he will be able to make the immediate impact required in a top team such as Liquid.
DPC ranking – 31st with 60.9 points (not yet qualified for TI9)
The current Infamous roster is quite young and despite the fact the team are from South America, it consists mostly of European players. Apart from the captain Papita, who has been part of the team since 2017, the entirety of the squad joined in either March or May this year.
Black^ is the most recognisable name, as well as the one with the most experience. Working as an analyst until recently, the German has apparently decided it is time to leave the comfort of the analytic chair and take his gaming gear off the shelf once again. The team will benefit from his experience, Black^ having played in various teams across the globe.
DPC ranking – 17th with 228 points (not yet qualified for TI9)
Their DPC points tally might not look impressive, but Gambit have been one of the pleasant surprises this season and arguably the 2nd best from the CIS region.
Gambit have so far only played in the Kuala Lumpur Major, where they finished 13-16th. The Russians also came close to qualifying for two more Majors with 2nd-place finishes in two of the Minors – StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 1 and the Bucharest Minor.
Gambit’s performance was much more impressive in events outside the DPC Circuit, such as ESL One Katowice (2nd) and ESL One Birmingham 2019 (4th).
The team’s level noticeably rose after fng and Immersion joined the team in December.
It can be argued either of EG and Team Liquid are favourites to win Group B.
The North American squad have been consistent with their performances this season and despite their DPC ranking not quite matching their ambition, EG are in a very good position to win this group.
As far as the other biggie is regarded, Team Liquid have some questions to answer and much will depend on who their new player is and how quickly he is able to fit into the team. We can certainly expect that the decision will be well thought out by KuroKy.
Gambit went head to head with some much bigger names in Dota 2 and came out on top in their successful ESL One runs. The winners of the Russian qualifier demonstrated that when they have the spark, they are formidable opponents. The team have not been so successful on the stage of the Majors this season, but playing at home will certainly be to their benefit.
Finally, Infamous have a young squad that will be motivated to come to Russia and try to sweep the big names off their feet. However, the team will have a hard time in this group and it will be a huge sensation if they make it to the winners’ bracket.