Less than a week has passed since the Chongqing Major ended, and yet, teams from all over the globe are already preparing for the Stockholm Major qualifiers.
The regional qualifiers for the third Major of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit is set to run from February 1-6 with 48 teams across all six of the competitive regions will battle it out for one of the five slots for the Stockholm Major on March 14-24 in Sweden.
As per the usual, despite the new patch, we can expect the powerhouses to showcase their strength once again at the Stockholm Major qualifiers. The likes of Evil Geniuses, Team Secret, and Virtus.Pro have dominated their regions so much this season that it’d be foolish not to expect them to do the same. But, we’re not here to talk about them. We’re here to talk about the outliers; the teams that most people would usually pay very little attention to.
Below, we rounded up the players (and their teams), who, we believe, could make things a little more interesting at the Stockholm Major qualifiers.
Marc Polo Luis “Raven” Fausto — Lotac
The former TNC Predator hard carry has been low-key building one of the most efficient seasons so far. As of right now, he’s second in KDA among all players with at least 30 games played with 7.64, putting him just right on par with the likes of Abed Azel ‘Abed‘ Yuson (7.67 KDA) and Roman ‘Resolut1on‘ Fominok (7.44).
Unfortunately, the rest of his team hasn’t picked up the slack, and as a result, he’s been relegated to seeing his former team dominate Southeast Asia while Lotac sit on the sidelines and settle for third-place finishes.
The arrival of Rolen Andrei Gabriel ‘Skemberlu‘ Ong might just change that.
Players like Skemberlu don’t just change from hard carry to support unless they know that there’s already a better player on them on the roster, and if they’re not confident enough that they can adjust to their new role.
If Skemberlu can make an impact on Lotac, expect Raven’s numbers to go even higher as he finally takes Lotac to a Major, or at the very least, a Minor.
Galvin “Meracle” Kang Jian Wen — CompLexity Gaming
After bursting onto the scene a few years ago and gaining infamy for micro skills, the player who’s known for prioritizing buildings over heroes is now in North America to try and see if he has any luck there.
Will compLexity Gaming finally be his chance to make his mark at a big tournament? Maybe. Maybe not. But, it’ll be fun to watch him trying.
Save for Evil Geniuses, there really isn’t a powerhouse team in North America. We thought that was Forward Gaming, but as it turns out, adding a TI5 winner in Saahil ‘Universe‘ Arora to your roster that made Top 5 at TI8 isn’t as easy as it sounds. VGJ.Storm also look like they’ve peaked, and though we have little doubts regarding the skill on their lineup, we also have reservations because of what they’ve shown so far.
That leaves the field wide open for compLexity Gaming, who, last I checked, still have standout players like Linus ‘Limmp‘ Blomdin and Zakari ‘Zfreek‘ Freedman on their roster.
Enzo “Timado” Gianoli — Infamous
A lot of people expected Timado to just burst into the scene after making a name for himself at the TI7 stage by helping Infamous quickly for the prestigious event. But, instead, we’ve seen him waste away a year of his career as he went from one bad stack to another.
With a little more structure now in Infamous, a player like Timado should have very chance to shine and play at his absolute best.
Troels Lyngholt “syndereN” Nielsen — Kaban
Wherever syndereN goes, a new stack of noteworthy players follow. His latest venture is no exception.
Both Leon ‘Nine‘ Kirilin and Oliver ‘oliver‘ Lepko are both new comers to the scene that have showcased tremendous potential in a short amount of time. You could say that they’re just a breakout performance away from securing the attention of a Tier 1 team who’s looking for a young and explosive core player.
If syndereN can help guide this team to Stockholm via the Stockholm Major qualifiers, there’s no doubt that many teams will be lining up to see what nine and oliver can do under some decent leadership.
Danial “yamich” Lazebny — Team Winstrike
Surprisingly enough, Team Winstrike have not disbanded. Or, at the very least, the core players haven’t.
Since making a surprise run at The International 2018, Team Winstrike have swapped out only two players, with Mikhail ‘Misha‘ Agatov and Danial ‘yamich‘ Lazebny serving as their only recent additions.
Our eyes are on the latter.
Seldom do you see 17-year-olds impess in Dota 2, and that’s what yamich has done in recent times. Although Team Winstrike have not established himself as one of the best teams in CIS this season, they’ve been fun to watch, and with yamich, as well as Artstyle, formally on board, the CIS leg of the Stockholm Major qualifiers just got a whole lot more interesting.
Guo “XM” Hongcheng — PSG.LGD
With virtually zero trackable competitive experience, XM is a literal unknown for everyone but PSG.LGD. In fact, the Chinese powerhouse might not really even know what they’re getting with their latest addition.
But, then again, considering how well the last time they brought up someone from CDEC Gaming — Lu ‘Maybe‘ Yao, who’s out on personal leave, previously played for CDEC Gaming before joining PSG.LGD back in 2015 — there’s little reason to doubt the skills of the young midlaner.
Which of these players are you looking forward to seeing the most at the Stockholm Major qualifiers? Do you think they’ll be able to guide their teams to a spot? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.