After taking a much-needed break for the holidays, the Dota 2 Pro Circuit action finally returns with the Captains Draft 4 Valve Minor later next week.
On January 4-7, eight teams from all over the globe will collide at the DC Armory in Washington DC, United States to fight over 300 Qualifying Points and a $300,000 prize pool. Having said that, we decided to put on our thinking hats and ranked the eight participating teams from the bottom to the top.
As always, these rankings are not definite by any means, so feel free to take them with a grain of salt.
8. paiN Gaming
Roster: William ‘hFn‘ Medeiros, Otavio ‘tavo‘ Gabriel, Danylo ‘KINGRD‘ Nascimento, Heitor ‘Duster‘ Pereira.
The South American organisation are currently missing one player, and we’ve yet to receive word as to who exactly will be standing in for them at the Captains Draft 4 Valve Minor. Assuming that it’s Aliwi ‘w33‘ Omar, which they have already announced will stand-in for them at the Galaxy Battles Major later in January, then paiN Gaming are going to be fun to watch.
Still, fun doesn’t equal to competitive, and w33 alone won’t be enough to turn paiN Gaming into a contender. Not when they’re one of the only two teams to not have any Qualifying Points for the season, with the other being Team Empire, a strong, albeit inconsistent, team hailing from the undoubtedly stronger CIS region.
Given their relative inexperience, expect paiN Gaming to follow the same path as the other South American Dota 2 teams before them this season — an early exit from the tournament.
7. Team Empire
— Team Empire (@team_empire) December 27, 2017
Roster: Airat ‘Silent‘ Gaziev, Rostislav ‘fn‘ Lozovoi, Andrey ‘Ghostik‘ Kadyk, Maxim ‘yoky-‘ Kim, Yaroslav ‘Miposhka‘ Naidenov.
Miposhka is a young and talented player, but how well will he do as the team’s new captain? Ivan ‘VANSKOR‘ Skorokhod was a tried and tested veteran; he was part of the Team Empire squad that threatened 2014’s Natus Vincere for the fictional title of the best Dota 2 team in all of CIS. Replacing him, while reintegrating yoky- back into the team can’t be easy.
Only time will tell if Miposhka is up to the task. Though it’s probably safe to assume that Team Empire will be taking an early stumble in their Pro Circuit LAN debut.
6. CompLexity Gaming
Roster: Rasmus ‘Chessie‘ Blomdin, Linus ‘Limmp‘ Blomdin, David ‘Moo‘ Hull, Zakari ‘Zfreek‘ Freedman, Kyle ‘Kyle‘ Freedman.
What? One of the best Dota 2 teams in the strongest region in the world is ranked this low? Either the competition is really that strong, or Kyle was lying when he made the outrageous claim on Twitter.
Kidding aside, the competition really is that strong. Though Evil Geniuses remain the cream of the North American crop, they haven’t exactly been the world beaters they’ve been known to be, and there’s a huge drop off from them to the other Dota 2 teams from the land of the free.
CompLexity Gaming are a talented squad. There’s no doubt about that. It’s just that they’re not exactly the most versatile team in the world; a bad trait for any team looking forward to making a deep run at the Captains Draft 4 Valve Minor, which will be played in a different game mode.
5. Evil Geniuses
— Evil Geniuses (@EvilGeniuses) December 20, 2017
Roster: Artor ‘Arteezy‘ Babaev, Clinton ‘Fear‘ Loomis, Sumail ‘Suma1L‘ Hassan, Andreas ‘Cr1t-‘ Nielsen, Rasmus ‘MISERY‘ Filipsen
Coach: Kanishka ‘BuLba‘ Sosale
Things were starting to look up for the usually dominant Evil Geniuses after their run at the DreamLeague Major back in December. But then, everything crashed when they failed to make the playoffs at the Summit 8 Minor, prompting them to make drastic changes to their roster.
Gone now is the ever-so-stable Saahil ‘UNiVeRsE‘ Arora. Replacing him is the ridiculously talented Suma1L, who will be moving away from the middle lane. This roster change alone is enough to make you question Evil Geniuses’ status as legitimate contenders heading into the Captains Draft 4 Valve Minor.
Things aren’t all bad for the boys in blue, though. BuLBa’s return to the same squad that he coached to a win at TI5 has to mean something. The addition of MISERY should also help alleviate any shot-calling problems, which should allow Fear, who is now Evil Geniuses’ midlaner, to focus on just playing the game and winning his lane.
Theoretically, Evil Geniuses’ latest lineup could work. The talent, skill and potential are all there. It’s just that the most logical move right now would be to doubt them until proven otherwise.
Roster: Kam ‘NaNa‘ Boon Seng, Chai ‘Mushi’ Yee Fung, Daryl Koh ‘iceiceice‘ Pei Xiang, Anucha ‘Jabz‘ Jirawong, Michael ‘ninjaboogie‘ Ross Jr.
Is Mineski a one-patch team? Their mixed bag of success throughout the first quarter of the season seems to suggest so. After taking a game off of Team Liquid at the Grand Finals of the Starladder Minor and winning the PGL Minor just a week later back in October, Mineski’s star-studded lineup headlined by iceiceice and Mushi have cooled off a bit.
They remain SEA’s best Dota 2 team; Jabz continues to be a revelation, while both Fnatic and TNC Pro Team are far too inconsistent to prevent Mineski from playing gatekeepers. However, the Captains Draft 4 Valve Minor is a different beast. NaNa, in particular, will have a hard time making an impact with his limited hero pool.
It’ll be up to Jabz to make sure that he picks the right hero for every member of his team. If he fails, expect Mineski to go down along with him.
3. ViCi Gaming
Roster: Zhang ‘Paparazi‘ Chengjun, Zeng ‘Ori‘ Jiaoyang, Ren ‘eLeVeN‘ Yangwei, Zhang ‘LaNm‘ Zhicheng, Lu ‘Fenrir‘ Chao.
Coach: Tong ‘Mikasa‘ Junjie
ViCi Gaming have yet to win a Pro Circuit LAN, but that’s not exactly a bad thing. After all, they did go on to make the Grand Finals in 2 out of their 3 appearances so far this season.
In a way, ViCi Gaming can take pride in that, and without either one of Team Liquid and Newbee playing in the tournament, LaNm and the rest of ViCi Gaming are positioned to make a deep run at the Captains Draft 4 Valve Minor. Even so, though, a run to the title won’t be so easy. Not when the two teams above them are arguably better than they are.
— OG (@OGDota2) December 24, 2017
Roster: Johan ‘n0tail‘ Sundstein, Roman ‘Resolut1on‘ Fominok, Gustav ‘s4‘ Magnusson, Jesse ‘JerAx‘ Vainikka, Tal ‘Fly‘ Aizik,
Coach: Sébastien ‘7ckingMad‘ Debs
OG winning the MDL Macau Minor was a good way to salvage an otherwise uneventful start to the season. Ideally, they would’ve wanted to add another Minor trophy on top of it before the year ended, but a Top 4 finish at the Summit 8 Minor isn’t half bad. And now they’ve got a strong chance to earn a lot of Qualifying Points at the Captains Draft 4 Valve Minor.
In case you forgot, OG are historically known as one of the best teams at making adjustments in short notice, and that will never change for as long as Fly, n0tail and 7ckingMad are on the team.
Good luck trying to outdraft OG in a tournament their members have historically had a lot of success in.
1. Team Secret
Roster: Marcus ‘Ace‘ Hoelgaard, Yeik ‘MidOne‘ Nai Zheng, Adrian ‘Fata‘ Trinks, Yazied ‘YapzOr‘ Jaradat, Clement ‘Puppey‘ Ivanov.
Coach: Lee ‘SunBhie‘ Jeong-jae
Had Team Secret not been part of the Captain Draft 4 Valve Minor’s 8-team lineup, OG would’ve been the clear favourites to win the whole thing. But they are and that makes things harder for everyone else, especially since Team Secret have one of the most versatile core trios in Dota 2 and a captain in Puppey who’s always unafraid to experiment.
There’s a reason why many consider Team Secret as the best Dota 2 team right now and barring a surprise upset, they’re likely going to open the year with a win at the first Dota Pro Circuit tournament of 2018.
Which Dota 2 team do you think will win the Captains Draft 4 Valve Minor? Is this tournament really Team Secret’s tournament to lose? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.