The fourth Dota 2 Major of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit, the MDL Disneyland Paris Major presents as one of the last few chances for teams vying for one of the twelve direct invite spots to The International 2019. Considering that four slots have already been taken by Team Secret, Virtus.Pro, Vici Gaming, and Evil Geniuses, any team hoping to break into the top 12 of the DPC rankings will have to step it up fast. Or, else, they’ll risk having to go through the TI qualifiers, which will be even more of a bloodbath now that there will likely be only one slot allotted for each of the six competitive regions.
If there’s any consolation, we’ve reached a stage now where the proverbial ladder has already taken shape. We already know who the powerhouses and teams to beat are, teams who have every bit of an incentive to take it easy in preparation for The International 2019 in August.
As such, we can now divert our focus on the dozens of hopeful teams who still have a lot to play for in the coming months ahead, starting at the qualifiers for the MDL Disneyland Paris Major.
Below are the teams that you need to watch as we head towards the fourth Dota 2 Major of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit.
The European powerhouse have not had a good year. Not by their own lofty standards, nor anyone else’s standards. Since placing fourth in their bid to defend their title at The International 2018, the TI7 champions have struggled to keep the same form that have made them the winningest Dota 2 lineup by far.
Team Liquid’s’ latest showing, which was a last-place finish at CORSAIR DreamLeague Season 11, served arguably as the lowest point for the organization since Kuro ‘KuroKy‘ Salehi Takhasomi took up the helm in 2015.
With that said, Team Liquid will have to bring their A game in every match from here on out. Otherwise, they risk missing out on the MDL Disneyland Paris Major, which is very possible since they’re playing at the stacked European qualifiers.
Anathan ‘ana‘ Pham was arguably OG’s best player during their title run at The International 2018. His ability to find farm with little space afforded to him, and on-point split-second decision making, proved crucial in OG’s biggest games. However, after taking a break to start the season, OG stumbled, failing to even make it to a single Major. Even after trying out two different players, OG just didn’t look the same, which is why ana’s return is of utmost significant for OG.
Of course, ana’s return also comes with added pressure. After all, OG will have no more excuses if they keep on struggling with the 19-year-old back on their roster.
Playing in arguably the most competitive region this season, it’ll be interesting to see OG prove doubters wrong (or right) at the qualifiers for the MDL Disneyland Paris Major.
Quinn ‘CCnC‘ Callahan’s journey to the pro ranks has been interesting, to say the least. After breaking into the scene with his performance with Team Freedom, where he very nearly single-handedly carried the relatively unknown stack to a berth at The International 2017 in the North American qualifiers, he was picked up by Peter ‘ppd‘ Dager in OpTic Gaming’s first foray to competitive Dota 2 for the 2017-18 Dota Pro Circuit.
Unfortunately, after proving his worth as a stable midlaner and helping OpTic Gaming make it to the Top 8 at The International 2018, CCnC has yet to find himself in a stable team. In fact, outside of Evil Geniuses, who have occasionally tapped him as a stand-in for Sumail Syed ‘SumaiL‘ Hassan, CCnC has had zero chances to play competitive this season other than playing with a stack or two.
Added to Forward Gaming following their dismal showing at the DreamLeague Major 2019, CCnC now bolsters a North American lineup that’s looking to make some noise at the Dota 2 Paris Major. Of course, they’ll have to make it there first, which might be a lot easier considering that North America will have three slots at the Major this time around. But, even so, it’ll be interesting to see how CCnC performs in his first stable team this season.
Winstrike Team was pegged as the next best Dota 2 team in CIS after Virtus.Pro following their showing at The International 2018. However, for some reason, the team just really could not replicate their previous success. Instead, they saw teams such as Natus Vincere and Gambit Esports pass them in the proverbial pecking order as they failed to qualify for any DPC tournament time and time again.
Eventually, the team had to let go of one of their original members, Bogdan ‘Iceberg‘ Vasilenko, who then decided to reform the old FlyToMoon roster with Aleksandr ‘NoFear‘ Churochkin and Andrey ‘ALWAYSWANNAFLY‘ Bondarenko.
Now, FlyToMoon are playing in the qualifiers for the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. Can they make it there? Maybe. Maybe not. But, regardless of whether they do, it’ll be interesting to see what comes of this team.
If nothing else, it was also right around this time last year that Iceberg and the rest of the original FlyToMoon squad started making a lot of noise, building their case as one of the most must-watch underdog Dota 2 teams in the scene.
We’ve all bared witness to Newbee’s steady decline over the past year or so. From making it to the grand finals of The International 2017 to bowing out in last place at The International 2018, Newbee are now a mere shell of their former selves. They haven’t even made it to a Major yet, which just speaks a lot to how far the team has fallen.
Their latest lineup aims to change that.
While Xu ‘Moogy‘ Han and Song ‘Sccc‘ Chun remain the stars of Newbee’s roster, they’ll have more help this time around than they’ve had all season long. In particular, the addition of Wang ‘SanSheng‘ Zhaohui is noteworthy. After all, the position 5 player was instrumental in Newbee’s win at The International 2014, and though that was years ago, one simply cannot underestimate what he brings to the table.
With a retooled roster in tow, Newbee will likely be one of the more dangerous teams at the Chinese qualifiers for the MDL Disneyland Paris Major.
Fnatic are firmly on top of the Southeast Asian scene. No other Dota 2 team can contest that claim. Except, maybe, for TNC Predator.
Ever the dark horses, TNC Predators have spent the past few years making teams wonder just how high the ceiling of the team was. This season’s lineup, which featured a change in cores, only served to supposedly help to elevate the team’s floor and potential. However, nearly a full-year in, and TNC Predator have yet to have anything of significance to show for their season yet.
Winning WESG 2018 was a good start, but it was against inferior competition. Not to mention, the team was playing with a different, more stable core in Marc Polo Luis ‘Raven‘ Fausto, who was standing-in for the more risk-friendly Carlo ‘Kuku‘ Palad, who was banned by the local government from participating in the tournament.
Going forward, the onus is now on TNC Predator to prove that their latest lineup works. Otherwise, they may have reevaluate their roster as they look closer and closer to missing out on making their fourth TI in a row with the rest of Southeast Asia elevating their play.
Royal Never Give Up
It almost always seems like Royal Never Give Up are always on the cusp of realizing their potential. For whatever reason, the team just can’t see to all come together at the right time to help them make it to a Major, whether via the qualifiers or by winning a Minor.
Regardless, even when they obviously still have a long way to go, Royal Never Give Up have been fun to watch.
Du ‘Monet‘ Peng remains a beast of a carry, and though a bit too inconsistent these days, Tue ‘ah fu‘ Soon Chuan will always find a way to surprise you with a play or two. But, it’s the addition of Zhang ‘LaNm‘ Zhicheng that could finally help turn things around for the young squad.
So often, we’ve seen Royal Never Give Up default to just letting Monet farm and carry them to a win, which has failed them more often than not against more decisive and coordinated teams.
A long-time veteran of the game, LaNm’s presence in-game should help stabilize the team and allow them to keep a clear head in tight situations.
The MDL Disneyland Paris Major serves as a pivotal time for many Dota 2 teams. Success there will validate their roster moves so far. Meanwhile, failure will lead to a couple of key changes, especially since there’ll only be the EPICENTER Major to look forward to after it before the qualifiers for The International 2019 starts.
With that said, it’ll be best to keep an eye out on these Dota 2 teams.
Regardless of whether they make it to the actual Major or not, the possible storylines alone make these teams worth following.
Which Dota 2 teams are you looking forward to seeing play at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major qualifiers? Do you think we’ll see the same set of teams playing at the fourth Major of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.