Five Takeways from the Chongqing Major 2019

The Chongqing Major 2019 saw yet another Grand Final matchup between Team Secret and Virtus.Pro. However, this time around, the European mix would get the better of their CIS-based scrim partners. In doing so, Team Secret were able to avenge their earlier loss at the Kuala Lumpur Major at the hands of Virtus.Pro, one-upping their rivals by taking the series in four games instead of five.

But, as awesome as the six games we saw from Team Secret and Virtus.Pro were — the two best Dota 2 teams right now also met in the upper bracket finals where Virtus.Pro won 2-1 — their performance wasn’t the only thing that we can take away from the Chongqing Major 2019.

Below, we rounded up five of the biggest things that stood out to us the most at the Chongqing Major 2019.

China Loves Dota 2 Just As Every Other Region

The Chongqing Major 2019

While the stadium wasn’t packed full to the brim, there were more than just a few fans who stayed to watch the non-Chinese teams battle it out in the Grand Finals. (StarLadder Dota 2)

Chinese Dota 2 fans have long been maligned in the West. Many believed that they’re not really too keen on supporting non-Chinese teams. There’s this notion that Chinese fans are more than happy to vacate their seats and leave the venue when there’s no Chinese team playing. This has supposedly led to certain events featuring largely empty crowds.

But, is this really true?

Probably. Then again, it’s not unusual for a crowd from a particular region to cheer exclusively for teams from their region, or for fans of certain teams to leave the venue once their teams have been eliminated. So, why are these Chinese fans being singled out for this?

Toby ‘TobiWAN‘ Dawson tweeted a photo showing a largely packed BLOOMAGE Cultural and Sports Center. Could it have had a bigger audience? Probably. However, you need to keep in mind that it’s still January, and tournaments in January very rarely draw in the crowd. Or, at the very least, not as much as tournaments held at various times throughout the year.

While the showmatch between Team Liquid and Wings Gaming probably helped bring scores of audiences who chose to stay to watch the Grand Finals, the fact remains that the Chinese love Dota 2 just as much as every other region.

It’s Team Secret and Virtus.Pro then Everybody Else

The Chongqing Major 2019

The mad man himself, Puppey might finally have the right lineup to unleash the full potential of his experimental drafts with the current iteration of Team Secret. (StarLadder Dota 2)

What little doubt there was about Team Secret and Virtus.Pro being the very best that Dota 2 has to offer right now was quickly erased by what happened at the Chongqing Major 2019.

Team Secret, in particular, probably “satisfied” those punks who keep on memeing about the team’s tendency to start the season strong only to fall off just right before TI. In a a meta where most teams don’t really feel like experimenting, save for the occasional cheese pick, Team Secret broke out unconventional picks in a way that has not really been seen since Wings Gaming graced competitive Dota 2 with their presence from 2016-17.

Whether it was the support Luna or the offlane Puck in the Grand Finals, or picking Slark for Yeik ‘MidOne‘ Nai Zheng at various points of the tournament, Team Secret showcased a mastery of their own play style and strategy that most teams could only hope to achieve.

The same goes for Virtus.Pro too. Although they didn’t stray too far from their usual MO or from the meta, they stuck to what works for them, and why not? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Them losing is more of a testament to Team Secret just playing a whole lot better than they did at that particular moment.

Either way, judging from how the only close matches these two teams ever had throughout the tournament was against each other, the gap between them and the rest of the competitive scene is wider than ever.

Evil Geniuses Have Some Serious Problems

The Chongqing Major 2019

While not technically a bad team, Evil Geniuses have a lot of issues to fix if they are start contending for titles. (StarLadder Dota 2)

Call it “first world problems” if you’d like, but Evil Geniuses have issues to fix.

For a team stacked with so much collective experience and talent, they just can’t seem to get over the proverbial hump. Yes, they made third place at the Chongqing Major 2019, but you’d expect more looking at the names on their roster. After all, one could argue that this Evil Geniuses lineup is the best collection of talent in Dota 2 right now, with two TI winners, a four-time Major winner, a two-time Major winner, and a player widely revered for his farming efficiency in Artour ‘Arteezy‘ Babaev.

For some reason, the roster just isn’t clicking as it’s supposed to, and that’s problematic.

As it is, Evil Geniuses’ individual prowess is enough to get them by against other Dota 2 teams. It’s probably even enough to take a game off or even a series against the likes of Team Secret and Virtus.Pro. But, they just can’t always rely on themselves to win games. They have to play for each other, and as a team. Otherwise, they’ll find themselves systematically destroyed by teams who are just as talented but have better synergy.

It’s probably not time, as this Evil Geniuses have had more than six months to gel.

Hopefully, Evil Geniuses find out what their problems are and come up better at the Stockholm Major.

EHOME and Fnatic Are Potentially Tier 1 Teams

The Chongqing Major 2019

Some lineups just take time to gel, and Fnatic, just like EHOME, should only benefit from their current setbacks. (StarLadder Dota 2)

Let’s face it. EHOME are not Wings Gaming. They never were and never will be. Once you accept that, it’s easy to see just what kind of team EHOME is, and they’re pretty good.

After winning the Bucharest Minor quite handily, EHOME showed that they’re not just a big fish in a small fond — they’re predators ready to take on anyone who stand in their way. Although a 5th-6th place finish may not seem like much, it is a huge step forward for a team that hasn’t really had much competitive experience against international opponents.

EHOME’s lack of experience in the big stage showed in the little mistakes they made, which teams such as Evil Geniuses, Virtus.Pro and Team Secret happily capitalized on. In particular, their two young cores, Luo ‘eGo‘ Bin and Li ‘ASD‘ Zhiwen, made a lot of mistakes that could’ve probably cost them the game. But, in the grand scheme of things, that’s okay. Players need to make mistakes, and more importantly, they need to learn to move past them.

Given a bit more time and seasoning, EHOME should give China yet another contender alongside PSG.LGD.

Heads up to Fnatic as well. After a Top 8 finish at the Kuala Lumpur Major, Fnatic showed massive improvement in their play that got them a 5th-6th place finish at the Chongqing Major 2019. The games they played showed a lot about their potential as a squad, and the more time they spend playing against quality competition should only help their synergy, as well as make Anucha ‘Jabz‘ Jirawong a better captain.

More Richard Campbell Please

The Chongqing Major 2019

Even though he had a bit of a rough start, Richard Campbell really came into his own later on and delivered a memorable performance for a first-time Dota 2 host. (StarLadder Dota 2)

With Paul ‘Redeye‘ Chaloner surprisingly not invited to host the Chongqing Major 2019, the organizers, StarLadder and ImbaTV, made an even more surprising decision to give the reigns to Richard Campbell.

This decision initially received a lot of backlash from the community. After all, why would you try out a talent at a Major? Even if Valve hasn’t exactly shied away from such “experiments” in the past — remember Sean ‘Day[9]‘ Plott hosting The International 2017? — it was still surprising when there were obviously “superior” talent available. Or, at least, that’s what most people said when they first saw the talent list for the Chongqing Major 2019.

Fast forward to now, and the general consensus is that everybody wants Richard Campbell back.

Richard Campbell had some pretty cringey amounts and definitely could have done better, especially during the first two days of the event. However, as time went on, his natural charisma and improvisational skills started to show. Although it did help to have some wonderful talents working with him at the desk and how he adhered himself to the fans with this skit, anyone watching could tell that whoever suggested hiring Richard Campbell to host the tournament definitely deserves a raise.

While it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see Richard Campbell host a Dota 2 tournament anytime soon, here’s to hoping that the Chongqing Major 2019 was just the first of many for him.

Final Thoughts

With two Majors already finished, the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit is shaping up to be a lot better than last year was.

With fewer tournaments comes with a lot more downtime and we saw teams playing their absolute best at the Minors and Majors. Although the Chongqing Major 2019 encountered a number of issues, none were significant enough to really affect the event nor anyone’s perception of it, which should help ease any concerns about how The International 2019 in Shanghai this August is going to turn out.

What do you think was the biggest takeaway from the Chongqing Major 2019? Do you think it played out exactly how it should have? Which team’s performance surprised you the most? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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