The Bucharest Minor Qualifiers are just right around the corner, and boy, are we in for quite the treat.
Already, there’s a full slate of known and popular teams who are looking for a second chance to qualify for the Chongqing Major by winning the Bucharest Minor. Of course, that’s going to be easier said than done. After all, they’ll have to secure a spot at the Minor first.
Just a quick look at the teams who will play at the Bucharest Minor Qualifiers will tell you just how competitive it’s going to be. In Europe alone, there’s OG and Ninjas in Pyjamas vying for the two spots allocated to the region. Then, in China, there’s Royal Never Give Up, along with a bunch of teams who are on the up-and-up and are looking for a chance to breakthrough.
Just a year after the introduction of the Dota Pro Circuit, and the level of competition is already much higher than ever before. But, while all eyes will be on the Major-caliber teams during the Bucharest Minor Qualifiers, there are a handful of others who have managed to fly under the radar that are very well capable of pulling off an upset run and taking the spot all to themselves.
Vega Squadron (Europe)
- Omar ‘Madara‘ Dabachach
- Anas ‘MagE-‘ Hirzallah
- Maurice ‘KheZu‘ Gutmann (Captain)
- Verros ‘Maybe Next Time‘ Apostolos
- Petu ‘Peksu‘ Vaatainen
All eyes will be on OG and Ninjas in Pyjamas at the Bucharest Minor Qualifiers, but don’t underestimate KheZu‘s latest squad, who was recently picked up by the CIS organization, Vega Squadron.
This might not be a team with stand-out names, but they’ve done relatively well for themselves, and considering that everyone’s pretty much starting on a clean slate right now with the recent set of patches and all, Vega Squadron have every bit of a chance to go on a surprise run.
- Luo ‘eGo‘ Bin
- Li ‘ASD‘ Zhiwen
- Zhang ‘Faith_bian‘ Ruida
- Jiang ‘天命‘ An
- Zhang ‘y`‘ Yiping (Captain)
Once one of the powerhouses in Dota 2, the EHOME organization has not fielded a competitive lineup in recent times. Even with the addition of former Wings Gaming standouts, y` and Faith_bian, the team failed to qualify for the past two TI tournaments. However, this year feels like they’re finally close to breaking out and being competitive.
EHOME’s latest lineup possess the right mix of proven winning players and up-and-coming talent to challenge the top teams in China. In fact, they very nearly qualified for the Chongqing Major, which speaks a lot to the strength of the team. And, with the former TI4 champion Zhang ‘xiao8‘ as their coach, there’s little reason not to expect EHOME to continue improving well into the season.
Mineski (Southeast Asia)
- Thiay ‘JT-‘ Jun Wen
- Kam ‘Moon‘ Boon Seng
- Damien ‘kpii‘ Chok
- Kim ‘Febby‘ Yong-min
- Johan ‘Pieliedie‘ Åström
Chai ‘Mushi‘ Yee Fung tried his best to accommodate the team and switched positions earlier this year. But, it was clear right from the get-go that he just wasn’t up for it as a support. A few months later, Mushi is gone, and in his place is Pieliedie.
So far, the results of Pieliedie’s presence have been encouraging; Mineski recently found themselves just 1 win away from qualifying for the Chongqing Major.
As a stalwart veteran of the game and one of the originators of the farm-starved “position six” support play style, Pieliedie brings tons of experience and stability to a Mineski lineup that’s full of potential. Whether or not he’ll be the key to the team’s success remains to be seen, but he’s proven to be a good fit already as they’re all but guaranteed to dominate their region at the Bucharest Minor Qualifiers.
Infamous (South America)
- Jacky ‘EternaLEnVy‘ Mao
- Enzo ‘Timado’ Gianoli
- Mariano ‘Papita‘ Caneda (Captain)
- Jingjun ‘Sneyking’ Wu
- Joel Mori ‘MoOz‘ Ozambela
The recently-disqualified PaiN X squad proved that it’s possible for a recently-formed stack of unproven but mechanically skilled players to come together to compete in South America and win a tournament spot.
That bodes well for an Infamous squad that’s revamping more than half of its roster just for the Bucharest Minor Qualifiers.
Filled with talent that’s played at the most recent TI iterations — save for MoOz, who has relatively little competitive experience internationally — Infamous’ latest roster cannot be underestimated. This is especially true if it qualifiers for the Minor itself. And, considering the strength of competition in the region, Infamous has the potential to not only be a Minor contender in South America, but a team who could give paiN Gaming a good run for their money should the team choose to stick together long term.
Natus Vincere (CIS)
- Vladislav ‘Crystallize‘ Krystanek
- Idan ‘MagicaL’ Vardanian
- Evgeniy ‘Blizzy‘ Ree
- Evgeniy ‘Chuvash‘ Makarov
- Akbar ‘SoNNeikO‘ Butaev (Captain)
Natus Vincere turned a lot of heads with their performance at the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor. Although they didn’t end up winning the tournament, they did place second. That’s huge for a team that hasn’t seen much success for much of the past year.
It’s clear that the current iteration has a lot of talent in it, with SoNNeikO as the captain, they are in good and capable hands.
With NoPangolier and Virtus.Pro already out of the way, the Bucharest Minor Qualifiers should be Natus Vincere’s to lose.
These teams aren’t a sure win to win the Bucharest Minor Qualifiers. They’re far from the favourites. In fact, some are not even close to second best. However, their presence makes things a lot more interesting. Should they gain even just a bit of momentum, there’s no doubt that these teams have what it takes to complete an upset run and secure a slot at the second Minor of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit.
Which teams do you think will stand out at the Bucharest Minor Qualifiers? Will the favourites end up meeting expectations? Or will wee an upset or two? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.