The SEA region has often been overlooked in the Dota 2 scene, due to its instability, stemming from internal issues like frequent roster changes and external ones such as visa problems.
As a result, the region can be characterized by one word – unpredictable. They either emerge the black horse (TI3 Orange, DAC Rave), wowing the international audience with their aggressive and world-class performance, or they completely fail to meet expectations (TI3 MUFC, Frankfurt Major Fnatic) and raise doubts over their eligibility for direct invites to major LANs.
TNC at TI6, the SEA Open Qualifiers team that was deemed the “black horse” of the tournament.
The same can be said for the SEA qualifiers, where top teams within the region are pitted against one another. Having scarce financial support in the region means there are usually clear favourites to win, e.g. Fnatic, WG.Unity, Faceless, as they have talented, experienced players playing under the same organization, as well as the infrastructure allowing them to train against Chinese or Korean teams for extended hours on a daily basis, giving them a strong competitive edge over the part-time or newer teams.
Team Faceless in their gaming house.
Then again, upsets happen all the time. The SEA server has been known to produce high-skilled, talented solo players with flamboyant playstyles (take MidOne, DDZ and Meracle for example), and these playmakers have a high chance to turn the tides against even the most steady of teams, let alone SEA teams that are relatively impatient and lacking in discipline. That’s one of the key reasons why rankings amongst Tier-2 SEA teams tend to fluctuate wildly.
As none of the SEA teams received a direct invite to the main event, two slots have been allocated to the SEA Regional Qualifiers, meaning the Top 2 teams will qualify to the Main Event in Kiev. This situation sort of evens out the advantage between the current top SEA teams (Faceless, TNC, WG.Unity) and all the other SEA teams vying for the spots – every team in the Regional Qualifiers has an equal chance to qualify to the main event (1 in 5).
Kiev Major 2017 SEA Qualifiers: Overview
The SEA Regional Qualifiers this time is definitely different from that of the past few Majors.
Regional Qualifier Invitees: Faceless, Geek Fam, TNC, Rex Regum Qeon, Clutch Gamers, Execration, Mineski.
For starters, we can’t remember when’s the last time Fnatic and WG.Unity have been absent from the regional invite list. Fnatic doesn’t have a complete roster this time after Mushi’s departure so they’re sitting out of the Kiev Major, and Team Bazaar (formerly WG.Unity) has had a roster change, so they had to qualify via Round 1 of the Open Qualifiers.
WG.Unity is now called Team Bazaar, and Ben has replaced Kang as the offlaner.
On top of that, there’s an American team in the mix that qualified via the SEA Champion’s Cup which, incidentally only one team signed up for, and thus they got the slot automatically without having to play for it. Prestige World Wide comprises of five American players who’re “currently based in SEA” according to a statement by their captain.
And Open Qualifiers Round 2 was won by Bazaar's second team called Team Bazaar.Youth, led by ex-WG.Unity offlaner Wenn and comprises of ex-Fire Dragoon players WL, Yang, Xiang and new player Chyuan.
This came as somewhat of a surprise as the team of newcomers managed to beat out many hot favourites in the Open Qualifiers such as hyhy's White Fries Gaming, Mushi's Mineski Malaysia and YamateH's New Beginning to acquire the final slot in the Regional Qualifiers.
Kiev Major 2017 SEA Qualifiers: Predictions
Bazaar and Faceless are the clear favourites to win the regional qualifiers this time based on their solid performances in recent tournaments, with Faceless on a seemingly unbeatable winning streak while Bazaar is slightly shakier in comparison.
Closely following the top two teams would be Filipino powerhouses TNC and Execration. Mineski too might be able to give a good performance but they’re known to be an unstable team with players who’re prone to choking at critical moments.
The newer teams Geek Fam and Clutch Gamers have achieved reasonably good results in recent SEA competitions, taking games from top teams such as Bazaar every now and then, making them the potential black horses in the Regional Qualifiers this time.
RRQ and Bazaar.Youth are not really at the same competitive level as the rest, due to a lack of experience competing at a higher level, and can at most be classified as Tier 2 teams in the SEA region. Their performance in the Regional Qualifiers will be largely dependent on whether they are able to adapt to the competitive level of other teams and develop pocket strategies of their own to surprise their opponents and bring about upsets.
Little is known about the American team Prestige World Wide, but if any of their players are playing the qualifiers from the US, the latency alone is enough to take this team out of the picture. Even if they are indeed playing from SEA, it's safe to say that for a casual or semi-professional team from another region, chances that they can fight their way through the fierce competition from the other hopefuls in the region are relatively low.
Remember to catch the Regional Qualifiers coverage on Astro CH808 eGG Network!
Conclusion: If nothing goes wrong, we think Faceless and Bazaar will be the ones to represent the SEA region in Kiev.