Dota 2 has a lot of new faces
Dota 2 is known to be a very challenging and highly competitive esport. Throughout its history there have been multiple occasions when a top-level team or even a TI champion in one season dropped so much in skill compared to its rivals that it entirely vanished from the professional scene just a couple of months after it peaked.
This season, we’re starting to see a similar pattern. Out of the 15 participants that are known at this point for The Kuala Lumpur Major, the first Major of the Dota Pro Circuit in 2018-2019, no less than 7 are either completely new teams or teams we haven’t seen on the big stage for years.
Alliance is back
First of all, people will be shocked to see Alliance playing in a Major. Ninjas in Pyjamas is another name we haven’t heard in a while. The Swedish organization might be a legend in CS:GO but in Dota 2 it has yet to prove itself. And now, with a star-filled roster under ppd’s command, it has a great chance of rising to the top.
Apart from these two teams, we have 5 others that are big questions marks at this point. The strongest of them seem to be Team Aster, which is made up of several Chinese legends including Sylar and BurNing, and Forward Gaming, which is practically an improved version of the former VGJ.Storm roster, with UNiVeRsE instead of Sneyking.
The other 3 teams that will be playing in The Kuala Lumpur Major are Marchoutofarmy, paiN X and ferzee. All of them are made up of seasoned veterans, but they constitute entirely new entities on the Dota 2 professional scene. Nobody has any idea what they’re capable of or how they even got so far, but the first Major event of the season should clarify things for us.
Apart from these 7 teams, we have 8 of the usual suspects: Team Secret, Virtus.pro, PSG.LGD, Vici Gaming, TNC Predator, Fnatic, Evil Geniuses and paiN Gaming. All of these 8 teams have been around for quite some time, so it’s not that big of a surprise that they’ve qualified for a Major.
Wait a minute, you might say, but if so many dark horses and outsiders are present at The Kuala Lumpur Major, where are the rest of the big teams? And how did they manage to miss this event?
Well, OG, the TI 8 champions, simply declined the invitation to participate in the qualifiers, citing exhaustion and a need for reflection after winning The International 2018. Others, such as Newbee, lost some of their key players and have turned to rubble as a result, being unable to get a top 2 or top 3 finish in their regional qualifiers.
Others teams, such as Team Liquid (TI 7 champions and 4th place at TI 8) showed a distinct lack of motivation and seemed to severely lack practice during The Kuala Lumpur Qualifiers. They also didn’t take the qualifiers seriously enough, messing around with their drafts and even swapping roles. In one game, KuroKy played Storm Spirit while Miracle played Bounty Hunter, raising huge question marks from the community.