WePlay Dota 2 AniMajor Commences 2nd June; Team Preview
The first match of the second Dota 2 Pro Circuit Major is less than 24 hours away and we're truly excited to see how it's going to play out. For those of you unfamiliar, it'll be the exact same format as the Singapore Major held earlier this year: wild cards to group stage to the playoffs and grand final.
There are 18 teams involved this time around, thankfully only one player hasn't been able to make it so it'll be a mostly accurate representation of each team's prowess going into The International. For those of you who haven't been keeping up with the scene, here's a quick rundown of the teams competing.
Wild Card Seeds
After a poor showing in the first major (possibly attributed to MinD_ContRoL not being able to play at the event), the team made a lineup change for the second season of the DPC 2021. w33 was removed from the team, Miracle- went back to mid, and iLTW was brought in. They performed just as well as they did in season 1, which led them to the same situation as before - Wild Card candidates. This time around, they'll be playing with their complete roster, so they have significantly higher chances of making it out of the wild card stage. Unfortunately for them, the AniMajor wild card stage is stacked...
If someone told me that Secret wouldn't be directly seeded into the playoffs for the second major, I would ask if it was TI season already? However, with their TI slot pretty much secured from the points in the first season, Team Secret have been underperforming recently. Maybe they wanted the wild card stage for the practice. Regardless, depending on which form of Secret we see at the tournament, they could easily wipe or wipe out at the wild card stage though I'd say it probably leans towards the former.
China is one stacked region, so it's no surprise to see one of their best teams in this situation again. Last season, Vici Gaming emerged from the Wild Card at second place, behind PSG.LGD and they finished 3rd in groups, so we won't be surprised if they do the same here. They are top 8 material, after all.
"?" As the winners of the Chinese DPC and the whole major last season, they were one match away from not making the cut to the AniMajor. While they have enough points to qualify to TI and don't need to be here, it's probably the reason why they have been underperforming of late. With their coach, super, standing in for Oli (due to covid), it's unlikely they'll be making it out of this stage.
An organization we haven't seen in the international Dota 2 scene for some time, they make their first appearance in a major at this event. They managed to 2-0 SEA favourites, Fnatic, to arrive here, and were extremely happy with the result. There's no telling how well they will do since most of the players have yet to prove themselves internationally - perhaps they can be the OB.Neon of this tournament.
AS Monaco Gambit
This team has been through a rough few weeks. After securing their invitation to the Wild Card Stage, their captain, SoNNeikO and superstar mid player, No[o]ne, exited the team leaving them to flounder for last-minute replacements - 633 (formerly BZZ) and Lorenof. Though there have been cases of teams working out after such sudden changes, it's usually the exception and we don't see that happening here. AS Monaco probably won't make it to Groups.
Group Stage Seeds
While the addition of SumaiL to the roster (standing in for Boxi) has set the team on fire, it wasn't like they were struggling to begin with. Fortunately, for them, they won't have to suffer the Wild Card stage. On a good day, Liquid can beat any of the teams present, they just need to make sure they have good days when it matters. Meeting Evil Geniuses in the group stage will be one of the most-hyped matches of the tournament. They should have no problems making the playoffs.
Another team that was seeded to wild cards in Singapore, but in the group stage this season. Finishing 3rd at the last major, they are very close to securing an invitation to TI - you can bet they won't be resting on their laurels. They have been kicking butt and taking names this season of the Chinese DPC, with no signs of slowing down. Expect them to make it to the playoffs.
After failing to qualify for the Singapore Major, the TNC boys are back this time around and performing better than ever in the SEA region. The team's roster has mostly remained the same for a long time now, so there's stability in the lineup but they've always been at their peak with an experienced coach to guide them. Without a coach and lacking international events to play in this year, they could have trouble adapting to the playstyle and drafts of the other teams. They could struggle in the group stage.
This team really went into full-swing this season of the CIS DPC, finishing second in the region only below Virtus.pro. While they have talented and highly-skilled players, their inexperience against teams outside CIS and EU might be a detriment to their performance at the major. It's going to be interesting to see how they will fare at the event, but we think they might struggle to get out of Groups.
Second place at the Singapore Major, one of North America's best teams will have to go through the groups to reach the playoffs this time. Very consistent and hardly having bad days, they should have no issues doing so and they will probably place high in the event. We'll also see them going against their ex mid-laner (SumaiL) for the very first time since he left the team. In the words of Blitz, "it's looking spicy!"
Winner of the first South America DPC, they withdrew from the Singapore Major due to covid issues so it's been a while since they've encountered international competition - their last one being DreamLeague Season 13 in January 2020, where they eliminated Team Nigma in the playoffs. We're not sure if this long break has dulled their edge but you can bet that they'll provide some entertaining matches, whether they get eliminated early or not. beastcoast is one of our favourite teams to watch, so we're rooting for them to make it out of the group stage!
Infamous for having a "six-man roster" this Europe DPC season, they have performed extremely well in their heavily stacked region. The team is looking to redeem themselves after their terrible showing at the Singapore Major where they were eliminated from the group stage. If they keep up their recent form, they are likely contenders for the throne but since their TI invitation is pretty much secured, it's not the end of the world if they stumble at this event.
Probably the best team in China right now, they struggled at the previous major when they couldn't play with their superstar position 4, Borax. Since he'll be able to make it to this event, we expect them to do much better this time around - and who doesn't want to see another LaNm success story? They should go far this major.
Probably the most improved SEA team this major, with the addition of 23savage, they managed to qualify directly to the playoffs this season. The weeks of Dota 2 during the SEA DPC have solidified their teamwork and with the expertise of March coaching the team, we believe they have the potential to take games off the other top teams at the event. Can they be the next kings of SEA?
One of the strongest looking teams going into the previous major, they dropped out at 7-8th after winning a total of one series at the event. While they have been dominating CIS for the better part of the year, the team is still unproven against international opponents. The AniMajor will be the event for this young squad to redeem themselves - we hope that second time's the charm!
The other top North American team, Quincy Crew struggled at the Singapore Major when their standout position 4 player, MSS couldn't make it for the event. They finished 9-12th losing in the first round of the playoffs. This time they'll have all 5 members present, so we believe they'll show us what they're truly made of. Assuming Liquid makes it to the playoffs, there's the possibility of Hassanbowl at the event!
Besides hFn and Matthew, most of their players haven't had any experience against international teams so it'll be interesting to see how they fare at this event. Expectations aren't high but if they are as good as beastcoast has been in the past, they could surprise us with a deep run this tournament.