Between March 14th – 24th, DreamLeague Season 11 is scheduled to take place in Stockholm, Sweden. This event is the 3rd Major of the Dota Pro Circuit season and offers a total prize pool of 1 million dollars as well as 15.000 qualification points.
Like all the other Majors, DreamLeague Season 11 features 16 teams that need to qualify in advance for the event. Naturally, there are 6 regional qualifiers in total, in the following regions: Europe, South America, CIS, North America, China and Southeast Asia. This article focuses only on the European and North American qualifiers, held between February 4th – 6th.
A total of 8 teams will be showing off their best skills and strategies during the DreamLeague Season 11 qualifiers. Despite the fact that there are 3 qualification spots reserved for this region, 2 of them are pretty much occupied by Team Secret and Team Liquid. Both of these contenders are much stronger than the other participants from many points of view, so their chances of being defeated by any opponent are almost null.
That leaves us with one question: who will be the 3rd place winner? Alliance was the team who grabbed the spot in the previous edition but keep in mind that Ninjas in Pyjamas can use that negative experience as fuel to display their potential. This should be a piece of cake for a team with such a solid roster, maybe one of the strongest in the world. If the Ninjas will be focused and determined to use their full potential, the 3rd place at DreamLeague Season 11 is definitely theirs.
Some of the other teams taking part in this very competitive race also feature superstar players but their roster doesn’t seem to be as united and as well put together as NiP’s. For example, OG is a team who has been truly affected by ana’s absence and hasn’t yet been able to recover completely. This is the same team that won the title at The International 2018 but they are still playing with a quad core, their 5th player – iLTW – being a stand-in.
I have made a short analysis of the other 3 less popular participants, who will still do their best to reserve a spot for the DreamLeague Season 11 Major.
You might have heard of Vega Squadron before but not due to their last year’s results, which were basically absent. Their only somewhat notable achievement was finishing
3rd- 4th out of 8 teams in the StarLadder ImbaTV Invitational Season 5 Minor. However, the level of competition at that event was mediocre.. Moreover, this is the only DPC event they took part in throughout the year, so they missed more than 20 important tournaments.
Vega Squadron is starting the season with a newly formed roster, which includes popular players such as Madara and Maybe Next Time, former members of Ad Finem, as well as KheZu, former member of Team Secret.
Their lack of results however doesn’t give me much hope regarding their ability to perform well at this qualifier. There are other rosters that are better than them and, at this level of competition, having a world-class strategy and an excellent team captain is what matters most.
The same as Vega Squadron, Kaban features several players who used to play at popular teams, players who haven’t yet managed to play together as a unit. This is syndereN’s new roster and he might constitute the main strong feature of his team, as besides his experience as a captain, they barely have other assets in defeating opponents such as Team Secret, Team Liquid or NiP.
The ReaL DeaL
All things considered, this is most probably the weakest competitor at the European qualifier for DreamLeague Season 11. The ReaL DeaL has also gathered quite some popular players, in what seems to be a desperate effort to compete in the big leagues. However strong these players are individually, they haven’t been successful as a team so far, because they lack sound game strategies and a great captain. Therefore, The ReaL DeaL might be an unrealistically big name for them at the moment.
All in all, there are some safe predictions that can be made in regards to the European qualifier for the DreamLeague Season 11 Major. Team Secret are definitely on their way to crashing every opponent they meet, Team Liquid should secure a 2nd place finish, followed by either Ninjas in Pyjamas or Alliance on the 3rd position. As OG are playing with a stand-in, it’s not reasonable to consider them a top participant.
The North American qualifier also has 3 spots waiting to be claimed by the best teams out of the 8. There are 3 contenders who stand stronger chances of advancing in the competition, so let’s see who they are!
Not sure if it’s the Arteezy curse or simply bad luck but what is certain is that EG has gotten used to getting the 3rd place at important events lately, such as The International 2018, The Kuala Lumpur Major and The Chongqing Major.
These results are indeed excellent by all means. However, Evil Geniuses might not be as content with themselves as you might expect, after missing one Grand Final after another. Still, their spot at The International 2019 is practically secured with the results from the first 2 Majors they competed at this season. What still remains a challenge for them now is being able to catch up with Team Secret and Virtus.pro, who seem to be playing in their own separate division.
All in all, I fully expect Evil Geniuses to defeat every single opponent they face and win the North American qualifier for DreamLeague Season 11.
From the beginning of this new competitive season, Forward Gaming seems to have been quite off for some reason. They might either have an incorrect approach or suffer the consequences of replacing one of their former members with UNiVeRsE. Despite having a solid and experienced roster, the team keeps failing in the early stages of every Major. For instance, they finished 9th – 12th at The Kuala Lumpur Major and only 13th – 16th at The Chongqing Major.
Without any doubt, Forward Gaming are not using their full potential when playing on a big stage. As this is a regional qualifier however, the team should easily destroy almost every other contestant, as they are much more advanced when it comes to skill.
This being said, I expect Forward to secure a 2nd- 3rd place finish in this qualifier for DreamLeague Season 11.
J.Storm is newly formed and they have already gathered some pretty great achievements so far. Take for example the two qualifications for the first two Majors of the season, as well as finishing both on the 9th – 12th position out of 16 teams.
These are remarkable results for a team who has just begun to play as a unit, even though the roster is made up of strong individual players. Fear seems to still have what it takes to play Dota at a high level, while Moo is quite determined to return to The International and compete in another Grand Final. Taking into account his lack of experience, Bryle is also in great shape and this leaves us with 2 other players, both Korean.
Once again, these 2 players prove that it doesn’t matter what esport Koreans get involved into, as they will for sure do whatever it takes to become great at it. These two determined and talented players are FoREv and March, real Dota 2 veterans, who can even be considered rebels in their homeland, given the fact that 3 of the most popular esports in Korea are StarCraft 2, League of Legends and Overwatch.
Going into the North American qualifier for DreamLeague Season 11, J.Storm should finish 2nd – 3rd, but it depends on Forward Gaming’s performance as well.