3-peat in North America as the trio of Evil Geniuses, J.Storm, and Forward Gaming once again secure the region’s 3 Major slots
The regional qualifiers for The DreamLeague Season 11 Major are now officially over, as the field of teams for the season’s third Major Championship is complete aside from the winner of the preceding Minor. The North American region is the final qualifier to finish its run now, with the region’s 3 representatives to Stockholm officially decided. The regional qualifier began with a field of 8 teams, and while 5 of those squads have previously made appearances on the Pro Circuit stage, only 3 of them had attended a Major this season. In the end though, just 3 of the 8 teams were able to secure themselves places in the field for the Major, with Evil Geniuses, J.Storm, and Forward Gaming once again punching their tickets to the Pro Circuit stage as the North American representatives in Stockholm. For those teams that didn’t make the cut this time around, a potential spot in the Minor qualifiers awaits, as the 5 unsuccessful squads from this event still have another shot at reaching the Pro Circuit stage. For now though, the time has come to take a look at how each of the squads performed in this qualifier, with the participants divided based upon their final positions in the event standings.
Top 3 (Qualified for DreamLeague Season 11 Major)
Record: 7-3 (5-2 Group Stage, 2-1 Playoffs)
Following back to back 3rd place finishes in the season’s first 2 Majors, Evil Geniuses entered this qualifier as one of the leading teams on the Pro Circuit, and the clear top squad in the North American region. With the team’s biggest regional rivals having difficulties on the international level, EG was heavily favored to claim 1 of the region’s 3 slots in Stockholm. The team’s run began with a somewhat unexpected 1-2 loss to Flying Penguins in the Group Stage, but EG was able to quickly bounce back from that initial defeat. After putting together a 6-1 run that included series victories over Started From The PoTM, TEAM TEAM, and Forward Gaming, Evil Geniuses was able to secure itself a place in Stockholm for its third straight Major appearance. Considering the team’s success on the Pro Circuit stage so far this season, Evil Geniuses will likely enter the DreamLeague Season 11 Major as one of the more formidable squads in the field as it looks to earn another Top 4 finish on the international level.
Record: 6-3 (4-3 Group Stage, 2-0 Playoffs)
The Pro Circuit stage has not been particularly kind to J.Storm so far this season, as the team has put together back to back 9th-12th place finishes in the previous 2 Majors. While the team’s play on the international level has not been quite as strong as expected, its performance at home has been significantly more consistent, which made J.Storm one of the stronger teams in the field heading into this qualifier. With a 6-3 overall record, the team was able to live up to those expectations and earn itself a place in its third straight Major in Stockholm. While the team did manage to finish near the top of the event standings, its performance did not come without a small concern or two. First and foremost is the fact that the team only played a single series against its 2 main regional rivals: Evil Geniuses and Forward Gaming. That series ended up being a rather one sided 0-2 loss, with J.Storm losing both matches in under 30 minutes each. The team’s 3 series victories ended up coming against the combination of Team Xolotl, compLexity Gaming, and Flying Penguins, three squads that were either recently formed or where considered to be among the weaker teams in the field. However, the fact that the team was still able to come out on top and claim a place at the Major is a strong sign for J.Storm and its status within the North American region. The challenge for the squad now will be putting together a strong performance at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major and putting an end to its somewhat disappointing narrative on the Pro Circuit stage.
Record: 9-2 (4-0 Group Stage, 5-2 Playoffs)
Throughout the season so far, the triumvirate of Forward Gaming, J.Storm, and Evil Geniuses has dominated the North American region, with pretty much no interruptions or significant shake ups. As it turns out, that pattern is set to continue for the DreamLeague Season 11 Major, as Forward Gaming managed to claim the third and final slot in Stockholm with a 9-2 run against its regional rivals. The big concern for the team now is whether or not it can turn around what has been a relatively inconsistent string of results on the international level, as Forward Gaming has finished in the lower half of the event standings in 5 of its last 6 appearances outside of the North American region. We will have to wait and see if the team’s most recent success on the home front will finally be the catalyst that it needs to replicate that success on the Pro Circuit stage.
Record: 7-7 (3-5 Group Stage, 4-2 Playoffs)
The experiment with Southeast Asian players in the roster continued for compLexity Gaming, as the squad came into this Major qualifier hoping to make a return to prominence within the North American region. With a 7-7 overall record and a 4th place finish in the event, the squad managed to put together a rather encouraging performance against some of its main regional rivals. Against the very best teams in its region, compLexity Gaming still struggled to a significant degree, going 1-6 against Forward Gaming and J.Storm. Moving past those opponents appears to be a hurdle that the team isn’t quite ready to overcome just yet. However, the team won’t have take down those bigger rivals to earn a place on the Pro Circuit stage, as its 4th place finish in this Major qualifier has almost certainly earned the squad a direct invite to the upcoming StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor North America Qualifier, where it will look to earn its second Minor appearance of the season.
Record: 4-5 (4-1 Group Stage, 0-4 Playoffs)
Though the team had only been recently formed heading into this Major qualifier, the leadership of EternaLEnVy and Sneyking made Flying Penguins an interesting squad as it took on its regional rivals for a spot on the Pro Circuit stage. The team got off to an incredible start in its qualifier run, finishing at the top of the Group B standings with series victories over both Evil Geniuses and TEAM TEAM in the Group Stage. Unfortunately, the squad’s momentum did not carry over into the Playoffs of the qualifier, as Flying Penguins dropped back to back 0-2 series against J.Storm and compLexity Gaming to finish in the 5th-6th place position with a 4-5 overall record. While the team did not end up making the cut for a place in Stockholm, Flying Penguins still put together an admirable performance in this qualifier, with the Carry/Mid duo of EternaLEnVy and Gunnar proving to be a large part of the team’s success. The duo combined to average 17.22 kills and 25.22 assists with just 8.44 deaths per match across the team’s 9 total games, leading the way for their team as it managed to put together a solid first showing within the North American region. With its 5th-6th place finish in this event, the team has most likely earned itself another opportunity to face off against its regional rivals in the near future, as Flying Penguins appears to be a front-runner for a direct invite to the upcoming qualifiers for the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor.
Record: 4-6 (2-4 Group Stage, 2-2 Playoffs)
TEAM TEAM came into this qualifier looking like a team on the rise within the North American region, but the squad had still yet to prove that it was capable of contending with regional leaders like Evil Geniuses, Forward Gaming, and J.Storm. As it turns out, the squad doesn’t quite seem ready to take on those squads just yet, as TEAM TEAM put together a 4-6 overall record to finish in the 5th-6th place position in this Major qualifier. The team held its own for the most part against other teams around its level, taking series victories against Started From The PoTM as well as Team Xolotl. However, the squad struggled against the heavy hitters of the region, posting a combined 0-4 record across its 2 series losses to Evil Geniuses and Forward Gaming. So, it would appear that TEAM TEAM isn’t in a place to claim a spot as an elite team in North American just yet, but this qualifier run did go a long way towards showing us the team’s growth and potential strength moving forward. With its 5th-6th place finish in this event, TEAM TEAM will almost assuredly be 1 of the 3 teams to be directly invited to the upcoming StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor North America Qualifier, where it will have a second chance at earning itself a return trip to the Pro Circuit stage with its second Minor appearance of the season.
Started From The PoTM
Record: 0-6 (0-4 Group Stage, 0-2 Playoffs)
Expectations were not particularly high for this team heading into the Major qualifier, as the squad did not have an extensive level of experience playing against teams at the top of its regional hierarchy. That being said, the team’s overall performance in this qualifier was still incredibly underwhelming, as Started From The PoTM failed to win a single match with a 0-6 total record. With an average game time of just under 29 minutes, the team didn’t manage to put up much of a fight across those matches either, with the squad appearing to be outmatched across nearly every series. The lack of success for Started From The PoTM wasn’t necessarily unexpected, but anytime a team comes away from an event with no wins to its name it comes as something of a disappointment. Given the rather chaotic nature of the Tier 2 and 3 scene in North America, the question for this squad now will be whether its current roster carries on together, or if the squad goes its separate ways in advance of the upcoming Minor qualifiers.
Record: 1-6 (1-4 Group Stage, 0-2 Playoffs)
Team Xolotl came into this qualifier as the standard bearer for the Mexican Dota 2 scene, but the expectations were still set fairly low for the squad as it faced off against some of the strongest teams in the North American region. As it turns out, the team’s modest expectations proved prudent, as Team Xolotl went 1-6 in this Major qualifier to finish at the bottom of the event standings in the 7th-8th place position. We got a brief glimpse of the potential of this squad in its lone victory of the qualifier against compLexity Gaming, but aside form that the team’s performance was not particularly noteworthy. Across the team’s 7 total matches in this qualifier, Team Xolotl was out killed 99-186 as the squad was playing from behind for the vast majority of its games. Performances like this are almost always hard on a team, but for Team Xolotl the hope has to be that its players take this chance to play against some of its top regional rivals as a learning experience that improves the team as a whole moving forward. With the qualifiers for the StarLadder ImbaTV Invitational Season 6 Minor coming up soon, the squad will have an immediate opportunity to show us what is has learned from this Major qualifier run, though the team will almost certainly have to make another run through the open qualifiers first.