Dota 2 Pro Circuit Recap: DOTA Summit 11

Unconquered: Invictus Gaming down Chaos Esports Club 3-0 in Los Angeles to secure first Pro Circuit title at Dota Summit 11 Minor

The first Pro Circuit event of the 2019-2020 season has officially concluded, with the DOTA Summit 11 Minor having brought the Dota 2 world its first taste of action on the Pro Circuit stage. For 4 days, 8 teams from across the various Dota 2 regions have battled it out in Los Angeles, with teach squad looking to lay claim to the title of Minor Champion and lock down that coveted final spot in the field for the upcoming MDL Chengdu Major.

The season’s first Minor certainly managed to produce some intriguing and exciting storylines; some good and some bad. On the one hand, squads like Chaos Esports Club and Invictus Gaming lived up to expectations with top tier performances on the Pro Circuit stage. On the other hand, underdogs like HellRaisers and jfshfh178 out paced early predictions with some impressive showings in their own right, while teams like paiN Gaming, Geek Fam, and NiP made headlines for the wrong reasons with surprisingly ineffective runs at the Minor. While just about every squad in the field came away from the event with an interesting story to tell, the headlines for this Minor will be dominated by Invictus Gaming, as the Chinese squad claimed the first Minor title of the 2019-2020 season with a 3-0 victory over Chaos Esports Club in the Grand Finals. The squad posted a 11-2 overall record in Los Angeles, taking series victories over paiN Gaming, jfshfh178, HellRaisers, and Chaos Esports Club en route to its first Pro Circuit title in the organization’s history.

With the Minor itself at an end, we can take our first post-event look at the current Pro Circuit Rankings. With its 1st place finish in Los Angeles, Invictus Gaming currently stands at the top of the Rankings with 140 points, though that total could increase should the squad finish higher than the 9th-12th place position at the MDL Chengdu Major. The Minor runner-up, Chaos Esports Club, claims 120 points for their efforts, and slides into the 2nd place position in the Pro Circuit Rankings. Finishing 3rd place at the event was CIS squad HellRaisers, with the team laying claim to 110 points and a 3rd place position in the Rankings, while fellow CIS team jfshfh178 earned 90 points for its 4th place finish to land it in 4th in the Pro Circuit Rankings. Coming in with 60 points each is the duo of Ninjas in Pyjamas and Geek Fam, who move into a tie for 5th place in the Pro Circuit Rankings after finishes in teh 5th-6th place position at the Minor. And finally, the duo of paiN Gaming and Ad Finem round things out with 40 points each for their 7th-8th place finishes at the event, moving into a tie for 7th place in the Pro Circuit Rankings. With the MDL Chengdu Major just a few days away though, these positions in the Pro Circuit Rankings will obviously end up changing, with the Major participants guaranteed a minimum number of Pro Circuit Points for their efforts in Chengdu. For now though, the squads that battled it out at the Minor can enjoy a brief period at or near the top of the Pro Circuit Rankings after their fight in Los Angeles.

With the event now officially at an end and the first significant updates made to the Pro Circuit Rankings, we can turn our attention to the performances of the Minor participants themselves. We will be taking a brief look at how each of the team’s fared in this first Pro Circuit event of the 2019-2020 season, and see which teams managed to meet or exceed expectations, and which squads fell short of the mark on the Pro Circuit stage.

 

jfshfh178jfshfh178

Place: 4th

Winnings: $42,000 & 90 Pro Circuit Points

Event Record: 6-6 (5-2 Group Stage, 1-4 Playoffs)

Originally, jfshfh178 wasn’t meant to be participating in this first Minor of the 2019-2020 season, as the CIS squad had finished in 3rd place in the regional qualifier. However, the withdrawal of Virtus.pro from the event created an opening that the team was able to capitalize on, earning its season debut on the Pro Circuit stage as a replacement squad. While jfshfh178 had certainly been drawing a bit of attention within the CIS region in the first few months of the season, it remained to be seen whether the squad was capable of contending on the international level. The DOTA Summit 11 Minor certainly posed a formidable challenge for the up and coming CIS squad, but a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage in Los Angeles had the potential to truly push jfshfh178 into a position of power among its regional rivals.

jfshfh178 wasted no time establishing a sense of momentum for itself at the Minor, as the team went into its first series agaisnt NiP with an incredible level of confidence that translated into a pair of dominant showings. After out killing its opponent 57-26 in a pair of one-sided victories, the squad appeared to be on the right track to start the event. The team’s momentum from that initial victory led into another impressive performance in teh Winners’ Match of Group A, though the team ultimately fell short in a 1-2 loss to Invictus Gaming. However, a rematch against NiP in the Decider Match of the group saw the CIS squad regain its confidence, putting together another 2-0 victory over its European opponent behind a combined 28-1-15 stat line from Palantimos in the series.

That victory advanced jfshfh178 to the Playoffs of the Minor, but that was where the team’s momentum began to run dry. The squad was blown out in both of its matches against Chaos Esports Club in Round 1 of the Upper Bracket, with the team managing just 9 total kills across 2 games in what was a shockingly thorough trouncing from its opponent. An all-CIS match in Round 1 of the Lower Bracket gave the team an opportunity to bounce back, with jfshfh178 taking the first match of the series against regional rival HellRaisers. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t capitalize on its initial success, dropping Games 2 and 3 with a pair of underwhelming performances to lose the series 1-2 and finish its run at the Minor with a 4th place position in the standings and a 6-6 overall record.

Despite having claimed its place in the field for this Minor via the withdrawal of another squad, jfshfh178 had an incredible opportunity to display its strength on the international level, and the team was certainty hoping to take advantage of that chance. Coming into the event itself, the squad wasn’t exactly looked at as a leading team in the field, with the CIS squad projected to finish at the bottom of the event standings in the 7th-8th place position. With a 6-6 overall record at the Minor, jfshfh178 blew past that meager prediction, pushing its way into the Top 4 with a 4th place finish in its season debut on the Pro Circuit stage. The team looked fairly impressive across its performance as a whole, with Palantimos in particular putting up some respectable numbers with averages of 7.33 kills and 5 assists on 2.42 deaths per game across the team’s 12 total matches. There was one issue for the CIS squad though that appeared to stand out among its matches at the Minor, with that issue being a large degree of inconsistency when handling early game pressure from its opponents. Across all 6 of the team’s losses in this event, jfshfh178 never held a net worth lead beyond the 15 minute mark, with the squad simply proving unable to respond to early aggression and failing to mount any sort of sustainable comeback efforts in those matches.

Even with those issues dealing with early-game pressure, jfshfh178 still managed to put together a far better showing than what had been expected from it. With this Top 4 finish on the Pro Circuit stage, the squad will return to its home region with a fair bit of momentum on its side, having put together an impressive display of strength on the international level. The team’s inconsistencies and lingering issues will likely keep it from becoming an immediate powerhouse within the CIS region, but this strong run at the Minor will certainly keep jfshfh178 in the discussion in terms of contenders on the home front. The team is far from elite at this point in time, but a 6-6 record and a 4th place finish on the Pro Circuit stage is absolutely a step in the right direction for this team moving forward.

 

HellRaisers HellRaisers

Place: 3rd

Winnings: $54,000 & 110 Pro Circuit Points

Event Record: 8-7 (5-2 Group Stage, 3-5 Playoffs)

HellRaisers entered the DOTA Summit 11 Minor as a squad that appeared to be on the rise within its home region, but the CIS team had some roster issues to deal with in the build up to this event. The organization had benched veteran player ALOHADANCE, but had managed to secure CemaTheSlayer as a stand-in for the duration of the Minor. Though that solution did not necessarily provide the tam with a permanent fix to its sudden roster issue, it did at least add another veteran presence to the team’s lineup on the eve of its first test on the international level in Los Angeles.

HellRaisers did not begin its run at the Minor in the most encouraging of fashions, as the squad was absolutely run over in its first Group Stage series of the event in a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Chaos Esports Club. However, the CIS squad proved itself capable of bouncing back from that initial defeat, as HellRaisers managed to put together a 2-1 victory over Ad Finem and a 2-0 win against Geek Fam to advance itself out of the Group Stage. Leading the charge across those 2 Group Stage series was the team’s Carry/Mid duo of V-Tune and Nix, as the pair combined to average 13.2 kills and 13.6 assists on just 3 deaths per game across 5 total matches to lead HR into the Playoffs of the Minor.

Said Playoffs began with a tough match up against Invictus Gaming that saw HR pushed to its limits by the Chinese squad. After losing a close Game 1 that lasted 85 minutes of game time, HR ended up splitting the final 2 matches of the series to suffer a hard fought 1-2 defeat at the hands of its opponent that dropped the team into the Lower Bracket. There, the squad faced a regional rival in the form of jfshfh178, as the 2 teams battled it out in an elimination series. After trailing throughout the entirety of a one-sided Game 1 defeat, HR managed to turn things around in Games 2 and 3, putting together a pair of dominant performances in which it lead in terms of net worth for 59 of 67 total minutes of game time. With that 2-1 victory, HR advanced to the Lower Bracket Finals for a rematch against Chaos Esports Club. Unfortunately, the rematch would end in the same fashion as its predecessor, as HR suffered another 0-2 defeat in a pair of relatively one-sided losses. With that loss, HellRaisers found its Minor run at an end, closing out its time in LA with a 8-7 overall record and a 3rd place finish at the event.

Despite dealing with some roster drama in the build up to the Minor, HellRaisers still entered the event with high hopes for itself, even if the expectations were not quite as high for the CIS squad. Prior to the start of the event, the squad had been projected to finish in the 5th-6th place range, but HR managed to surpass those expectations with a 3rd place finish that saw it put together a 8-7 record on the Pro Circuit stage. As a whole, the team’s performance was incredibly impressive, with the Carry/Mid duo of V-Tune and Nix proving to be particularly strong for the team with a combined average of 15.6 kills and 17.93 assists on 6.94 deaths per game across 15 total matches at the Minor. Also impressive for HellRaisers was the performance from stand-in CemaTheSlayer, who managed to average 12.93 assists per game for the squad despite being called into service just a few days before the start of the event itself.

If there was one weakness for HR in this Minor run, it was its play against the elite teams in the field, as the squad still appeared to be a step or two behind the likes of Chaos Esports Club and Invictus Gaming. Against those 2 opponents, HR put together a rather paltry 1-6 record. Considering the fact that those 2 squads finished in the Top 2 at the Minor though, it is somewhat difficult to fault HR for failing to take down either of those formidable opponents. Even with its shortcomings against the elite teams in the event standings, HR put together a showing that out performed all but the most optimistic and ambitious expectations, as the squad had not been seen as a serious contender in the field prior to the start of this event. With a Top 4 finish on the Pro Circuit stage now under its belt, HellRaisers will hopefully return to the CIS region as a stronger and more confident team. The question of its long-term replacement for ALOHADANCE remains an issue for the organization, but a strong showing like this one at the first Pro Circuit event of the season will certainly go a long way towards alleviating some of those concerns moving forward.

 

Ninjas in Pyjamas Ninjas In Pyjamas

Place: 5th-6th

Winnings: $24,000 & 60 Pro Circuit Points

Event Record: 2-4 (2-4 Group Stage)

Ninjas in Pyjamas certainly came into this Minor with something to prove, as the European organization had entered the 2019-2020 season with 4 new players on its roster. While the team itself will apparently be playing out the rest of the campaign from the North American region, NiP entered the DOTA Summit 11 Minor as a representative of Europe. With this event serving as potentially the team’s final appearance as a European squad, the hope was that the mix of new talent and veteran leadership on its updated roster would be enough to propel NiP to a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately for NiP, its first match up on the Pro Circuit stage proved to be a struggle, as the squad found itself unable to establish its footing against jfshfh178. Out killed 26-57 over the course of the series, the team trailed in terms of net worth for nearly the entirety of both matches en route to a surprising 0-2 defeat. Things would improve for the team slightly in its next match up against South American squad paiN Gaming, as NiP managed to put together some much stronger performances. Even so, the European squad was made to work for a pair of wins against its opponent, claiming a 2-0 victory in the series off of a pair of late-game surges spearheaded by Skiter and Gunnar, who combined for 44 kills and 60 assists on 24 deaths in the 2 game series. While the squad had appeared to turn things around in that series win, NiP’s momentum quickly fizzled out in its final Group Stage series, as the team once again faced off against jfshfh178. The rematch ended up going just as poorly as its predecessor, as NiP was out played once again in another 0-2 defeat to bring its run at the Minor to an end with a 5th-6th place finish and a 2-4 overall record.

NiP came into the DOTA Summit 11 Minor looking like one of the stronger teams in the field, with its roster holding a strong mix of younger talent and veteran leadership. Coming into the event itself, that perceived strength had the squad sitting in a favorable position, with the team projected to finish in the 5th-6th place position. As it turned out, that prediction proved accurate, as NiP fell just short of the mark to reach the Playoffs of the Minor with a 2-4 overall record and a 5th-6th place finish in Los Angeles. While the team avoided a finish at the bottom of the event standings, the performance that we saw from NiP was not exactly awe-inspiring, as the team had some significant struggles on the Pro Circuit stage. The team ended up playing from behind throughout most of its matches at the Minor, and its lone victories came in games that lasted 64 asnd 52 minutes, respectively. Considering the fact that those 2 victories also came against the only team in the field to exit the Minor without any wins of its own, the situation for NiP doesn’t end up looking any more favorable.

Of course, the fact that all 4 of the team’s losses came against a single team (jfshfh178) also could simply be an indicator of a particularly bad match up for NiP, as opposed to a more serious lapse in the team’s overall strength. The team’s series win against paiN Gaming does lend some credence to this theory, but the fact remains that the squad ended up falling short of its own expectations at the Minor. With NiP now ostensibly set to make its transition to the North American region, it is hard to tell just what the immediate future holds for the team. North America certainly appeared to be a less crowded region than Europe from what we’ve seen to this point in the season, so perhaps NiP will have more opportunities to make its way back to the Pro Circuit stage once it finalizes its region swap. For now though, the squad will have to move on and look to recover from what was a somewhat underwhelming performance at the Minor.

 

Ad FinemAd Finem

Place: 7th-8th

Winnings: $12,000 & 40 Pro Circuit Points

Event Record: 1-4 (1-4 Group Stage)

Ad Finem’s return to the Dota 2 world had not been going particularly well coming into the DOTA Summit 11 Minor, as the all-Greek squad had struggled to put together consistent success within the European region to this point in the season. However, the fact that the team had managed to fight its way onto the Pro Circuit stage had hopes high that Ad Finem was approaching a potential breakthrough, both within its home region and on the international level. In order to truly turn its poor start around though, the squad needed to put together a strong showing at this event against a host of other squads looking to make an early name for themselves in the Pro Circuit Rankings.

Unfortunately, Ad Finem’s overall performance at the Minor proved to be underwhelming, as the team’s inconsistencies returned in full force on the Pro Circuit stage. The squad suffered a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Geek Fam that saw the European squad built up leads in the first half of both matches, only to squander those leads in the mid and late-game stages. The team’s second series against HellRaisers got off to a much more encouraging start, with the squad putting together a near wire-to-wire victory behind a combined 14-3-32 performances from the core trio of Madara, Thug, and Skylark. Unfortunately, the team could not maintain that strong level of play through the rest of the series, getting blown out in a one-sided Game 2 loss before surrendering yet another comeback victory to its opponent in Game 3 to lose the series 1-2. With that series loss, Ad Finem’s time at the Minor came to a close, with the squad just barely managing to avoid a 0 win performance with an overall record of 1-4.

Ad Finem certainly came into the DOTA Summit 11 Minor with some high hopes, but it should be noted that the expectations for the all-Greek squad were significantly lower coming into the event itself. The team’s struggles within its home region did not serve to instill much confidence in it, and the European team entered the Minor projected to finish in the 7th-8th place range. With a 1-4 overall record, that is exactly where Ad Finem ended up, though the squad at least managed to come away from the event with 1 win to its name, avoiding the dreaded 0 win performance that fellow 7th-8th place finisher paiN Gaming ended up with. Finishing in last place at an event is always going to be a disappointing development for any team, but Ad Finem and its fans have even more reason to be frustrated by the team’s performance at the event. Ad Finem found itself in positions of strength multiple times over the course of its Minor run, but simply could not find a way to close out matches or capitalize on early leads. Across its 5 total games at the Minor, Ad Finem held a net worth lead at the 30 minute mark or later in 4 of them, but won just 1 of those matches.

From the team’s overall performance at this event, it is clear that the roster has a fair bit of talent and experience on its side, but those assets aren’t enough at this point to help the squad get over its inability to consistently play in late-game scenarios. Without that ability to close out close matches or remain even with its opponent late in games, Ad Finem’s chances of finding consistent success are excruciatingly small at this point in the season. The team does have a bit of time now before the next round of Pro Circuit qualifiers begin, but the all-Greek squad has some serious work to do if it wants to address and fix those consistency issues, especially with some of the more prominent squads within the European region set to make their return to active play in the near future.

 

Invictus Gaming600px-Ig_logo

Place: 1st

Winnings: $72,000 & 140 Pro Circuit Points (Advances to the MDL Chengdu Major)

Event Record: 11-2 (4-1 Group Stage, 7-1 Playoffs)

It had been quite some time since Invictus Gaming was considered to be an elite squad within the Chinese regional hierarchy, as the times of the organization’s dominance had long since passed into a period of relative mediocrity. However, the start of the 2019-2020 season saw the squad take advantage of the absence of regional powerhouse PSG.LGD, with Invictus Gaming building up some early momentum thanks to a string of impressive performances on the home front from its recently updated lineup. While the team’s regional showings had been strong in the early days of the season, the question remained as to just how well the team could translate its regional success into similar results on the international level, with the DOTA Summit 11 Minor being the team’s first test away from home.

The Chinese squad certainly appeared to be calm and confident as it began its run at the Minor, with iG dominating its first series of the Group Stage with an impressive 2-0 victory over paiN Gaming. The team out killed its opponent 58-10 in the series, claiming a pair of victories in just over 45 minutes of total game time. The team’s second Group Stage series against jfshfh178 was not quite as a short as its predecessor, but Invictus Gaming still managed to pull out a 2-1 victory over the CIS squad to claim the top spot in Group A and advance itself to the Playoffs of the Minor.

Said Playoffs would begin with iG facing off against another CIS squad in the form of HellRasiers. After opening up the series with a near miraculous comeback win in a match that lasted 85 minutes of total game time, iG managed to split the final 2 matches of the series in order to claim a hard fought 2-1 victory. Leading the way for the squad across that competitive series was the Carry/Mid duo of flyfly and Emo, with the pair combining to average 25.67 kills and 29.67 assists on 8.67 deaths per game across the 3 game series to push iG into the Upper Bracket Finals. There, the squad faced off agaisnt an undefeated Chaos Esports Club, but the Chinese squad did not back down in the face of that challenge. While the team found itself trailing in terms of net worth in the first half of both matches, Invictus Gaming was able to turn things around with a pair of second half surges that shifted the momentum into their favor and allowed the squad to shut down its North American opponents for a 2-0 series win that advanced the team to the Grand Finals of the Minor. Said Grand Finals saw the squad face off against Chaos Esports Club once again, but the Chinese squad would have no issues replicating its prior success against the North American squad. Behind a trio of relatively dominant performances, iG was able to pull off a clean sweep of the Bo5 series, claiming a 3-0 victory over its North American rival to claim the title of Minor Champion.

Invictus Gaming came into this Minor as one of the more formidable squads in the field, as the team had been putting up some incredible performances within the Chinese region to this point in the campaign. The squad had taken advantage of the absence of regional powerhouse PSG.LGD, but the question coming into this event was whether the squad’s impressive regional success would translate into tangible results on the international level. The squad was projected to finish in the Top 4 range prior to the start of the event, and iG was more than able to live up to those expectations with a near flawless 11-2 record and a 1st place finish on the Pro Circuit stage in Los Angeles. The team did not drop a single series en route to its first Pro Circuit title in the organization’s history, displaying a level of consistent strength that its opponents could not match up against.

The team was truly firing on all cylinders in this Minor run, with Invictus Gaming getting solid contributions from every part of the roster. The team’s Carry/Mid duo of flyfly and Emo combined to average 18.08 kills and 22.38 assists on just 5.31 deaths per game, with Emo in particular leading all players at the Minor with an average of 10.08 kills per game. Meanwhile, the trio of JT-, kaka, and Oli all averaged at least 12 assists per game across the team’s 13 total matches, with kaka leading all players at the Minor with an average of 15.46 assists per game. In short, the squad’s success on the Pro Circuit stage stemmed from the fact that it had no weak links across its roster, with every member of the team stepping up to contribute to a dominant showing in this event. With the team now moving on to the MDL Chengdu Major though, the question will be whether or not Invictus Gaming can replicate those impressive performances against an even higher caliber of opponent, as Invictus Gaming will pursue its first ever Major Championship title in Chengdu.

 

Geek Fam Geek Fam

Place: 5th-6th

Winnings: $24,000 & 60 Pro Circuit Points

Event Record: 2-4 (2-4 Group Stage)

With many of the big name organizations within the Southeast Asian region undergoing some significant roster changes in the offseason, Geek Fam appeared to be a position to potentially carve out a place for itself near the top of the regional hierarchy. A strong showing in its season debut on the Pro Circuit stage would certainly go a long way towards helping the team reach that favorable position, but Geek Fam was set to face some stiff competition as it vied for the title of Minor Champion in Los Angeles.

Geek Fam’s run at the Minor began in fairly solid fashion, as the Southeast Asian squad put together an impressive performance against European squad Ad Finem. Behind some showings from Raven and Ryoya, who combined for a stat line of 47-17-41 across the 2 game series, Geek Fam put together back to back comebacks to claim a 2-0 victory in the series. From that point on though, things took a rather downward turn for Geek Fam, as the squad struggled across its next 2 series against Chaos Esports Club and HellRaisers. Both series say Geek Fam trail in terms of net worth throughout the majority of their matches, and the times in which the squad was able to build up a significant lead resulted in a pair of demoralizing collapses that set its opponent up for comeback wins. With back to back 0-2 defeats in those final 2 series, Geek Fam ended up falling short of the mark to advance to the Playoffs of the Minor, ending its run with a 2-4 overall record and a 5th-6th place finish.

Geek Fam came into this Minor as a team that appeared to be on the rise within the Southeast Asian region, and a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage would have certainly helped the team solidify that position. Entering the event itself, Geek Fam was expected to perform well in its season debut on the Pro Circuit stage, with a projection in the Top 4 range. Unfortunately, the Southeast Asian squad failed to live up to those expectations, finishing in the 5th-6th place position in Los Angeles with a somewhat underwhelming 2-4 overall record. As a whole, the team seemed to find itself playing from behind far more often than it was comfortable with, with its only wins of the event coming from a pair of comeback efforts against Ad Finem. Being capable of making late-game surges to win games is obviously a strength for a squad, but becoming reliant upon those surges and late-game heroics is not exactly a recipe for success, as evidenced by the team’s other 4 matches at the event.

Overall, Geek Fam appeared to show some solid signs from its Minor run, but the general inconsistency in its performances, especially in the late-game stage, proved to be a serious issue for the Southeast Asian squad. The team did not quite live up to the expectations that had been set for it either, which makes the immediate future an intensely more significant time for the squad. If Geek Fam can return to its home region, bounce back from this underwhelming showing, and continue to put up solid results against its regional rivals, then the squad should be in a position to earn a second chance at playing on the Pro Circuit stage in the next Major/Minor pair. However, should the squad’s struggles on the international level follow it home to Southeast Asia, then Geek Fam could find itself facing significantly increased opposition on the home front moving forward.

 

Chaos Esports Club Chaos Esports Club

Place: 2nd

Winnings: $60,000 & 120 Pro Circuit Points

Event Record: 8-5 (4-0 Group Stage, 4-5 Playoffs)

The squad formerly known as Quincy Crew came into this Minor as one of the leading squads within the North American region. Considering the relative weakness that we witnessed from said region in the first round of Pro Circuit qualifiers though, Chaos Esports Club certainly had something to prove in Los Angeles as the team prepared for its biggest test of the young season on the international level. Though the squad had still yet to come up with a long term solution for its roster vacancy, using SabeRLighT- as stand-in for the event, the team entered the Minor with a degree of confidence and hope as the squad looked to put together a strong enough showing to prove its strength on the Pro Circuit stage and potentially earn itself a place at the subsequent MDL Chengdu Major.

The team’s run at the Minor began in very encouraging fashion, as the team dominated its opponents in the Group Stage of the event. The team pushed past HellRaisers in its opening series with a 2-0 victory over the CIS squad, then followed up that initial success with another 2-0 series win against Southeast Asian squad Geek Fam. While not all of the team’s victories in the Group Stage were one-sided, with Chaos Esports Club needing late-game surges against both squads to earn some of their wins, the North American squad was able to pull off an undefeated Group Stage run to push its way into the Playoffs of the Minor with relatively few issues.

Chaos Esports Club would maintain its sizable momentum through its opening match of the Playoffs, as the team absolutely annihilated jfshfh178 in Round 1 of the Upper Bracket. The North American squad out killed its opponent 35-9 across a dominant 2-0 series victory, never giving the other side a chance to even attempt to establish its footing as the team blew past its CIS opponent to advance to the next round. There, the team finally ran into more resolute resistance, as the squad suffered a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Chinese squad Invictus Gaming. While the North American team began both matches of the 2 game series in relatively solid fashion, Chaos Esports Club simply could not keep up with its opponent in the late-game stage, as iG pulled away in both matches to hand Chaos Esports Club its first losses of the entire event. A rematch with HellRaisers though gave the squad an opportunity to bounce back, as the North American squad claiemd a 2-0 victory spearheaded by a combined 47-18-110 stat line from its core trio of YawaR, CCnC, and SabeRLighT-. That victory earned the squad a shot at redemption in a Grand Finals rematch with Invictus Gaming, but vengeance would not be in the cards for Chaos Esports Club. The squad struggled to find its footing against its Chinese opponent, dropping 3 straight matches to lose the series 0-3 and finish its Minor run with a 8-5 record and a 2nd place finish overall.

Chaos Esports Club came into this event as one of the top teams within a somewhat underwhelming North American region, but a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage was set to dramatically increase the team’s profile regardless of the perceived strength of its home region. Prior to the start of the event itself, the squad was projected to finish in the Top 4 range in Los Angeles, and Chaos Esports Club had little difficulty living up to those expectations with a 2nd place finish and a 8-5 overall record at the Minor. The team breezed its way through the first half of the event, winning its first 6 matches against HellRaisers, Geek Fam, and jfshfh178. There really was only 1 problem for the North American squad, and that lone problem took the form of Invictus Gaming, as the Minor Champion was the team to hand Chaos Esports Club all 5 of its losses in this event. With that being the case, its hard to find too much to fault the team for in this performance, as the only squad that proved capable of taking down the team was the same one that ended up winning the entire event.

The team received solid contributions from across the entirety of its lineup in this event. The Carry/Mid duo of YawaR and CCnC combined to average 13.23 kills and 19.61 assists on 6.23 deaths per game across the team’s 13 total matches, while the Support duo of MSS and SVG put in a combined 26.39 assists per game as well. Stand-in Offlaner SabeRLighT- also put together some solid numbers in this event, averaging 3.23 kills and a team high 14.85 assists on 5.46 deaths per game in a performance that almost certainly raised his value for his eventual return to Team Singularity. While the efforts of Chaos Esports Club weren’t quite enough to push it to a Minor Championship title or a place at the subsequent Major, the team’s strong showing at this event certainly succeeded in increasing the squad’s standing within the wider Dota 2 world.

 

paiN Gaming paiN Gaming alt

Place: 7th-8th

Winnings: $12,000 & 40 Pro Circuit Points

Event Record: 0-4 (0-4 Group Stage)

paiN Gaming came into this Minor as one of the premier squads within the South American region, and the squad was hoping to put together a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage in order to further solidify that position to begin the 2019-2020 season. However, the squad came into this event without its full lineup, as 4dr was unable to attend the Minor and had to be replaced by Therence of NoPing e-sports. Though the team’s use of a stand-in required some changes to its usual strategies and player positions, paiN Gaming still had high hopes of displaying its strength on the Pro Circuit stage and vying for the first Minor Championship title of the 2019-2020 campaign.

Once the Minor itself actually began though, it was clear that paiN Gaming was in for a series of struggles, as the team simply did not appear to be at full strength. The squad suffered a devastating 0-2 defeat in its first Group Stage series against Invictus Gaming, with the South American squad being out killed 10-58 in a series that lasted just over 45 minutes of total game time. The team’s next match up in the Group Stage began in a similarly poor fashion, with the team trailing NiP throughout nearly the entirety of Game 1 of the Elimination match of Group A. Game 2 finally showed us some glimmer of hope for the squad, as paiN Gaming actually saw the squad in control in terms of net worth through most of the mid and late-game stages. However, the team proved incapable of holding on to that advantage, blowing its lead late in the game to suffer a comeback loss that ended its run at the Minor without a single victory.

paiN Gaming entered this first Pro Circuit event of the season as a squad that appeared to be in an uncomfortable position within its home region. The squad had been the elite team within its regional hierarchy for most of the previous season, but increased opposition from its regional rivals in the early days of the 2019-2020 campaign threatened its favorable status. Despite coming into this event with a stand-in, it was hoped that the experience and skill of the paiN Gaming lineup would allow the South American squad to put together a show of force on the international level to contend for a Top 4 spot in the standings and the title of Minor Champion. As it turned out, the team produced a shockingly underwhelming performance in Los Angeles, falling out of the competition entirety with a 7th-8th place finish while failing to win a single match at the Minor. While it is possible that the team’s use of a stand-in was a contributing factor to its poor play, not everything can simply be laid at the feet of its temporary player. No member of the paiN Gaming roster appeared to play with any sense of consistency in this event, as the team struggled to hold its own across the majority of its matches. Only the team’s Game 2 performance against NiP appeared to have any semblance of confidence or consistency, and even that match ended with a devastating collapse as paiN Gaming surrendered a comeback victory to its opponent to end its run at the event.

Considering the fact that many of the team’s regional rivals appear to be on the rise over the first few months of the season, this poor showing on the Pro Circuit stage could not have come at a worse time for paiN Gaming. The squad had already missed out on its first opportunity to reach the Major, and now have blown what could have been a second chance at earning a spot at the MDL Chengdu Major. Hopefully, a return to its home region will see paiN Gaming regain its previously strong form against its regional rivals. Even if that is the case though, this incredibly weak showing on the international level opens the door for a myriad of challengers to the team’s standing as one of the South American region’s elite teams.

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