posted by stanbobbler,
The Six Invitees
Vega Squadon: After a disappointing International, Vega Squadron have gone from strength to strength to become one of the most consistent squads, unaltered since April; even after a shaky immediate post-TI with two 5th-8th finishes, their perseverance appears to have paid off, evident from their victory at ESL One New York. This also earned them a direct invite to the Fall Majors.
Virtus Pro: Virtus.Pro* was Europe/CIS' highest ranking team at TI5 and they continued their good run of form through to the World Cyber Arena, finishing 2nd only to Team Secret. They too have an unchanged line-up and have been sticking together since April of this year. Similar to Vega, VP will be looking to show their worth after they also received a direct invite to the Fall Majors.
Ninjas in Pyjamas: Ninjas in Pyjamas* were involved in the World Cyber Arena last month, scoring 3rd place. Their roster has been unchanged since late February and they have matched up well against many of the other teams involved in The Defense recently.
Team Empire: Since their 9-12th place TI placement, Team Empire did struggle a little but are looking strong after winning the fall majors open EU qualifiers to enter the regionals. Andrey 'alwayswannafly' Bondarenko has gone to CIS Rejects and been replaced by Alexander 'Nofear' Churochkin since TI.
Alliance: The Alliance have experienced success since the major roster shuffles, finishing 3rd-4th in Elimination Mode and 4th at the World Cyber Arena. The result of TI5 gave Gustav 's4' Magnusson the opportunity to go back to Alliance after a period with Team Secret, taking the place of Per Anders 'Pajkatt' Olsson L.. Johan 'Mynuts' Andersson also rejoined after the departure of Sebastien '7ckngMad' Debs.
compLexity: So far since their 9-12th place finish at TI, compLexity have achieved a 3rd-4th place finish in Beyond The Summit Americas #2 after undergoing a change in roster, replacing Tal 'Fly' Aizik with Peter 'Waytosexy' Nguyen and David 'Moonmeander' Tan with Michael 'MJW' Nguyen after their moves to Monkey Business.
The Six Qualified Teams
The top dogs: Team Liquid and OG
5Jungz finished top of Group A in the first phase of The Defense, with a convincing record of 8-2; they were undefeated in any series, dropping their two points in 1-1 results with ScaryFaceZZZ* and Danish Bears. They also won Alienware's Summer Cup last month.
Meanwhile Monkey Business also looked in great form, topping Group B with 9-1, dropping a point only to Mamas Boys*. However, they did taste defeat against Virtus.Pro in the WCA, one of the invited teams.
The average dogs: ScaryFaceZZZ* and Mamas Boys*
SFZ found themselves 2nd in Group A. While they have had good results in both the MSI Dragon Battle and PGL DotA 2 Pro-AM Qualifier, they have not had much experience against the new boys on the Defense block.
4CL showed their strength in hero depth at Moonduck's Elimination Mode, claiming 1st after defeating Digital Chaos in the final with their line-up undergoing three changes in the major shuffle - Per Anders 'Pajkatt' Olsson L., Uros 'swiftending' Galic and Martin 'Saksa' Sazdov all coming in.
The better-than-Lemondogs: Team Kinguin and Power Rangers*
Full Polish squad Team Alternate has raised some eyebrows by qualifying for phase 2, since they have played only minor tournaments and with limited success. They were knocked out by SFZ in the Uprise Champions Cup to finish 5th there.
Power Rangers, who finished 5th-8th in Alienware's Summer Cup, was Group B's 3rd place qualifying team with a 50% record similar to Team Alternate.
The Stage 2 group stages
Ninjas in Pyjamas*