OG is missing Ana
We already knew that Anathan 'ana' Pham was important for OG at The International 2018. OG is out of shape since the Australian carry has left. Qualifying for a Major will be tough.
OG decided to not attend the first qualifier, didn't make it to Chongqing and probably won't attend DreamLeague either. The only way for the team to still go all the way to the Major is to qualify for the Minor and win the trophy in Kiev.
They tried playing with Per Anders 'Pajkatt' Olsson L. and replaced him with Igor 'ILTW' Filatov right before the second Major qualifier started. Although the young Russian carry is very talented, he doesn't really seem to fit into OG's system yet.
Making another miraculous run will be way more difficult this time for Johan 'BigDaddyN0tail' Sundstein and his teammates. Qualifying for the Minor should be the goal for OG, but winning it won't be easy.
Teams like Vici Gaming, Team Aster or Tigers and AS Monaco Gambit could be tough opponents. Without Ana OG can't be called a favourite. If ILTW continues improving, OG can still get in shape before the DPC ends.
Let’s play play play 👍— 7ckngMad (@7ckngMadDOTA) 4. Februar 2019
Last but not least they could still start another run from the Open Qualifier if they don't earn enough DPC points - who knows...
Secret is the number one in the world
Team Secret has won almost every tournament this season: PVP Esports Championship, ESL One Hamburg 2018 and The Chongqing Major. They didn't place first at The Kuala Lumpur Major, but still made it into the final.
It's not just this impressive collection of trophies proving that Team Secret is the best team in the world right now, but also how fast they adapt to a new patch and their admiring performances against opponents in their tier. In the European qualifier it's a given right now that Team Secret will get one slot for the Major, but the dominance they showed against Team Liquid is scary.
Both teams are part of the top four in the world, but Secret didn't have any issues in closing out the best-of-three series in two games. They didn't just outplay Liquid, but also outdrafted them with a clever Chen pick. It just seemed like Secret already had a better angle on how to handle the new patch. The only team that can beat them right now is Virtus.pro.
We'll see at the Major in Stockholm if the Russian team have found a way to stop Clement 'Puppey' Ivanov and his squad.
The boredom of NA and its top three teams
While the fight for the other European slots is quite interesting (Liquid got one for the last two Majors, and Alliance, OG as well as NiP are fighting for the third ticket), North America is the most stable region in the Dota 2 Pro Circuit. We saw the same teams qualifying for all three Major tournaments. The only difference: the order in which the teams qualified changed.
GGWP, @compLexity! That's a wrap on the #DreamLeagueMajor qualifiers - we win the series 2-0 and secure our spot in the major!— Forward Gaming (@goFORWARDgg) 7. Februar 2019
We can't wait to head to Sweden in March! Congrats, boys! 🎉 @Resolut1on_ @UniverseDota @SVGDota @YawaR_YS @MSSDota @Aui_2000 pic.twitter.com/TJtWZ0GYDw
Evil Geniuses, J.Storm and Forward Gaming are the strongest teams in their region. Everything beneath their level shouldn't plan to attend a Major any time soon.
beastcoast, compLexity Gaming or test 123 are not stable enough to be a threat to the trio. Roster swaps and performance fluctuation are a huge problem for NA's second tier.
Mineski and Infamous are back
Had we made a tier list of every region before the Major circuit started, Mineski in South-East Asia and Infamous in South America would have been teams that undoubtedly should have had a Major appearance by now. However, both teams had a rough start to the season and tried different rosters and players, but still didn't qualify for any of the first two Majors.
Now, they both finally got a slot for Valve's biggest event series in Dota 2. It was not Jacky 'EternaLEnVy' Mao with JingJun 'Sneyking' Wu that helped Infamous gaining a slot, but two young Peruvian talents.
3rd times a charm... finally i’m back at a major see you there boys 😍😍— Damien Chok (@kpiidota) 3. Februar 2019
Sebastian 'Robo-Z' Cerralta and Romel 'Mjz' Quinteros are the two rather unknown Peruvian players that helped Infamous claiming back at top spot in their region and qualify for a Major.
Mineski, on the other hand, is playing with Lai Jay 'Ah Jit' Son and Johan 'pieliedie' Åström since November 2018 respectively January 2019. They finally fought back in their region. The Swedish player took over as a captain. With him, Mineski beat every strong SEA team except for Fnatic.
EHOME is a threat to the top teams of China
Almost three years ago Wings Gaming came out of nothing and surprised all established Chinese veterans by winning TI6. Two players of this legendary squad try to repeat this story: Zhang 'Faith Bian' Ruida and Zhang 'y`' Yiping are finally demonstrating their world-class level as a part of EHOME.
A top 6 finish at the Chongqing Major is our final result after a 0-2 against EG. Good games, and our squad will continue to learn and improve. Thank you for your support! pic.twitter.com/vZ5FzJIy4Q— EHOME (@EHOMECN) 26. Januar 2019
The team, led by TI4 winner Zhang 'xiao8' Ning, won the second Minor and had a good run at the Major. In the third qualifier they topped their group including PSG.LGD and won the deciding match against Vici Gaming with a convincing 2-0 victory.
EHOME is on the edge of reaching the top of their region. It's a chance for China to finally get back to the very top of the international competition.
Who will win the third Major and why? Tell us your opinion.
Photo credit: StarLadder/ DreamHack - Jennika Ojala