The hectic summer season is soon upon us and one of the first events will be the JoinDOTA MLG Pro League Season 2 playoffs which will be played at X-games Austin this friday to sunday (5th – 7th of June). The previous season Team Empire beat Evil Geniuses in the grand finals making it the first big tournament win for the CIS squad as they went on to defeat another titan in Vici Gaming at the D2CL finals. Will Evil Geniuses prevail and show why they are the favorites or is this yet to be another scene for a underdog to rise up to the occasion, making X-Games Austin the first chapter of another top contender?
GSL bo1 format, two groups of four where the two teams that manage to win two games advance to the bo3 single elimination playoffs.
Alliance Loda, Pajkatt, AdmiralBulldog, 7ckngMad, Akke
With patch 6.83 Alliance came back from their long slump with drafts around Pajkatt who became the clear star of the team with monstrous performances on Troll Warlord and Sniper. The story of Alliance in patch 6.84 has been less fortunate for the roster, what seemed to be a good start with AdmiralBulldog bringing back the Nature’s Prophet soon turned bad as their enemies were able to first ban the unconventional hero without Alliance being able to capitalize on their draft advantage. In their last 12 series Alliance have only been able to win series against much weaker teams and losing/tie versus better or equal teams. Due to previous results and the amount of individual talent Alliance are expected to qualify out of group A but considering their early exit in the European qualifiers of TI5 it would be unwise to be surprised of another early exit.
Evil Geniuses Fear, Suma1L, UNiVeRsE, Aui_2000, ppd
The North American squad led by captain ppd seems to have adapted to the new changes in patch 6.84 as they ended in second place of The Summit 3, beating both Cloud9 and Vici Gaming to get there. Evil Geniuses are heavy favorites to win the event as no other top team is present but that was also the case last season where Team Empire managed to win against them in the grand final.
London Conspiracy Keyser Soze, Madara, SkyLark, SKANKS224, SsaSpartan
A lot of heads turned when London Conspiracy started their run in the European Qualifiers by beating Na’Vi 2-0, unfortunately for the Greeks that would be their only victory and they ended the qualifier in third place in group B. While London Conspiracy are not favorites they should still be considered a potential threat as they have shown to have the capacity to win against middle of the pack European teams before.
Champions of Summer’s Rift Brax, DeMoN, whitebeard, Niqua, Tralf
Summer’s Rift are the second North American squad attending, unlike the others this team had their dreams of attending TI5 squashed long before most teams. Due to internal issues and roster change Summer’s Rift lost their invitation to the American qualifier and were forced to fight their way through the open qualifier. In the semifinal DeMoN and crew were eliminated by Team Unknown which marked the end of their TI5 journey. Soon after their disappointing finish the team kicked their carry player BSJ while newly recruited mid player DragonFist left. Replacements came in the form of NA profile Tralf and the former Alliance offlaner Niqua. With such a recent roster change one shouldn’t really expect Summer’s Rift to advance from group A but their chances don’t look all too dark as they have been able to win against NAR and Not Today since their roster change.
Mousesports Black, TC (standin), BuLba, Waytosexy, pieliedie
The German organization picked up Team Tinker roughly a month ago, brimming with European talent and top competition experience made them the favorites in many people’s eyes in the American qualifiers for TI5. Ultimately Mousesports fell against NAR who managed to snag the wild card when all was said and done. For this event Mouz will play with standin TC from Root Gaming as replacement for qojqva, with this in consideration Mouz will most likely be the team first to be eliminated in group B.
Ninjas in Pyjamas Era, Limmp, Jonassomfan, Handsken, Sealkid
Out of the three teams present who played in the European qualifiers of TI5 NIP were the ones to go the furthest as they ended their run at 4th place after being bested by Vega Squadron in a 2-1 series. Towards the latter parts of the qualifier the ninjas showed a lot of early game presence by drafting themselves an aggressive tri lane several games in a row, the strategy worked very well as NIP managed to win the early game most of the time but were unable to close out the games. If that was due to nerves we have to see but the enemies of NIP should definitely be wary of the early game aggression potentially coming their way.
Team Malaysia kYxY, Mushi, Ohaiyo, JoHnNy, Kecik Imba
Currently the strongest SEA team and was the only team from the region that received a direct invite to TI5. Judging by their offline accomplishments Team Malaysia are one of the favorites to advance in Group B seeing as they generally only lose to the top teams in offline setting with their two latest offline tournament runs being ended by LGD and Team Secret. Since I-League Mushi has returned to the mid position, the swap between him and Kecik Imba have not looked to change much within the team but perhaps it will as Kecik Imba gets more comfortable in his new position.
Virtus.Pro Illidan, God, DkPhobos, Lil, fng
The only team representing the CIS region and a team that have yet to lose a series in the new patch, having won the first event of the patch by beating NIP and Alliance 2-0 and following that up with finishing on top in the round robin stage of DreamLeague season 3 where they beat Team Empire. Group B is by far the most even group, lacking both a clear under dog and favorite but if any team would be considered favored it would have to be Virtus.Pro who elevated their play above the tier 2 European teams in the new patch and is closing the distance to the top contenders such as Team Empire and Cloud9.