MDL Chengdu Major Preview

Preview for MDL Chengdu Major

The International 9 has ended and it is now time to start a fresh Dota season. Several of the teams in the top tier have made major changes to their lineups and making the first major very open as it is difficult to say where the team ranks at the moment. MDL Chengdu Major starts November 16th and the first matches will be played at night in China. However, it may be worth setting the clock and enjoying the season's first major tournament. We'll take a look at which teams come to the tournament as favorites and which may see some struggles. Even though it is early in the season, very important DPC points are at stake and a good result here means getting a lot closer to a place for the TI10.


Evil Geniuses

In normal order, EG always belongs at the top. Big changes have taken place in the team with their most iconic player Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan left the team after TI9, where the EG placed in 5-6 place after a heavy loss to Team Liquid in the playoffs. Gustav “s4” Magnusson also left the team, which was more expected as the Swede had a longer period in the team overall. EG immediately found new players for the team in the form of Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev from Virtus.Pro and Abed “Abed” Yusop from Fnatic. It is safe to say that these pickups were relatively unexpected. The very talented carry player RAMZES666 will be saddled and played in the offlane role in EG and Abed will arguably be one of the world's best midlaners, but on the other hand, the team already had that in SumaiL. The question depends on whether the collaboration between Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and Abed can be more successful than before, as the team has often been criticized in that aspect.

So far, the team has managed to play the qualifier of MDL Chengdu Major and the team went through without any major problems, but the resistance was hardly what it will be in China. It remains to be seen how this new team will perform, but it is clear that the puzzle pieces for a world team are in place. If nothing else, this will be a very interesting season to follow. For the first time in a long time EG has gone outside the box with this lineup. There is little doubt that the team will come to this major as a favorite. to see how the team adapts to last season's disappointment.


Was seen as an outsider in TI9, but the team failed and ended up in a 9-12th place. This led to Carlo "Kuku" Palad leaving the team with Nico "eyyou" Barcelona. Substitutes were found in Damien "kpii" Chok, who is a really well-known player among the SEA teams and the second place was filled by Park "March" Tae-won from South Korea, which was more surprising. However, the new team got an incredibly good start to the season by dominating ESL One Hamburg, which was hardly a simple tournament when teams such as Alliance, VG, VP, NiP and Team Liquid were in place. Unexpectedly, however, Gambit Esports stood for the opposition in the final. It was very tough but TNC pulled the longest straw and showed that the team is more than likely to be a tough opponent for all teams this season. After the strong effort in Hamburg, the team cannot be ruled out in this tournament either and will at least go far, but a victory will be tough as MDL Chengdu is a much tougher tournament.


The all-new constellation in the Alliance, which is run by the experienced Adrian "Fata" Trinks, got a very good start to the season where Nikolay "Nikobaby" Nikolov shone big in the carry role. At the same time, the two Swedish players Linus "Limmp" Blomdin and Simon "The Glove" Hague finally look to have found a team that works with them perfectly. The team won DreamLeague Season 12 in an impressive way, but the opposition was hardly of the highest quality, although teams such as NiP and Team Liquid should have been able to perform better. This was followed up by a stable performance in ESL One Hamburg where the team placed third after a close loss to Gambit. The future still looks very bright and this team has a lot of skill. The chances of this being the best season in a long time for the Alliance are great and it all could very well start here in MDL Chengdu Major. Going all the way may be tough, but there is the chance of the team clicking perfectly.


Team Aster

We talked about Fade before leaving VG for this new project that has plenty of routine and talent. The two stars Lin “Xxs” Jing and Ze “BoBoKa” Zhibiao are on the team and in the spring the young Kee Chyuan “ChYuan” Ng from Malaysia joined the team. Aster failed to qualify for TI9 and this led to the team first making clear that Song "Sccc" Chun would be playing with the team this coming season, which is of course a gigantic acquisition as Sccc is one of China's best players. This season, however, he will go from his legendary mid position to carry instead as Aster seems to believe in young ChYuan. The potential to become China's best team should exist, but the road is long. They can really become predator or prey with this lineup and the first measure comes at home in China. The hopes are high, but can the stars make the chemistry work?

Invictus Gaming

The old big team IG has now bombed TI two years in a row and this leads to a new investment once again. This time the team is built around young players and experience in the legend Hi "Kaka"Liangzhi. The team got off to a brilliant start by qualifying for MDL Chengdu Major by winning Dota Summit 11. Enough for the opposition not to be top class in that tournament, but IG went almost undefeated throughout the tournament and outclassed Chaos Esports in the final with 3-0. It is an incredible display of strength and the game from the Chinese basically looked flawless throughout the tournament. On top of that, the team's young midlaner Zhou "Emo" Yi also had to do something great. The young Chinese team have been predicted to have a bright future and maybe we saw the first big step on the road to the summit last weekend. That IG would win a major at this stage is to expect too much, but the team has a very exciting project going on and is anyone to be able to lead these youngsters to the top of the Dota world then Kaka is probably the right man.


With all this said, we can safely say that the Chinese scene is very interesting this year as there have been a lot of changes and many high-profile shows have been created. Even many young players who are on the rise now have their real chance to appear on the biggest stage. MDL Chengdu Major will give us the first answers on where the team stands this season and many teams are looking for places at the top. For many, this is also one of the best chances to pick many DPC points as the next major will be filled with even more world-class teams. For example, Team Secret, OG and the old Liquid team have chosen to rest during this tournament, but will come back for the next major. At least it will be tougher for everyone.

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Cameron Carr

22 November 2019

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