The Shanghai Major without Team Empire, Natus Vincere or Invictus Gaming? This was deemed to be nearly impossible a few weeks back. But the qualifiers demanded some prominent victims.
Qualifiers for the Shanghai Major in March are over. And what a tournament are we going to see: Eleven out of the 16 best ranked teams in the Dota 2 Team World Ranking were either invited or survived the qualifiers. Considering that Ninjas in Pyjamas and Cloud 9 don’t have an active squad, it’s even 11 out of 14. But where there is light, there are also some shadows. And they fall on these teams who should have made it to Shanghai, but instead became to most prominent victims of the hard qualifiers.
1. Team Empire
Team Empire is the second best team in the Dota 2 Team World Ranking. They recently won the Game Show Global eSports Cup Season 1 and were runner-up at the ASUS ROG Dreamleague Season 4. But the Shanghai Major will be played without them – as was the Frankfurt Major too. Team Empire lost the deciding match to Team Spirit.
2. Invictus Gaming
Invictus Gaming is seventh in the Dota 2 Team World Ranking. They are the third best chinese team and since Vici Gaming was invited and LGD Gaming made it through the qualifiers, the last spot seemed reserved for IG. But the team got eliminated in the group stage already after losing to the aforementioned LGD and their own talent squad iG.Vitality – who ironically made it further than the main team.
3. Vega Squadron
The Vega Squadron is 11th in the Dota 2 Team World Ranking. And they were ninth at the Frankfurt Major in November. The Russians even finished three major tournaments since in the top7. But that wasn’t enough: They lost in the european qualifiers to Team Spirit and Team Empire in the playoffs and won’t make it to China.
4. Natus Vincere
Of course Natus Vincere isn’t the team that dominated the Dota world anymore. But qualifying for the Shanghai Major should have been an ultimate goal for the ukranian organisation. Instead, they didn’t even make it past the group stage of the qualifiers. Dendi and his teammates lost the deciding match to Team Empire. On the bright side: Na’Vi is the only team that didn’t lose to Team Spirit in the group.
Let’s take a look at the American qualifiers – and the team that had the most bad luck in all the qualifiers of the Shanghai Major. There DigitalChaos was the strongest american team on paper. But that isn’t worth much if you screw up in the deciding moment twice. After winning their group undefeated DC lost both the Winner Brackets and Loser Brackets final by a close 1:2 to the now qualified teams Team Archon and compLexity Gaming.
6. Elements Pro Gaming
You have yoky. You have Illidan. You are potentially one of the best teams in Europe. And then you place LAST in your qualifiers group. This unbelievable thing just happened to Elements Pro Gaming who didn’t win a single match against Team Liquid, Vega Squadron and RoX. A tie versus the London Conspiracy was the best the russians could achieve. The team disbanded afterwards.
Okay, the chinese qualifier was tough: LGD, Invictus, Newbee and some talented B-teams made it a rough competition for a team like TongFu. But the 18th team of the Dota 2 Team World Ranking. powerhouse could surely have done better than being last in the group stage. They lost to LGD and IG Vitaliy but a least achieved a tie against IG and Team FanTuan.