The PVP Esports Championships is the first premier Dota 2 LAN following the spectacle of The International 8. The main event runs from October 5th through the 7th and features a $200,000 prize pool. PVP invited three well known international teams: Fnatic, LGD.PSG, and Team Secret. Additionally, six teams qualified through very specific national qualifiers. Australia sent KSY, Admiral from the Philippines, Singapore is represented by Resurgence, Hashtag from Thailand, Signify from India, and BOOM ID qualified as the 2018 Indonesia Games champions.
PVP continues their interesting format with an additional group stage qualifier at the LAN. The six regional teams played in a preliminary group stage (a bo1 round robin) to determine who would play in the main group stage. BOOM ID didn’t drop a single game, with Team Admiral only dropping one game. The remaining teams were incredibly close - with a three way tie between Signify, Resurgence, and KSY. Unfortunately for Australian fans everywhere (sorry Godz), KSY along with Resurgence lost the tiebreakers and will be left out of the main event.
It should come as no surprise that the invited teams are strong favorites to perform here at the first LAN following the International 8. PSG.LGD placed second at The International 8 and made no roster changes. They come equipped with an experienced coach, developed strategies, and excellent team work. They do run the risk of stagnating - without new players, teams can struggle to develop the new ideas they need to continue to win. However, without any major patches in the time since TI, this shouldn’t disadvantage them. LGD have the likely easier group stage, facing Admiral and Boom. It is unlikely they fall to both of these teams, so we should expect to see them in the playoffs.
Fnatic potentially have the opposite problem of PSG.LGD. They made drastic roster changes, returning to an entirely Southeast Asian team. Iceiceice’s unique offlane style makes the team less predictable than ever before while Abed’s reliable midlane ensures the team usually executes their plans. Jabz is fairly new to the captain role (and playing fifth position), but Fnatic’s nearly unbeaten performance in the Kuala Lumpar Major qualifiers slots them to be the powerhouse of SEA. PVP will be their first chance to test the line-up against international teams. Their day is not an easy one as they start off the group stage with a match against Team Secret.
Team Secret has been unpredictable since its’ inception. Puppey seems to scout and develop excellent talent every season, with ex-Secret players going on to great success. His stubborn style can lead to early tournament exits, especially in tournaments with less on the line. While we might see safer drafts in Kuala Lumpar, it’s very possible we see Puppey test various strategies with his new line up at PVP. He is re-joined by Zai, who single handedly carried TI5 era Team Secret to various victories. Zai has a preference, like Iceiceice, for non traditional offlanes - so who knows what to expect from Team Secret.
Ultimately, this puts PSG.LGD as the “safe” choice while Team Secret has the potential for a fantastic result. Either they crush everyone in an impressive manner, or they fail so spectacularly that we are left wondering how any iteration of this team ever won four tournaments in a row.
With minimal data on the regional teams, it is hard to say how well they will perform. This tournament “matters” significantly more for them than the invited teams - they don’t have a DPC Major coming up to worry about. These teams have been grinding in open qualifiers and playing non stop and they didn’t need a break after the intensity of TI. However, they have less LAN experience and could be more susceptible to pressure, but they could also be driven and inspired. Everyone loves an underdog, maybe these teams can surprise us. Here’s a quick look at their picking patterns over the past month:
These teams may take a game here or there off of the more experimental Fnatic or Team Secret, but I don’t expect them to succeed against PSG.LGD. After their initial group stage performance, Boom ID is the best pick to join the three invited teams in the single elimination playoff bracket.
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