A Major Slot Awaits at the Starladder IMBA Dota Minor

In just under a day eight teams will battle for just a single spot at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major. It’s a usual combination of familiar faces and organizations, along with some skilled newcomers.

It’s a relatively poor format (especially compared to Starladder’s great format for the Chongqing Major), with two (four-team) GSL groups with the top 2 advancing into a single elimination playoff. Since only the top spot counts, this probably doesn’t make a huge difference - and streamlined formats for this purpose are actually super refreshing from a spectator’s perspective.

A Breakdown: The Favorites, The Unexpected, and the Unknown

There are three clear favourites (OG, Vici Gaming & Gambit), one big unknown (Old But Gold formed earlier this year but this is the first DPC event they’ve qualified to), and a bunch of relatively ‘weaker’ teams. Of these ‘weaker’ teams, RNG is definitely the highest rated team, and as a result they are grouped with OG in Group A. Gambit and VIci are the top seeds going into group B. These are the teams that are most likely to make the playoffs - but there certainly could be upsets. Let’s have a look at these.

Flying Penguins features the polarising player EternalEnVy - one who can single-handedly win or lose games. In the NA qualifier they initially dropped down to the lower bracket against Team Team but streaked to victory beating everyone. They are in Group A, and I think have a reasonable chance to take games off the top two, perhaps even a win.

Boom ID are a well-established Indonesian team. Their performance at The Bucharest Minor was not great - a single win against Playmakers suggested they were the 7th worst team. Their qualification seemed relatively simple - clear 2-0 victories, but this Minor won’t be that ease.

Old But Gold and Demolition Squad (formerly Team Odd) both had a relatively easy qualification process, but will have difficult groups. I’d be totally surprised if either of these teams were in the finals, or even make it beyond playoffs.

What to watch?

Potentially good matches include the opener between RNG and Flying Penguins, the 2nd/3rd decider in Group A, and possibly Group B’s 2nd/3rd decider. The playoffs could be a similar situation, with some pearl matches hidden in a sea of mediocre matches. This all said, there are some redeeming qualities: teams are playing for a spot at a Major (and will give it their all), there are a lot of very unpredictable teams (who could bring something unexpected), and of course there is EternalEnVy who always delivers something special.