The preseason player shuffle for the 2019-2020 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season is over, and the teams competing in the first Major cycle are now all set.
With the first qualifiers of the season kicking off today, October 5, let’s take a look at how the top teams from each region fared. For the second installment in this series, we head over to Europe and the CIS.
Team Liquid suddenly parting ways with its roster that earned the org two finals appearances in The International (TI) — including the championship at TI7 — was one of the biggest stories of the preseason player shuffle. But even if it didn’t take long for Liquid to get back in the field by acquiring the former Alliance roster, there are a number of concerns expected of its new lineup.
While we surely cannot expect the new Liquid roster to immediately live up to the legacy set by their predecessors, can we expect them to be a worthy competitor in a region that remains the most tightly contested of them all? The new Liquid squad looked like a middling tier-2 team for almost two years under Alliance before they got their groove and qualified for TI9 — they were on the verge of an Upper Bracket berth but were ultimately eliminated in the first round of the Lower Bracket.
The promise of further development seems to be what pushed Liquid to acquire its new squad, but they will have to live up to their own potential first before one can consider that acquisition worth it.
Team Liquid roster:
- Michael “miCKe” Vu
- Maximilian “qojqva” Bröcker
- Samuel “Boxi” Svahn
- Tommy “Taiga” Le
- Aydin “iNSaNiA” Sarkohi
Alliance lost its TI9 roster to Team Liquid just as the player shuffle was winding down, putting them in an arguably more precarious position than the latter. But the Swedish org didn’t waste much time before bouncing back, signing a mixed European squad led by German veteran Adrian “Fata” Trinks.
While there are concerns about how far this roster can go, Alliance can at least be assured that it won’t take them too long before they start getting results. The org has repeatedly stated that their ultimate goal for the season was to compete in TI10, to be held in their home turf of Stockholm, Sweden. It might not be too much of a stretch to say that this new squad can get them there.
- (1) Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov
- (2) Linus “Limmp” Blomdin
- (3) Neta “33” Shapira
- (4) Simon “Handsken” Haag
- (5) Adrian “Fata” Trinks
Ninjas in Pyjamas
After Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) bottomed out of TI9 — getting eliminated during the group stage — many were left wondering what captain Peter “ppd” Dager was going to do next. NiP’s new roster signals a desire to stay in contention instead of going for a full rebuild, but there are some pressing concerns.
Oliver “Skiter” Lepko hardly seems to be an upgrade from former NiP carry Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard, and the team bombed out of TI9 with him in the lineup. While Malthe “Biver” Winther is a solid support and Nico “Gunnar” Lopez is considered a promising talent, they both remain largely unproven.
Ppd reuniting with Saahil “Universe” Arora, with whom he won TI5 with during their time in Evil Geniuses (EG), should bode well for the team. But it remains to be seen whether they can elevate their teammates to the next level. The first Major cycle will surely be a big test for the potential of NiP’s new squad.
Ninjas in Pyjamas roster:
- (1) Oliver “Skiter” Lepko
- (2) Nico “Gunnar” Lopez
- (3) Saahil “Universe” Arora
- (4) Malthe “Biver” Winther
- (5) Peter “ppd” Dager
Unchanged teams: OG, Team Secret, ex-Team Liquid
Notable free agents: Gustav “s4” Magnusson, Troels “SyndereN” Nielsen, Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier
After being the top dogs of CIS for years, the grip that Virtus.pro (VP) has had on the region is sure to loosen this upcoming season. While the departure of Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev to EG and the benching of Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan definitely hurt, losing Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov to regional rivals Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) is an even harsher blow.
The way VP has filled out its roster is intriguing though.
The org elected to pick up pubstars in Egor “epileptick1d” Grigorenko and Vitalie “Save-” Melnic instead of acquiring players from tier-2 teams in the region. While both players will be on trial for the first Major qualifiers and are expected to be integrated into the lineup should VP have satisfactory results, a lot will hinge on the performance of Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok on the offlane to bridge the new blood with the remnants of the old VP core in Vladimir “no[o]ne” Minenko and Alexey “Solo” Berezin.
For better or worse, a new era for VP has already begun.
- (1) Egor “epileptick1d” Grigorenko
- (2) Vladimir “no[o]ne” Minenko
- (3) Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok
- (4) Vitalie “Save-” Melnic
- (5) Alexei “Solo” Berezin
Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) turned a lot of heads in TI9, exceeding expectations in the group stage despite narrowly being eliminated in 13th-16th place. While retaining its old roster would have been enough as the team looked ascendant, replacing Evgeniy “Blizzy” Ree with former VP offlaner 9pasha meant that Na’Vi has a real shot at once again being the top team in CIS.
While 9pasha will be the skilled veteran presence that the team will rally around, if team standouts Idan “MagicaL” Vardanian and Bakyt “W_Zayac” Emilzhanov continue to step up their game, then Na’Vi should be considered a tier-1 team. With all that said, expect to see a lot more Na’Vi fans come out of the woodwork this season.
Natus Vincere DPC roster:
- (1) Vladislav “Crystallize” Krystanek
- (2) Idan “MagicaL” Vardanian
- (3) Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov
- (4) Bakyt “W_Zayac” Emilzhanov
- (5) Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev
Notable free agents: Danil “Dendi” Ishutin
READ MORE: 2019-2020 DPC Teams: The Americas