This is part of “Regional League Roundup“, a series on the teams competing in the DPC 2021 Regional Leagues.

The competitive Dota 2 season is finally upon us, with the return of Dota Pro Circuit 2021. As the closed qualifiers of each region have been completed, we now know all the teams that will be participating in the upper and lower divisions of the DPC’s Regional Leagues’ first season.

In this series of articles, we will be taking a closer look at the 16 teams in the Chinese region and discussing which Chinese squads have the best chance of advancing.

Upper Division

Prior to the start of the closed qualifier, Valve announced that PSG.LGD, EHOME, Vici Gaming, and Elephant had received direct invites to the upper division. So, it’s not surprising that these four teams emerged as the best in the region during the DPC hiatus after the Chinese Dota 2 roster shuffle period.

The four invited teams are a force to be reckoned with, but we see PSG.LGD and Elephant as the ones to look out for in the upper division. With the return of Wang “Ame” Chunyu to PSG.LGD, the team found immediate success, winning the China Dota 2 Pro Cup Season 1 in October. They continued to dominate their region by emerging victorious in the first and second seasons of the CDA-FDC Professional Championship online tournament. PSG.LGD also finished as the runner-up in seasons 3 and 4 of the OGA Dota PIT online tournament in China.

Right behind PSG.LGD is Elephant, the infamous Chinese Dota 2 superteam which consists of legendary talents from PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming. After Elephant was able to sort out their various contract and roster disputes, the team pulled together and claimed the final two online tournaments of China Dota 2 Pro Cup Season 2, which was then followed by a first-place finish at OGA Dota PIT Season 4: China.

Joining the invited teams are Team Aster, Team MagMa, LBZS, and Invictus Gaming — the four teams that emerged from the closed qualifiers and earned their spots in the upper division.

During the DPC hiatus, we’ve seen the emergence of lesser-known teams, like LBZS and Team MagMa, who have broken through the Chinese region. They’ve shown fans that they’re capable of keeping up with top-tier organizations. Because of that, we believe Team Aster and Invictus Gaming will still be the teams to look out for in the future.

Team Aster advanced to the upper division without dropping a single game, defeating Dalajing Gaming in the first round, and then outclassing Royal Never Give Up with noteworthy performances from Team Aster mid laner Liu “DD” Yuhao and carry Du “Monet” Peng.

Meanwhile, Invictus Gaming managed to bounce back after their first-round loss to Team MagMa, by eliminating both Sparking Arrow and Royal Never Give Up in the closed qualifier. Invictus Gaming is also the only team in the new DPC season which did not make any roster changes in 2020. They’re continuing with the same players post-TI9.

Fans should also keep in mind that the top four seeded teams from the upper division will advance to the first Major of the DPC 2021 season, with the top team proceeding straight into the Major playoffs. The runner-up will continue in the Major group stage, while the third and fourth-placed teams will be competing in the Major wild card.

Lower Division

The eight teams that will be participating in the Chinese region’s lower division are Dalanjing Gaming, Sparking Arrow Gaming, CDEC Gaming, Dragon, Dynasty, Xtreme Gaming, Phoenix Gaming, and Royal Never Give Up.

Of these eight teams, the clear favorite is RNG, a squad that has already experienced success in multiple international tournaments. They also remained active during the DPC hiatus and even won the Huya Winter Invitational, with Zhong “GodKing” Liushuai named the MVP of the tournament.

The remaining teams in the lower division are relatively unknown. Two upper division slots will be up for grabs and awarded to the teams that finish with the best records.

The first season of China’s Regional League begins on January 18 and will continue until March 14. A mid-season break will follow, as the region celebrates Chinese New Year on February 12.

Tomorrow, we will be taking a closer look at SEA’s Regional League.

READ MORE: Vici Gaming has parted ways with 23savage