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The first DPC tournament of the year starts soon and it is time to refresh our memory about the attending teams.
The CIS representatives in the Bukovel Minor will benefit from the home turf, but it is still a question whether it is going to be enough. Both teams attended the previous Major and both were pretty unsuccessful on the big stage.
The new patch and slightly lower competition level might allow Gambit to showcase why they were considered one of the top CIS teams last season. They already looked like they could go toe-to-toe with the best during the Singapore ONE tournament and ESL Hamburg, but they desperately need to start racking up DPC points, if they want to avoid the same fate as last year.
Team Spirit, in our opinion, is a bit of a dark horse: the last-minute change in roster might improve results, but it can also backfire and it is hard to tell before we see the team in action. Both nongrata and Ghostik are excellent offlane players and are probably around the same level in terms of skill and achievements so we will soon know who is actually a better fit for the team.
NiP went through some recent changes as well, but instead of going for an already established player, they are taking a risk, recruiting fresh blood into the scene. This decision is at the very least commendable, but it can also pay off greatly: Dota is an ever-changing game and fresh perspective often brings interesting new ideas and playstyles. Who knows, maybe the UK will soon be known not only for its talent, but also for its players?
The second North American squad, the Fighting Pandas, is an EternalEnvy team and that probably says it all. They have the capacity to win it all, but there is an equal chance they will finish dead last. They might bring to the table ideas that will be repeated and iterated on until the next big patch or they can draft something unexplainable game after game. Though at the very least one thing is almost certain: they are going to be entertaining.
Many consider Nigma to be the favorites in the upcoming Minor and there are good reasons for it. Despite unexpectedly tame results during the qualifiers it is still one of the few teams that managed multiple TI Grand Final appearances. They are talented, disciplined, experienced and, judging by their TI run last year, they are still hungry for more.
Skipping the first DPC tournaments of the year backfired on multiple notable teams, but unlike PSG.LGD Nigma still has a chance to prove that they are a force to be reckoned with. With the level of competition in the European region, this might be one of their last chances to hold on to their legendary status.
We feel like this team can be underestimated by the Western audiences, but RNG is a relatively young team that keeps on improving from tournament to tournament. They were close to making it to the Minor last time around and they finally found their footing, after changing the roster in the aftermath of TI9.
Young talented core players supported by an experienced support captain is a staple in the Chinese professional Dota scene and the formula proved successful time and time again. We are not going to speculate whether Fenrir is an improvement over LaNm in the “team veteran” role, as only time will tell, but we wouldn’t be surprised if RNG made it to the Grand Finals of the Minor.
SEA is probably the second most competitive region in Dota right now, and it shows: you know there is no shortage of talented teams, when a team with Raven, Dubu and Kuku has to play in the Minor.
The recent roster change, while controversial from fan and community perspective, is probably a step in the right direction for the team: new meta requires incredibly active, explosive tempo mids and this is generally associated with younger players, hence Karl can be a better fit. Though we won’t know for certain until after the tournament has started.
FURIA Esports is a team led by Duster—one of the youngest captains in the scene. After a rather heartbreaking departure from Pain Gaming more than a year ago, where he was replaced by the team’s coach, he struggled to find success and this is his first international appearance since 2018.
In a lot of ways the start of his story is similar to fng, where perhaps the lack of faith and respect in the young captain was the problem, rather than said captain’s lack of strategic and analytical prowess. Duster is still pretty young, especially for a captain, but it is impossible to call him inexperienced and we feel like his story will continue for a very long time.