The North American qualifiers for the MDL Chengdu Major have wrapped up with some surprising results.
This is something of a surprising turn of events and speaks to what may end up being an incredibly competitive season in the region. It also makes it unclear what the long-term prospects are for the perceived favorites in North American Dota 2.
One thing that wasn’t a surprise was that Evil Geniuses performed very well in the qualifiers.
The team made big waves following its fourth-place finish at The International 2019 by benching both SumaiL and Gustav “s4” Magnusson and bringing in Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev and Abed Azel L. “Abed” Yusop. It’s a talent-rich roster, but with RAMZES666 taking on offlane duties after a career spent largely as a carry, there was no guarantee of success.
Fans of Evil Geniuses will be happy to learn that the team still looks like a force.
The team was immaculate in the group stage, going a perfect 6-0 with an additional pair of forfeit victories. From there, EG sealed up a spot in the major by taking a 2-1 victory over Quincy Crew. The future is never certain in Dota 2, but this was the kind of performance Evil Geniuses needed in order to show that they remain an elite team.
The future is never certain in Dota 2. And neither is the present when Jacky “EternalEnVy” Mao is involved.
The carry player has become a controversial figure within Dota 2 for his “fiftEE-fiftEE” duality. In-game, he will make remarkable plays just before seemingly feeding the enemy team with comical miscalculations. Outside the game, he will charm fans with his quirkiness and then stun the entire scene with his unrepentantly cutthroat roster maneuvering.
Despite that and all of the bad blood it has resulted in, he still manages to pull together competitive teams. His latest, the Fighting Pepegas, debuted in the MDL Chengdu Major qualifiers and looked good in the process.
The team amassed a 7-1 record in the group stage and defeated J.Storm to secure a spot in the major. There is a very real chance that this team will be broken up six weeks from now, but this result coupled with the sheer talent in the Fighting Pepegas is a good sign when it comes to the team’s long-term prospects.
One team that didn’t have such a good run was the Quincy Crew. SumaiL’s new squad tore through the group stage with a 7-1 record, but lost to Evil Geniuses to start the playoffs. That set them up with a game against J.Storm to determine the final North American team headed to the major, but they once again fell short.
With the season still in its infancy, it’s too early to hit the panic button. Make no mistake though, this is a bit worrying for the stack. The Quincy Crew is hugely talented, but has both SumaiL and his brother Yawar “Yawar” Hassan playing away from their traditional roles. SumaiL has taken on carry responsibilities after a successful career in the mid lane, while former carry Yawar has transitioned to the offlane. Despite these changes, the team seemed like a shoe-in for a spot in the major.
Hope isn’t lost for the team quite yet. They are still in line to earn a spot at the Dota Summit 11 minor, with the winner of that event heading to the MDL Chengdu Major.
The Dota Summit 11 qualifiers begin on October 9.