DreamLeague Season 11: Dota 2 Stockholm Major preview
DreamLeague Season 11, the next Dota 2 Major, held in the esports mecca that is Sweden, is almost here and the teams could not be more ready to rock in Stockholm. VISAs are secure and the stars are all on site as the world’s best compete to see if anyone can hold a flame to Puppey’s innovative Team Secret, the pace setters of the game in 2019.
Challenging Secret at DreamLeague Season 11 will be NIP, Team Liquid, Virtus.pro, Na'Vi, PSG.LGD, EHOME, Keen Gaming, Fnatic, Mineski, Evil Geniuses, J.Storm, Forward Gaming, Chaos, Infamous and, winners of Kiev Minor, Vici Gaming.
Stockholm Major: DreamLeague Season 11 schedule, live streams & results
Here's a look at the DreamLeague Season 11 runners and riders, with predictions from esports veteran and Dota 2 super-fan Sujoy Roy.
The potential winners
The power of friendship is all well and good, but the power of having a better leader and more innovative draft than your opponent has really come to the fore this year. Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov has been known as a thinking leader for some time, and his revolution has been to draft in ways even the best can’t deal with.
Coming into this event as a favourite might put some pressure on them as a result, but they are a formidable Dota 2 team for sure. It'd be a nice late present for their leader too...
What is there to say about Virtus.pro at this point, except the obvious? They have great players, great history and some amazing fans, and often look like the best team in the world coming into big events. They also have a history of fractious behaviour as a team when the pressure is on, and a record that suggests they may crack in high-tension moments. How related those two facts are is hard to be certain of, but as ever VP are one of the favourites, and will be a scary draw for any team.
The power of Team Liquid is well known, but their failure at TI and the way Secret have stolen the limelight for the start of this season might have slightly offended their sensibilities. As a five man unit, there are few with more impressive collections of players, but catching up with Team Secret is no easy task. Their group draw will tell us a lot about their chances, but top four should be more than achievable for this group.
Sujoy says: “I still like Secret to win the Stockholm Major, but the gap between them and the rest of the field has closed significantly since the start of 2019. Both Liquid and Virtus.pro seem to be back on form, but if it were a grand final I’d fancy Puppey to reveal an unbeatable pocket strategy, and Nisha playing carry for Team Secret continues to deliver results. His performance at the Spodek for ESL One Katowice in front of a home crowd may have been one of the most impressive I’ve seen recently in esports.”
After so nearly winning TI8, the PSG.LGD project has suffered a bit, with star man Somnus taking some time off for medical issues, and a slump in results following their peak last year. With TI9 in Shanghai there is more motivation than ever for Chinese sides to make 2019 a special year, and you can never write off a team with this much quality.
Another side oozing talent is EG, but it’s been a while since they have been able to turn their undoubted potential into real world results. For all the follower and attention, they have been slacking where it counts, in the trophy count, and for a group as big as EG these results are not good enough, regardless of how many sponsors you can secure. They have a tough group too, and need to be on form from day one.
They had to run through the Kiev Minor to get to this point, but the $125k for winning that event isn’t too much of a hardship in truth, and Vici are definitely deserving of a spot in this event, even if they might struggle to win it outright. With Chinese Dota in a small slump, it will take a special performance to change that, but Vici have some special players and the potential to shock some ‘bigger’ teams. Their win over Gambit was impressive, although it did come with an asterisk as the CIS mix were missing their mid laner.
Sujoy says: “I’m very impressed with Vici Gaming after such a confident performance at the Minor. Ori and Paparazi are looking like they can outlane anyone in an even fight, and their entire team are working together well. They have bounced back from a rough start to the season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they shock everyone.”
Fnatic, Mineski, J.Storm, NIP, Na’Vi, Forward Gaming, Chaos Esports and Infamous are all also enjoying the Swedish weather this March, but will probably have little more to look forward to over the course of the Major. The standard of play is so high, although TI8 did show that you can never write off players with experience and desire, which certainly applies to a few of those involved in the teams mentioned above.
There is a bit of debate as to whether EHOME and Keen Gaming deserve Dead Donkey or Dark Horse status, but without any recent big titles to their name it seems more fair to put them here, until they can prove they deserve to be considered real contenders. There is a lot of experience in those two teams, but that goes for almost every side in tier one Dota these days, and needs to be combined with winning skills and the right attitude.
Sujoy says: “I’ve been particularly disappointed with NIP and Forward gaming recently. They both have incredibly talented lineups that are no strangers to success, but something in the chemistry just isn’t quite right. PPD’s team in particular were on the verge of competing with the likes of Secret and Liquid, but then slipped away.”
Redeye's Stockholm Major preview
Paul Chaloner - AKA Redeye - joined Sujoy to preview the Stockholm Major and share his thoughts on who to watch at DreamLeague Season 11.
Make your DreamLeague Season 11 predictions
We'll be running a DreamLeague Season 11 prediction contest for the chance to win one of five Codicil of the Veiled Ones. Enter via Twitter or Facebook.
Five winners will be drawn at random from those who pick the correct winner of DreamLeague Season 11. You must be at least 18 to take part and will need to supply a valid Steamtrade URL to claim your prize. Entry closes when the play-off stage starts. One entry per person, attempted multiple entries will result in disqualification.The awards will be credited a few days after the event ends.
That's not all! Three winners will be drawn at random during DreamLeague Season 11 Grand Final among those who predicted the winner in a final prediction contest.
Pictures: DreamHack/Jennika Ojala