Kuala Lumpur Major bracket preview: Groups C and D
We have taken a close look at all the teams from groups A and B and now it’s time for the other half of the Kuala Lumpur Major bracket - groups C and D to get the spotlight treatment, with insight from Luckbox's Director of Esports and Dota fan Sujoy Roy.
We’ve got the TI8 runners-up, one of the favourites for the event and a number of new-ish banners to run the rule over, so dive right in.
KL Major bracket Group C
PSG.LGD – for some reason, the attention on PSG.LGD in the lead up to TI8 wasn’t as intense at it was on other favourites, and that may have played into their hands a bit. As the likes of VP, Secret and Evil Geniuses faltered, the Chinese team went all the way to the final and pushed OG to game five, where they were unlucky to lose. Without the TI8 Champions in attendance, this five man unit has to be one of the favourites to at least dominate their group, if not win the event outright.
Fnatic – after making a little splash in Canada, Fnatic were forced to rethink their plans after losing their entire five man line-up. Signing ex-Mineski players iceiceice and Jabz was a statement of intent when there were questions over their future in Dota, and this is their first chance to prove they have what it takes to compete with the best of the best, starting with PSG.
Gambit Esports – after falling short in the TI8 qualifiers, Gambit went back to the drawing board and signed a completely new team. The ferzee five came in to replace their failing team back in June, with Andrey "Afoninje" Afonin probably the focus as their solo mid player, and they will want to prove themselves here in Kuala Lumpur. The org has a decent record in tier two events, but this is a step up for Gambit, and they’ll need to rise to the occasion.
Tigers – the less loved member of TNC’s family last year turned out to be the Tiger, as the org dropped that half of their operation to focus on the Predator brand following new Valve rules on team ownership. The Tigers, led by 1437, had a decent run at DreamLeague S10 that saw them defeat Na’Vi in Grand Finals and secure a place at this event. Now it’s time to show TNC they made the wrong choice.
Sujoy says – "It's been difficult to judge PSG.LGD's recent form since they were robbed of their TI win back in August. I’m counting on them being even more driven for success this year, so I’d be surprised if they didn’t win Group C with ease. Fnatic’s new roster, despite showing plenty of promise, simply hasn’t delivered results and Gambit Esports are yet to impress. Tigers are the dark horse of the group, having been dominant in the DreamLeague minor. If Ahjit is on form expect fireworks from them in this Group, but I still doubt they’ll take a game from LGD."
KL Major bracket Group D
Virtus.pro – the phrase "Virtus.pro look like TI winners" still echoes around the inside of each player's head, months after they failed to win that event, probably. Obviously that is just speculation, but the reality is that this team look very good most of the time, but seem to struggle to get over the line in the biggest moments, leading to disappointment. This is another chance to prove that wrong, and get revenge on Team Secret for the 2-0 defeat in lower-bracket finals in Hamburg.
Forward Gaming – the former VGJ.Storm line-up wound up with Forward Gaming, and at the time there was a lot of cryptic talk about the team making an offer nobody else could match. According to a recent interview, that actually just amounted to a team house in New York, and given that OpTic were the ones interested that claimed they "could not beat" that, it does make you wonder how serious the Green Wall really was. Either way, the Forward boys have a great rep, and come into this as a dark horse contender for the latter stages at least.
paiN X – given the fact all the other teams have been dropping their second squads in anticipation of forthcoming rules about multiple team ownership, it is an odd time for paiN to have picked up another team, but they have, and here it is. Although not as talented as their paiN Gaming team, there is a good deal of ability among them, and they could shock a few teams along the way. The odds of them winning the event overall are limited of course, but anything can happen in Dota.
Alliance – there was a time when Alliance were one of the elite EU Dota 2 squads, but things have changed around them and today they have a lot of work to get back to that level. Finishing 9-12th at TI8 wasn't what they went for, even if they lost to the likes of VP and Secret, and qojqva is the man they'll be pinning their hopes on, having brought him in in June to try and strengthen their squad.
Sujoy says – "Group D of the KL Major bracket will be an epic clash between Virtus Pro and Forward Gaming. I have a hunch it's FWD that will be most prepared going into the group stage, especially with Yawar having plenty to prove after missing ESL One Hamburg. VP may have to play catch-up. Alliance and paiN X will get some much needed tournament experience but will struggle once they reach the playoffs".