The invites for the Kuala Lumpur Major have been announced, with the biggest names in Dota 2 due to clash in the first event of this scale since The International 2018. With many roster moves having taken place in the past few weeks, it will also be a chance for fans to see some of the new teams in their first proper run out, and judge who the winners and losers of the post-TI8 shuffle are.
Europe, China and America will all receive four invite positions, with a further four teams coming from open qualifiers. These regions will all be whittled down to an eventual three teams going to Malaysia, while South America, South East Asia and the CIS region will contribute two apiece from a similar regional event. Finally, one side will come from the minor, with the winner of that tournament the 16 and last side to fly out to KL.
In Europe, the big names are there, with Liquid, Alliance, and Team Secret joined by a new name, Shangri-La. This is the new side led by Peter "ppd" Dager, featuring a mixture of high-level cast-offs, including Martin "Saksa" Sazdov, Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard, Neta "33" Shapira and Adrian "Fata" Trinks. It will be interesting to see how they gel as a five, up against Liquid, Alliance, and Secret, the last of which are yet to announce their new five man roster.
The headline in Europe is undoubtedly the lack of OG Esports, who were invited to the closed qualifiers, but declined the invitation, which came just three weeks or so after their historic victory at TI8. The team is not expected to make any changes, but it is a blow to the organisers not to include the champions of TI in their list of potential attendees.
New names in NA
Over in North America, there are more new names, with Quincy Crew the former VGJ.Storm team, and Team Team a new project led by Braxton "Brax" Paulson and Michael "ixmike88" Ghannam, who are returning to the scene, completed by Eric "Ryoya" Dong, Jason "Newsham" Newsham and Guilherme "Costabile" Silva. Evil Geniuses and compLexity complete the invites, with the latter yet to confirm their team for the event.
China will send PSG.LGD along, with Team Serenity, Vici Gaming and Newbee also invited. The latter had a disappointing TI by their standards, and announced their new five recently, so you can expect a big performance out of Newbee if everything goes to plan. PSG will be looking to bounce back after a tough loss in the TI8 final, with no changes made to their roster.
Elsewhere, Virtus.pro and Winstrike are the headlines from the CIS region, with coach Ivan “ArtStyle” Antonov the only departure from a VP team that have extremely long contracts, in Dota 2 terms. The South East Asia region looks quite stacked for a tournament that will only get two spots, with Mineksi set to announce a new five in the coming days. They are joined by fnatic, TNC and Execration, with TNC Pro the only team to bear that name after new ownership rules came into place.
The South American qualifier is led by fan-favourites paiN Gaming, and it’s fair to say Braxtone, S.K.O.L and Infamous are not the sort of names that roll easily off the average fan’s tongue. It will be interesting to see how popular this tournament is after paiN captured the imagination of so many, but it is curious to think this group of four will provide as many teams as the SEA qualifier, given the apparent difference in average level.
With TI8 a fading memory, most fans will just be delighted to have their Dota back, and it’s great for KL and Malaysia as a whole to get a Major. As the saying goes, while the cat is away, the mice will play, and while OG recover from what is probably an epic hangover there is a chance for the rest of the pack to prove themselves here, starting with making it to the main event.