The time of uncertainty is finally over, at least until the second Major announcement. Players had their vacations, organizations made their roster changes and the majority of the scene is ready for the third DPC season. While it is unsurprising that the top teams made little to no changes in their rosters, there are a couple of notable exceptions we would like to discuss today.
The departures of both TNC.eyyou and TNC.Kuku from the roster came as a surprise to many. While TNC Predator might have underperformed under The International pressure, they still did it as a team you couldn’t single out a definite weak link in.
Moreover, both Eyyou and Kuku were among the top earners for their respective roles in the fantasy league and while it is hardly a good metric to gauge the actual individual skill of the players, it is nonetheless indicative of the fact that they weren’t objectively “bad”.
Their replacements, however, are far from being downgrades either. TNC.March, the former captain of MVP.Phoenix TI5 roster, has reconnected with TNC.kpii in the updated TNC Predator. These two players were the first to put Korea on the Dota map back in the day and now they will have to carry the hopes and dreams of the SEA as a whole, from the position of region’s favorites.
TNC.Armel, TNC.Gabbi and TNC.TIMS are undeniably among the most individually skilled players in the whole scene on their respective roles, so the success of this roster will heavily depend on its captain’s ability. March has proven himself before, but Dota developed greatly in his absence and his recent attempts to break back into the scene were not entirely successful. Perhaps playing in his own region with teammates who honed their skills in the same environment as he did will be the deciding factor and will allow March to return his title of a good captain and a great leader.
Vici Gaming will not be the same without Aster.Fade, as he was the team’s drafter and possibly its third major star player. While he might have not reached the level of recognition both VG.Paparazi and VG.Ori reached in their respective roles, he is still among the strongest position four players in China, unequivocally outclassed only by PSG.LGD.fy-god himself
VG.Pyw will play on his position and right now there is not enough information to confidently say it was an upgrade. Back in his Team Serenity days, during their rather poor The International 2018 run, Pyw was always overshadowed by EHOME.XinQ as the team’s most mechanically skilled player. Moreover, after the latter’s departure, the roster led by Pyw didn’t achieve any notable results, finishing last in the Chinese qualifiers for TI9. Given all that, Pyw is definitely a risk, but there is a chance it will pay off.
The Chinese scene might have faltered in recent years when it comes to the International results, but it is still the best when it comes to taking unexpected risks with unproven players and slowly growing them into stars. That was the story of Ori and Fade back in the day, and now Pyw, under the guidance of his more experienced teammates, will get a chance to grow and show the world that he is, indeed, a world-class player and potentially a world-class captain.
The inclusion of Royal Never Give Up is probably going to raise a lot of eyebrows, but this squad did get top8 in the International 2019. To a huge extent it was made possible by RNG.LaNm, who no longer represents the organization, but iG.V.@dogf1ghts, who took over his in-game support position, could actually be an upgrade, at least from a purely mechanical standpoint.
Moreover, LaNm’s responsibilities as a captain fell on the shoulders of Fenrir, who is certainly no stranger to leading young talent to great results. He was once a part of the legendary support duo alongside Fy and had a hand in growing both Paparazi and Ori to the superstars they are today during his Vici Gaming days.
RNG.Monet and RNG.Setsu are definitely not at the level of Vici Gaming cores, but they are considerably younger and might not have reached their prime yet. Only time will tell whether Fenrir will successfully continue LaNm’s work, but there are definitely reasons to be optimistic about the squad’s future and to follow its players.
It might sound a bit harsh, but Fnatic.Jabz returning to the support position could be the biggest upgrade Fnatic received in the aftermath of the International 2019. He is an incredible support player and while Fnatic.Dj does have an edge when it comes to flashy, game-winning plays, Jabz is not as greedy and doesn’t need the same amount of care from his teammates, making him a perfect position five support.
That same lack of greediness and general lack of egoism, that is such a huge plus for supports, never allowed Jabz to fully flourish as a core player. Sometimes the core player has to watch his team die repeatedly without flinching a muscle, no matter how painful it looks, and fully concentrate on his own farm to win the game. Fnatic.Moon definitely fits the description of a core player who can and will do that if needed, while Fnatic.23savage is a bit of a promising unknown.
23savage is a 17-year old player from Thailand who entered the scene last year and was one step away from attending the International 2019 with team Jinesbrus. As most young players, he is still quite volatile in his decision-making, but it might be an actual positive for a squad with Fnatic.iceiceice, as over the years the latter has perfected the art of turning chaos into an advantage.
Despite disappointing first-round elimination at TI9, Na’Vi are keeping the majority of their roster intact. The only change was the addition of VP.9pasha, who will take over the role of Na'Vi.Blizzy.
While it might look like a simple upgrade for the roster, we feel it is more of a lateral move: 9pasha does have an experience advantage, but perhaps the more important factor for Na`Vi.SoNNeikO was Pasha’s stable, sacrificial, playmaking and utility-oriented playstyle, as opposed to Blizzy’s more explosive and DPS-oriented one.
With both Na`Vi.Magical, Na'Vi.Zayac and Na`Vi.Crystallize on the team, Na’Vi is certainly not lacking in the flashiness department. Neither do they have a shortage of individual skill, but they might still lack the experience and consistency needed to once again become a major player in the region and on the world stage, even after the addition of 9pasha.
This roster has tons of potential, with one of the better captains in the CIS scene, great individual players and a huge organization behind them. What they need is time and a lot of LAN practice, but given how chaotic and volatile the CIS scene is they will have to work for it.
It is hard not to be excited about Suma1L’s new team. He is a Dota icon for a reason and no matter how you feel about him, this title is very well deserved.
Perhaps an even more exciting part of this new roster is that the Hassan brothers will finally play on the same team. Newbee.Yawar has been in his younger brother’s shadow for a long time, but has shown incredible improvement over the last season, making him one of the best carries in the NA region. It is unclear what position he is going to play on the new squad, but our bet is on the offlane.
The brothers are going to be led by FWD.SVG who is no stranger to the captain’s role. He also worked with both Sumail and Yawar before, coaching the former and having decent success on a team with the latter. PPD left a massive void in the region when he left and so far it looks like SVG is the prime candidate to fill it.
Newbee.MSS and Newbee.CCnC are going to be the last pieces of the roster and it probably says a lot about the expected quality of the team when players of their caliber are not in the direct spotlight.
No longer a newcomer to the scene, CCnC was easily the second best mid in the region last year and with Sumail potentially switching to the first position, he can become the actual best: both through the process of elimination and through shared experience.
MSS, on the other hand, has been a veteran of the Dota scene for a relatively long time now, with his overall results improving every year. The biggest leap was when he switched from a position three core to a position four support and we fully expect him to play this role on the newly announced roster. As one of the cores switching to a support position, MSS is relatively greedy, but he typically makes himself worth the investment.
There is still a bit of uncertainty going on with many notable players remaining teamless and many notable teams remaining playerless. On top of it, several teams are currently looking to sign their contracts with new organizations, so we are going to be doing a follow up post, once the dust is settled. As always, thank you for reading and leave us any comments about how you feel the teams are going to work out in the end.