The Boston Major approacheth. As always, Valve’s impending announcement of the invited teams is the subject of endless speculation. There have been three Dota 2 LAN events since the conclusion of The International, with only one of them featuring multiple regions in direct competition. Because Valve usually weights LAN results higher than online wins, this makes determining the eight invites extremely difficult. In that regard, the compendium predictions might as well be a poll because there is no “correct” decision in my eyes. There have not been enough international competitions to justify inviting eight teams to the Major, and yet here we are. Let’s get to predicting.
Wings Gaming, Digital Chaos and Evil Geniuses
These are universally agreed upon, no question. EG proved that their roster is just as good as its previous iteration by winning the Mars Dota 2 League. Despite the fact that Digital Chaos have played no games together since The International, these teams should be the first on your list no matter what.
Newbee and EHOME
These Chinese juggernauts deserve an invitation based on their strong results within China and Newbee’s great performance at MDL. Newbee have won the Shanghai Dota 2 Open and placed second at both MDL and the Nanyang Cruise Cup, showing strong results against both international teams and teams within China. Unfortunately EHOME has no international results to speak of, but their fifth/sixth place finish at The International and the fact that they retained three of their players from that roster makes them a reasonable choice given their strong performance and qualification for The Summit 6. These are two of the top teams in China right now and deserve consideration.
OG or Fnatic?
I agonized between OG and Fnatic. I’m still torn between these two squads, but ultimately I had to go with my gut and pick OG. The truth is that neither team looks particularly strong as OG placed last in the FACEIT invitational and Fnatic are struggling to find their feet Southeast Asia. OG at least managed to claim third place at MDL, the only international LAN event, against EG. While Fnatic took fourth place at The International, they also replaced three players in their roster. While the argument that their newest members also finished in the top eight at The International while playing for TNC, I don’t know if Valve sees it that way. No one does. What I do know is this: if Fnatic and TNC were both two good things, combining them should in theory make a better – or equally good – thing, right? The problem is that Fnatic’s results within Southeast Asia are just not good enough to justify inviting the Frankenstein’s Monster that resulted from their combination. A disappointing fourth place finish at MPGL and a third place finish in The Summit 6 qualifier show that Fnatic are not even the best team in Southeast Asia anymore. The invitation could go to either Fnatic or OG, or maybe even both, but it’s a very hard decision to make. At the end of the day, I pick OG’s decent result at MDL over Fnatic’s average results in Southeast Asia.
Despite middling results as of late, Execration won MPGL. It was at the very beginning of the season, but they won a LAN against most of the major Southeast Asian teams. Valve has shown time and time again that LAN wins earn you invitations. There is perhaps a case to be made for inviting Fnatic instead of Execration, but doing so means that Valve would be weighting a strong result at The International greater than a more recent LAN tournament in which Execration placed higher than Fnatic.
Team Secret has actually looked pretty great lately. After placing fourth at MDL the European/Southeast Asian squad won the FACEIT Invitational and look likely to qualify for DotaPit’s second LAN event. It’s a little soon to claim that Secret is the best team in Europe but for now they have the best results when compared to Liquid – who have ten wins and eleven losses in online matches – and even Alliance.
Should there have been eight invites?
No. There should have been four, at most, in my opinion. Maybe six. When examining each potential team past the first four, it’s very hard to say that each is the definitive “best choice” based on the current climate of Dota 2 events. The information available to us as we discuss potential invites for the Boston Major is seriously lacking. Considering how little information there is, the natural conclusion should be to force more teams to play games in the Boston Major qualifiers instead of running the risk of inviting a team without enough convincing results.