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MDL Chengdu Major Recap

Post-mortem look at the end of 7.22

Campbell Smart
Freelance Esports Writer
19th Dec, 2019·☕️ 4 min read
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MDL Chengdu is the 1st major for the 2019/20 DPC season. With it recently finishing up and a sizable gap between now and DreamLeague’s major in January, it’s a great time to look at the lessons learnt from the opening major.

It was played on played on 7.22h, a slightly modified version of TI9’s 7.22f. This is before the recent outlanders update which has been the biggest shake up since the introduction of talents and shrines.

MDL hosted the standard major $1,000,000 and 15000 DPC points prize pool, with the feed in event being the Summit 11 minor, which IG won and qualified through.

Qualifier slots were allocated as such:

  • Europe (2)
  • China (3)
  • CIS (2)
  • SEA (3)
  • North America (3)
  • South America (2)

Europe’s 2 slots as one of the strongest regions is unusual. Valve seemed to dynamically adjust slots based on who’s registered to play, which is not something I can remember them doing.

This comes as many top teams followed in the steps of OG, who last year took an extended break after their dramatic TI8 win. The top-heavy distribution of DPC points at majors means strong international teams have no real risk of not securing a TI invitation, even if they miss majors. OG, Secret, Nigma (old Liquid), and PSG.LGD have all skipped the MDL major for this reason. That’s the entire top 4 at TI9 absent.

This along with patch burnout, shuffle volatility and motivation issues, make team results less inferrable then we would like.

Notable Results

So far, being played on a similar patch to TI9, most regions and teams seem to have performed exactly where they left off last season (apart from TNC). No one has come out from the shuffle guns blazing and we will have to wait till Dreamleague 11 to see significant meta changes.

If you’re looking for a major Dota fix but don’t have a lot of time, check out the 4th game in the TNC vs VG grand finals. Probably my favourite game of the event, a 60min slug fest with a side of revenge after VG did the same to TNC in the upper bracket semi’s. A 50k gold swing with TNC putting on a comeback client, with brilliant execution of the patches signature Morphling/Earthshaker strategy.

mdl ladder *Credits: @wykrhm, top 12 teams at the major and their earned DPC ladder points. *

TNC managed to take 1st place at the event. This is SEA’s first major circuit victory since Mineski’s dream run at DAC in 2018. With this, TNC have basically qualified for TI, taking home a cool $300,000 and 4850 DPC points. There’s no doubt they’re SEA’s premier team now.

Vici Ggaming seem to just continue their roll from last season, further cementing themselves as international powerhouses. Had more consistent performances throughout the event, but never reached the peaks TNC did.

Ivictus Gaming came through the minor and managed to place on the podium, topping their group and even knocking out EG. Weirdly, IG normally performs well internationally, but have struggled to consistently make it out of the Chinese qualifiers. This Chinese tier 2 scene continues to confuse me with teams like Ehome and Aster, who perform great locally against strong teams, but continuously deflate against international teams.

Evil Geniuses had a less then convincing event as a team dropping to the Chinese teams in playoffs. For arguably having the most individual talent at the event, it was their major to lose. Apparently, they had little time to practice together as a team, so we might have to wait for additional results to pass judgment.

The new Liquid is very impressive and are starting to reap the benefits of sticking together for so long. While they stumbled against J-Storm in the upper bracket, if they can improve a little bit more, they’re right in the money for becoming a dominate tier 2 team.

Fnatic are in dire straits after a joint 9th finish, having no measurable international success for at least 8 months. Their roster changes have yielded little success, meaning the current issues within the team could stem from the leadership group. Their result compound concerns that Fnatic is no longer a real threat internationally, dropping relevance to a mid-range tier 2 team.

J-storm placed well, but the only team they beat of note was Liquid.

Flying Pandas had a similar story, progressing to uppers through an easy group stage and then not winning another game till their departure.

Alliance had a good showing for such a young team taking games off both TNC and VG. I’m interested in what a little more time together will mean for this talented coalition.

With VP and Navi not able to find their mark in qualifiers, the new Spirit and Gambit had a chance to take the spotlight. However, neither team could win a series, managing to win a dismal 3 games combined. Very concerning for the CIS’s tier 2 scene, but I think its wise to withhold judgement until we see VP and Navi at the upcoming Dreamleague 11.

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