MDL Macau marks the second tournament held in China for the new Dota 2 Pro Circuit. Nine teams will be competing at the Minor for $300,000 and 300 pro circuit points. This is an incredibly rare opportunity for the teams involved to earn points as most of the teams currently in the Pro Circuit top 8 will not be attending. Of the two who are, Virtus Pro will be playing without their captain Solo and Na`Vi sits in 8th making this as important for them as any of the other 7 teams who are currently outside the top 8. The event will have a round-robin group stage that leads directly into the semi-finals meaning the top 4 teams who survive the round-robin will be the teams to earn points.
As mentioned previously Virtus Pro will be playing the event without their captain Solo. Replacing him will be The International 1 champion ArtStyle, who has previous experience leading Na`Vi. Due to this it’s hard to predict how VP will fare but given their competition it isn’t unlikely that we see VP take a top 4 finish, even without their captain present. Joining them are LGD and EHOME as the other invited teams.
The Direct Invites
LGD may have stumbled during the Perfect World Masters, being eliminated in their group with a record of 0-3-1 but they did tie the recent DreamLeague Major champions Team Secret 1-1 as well as Newbee who would go on to win the PW Masters. Given their performance during that group stage it’s unclear just how well LGD will perform at MDL Macau but their 2nd place finish at the PGL Open Bucharest and qualification for The Summit 8 makes it very clear they should be taken seriously.
EHOME were invited due to a ruling by Valve that they were unfairly barred from competing in the Chinese qualifier for the Major by ACE who banned them from playing in the DPL, which was used as the qualifier for MDL Macau. This will mark CTY’s 2nd appearance at a LAN event for the new circuit after his stand-in appearance for Team Secret during the Perfect World Masters where they finished 5th/6th. Fans of the TI winners y` and Faith_Bian will undoubtedly be happy to see EHOME play in Macau and hope to see them earn their first points of the season.
Na`Vi and LFY both sit in a precarious position as they head to MDL Macau. Na`Vi has only just claimed the 8th position for TI8 invites and stand dangerously close to falling back into the waiting arms of teams that would happily take their place. After their 4th place finish at the DreamLeague Major, it’s quite possible to consider Na`Vi as one of the favourites for MDL Macau. They have shown that they are capable against the likes of Newbee and VP and thus should be capable of winning against the teams here. Gaining what points they can and maintaining their lead over the teams behind them is crucial for the storied organization.
LFY sits in a similar place as Na`Vi, only 90 points away from overtaking them and claiming a qualifier seat for themselves. Their 3rd place finish at the Perfect World Masters made them appear to be a step behind VG and Newbee but their run through the lower bracket of that tournament was nothing short of incredible. Super has regained his position as one of the best mid players in the world and that alone might have been enough to make LFY into a threat but the team who surrounds him have proven to be exceptional as well. If LFY can break into the top 8 in DPC points it might prove to be very difficult to remove them.
OG, VGJ.Storm, TnC, and Infamous all sit without points and with very few things going their way so far in the season. OG stands out among the teams from this list as the ones who don’t belong. The four time Major winners have struggled ever since the departure of Ana and addition of Resolut1on to their midlane. MDL Macau marks OG’s best chance yet to finally get some points to their name but it won't be easy. For VGJ.Storm they head to Macau with a standin as rumors abound that Ritsu has left the team. Kpii will be taking his place as the 1 position for the team and while it isn’t his usual role he also brings his experience as one of the best players, on one of the best teams in the world. If anything could help the NA team break into the top 4, having Kpii might just do it.
Fighting for Tomorrow
TnC sits in a slightly different place from the rest of the teams as they go into MDL after winning China Top 2017 after beating IG 2-0 and VGJ.Thunder 2-1 in the finals. While TnC has been incredibly silent after their 9th-12th place finish at TI7 the team has remained the same with no player transfers. Perhaps the departure of Kipspul, their coach and analyst, has had a larger impact than anyone could have imagined, or perhaps the players have just adapted poorly to the new patch. Whatever the case may be TnC desperately needs to do well in MDL Macau. The last team at the event is Infamous and while this marks their 3rd tournament in the new season they have placed dead last without winning any games at PGL Open Bucharest and DreamLeague Season 8. Hopefully for the South American squad they have been learning from their losses and will be going into the round-robin with a stronger game plan.