Dota Pro Circuit 2021 features 16 teams per region. Eight of these teams will play in the Upper Division and the other eight in the Lower Division. Some of these competitors are already known and the others will be decided in the next four days, via qualifiers. Let’s take a look at these tournaments and their favorites.
Europe is by far the most interesting region when it comes to qualifiers for DPC 2021. That’s because it has a lot of strong teams that are desperate to get to the Upper Division. The direct invites were offered to Team Secret, Team Liquid, Team Nigma, and OG. For the remaining four slots, the following eight teams will need to battle each other:
- Chicken Fighters
- Spider Pigzs
- Hellbear Smashers
With the exception of Hippomaniacs, all of these teams have numerous strong players with a lot of experience. In some cases, these players are former TI finalists and even TI champions. Based on 2020 results and the roster compositions, I expect Alliance, Vikin.gg, mudgolems, and either Chicken Fighters, Spider Pigzs or Hellbear Smashers to qualify to the European Dota Pro Circuit Upper Bracket.
The first three teams mentioned above need no introduction. Just a simple look at their rosters explains everything. So I don’t think we’ll have that many surprises in this Decider Tournament. But given that four competitors will end up qualifying, not three, it will be interesting to see who the 4th team is going to be.
Hellbear Smashers has Ace, MISERY, and Stormstormer in its roster. The other two players are relatively unknown. The team is completely new, so that’s another big minus.
Spider Pigzs has THuG, Mitch, dnz, and LeBronDota. Their recent results include a 3rd – 4th place at BTS Pro Series Season 4: Europe/CIS and the 4th place at EPIC League Season 2. That’s not bad at all.
Chicken Fighters seems to be the strongest of these three competitors, but they lost in December to Spider Pigzs. So I’m not so confident in their chances. If they play their A-game, nothing should stand in their way. But if they start poorly, Spider Pigzs will likely steal their spot.
In the CIS region, Virtus.pro, Natus Vincere, Team Spirit, and Live to Win are already waiting in the Upper Bracket thanks to the direct invites they received. The Decider tournament will feature the following eight teams:
- Gambit Esports
- Winstrike Team
- Team Empire
Based on their rosters, we can clearly assess that the big favorites are HellRaisers, NoTechies, NoPangolier, and EXTREMUM. Dendi’s team, B8, might also have a good tournament. But it’s hard to give them too much credit given their 2020 results. And while it is true that B8 is now playing with almost a completely different roster, I still have doubts that Dendi is capable of leading this squad to victory. Perhaps Duster and the other two Brazilians can pull off a miracle, but it’s going to be difficult.
NoTechies is one of the favorites because it has Solo, Zayac, and Crystallize. Solo is a legendary captain, Zayac is his former teammate from Just Error and Crystallize is a strong Na’Vi player. This trio will likely prove to be effective at this competitive level.
NoPangolier is on the favorites list because it has five important CIS players: Slayer, Bignum, Ghostik, Pikachu, and Palantimos. All of these players have great experience and reasonable achievements, both regionally as well as Internationally.
EXTREMUM is G’s team. Another well-known name from its roster is Shachlo. Together, they might achieve something important here, even though the odds are not in their favor.
And finally, we have HellRaisers. This is probably the strongest team in the race, at least on paper. With Cooman as their carry, Nix, Resolut1on, Lil, and VANSKOR, HellRaisers is a formidable competitor at this level. I’d be surprised if they don’t win the tournament.