The Kiev Major is one of two official DotA 2 majors tournaments held by Valve.
This tournament, along with the previous Boston Major, is used to determine what teams get to attend one of the largest esports tournaments ever: The International 2017 (TI7). On top of this, the Kiev Major boasts a prize pool of $3 million USD. $1 million to the first place, $500,000 to second, and third and forth both take home $250,000. However, getting it won’t be easy. Not only are the best DotA 2 teams in the world playing, it’s single elimination format. No losers bracket, no second chances. One lost series and teams are sent home. The roster for the Kiev Major is packed with talent, and illustrates the level of challenge each team brings to the competition.
Formerly Wings Gaming, Team Random is a Chinese team known for their creative play styles and hero choices. While still Wings Gaming, the team earned first place at ESL One Manila, The Summit 5, North America BEAT Invitational, and The International 2016 (TI6). They are one of the few teams whose roster has remained the same over the years, and their familiarity with each other is reflected in their gameplay. They are one of eight teams that are participating in the Kiev Major via direct invite, and if any team is able to take them out early, it would be a huge upset. Their first match is on Friday, April 28, against OG.
A European team that has been consistently performing well since it’s inception in 2015. Even with the replacement of three team members after being knocked out of TI6 by TNC, member Johan “n0tail” Sundstein and captain Tal “Fly” Aizik pulled together a new lineup which hasn’t placed lower than second since. OG placed first at the previous major in Boston, beating out Ad Finem (Now owned by MouseSports) 3 to 1. The team’s previous incarnation, also headed by n0tail and Fly, were favored by many to win TI6. Despite their loss, they quickly reclaimed their previous momentum.
Mousesports is a team that was previously owned by the Greek esports organization Ad Finem until earlier this month on April 7th. The Ad Finem team has consistently has performed well in many smaller tournaments throughout 2016, until the Boston Major where they took second. The players aren’t as well known as other teams participating in the tournament, but this could be to their advantage. While their playstyle isn’t entirely unconventional, they play with their own flair that can easily lead to opponents being caught off guard. Their first game is against iG and is the first game of the Kiev Major.
Team iG (Invictus Gaming) is owned by the Chinese esports organization of the same name. iG is a bit of an unknown this tournament. Their current roster hasn’t seen much success, having only been formed last September. They are one of the teams that made it through the Chinese regional qualifiers. The other team that earned a spot through the qualifiers is also owned by Invictus Gaming: the team iG Vitality (iG.V), whose current incarnation also was formed in September. The two teams beat out other powerful teams from the area, including former TI contestants LGD and Vici Gaming.
Team Liquid (TL) is well known throughout esports, having rosters in all the big name franchises including DotA 2. They’ve been consistent contenders for years and, with only two player replacements (both of which happened after TI6), they are looking stronger than ever. This is likely in no small part due to the addition of Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi to the roster. Miracle-, TL’s current mid lane player, is the first person to ever achieve 9,000 MMR in DotA 2. He also was OG’s former mid player, which may give TL an edge, should the teams meet. The current roster has placed first in the ASUS ROG DreamLeague Season 6 and StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3. Their first match is against Newbee.
Newbee is a Chinese DotA 2 team whose current roster formed in September after a temporary disbanding due to elimination in TI6. The current roster retains just two of the former lineup’s strongest players, Damien “kpii” Chok and Hu “kaka” Liangzhi. While the current team hasn’t won any major tournaments as of yet, they received a direct invitation. Since then, they have managed to perform reasonably well in group stages, beating both Mousesports and Team Random. Their first match, however, is against TL who has beat them before at the DotA 2 Asia Championships 2017.
Digital Chaos (DC) is a team whose entire roster changed recently. Their former lineup that had placed 2nd at TI6, left, and the current roster is now the former Team Onyx. While as a team they haven’t made much of a name for themselves, all players have been competing for some time, and have reputations as strong players. Even Abed “Abed” Azel L. Yusop, who is only 16, has made a name for himself as one of the best Meepo players. Digital Chaos’ first match is against Vici Gaming J.
Vici Gaming J
Vici Gaming J (VGJ) is a Chinese team competing in the Kiev Major via direct invitation. All the players have been playing DotA 2 for years as part of Vici Gaming, though the J team was formed recently. This team formation seems to have been a good move, as they placed second in StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3. They were beaten out by TL in the finals, but if they can win their first two matchups, they could have a chance at revenge in the semi finals.
Virtus.Pro (VP) is representing Russian DotA at the Kiev Major. Since the current roster was put together in August of 2016, VP has been a powerhouse and is possibly one of the strongest contenders at this event. They went undefeated in the group stages, losing only one round in seven, and they were able to topple OG three to zero at The Summit 6 in November. Their first match is against iG.V.
TnC Gaming (TNC) is a team from the Philippines whose roster has undergone quite a few changes. While all the players are very strong, the team has had most of its success in the Southeast Asia scene. TNC did compete at TI6, knocking out the heavily favored OG, but only two of the players from that tournament remain on the team. Despite this, they managed to go 6-4 in the group stages, winning three out of four games. This earned them a fourth place group stages ranking, putting them behind only VP, IG, and Secret. Their first match is against Team Faceless.
Team Faceless is a Singapore-based team, and the other team to qualify from the South East Asia qualifiers. They are a relatively newly formed team, made up of very strong players, all of whom are well known. Perhaps the most well-known is Daryl “IceIceIce” Koh Pei Xiang, who has been a long time competitor in not just DotA 2, but DotA 1, and even Starcraft 2. Despite mixed results, the team managed to perform extremely well at qualifiers, even with a loss against the former team DC, (now Thunderbirds). Every player on the roster has seen some major success and could go all the way through to the finals.
Evil Geniuses (EG) is a brand well-known in esports, which was further compounded with an international win in 2015. The team still manages to perform well, and even when they lose they deliver some of the most exciting games of DotA 2. Despite this, they were knocked out of the Manila Major. If they want to win an invite to The International, they’re going to have to perform at Kiev. Their first game is against Thunderbirds.
Thunderbirds (TBirds) is made up of DC’s former roster. Under the DC name, the group had a strong showing. Four of the five current roster members were part of the DC team that placed second at TI6, losing to the then Wings Gaming. If Thunderbirds perform well in Kiev, there’s a chance they’ll be able to get a rematch in the semifinals.
Team Secret is a European team which was formed not long after TI4. Since its original formation, despite numerous roster shuffles and very mixed results, it has become one of the most successful brands in DotA 2. Throughout the years the team has been captained by Clement “Puppey” Ivanov. His hard work is paying off as the current Team Secret has gone completely undefeated in the group stages. Their domination has led them to be matched against the lowest seeded team: SG e-sports.
SG e-sports is a Brazilian based team, boasting the best players from the country. Despite being formed just this past November, the team plowed through the Kiev Major 2017 South America Qualifier. As a newer team, their strategies and playstyles are still rather unknown on an international level. This could be used to their advantage, especially against the gauntlet of well-known players they’ll be up against. If they’ve done their homework, they may produce some exciting games of DotA and catch the older teams off guard.
The Kiev Major starts on April 27th at Midnight PDT, 3:00 AM EDT, with iG vs MouseSports. The Semifinals and Grand Finals take place Sunday, April 30th. All matches can be watched on twitch or in the DotA 2 client.