It’s been an action packed week with six regional qualifiers going on simultaneously to determine the final spots for ESL One Hamburg 2017 powered by Intel. One team each from EU, CIS, China, SEA, NA and SA managed to book their ticket to the Barclaycard Arena where they will fight for the season’s first Major trophy, together with the direct invites - Team Liquid and Newbee.
Check out each team’s road to Hamburg!
From open qualifiers all the way to the Major, what an incredible qualifier it’s been for Keen Gaming in one of the most stacked regions, which fielded no less than five teams at TI7. And their route to Hamburg squared them up against three of them - iG, iG Vitality and LGD. The closely contested grand finals against LGD especially showed the incredible potential of the underdogs. Strong drafts, endurance over a full five game series, and of course world class team performances. They have all the ingredients for a great ESL One Hamburg run.
It’s a bit early to draw comparisons to Wings Gaming, but there are some parallels here that we can’t help but get excited about. Both were relatively unknown outside China, and both managed to best some of the biggest Chinese teams in the qualifiers to an ESL One event. Wings Gaming went on to win ESL One Manila back then, followed by complete domination of the scene for an entire season. So if Keen Gaming end up winning ESL One Hamburg and TI8 (it’s an even year after all), don’t say we didn’t warn you.
In the SEA region most eyes may have been on the likes of Fnatic, Mineski and TNC, but HappyFeet ended up proving to everyone why they were directly invited into Round 2 of the Closed Qualifiers. And well deserved, as the squad around JessieVash has plenty of experience at international tournaments, as well as exciting new blood in the form of 19 year old offlaner, Yaj.
Future opponents, beware! Any team that wins a grand final in such dominant 3-0 fashion, as HappyFeet did against Clutch Gamers, can not be underestimated. Now, the SEA representatives will travel to Hamburg, backed by the famously passionate Filipino fans, and look to secure the first Major trophy of the season.
Unlike the previous qualifiers, eventual winners Virtus.pro were clear favorites in the CIS region. They have been and still are the non plus ultra, the team to beat, and no other team was able to take that away from them. Na’Vi put up an admirable fight in the semi finals, being the only team to win a game against the bears, but the consistent, aggressive playstyle of Virtus.pro could not be contained. As such the grand finals against Team Spirit turned into a bit of a stomp, resulting a clear cut 3-0 for VP.
Despite being consistently one of the best teams in the world, Virtus.pro are still reaching for that first ESL One trophy. They now have the chance to cross even more off their list - first ESL One and first Major!
New look, no problem! Team Secret underwent another roster change after the conclusion of TI7 and from the looks of it, it hasn’t slowed them down at all. While other fan-favorites like OG, mousesports and HellRaisers struggled, Puppey’s new squad seemed to be firing on all cylinders. They didn’t lose a single game during the qualifiers despite accommodating new team members and role changes, such as Fata branching out into the offlane.
Now that their ticket is secured, Hamburg will mark the first ESL One event for YapzOr and Ace while Puppey looks to add another trophy to his collection. Home crowd advantage might also play in their favor as Fata is one of the only two German players that will be competing in Hamburg, the other one being Team Liquid’s captain - KuroKy.
There have been a lot of qualifiers going on in the scene right now and the situation in NA is as diverse as it gets. In four different qualifiers for Minors and Majors, four different teams came out ahead. For the Major qualifiers it were Evil Geniuses who were on top of their game. Similar to Team Secret, EG completely trounced the closed qualifiers, not losing a single game in the process and ending their run with a dominant 3-0 over VGJ.Storm.
As an org, EG may still be looking for their first ESL One trophy, but now they have two previous winners amongst their ranks in Arteezy and Cr1t-. Will they finally get their hands on the silver goblet?
With the introduction of the 2017-18 competitive season, South America’s best teams finally have a guaranteed shot at showing off their skills at the Majors. And the first team to represent the region will be Brazilian squad of SG e-sports. Together with Keen Gaming, they were the only team that had to play four closed qualifier matches, albeit not needing to compete in the open qualifiers. And the endurance run paid off as the likes of Team Unknown, STARS, Infamous Young and Team Taka didn’t stand a chance against the Brazilians.
Seen as one of the biggest wildcards in the tournament, it’ll be exciting to see how SG e-sports match up against the world’s best.
Don’t miss out on your chance to witness these teams compete for the first Major of the season! A variety of tickets are still available, so get them while they last. And don’t forget to follow ESL Dota 2 on both Twitter and Facebook for all updates surrounding ESL One Hamburg and future events.