Favorites, Underdogs and “Dark Horses” of the MDL Chengdu Major

November 15, 2019

The first Major tournament of the 2019/2020 DPC season — MDL Chengdu Major will start tomorrow in China. Teams from all regions are going to compete for $1,000,000 and 15,000 DPC points. Of course, each team has prepared a lot of interesting strategies, will try to show their best and play above its limit. However, even before the start of the tournament, the majority of fans of Dota 2 esports scene understand that certain teams come to the Major with a status of favorites, while some teams at the tournament, on the contrary, are not expected to get to the top.

In our pre-tournament analysis of the teams participating at the Major, MoreMMR analysts are going to discuss which teams come to the Major as favorites, who should be considered an underdog, and which “dark horses” have all chances to surprise fans and jump above the head.

Obvious Favorites

Team Aster and Vici gaming:


It is important to mention the fact that Chinese qualifications were the most difficult compared to other regions. In all the regions (except for the Chinese one) it was almost already known which teams would go to the Major (because of the reshuffles and the absence of top European teams who decided to skip the first Major). However, in China there was the biggest competition for a slot at MDL Chengdu.

As a result, Vici and Aster achieved the first place of Chinese qualifications. Both of these squads have very strong and experienced players, almost everyone has played at The International (except ChYuan). An important factor is the venue of the event — China. TI9 has already proven how huge the support of the Chinese public can be, and given the experience of major tournaments behind each of the Chinese players, the excitement of the public supports the players rather than puts pressure on them. It is worth noting that the coaches of the teams, Mikasa and rOtK are among the most respected Dota “veterans” in China with many years of experience at The International and Majors.



A squad that smashed all the competitors in the North American qualifications and lost only 1 game. Perhaps it is EG that will be recognized as the team with the strongest individual performance of the players. Despite Sumail’s departure, the team hasn’t weakened practically in terms of the roster, and even, on the contrary, has really strengthened its midlane and offlane with young performers. Abed and Ramzes are the types of players who are both, very experienced and still very young and passionate. Most of Dota analysts believe that EG will be the main competitor of the Chinese teams at MDL Chengdu Major.



The team from Southeast Asia showed the strongest game at ESL One Gamburg, they also won the WESG right after that without any problems, which shows not only the strength but also the wild courage of the team, and this emotional charge looks like their main advantage. The TNC has enough experience, skill, and passion to reach the Major finals and maybe even win it. The team is now going forward on the wave of their wins, and the team that won 2 consecutive tournaments in a short period of time may be extremely difficult to stop.

“Dark Horses”

CIS teams

It’s nice to see two really strong CIS teams with strong and experienced players in the squads, who have the opportunity to train with T1 teams regularly. However, it is not correct to put them on the list of favorites or outsiders, and it is worth talking about each team separately.



The hope of the CIS scene at this tournament. After the reshuffles, Gambit has a very good and balanced roster, the most important thing — the players have a good synergy with each other: a brilliant drafter-captain, talented young performers (Many talents call gpk “the new Miracle), and Shachlo, who has been waiting for such a chance on the big stage all his life. The guys showed their strength at ESL One Hamburg, taking silver, and it is reasonable to believe that Gambit will be able to show a beautiful game in China and compete for prizes.

Team Spirit (Ex Positive Guys):


It’s unfortunate, but the second CIS team at the tournament is more of an outsider than a favorite. Although in our region they show a stable game with other CIS teams, we should admit that our region now is only a shadow of the former greatness. The latest results of the team are disappointing — the failed open qualifiers for DreamLeague. And the nail in the coffin is the fact that Spirit loves to play the currently unpopular 4+1 strategy, which is very easy to counter for the top tier teams.

Team Liquid (Ex Alliance):


Although the team took the 16–13th place at The International 2019, the players decided not to disband and have been playing together for a long time now. The team chemistry and synergy is the main weapon of the team (This Liquid roster has been playing together for almost 2 years, but qojqva came in 2018). However, it’s also fair to say that Liquid came on the 2nd place of the qualification in the EU region, and they are not the top team in Europe (even considering that the top European teams are missing the tournament) at the moment.



A team that’s already surprised everyone with its game. The players only recently got together, but have already won the first place in the European qualifications and won DL Season 12. If they have a good start at the Major and don’t lose their courage, the team will be able to win a few series against the favorites and achieve top places.

Team Adroit:


The team came out of the 3rd place of Southeast qualifications. Prior to that, Adroit players had never played outside of their region and never had any experience playing with Tier-1 teams. MDL Chengdu Major is the first international tournament for the guys, so we should not expect them to jump above their heads.

Team Unknown:


The team from the South American region (Objectively the weakest region at the moment) took the 2nd place in their qualifications. Most of the players of this team also have no experience in international tournaments of such level as Major, as well as the opportunity to train with t1 teams. It is worth mentioning that the team has been assembled only in September of this year, and at the upcoming Major in China the main goal for them is to gain experience.

Fighting PandaS:


The team represents North America, another weak region where only a couple of teams can compete with each other at the top level. The Canadian team has a lot of experience behind their backs, some players have even won the TI and been at the Majors, but their playstyle and chemistry leave more questions than answers. At ESL one Hamburg 2019 the Pandas were able to defeat only T2 European teams and lost to all other teams with no chances and a score of 0–2. The team quickly left ESL, but even if we take into account the value of the experience the team gained in Hamburg, at this moment Fighting PandaS still looks like the main contender for the 16th place at the MDL Chengdu Major.

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Who is your favorite at the upcoming MDL Chengdu Major?

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