The next in the ever growing list of DOTA 2 Majors comes to Kiev, Ukraine, on April 24th 2017. Competition looks to be fierce, with teams like OG, EG, and the currently rampaging IG in the mix. As with all DOTA 2 Valve events, the Kiev Major does not require a lot of searching to find strong story lines going into the group stage.
The Green Gods
There is no greater story line at this tournament than that of OG. Since the invention of the Major System, there has only been one Major in which OG left without taking the gold. They have been the favorites to win at every tournament they have entered since their incredible breakout run at the Frankfurt Major 2015. Though they fell flat on the big stage at The International 2016, finishing 9th-12th after falling to TNC in an upset loss, they have since returned with a revamped roster and a lust for vengeance. They may have recently fallen to Invictus Gaming at the DOTA 2 Asian Championships at the beginning of the month, but team OG will be rolling into Kiev as the team to beat.
From Cat to Mouz
The former Ad Finem squad will be arriving in Kiev under the banner of an old time eSports legend: Mousesports. The German organization has a rich history in DOTA 2. Prior to their disbanding in 2015, the organization saw a slew of the biggest names in DOTA playing in their name, ranging from the famous German carry player Black^ to the only player to have appeared in every International, MiSeRy. The once great organization seeks its comeback in the form of the Boston Major runners up.
The all Greek squad took the world by storm at the Boston Major 2016 by eliminating then juggernaut Digital Chaos without dropping a game to face off against OG in grand finals. A fan favorite team, they came into Boston as the absolute underdogs, and by the end they had spectators around the world on their side as they battled in Boston for the gold. Every game was worthy of a highlight reel- though the ending of game 3 of grand finals stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Looking to Kiev, spectators eagerly await the moment of truth as Mouz makes their Major debut under their new banner.
Vici Gaming: The Jeremy Lin Edition
Over the course of the last few months, some of the best players in China have found themselves playing under some unorthodox patronage. Jeremy Lin, an American NBA superstar, has waded into the fray of professional DOTA 2 an endorser of a Chinese superstar team. Lin is one of the most recognizable faces in the NBA, and his presence in the DOTA 2 scene brings an enormous amount of attention from unexpected places to the game. Some of the most recognizable names in DOTA find themselves together on the roster of VG.J, including the flashy Vici Gaming staple FY and one of the most grizzled veterans of DOTA in the region, ROTK. They were not within striking range of the medal stand at the DOTA 2 Asian Championships, but they seek to show their worth in Kiev and prove that superstar teams really do work.
The Name Game
I previously touched on the label change of Mousesports, but they are not the only team to be touching down in Kiev with a new coat of paint. Most notably, the runners up at The International 2016, Digital Chaos, find themselves with a completely new roster. The cast that took the team to 2nd place at TI6 have left their old sponsor behind and instead opted to attend the tournament as freelancers under the team name Thunderbirds. Thunderbirds has some of the greatest names in the history of DOTA 2 both playing and coaching for them, and they intend to maintain that reputation in Kiev.
The new Digital Chaos squad is an international squad captained by one of the old guard of NA DOTA, BuLba. He is accompanied by a pair of classic NA players, DeMoN and mason, as well as superstars from the Philippines and South Korea in the form of Abed and Dubu respectively. Initially competing as Team Onyx, they eliminated the favorites in the NA qualifiers to earn their spot in Kiev.
The TI6 champions, Wings Gaming, have dropped their sponsors and entered the tournament as Team Random. Once described as the greatest team competitive DOTA has ever seen by then Evil Geniuses captain PPD, the Chinese juggernauts will be starting their Kiev tournament lives sponsorless.
The Kiev Major is rife with story lines, and those mentioned above barely scratch the surface. The last Valve event before The International, the Kiev Major represents the perfect opportunity for spectators both close to, and far away from DOTA 2 to tune in and follow the story. Will OG take the gold? Will Mouz make another magnificent run? Will Team Random rise up out of their slump and return to their former glory? Or will the biggest story come in the form of something else entirely? All that is clear is that, come April 24th, 2017, Kiev will play host to a battle worthy of the ancients.