Deconstructing the Boston Major Invites

Vignesh Raghuram

25th, Oct, 2016
Valve has announced the 8 teams that will be travelling to the Boston major without facing the hassle of the regional qualifiers. While Valve will have its own thoughts and reasoning for their invites, this is my take on the direct invites.
The opinions expressed here represent my own personal views and thoughts. If you do not agree with me, please do not hesitate to comment below and try to convince me to change my opinion.

1. Wings Gaming.

Although Wings gaming would have been invited to the Boston Major regardless of their performance at tournaments after their championship winning run at TI6, they went on to win the Nanyang Dota 2 Championships - Cruise Cup #1 with relative ease cementing their place as the number 1 invitee for the Boston major.
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2. Digital Chaos.

The runners up of TI6 haven’t played a single tournament after The International. However with minimal changes to the roster (MoonMeander replacing Moo), Digital Chaos certainly deserved this invite to The Major courtesy of their 2nd place finish at TI6.

3. Evil Geniuses.

With two of EG’s leaders (PPD and Fear) retiring after EG’s 3rd place finish at TI6, Evil Geniuses picked up Arteezy and Cr1t assembling one of the strongest All-Star lineups of all time. But plenty of fans were skeptical because All-star lineups often crumble due to lack of synergy (eg: Secret 4.0 and Current Liquid.)

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However EG’s phenomenal performance in the MarsTV Dota 2 League 2016 Autumn which saw them finish first place drubbing teams like Newbee, Secret, OG and Vici Gaming killed all such doubts and assured them a place in the direct invite list.

4. Newbee.

Newbee, similar to EG, had two of their most experienced players retire after TI6(Hao and Mu). With Chuan taking a break from the Dota 2 scene, Newbee were left with only two players in their team (kpii and kaka). However, they picked up Chinese pubstars Sccc and uuu9 as their Mid and Offlane players. TI2 Veteran Faith was signed up as their 5th player to complete their lineup.

Newbee, who had built their lineup around their 9k mmr midlaner Sccc, went on to finish 2nd in both the MarsTV Dota 2 League 2016 and Nanyang Dota 2 Championships - Cruise Cup #1 and also ended up winning Shanghai Dota 2 Open #2. They were an obvious pick for the Major invite and Valve obliged.


Our 3rd Chinese invite EHOME had 2 changes in their roster. iceiceice and Fenrir left the EHOME roster to create Team Faceless and VG.J respectively. They brought in TI5 runnerup Garter and veteran carry Sylar to fill the void left by the two departures.

EHOME placed top 6 in TI5, whilst also winning The Summit #6 Chinese Qualifiers. They’ve finished 3rd place in both MDL and The Shangai Dota 2 Open #2. While not as obvious an invitee like the 4 teams mentioned above EHOME have done just enough to warrant their invite to the major.

6. Execration

This is where Valve’s reasoning behind the invites start getting dubious. Execration didn’t make it out of the wildcards of TI6 even though they put in stellar performances against EHOME and Complexity Gaming courtesy of Abed’s Meepo. They further strengthened their squad with the addition of ‘DJ’ who finished 4th at TI6.

Execration then took part in the MPGL Southeast Asian Championship LAN where they ended up winning the entire event beating the likes of Mineski, Fnatic and MVP Phoenix. Although it was nice to see Valve recognize MPGL for the top tier LAN that it was even if it was only regional, the tournament took place when most of the teams who took part were in the process of rebuilding their squad.

Image courtesy: Selangor cyber games
Nonetheless I feel Execration deserved their invite over all other Sea teams and Valve seems to have recognized it.

7. OG

The only European team to be invited to the Boston Major is OG. OG went through a major shuffle post TI6. Fly and Notail were the only two players who stayed back with OG. They picked up Jerax from Liquid and S4 from Alliance as their Support and Offlaner respectively. Ana, A Chinese pubstar was picked up to replace Miracle.

They finished in third at MDL - their only showing after TI6, unless you count their first round 1-0 elimination in the hands of Team Empire at The Faceit Invitational.

I feel that Valve has done the right thing in allotting the EU region only 1 invite because of their poor showing in TI6 (their highest placing was top 8). However, I feel that the invite should have gone to Team Secret who finished 4th, just one place behind OG, in MDL and also ended up winning the Faceit Invitational online tournament.

This is one of the times when I feel that Valve should have a much more transparent system for choosing their
invitees. We still have no idea on how OG was chosen over Team Secret.


8. MVP Phoenix

This is the one invite that still infuriates me. I couldn’t help but laugh when MVP Phoenix was revealed as the last pick. It is a joke that MVP Phoenix gets invited over Fnatic who put on the best showing from an SEA team in a Valve event since Orange Esports in TI3. The top 4 teams from the previous Valve major usually get direct invites but Fnatic got the raw end of the deal once again.

Fnatic wasn’t invited to TI6 even though they deserved it a lot more than ‘Navi’ having finished above them in The Manilla Major and also finishing 3rd in ESL One Manilla, the two premier LAN tournaments which took place just before the TI6 invites went out.

All five of Fnatic’s players have finished top 8 in TI6, With Mushi and Ohaiyo finishing in the top 4 and the rest of the roster finishing 7th to 8th with TNC. Whereas MVP Phoenix finished 7th to 8th in TI6 and have won literally 1 series (against LGD FY) after the roster lock. Additionally one could argue that their roster has likely been weakened after the departure of MP and Forev to Team Secret. With the addition of Velo and ReiSeN, MVP will hope to justify Valve’s faith in them at the Boston Major.  

Although I am happy with most of these invites, I believe that Valve really needs to make the invite criteria transparent. It would help cushion the disappointment of some teams as well as allowing teams to plan bootcamps for the qualifiers/main event of the Major.


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