The WePlay AniMajor, the second Dota 2 Major of the 2021 DPC, is just days away from kickoff, with 18 of the best Dota 2 teams gearing up to compete at the highest level. Fans will, however, be missing some other top-tier teams like OG and Fnatic, who failed to make it to this lot of 18 teams after having underperformed in their respective regional leagues. Teams like OG, Fnatic, and Elephant looked rusty and inconsistent in the second DPC season and the subsequent failure to qualify for the WePlay AniMajor means that they are now lagging in the race to TI10.
So, here is a look at which all top teams misfired in the recently concluded regional leagues and will not be seen participating at the WePlay AniMajor.
Inarguably, the defending TI champions top the list of the teams that have failed to qualify for the WePlay AniMajor. OG’s strength has come into question after back-to-back failures in the 2021 EU DPC League. After their rough season one, which saw them fail to qualify for the Singapore Major, MidOne was replaced for Two-time TI champion, ana.
But things went from bad to worse after this roster change. OG had an even worse showing in the second season, as the team failed to find a rhythm with Ana back. Their typical bizarre yet effective drafts and in-your-face playstyle were also not clicking, leaving OG fighting against relegation at the end of Season 2.
Ceb and N0tail, who have long yearned to play on LAN and have claimed that they demonstrate their best performance at offline tournaments such as TIs, are unfortunately absent from the AniMajor, another significant offline tournament.
The two-time TI champions are now left needing another miracle run in the TI10 regional qualifiers to have a shot at lifting the Aegis of the Champions for the third time on the trot.
Elephant’s star-studded roster, when announced, definitely turned multiple heads and was reckoned to be one of the strongest Dota 2 lineups ever put together. Atleast that was the case on paper. However, so far, their season has been highly disappointing, considering the star power they possess.
The team has been locking horns with the best Chinese teams in the China DPC Upper Division but similar to OG, they have failed to qualify for both Majors of the 2021 DPC. Following a disappointing tiebreaker loss in their first season, Elephant was expected to rebound in their second season with renowned coach, rOtk. But unfortunately, they missed out on qualification by a whisker.
Despite putting up some strong performances in the second season, Elephant could not match the levels of other Chinese teams like Team Aster and PSG.LGD. Their inconsistency has also come to hurt them as they will now miss the WePlay AniMajor.
With the meager 100 DPC points they possess, Elephant can not directly qualify for TI10. Hence, they will have to go through the Chinese regional qualifiers to compete at the Dota 2 World Championships.
Sylar's arrival bolstered the EHOME lineup after the end of the first season of the 2021 DPC: China. Initially the weakest team in the Chinese Upper Division, EHOME gained momentum in third-party tournaments with Sylar as their carry.
Nevertheless, their form once again dwindled in DPC Season 2, which resulted in substandard performances. As a result of EHOME's sixth-place finish, the team was unable to qualify for the WePlay AniMajor in Kyiv.
Like Elephant, it will be a monumental task for EHOME to qualify for TI10 via the regional qualifiers, considering the sheer strength and the momentum that many of the Chinese Upper Division teams possess.
It has been a topsy-turvy 2021 DPC season for Fnatic, who went from being the premier SEA representative at the Singapore Major to failing to even qualify for the WePlay AniMajor. Even though they came on top in the first season with Masaros in the offlane, Fnatic decided to part ways with him after back-to-back series losses at the Singapore Major, which saw them drop out of the event, failing to secure any DPC points from it.
Fnatic brought in ChYuan, who has traditionally played as a midlaner, to replace Masaros in the offlane. The team then had a rough start to season two, unexpectedly losing the first series to Execration. However, they recollected themselves to take some series wins but, in the end, found themselves in a tiebreaker with Execration. Fnatic got trounced 2-0 by the Filipinos and ended up missing out on the Major, with lackluster individual performances being the primary deterrent in their road to the WePlay AniMajor.
Fnatic will be back in action later this summer in the TI10 regional qualifiers, perhaps with some roster changes. The team has one of the most experienced players in the SEA scene, and so, it will not be a surprise if the players critically re-evaluate their strategies and then emerge stronger at the qualifiers.
OB.Neon’s Cinderella run at the Singapore Major attracted global attention as Dota 2 fans were amazed by their unorthodox yet highly effective drafts and strategies. OB.Neon played aggressively and ran at their enemies which caught many of their opponents at the Singapore Major with their pants down.
OB.Neon was expected to top the second season considering their commendable run but the team seemed to have overplayed their hands. They were lethargic in their approach in the second season and were unable to lift themselves enough in the final stages. They relented on their unorthodox drafts but teams were able to read and counter them this time.
OB.Neon is on the cusp in the list of the direct invites for TI10, sitting at the 12th position with 650 points. It is likely that some teams will overrank them and knock them out. So, the Filipinos will be keeping a close look at the results of the WePlay AniMajor.
A team that is beset by roster changes, Na’Vi has taken a mighty fall over the course of the last four months. They had entered into the first season as the favorites to dominate CIS alongside Virtus.pro. But by the end of the second season, they were scrambling to secure a spot at the Major.
Though GeneRaL had been an integral part of this roster since it played under the tag of FlyToMoon, he was removed from the team in April 2021 owing to “internal issues and conflicts.” RAMZES666 entered into the team as a leader from the offlane but Na’Vi looked out of sorts in the second season under him. Their item choices were baffling and their passive Dota 2 style did not work out in the CIS region.
Now, after the failure to qualify for the WePlay AniMajor, Iceberg and ALWAYSWANNAFLY have made room for No[o]ne and SoNNeikO. Na’Vi’s new roster looks solid on paper and it is a miniature version of the iconic Virtus.pro squad, so it will be intriguing to witness if they can match excellence with execution at the TI10 regional qualifiers.
The second season of the SA DPC looked relatively competitive, with four teams vying for the two AniMajor slots. NoPing e-sports looked to be on a different level while beastcoast continued its top form. This meant that Thunder Predator had to miss out on the second Major despite their jaw-dropping performances at the Singapore Major.
Thunder Predator sits one point shy of directly qualifying for TI10 at 800 points. In other words, they have a comfortable DPC points haul and will likely receive a direct invitation to TI10 as a result.
Thunder Predator had smashed teams from other regions in the Singapore Major group stage, eventually finishing 5th-6th. This time, teams from other regions might be facing even tougher resistance from beastcoast and NoPing e-sports considering they have outperformed Thunder to make it to the Major.
The WePlay AniMajor will be held in Kyiv, Ukraine, from June 2-13th, 2021. The 18 teams will be brawling for a total prize pool of $500,000 USD and 2700 DPC points.