Open Qualifiers Dominated So Far by Established Teams

Teams square off worldwide in the open qualifiers for TI6.Image used with permission of unrealsmoker @
Teams square off worldwide in the open qualifiers for TI6.Image used with permission of unrealsmoker @ /

As the #1 bracket of the open qualifiers comes to a close, well-known teams pack the winner’s circle. What do these matches mean for TI6?

Teams like Secret, EG, Fnatic, Alliance, Empire, and Vici Gaming (to name a few, but I could go on) have dozens of games of top-tier competitive play behind them. And while I enjoy watching veteran teams pub-stomp (comparatively) rookie teams, it does seem to defeat the purpose a bit, doesn’t it?

It would be difficult to watch if it weren't so entertaining
It would be difficult to watch if it weren’t so entertaining /

But the first series of OQs pretty much proves that the three teams already determined, Secret (Europe), EG (America), and Vici Gaming (China), are right where they belong. The only team of those three that lost even a single game in OQs was Vici Gaming.

These household names in the OQs pretty much assure there will be a fanbase following the broadcasts. But there are other reasons you should be watching the OQs…

OQs are a strong indicator of future performance

Team Secret is a great example of this.

We had something of a discussion here at DireDota HQ the other day about whether or not Secret would have a strong showing at TI6. Around these parts, what we call a “discussion” is usually more of a shouting match littered with expletives and references to each others’ mothers (looking at you Phil).

And she is, Phil. She is.
And she is, Phil. She is. /

It wasn’t until Thursday that Secret started to regain its standing in the opinion of my coworkers. After their unfortunate placing in the Manila Major (13 – 16th place, gross), I’ve seen a few threads with headings similar to “Secret’s fall from grace.” Not that these haters take into account Secret’s 1st place ranking in Shanghai.

As much as it pains me to say this, it’s true that Secret has been bringing up the rear of the pro-circuit pack lately. At Dota Pit League Season 4 they placed 5 – 8th, at ESL One Manila 2016 they were  5 – 6th, EPICENTER was even more disappointing with a 7 – 8th place ranking, and we’ve already talked about the Manila Major.

A few days ago, if I had said I didn’t feel unsure about Secret’s prospects this tournament season, I’d have been lying. I’ve been a Team Secret fan since Puppey joined their ranks in late August of 2014, and I hate it when they lose. Which is why I’m elated to inform you that they didn’t lose a single game in the OQs. As a matter of fact, here’s the highlight reel of them playing off in the grand championships against the Danish Bears:

Nice try, Bears. Well fought. Hopefully you’ll stir up the pro-circuit by making it next time. I’ll root for you, if only for your cute name, so long as you don’t face off against my boys on Secret.

Vici Gaming, on the other hand, is a team I think you should keep your eyes on and your money off. Upsets happen, and the mark of a truly pro team is their ability to turn a loss around to seize a victory – which is exactly what VG did (kudos, boys). But their loss in the final round is a little suspect when compared to the other winning teams’ undefeated streaks.

If the majority of winning qualifying teams boast similar winratings, VG’s sole loss will appear more significant. But who knows? Maybe one of their players was suffering indigestion during that match.

The fact is, the OQs set the tone leading into TI6. And as a Secret supporter, I’m liking how these OQs are shaping up.

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