The Winter Tour, the first round of the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit season, has concluded and as in previous seasons, the best teams of division 1 from each competing region will duke it out in the Major tournament, which will be hosted in Lima, Peru.
And when it comes to region, it is impossible to dismiss the fact that Southeast Asia came as a complete shock in this season. Big teams like SMG, Boom Esports, and Fnatic failed to advance to the Lima Major, the latter two even got relegated to division 2. Meanwhile, despite the hype around them, the sensational newcomer Blacklist Rivalry was unable to maintain its good form and finished in fourth. In the end, Execration, Geek Slate, and Talon Esports finished in the top three of the DPC SEA Winter Tour 2023 standings.
Considering the ups and downs in DPC SEA at the moment, their fans naturally have low expectations for the upcoming Lima Major. We predict the extent to which these teams can compete against the big boys.
The new leader of the pack
Execration nearly scored a flawless runs during DPC SEA Winter Tour 2023. They are continuing their positive trend after their promotion from division 2 last season. Apart from the addition of Juan “BDz” Manalo from TNC Predator as team captain, not much has changed in the squad’s lineup.
Somewhat amazingly, this team was able to overcome SEA favorites such as Boom Esports, Talon, Blacklist, and Fnatic. With only one defeat against Geek Slate, they emerged as group winner with 6-1 points and qualified for their first ever Major tournament in Lima.
But despite their fantastic achievements in last month, there isn’t much that guarantees their excellent form in DPC SEA will do much for the upcoming Lima Major. In terms of experience, none of their players have ever participated in big competitions outside of SEA. Additionally, they are in Group A, the group of death, which comprised of heavyweight names such as Evil Geniuses, Gaimin Gladiator, PSG.LGD, TSM, Team Spirit, and the winner of The International 11, Tundra.
Execration, however, may be able to put up a fight through their secret weapon this season, the seasoned coach Park “March” Tae-won. His experience in international competitions will certainly be a valuable asset for his team in facing big names in group A. No one expects them to last long in their first major competition, but at least they will gain important insight by competing directly in Major.
The soaring Talon
Started near the end of 2021, Talon made the headlight as the a new kid on the block: within a year, they finished in the top three of the 2022 DPC SEA and competed in TI 11 in Singapore.
The streak continued as they finished third in the DPC Sea Winter Tour last month. Although new recruits – Jabz and Oli – struggled in the first three games of the winter tour, they quickly adapted to the new strategy and won the remaining matches, helping the team finish in third place and become the final DPC Sea team to qualify for Lima Major.
Despite Talon’s current position as the third-best team in DPC SEA, many fans on social media believe that their players, particularly Jabz and 23savage, are superior in terms of experiences and skills, particularly in offline competitions. Fellow pros such as inyourdream and Xepher even expected Talon to go further than other SEA teams in Lima Major.
Yet considering they are in the group of death as well, it appears that such hopes are overly optimistic. The individual achievements and mechanical skills of 23savage and Jabz are truly noteworthy, but in the end it’s all about tactics and mentality.
The return of the Geek
Rebranded as Geek Slate, the Malaysian have returned to DPC SEA following their hiatus from Dota competition in 2021-2022. And surprisingly, nothing has changed since their two-year break.
Geek Slate certainly made it clear to the entire audience that they are stil one of the greatest. With 5 victories out of 7, they finished as runner-up in the Winter Tour 2023. Skem and kokz stand out as impressive newcomers. The former was even named as one of the important players for their Winter Tour campaign.
Geek Slate will compete in Group B of Lima Major, where the chance of qualifying for the knockout stage is slightly better than those of Talon and Execration in Group A. However, they must be mindful of the matches against some favorites like BetBoom and Entity. On top of that, they will also face one of the West EU’s giants, Team Liquid, who were unbeaten in the WEU Winter Tour 2023 DPC.
The Lima Major will kick off tomorrow and will run until March 5, with Execration versus Tundra as the opening game at 11:00 pm SGT.