The Bukovel Minor – Group A

In just under two days’ the first Dota 2 Pro Circuit event of 2020 will get underway as the WePlay! Bukovel Minor kicks off with eight teams descending on Bukovel, Ukraine to fight for a chance at reaching the upcoming Major.

With the event quickly approaching, we’ll
take a look at both groups and which teams in each have the best shot at making
it to the playoffs and who has the best chance at reaching the DreamLeague
Season 13 Major later this month; starting with Group A.

Group A

  • Geek Fam
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas
  • Royal Never Give Up
  • Team Spirit

The Southeast Asian threat

Since the beginning of the new Dota 2 season, it was thought that Geek Fam would quickly take over the SEA region with their amazing lineup but that wasn’t seen right away. The team were unable to make it to the first Major and when it came to qualification for the next, they fell short again as the SEA region continued to produce brilliant talent. Following this, GF saw fit to make a chance in their roster with Eric ‘Ryoya’ Dong being replaced by ex-Team Amplfy player, Karl ‘Karl’ Jayme.

While this change could be just what GF need to excel, we’ve not seen them in action since the change has been made. Even though they are one of the best teams in their region, this group will not be easy for GF and the addition of Karl to the roster needs to bolster the team by a huge amount for them challenge for the Minor title.

China’s challenger

Royal Never Give Up’s post-TI9 DPC season is
yet to get off the mark as the team have struggled with roster changes and a lack
of genuine play against non-Chinese opposition. The team failed to reach both
the last Minor and Major and were unable to find their way into the upcoming DreamLeague
Season 13 Major – however, they did make it to the Bukovel Minor. This will be
the first time since TI9, apart from the recent Yabo Supreme Cup, where they
will face non-Chinese opposition.

Since RNG have been doing rather well in the China Pro League, it could be indicative of what is to come at the Minor – especially with the Outlanders update being in full swing and many teams still struggling to adapt. But international opponents will definitely be the main factor which influences what RNG can do although it’s very likely that they will make playoffs.

The Spirit of CIS

Team Spirit, previously known as Positive Guys, have been on the back end of the CIS scene since their made their way into the new DPC season. With the likes of Na’Vi, Gambit Esports, and even jfshfh178 beating them out to the top spots, Spirit were still able to reach the previous Major. However, the team did not perform well and while they did reach the upcoming Bukovel Minor, it still did not stop them from losing Andrey ‘Ghostik’ Kadyk from the roster in late December 2019.

With Alexey ‘nongrata’ Vasilyev joining the
squad on a trial basis, there’s not much we have seen from the team with their latest
roster. Considering the rest of the group around them, Team Spirit will have an
uphill battle in getting out of the group stages or even winning the tournament.

Ninjas in the midst

Ninjas in Pyjamas came out with their newest
roster following an extremely poor performance at TI9 but with the re-uniting
of Peter ‘ppd’ Dager and Saahil ‘Universe’ Arora things were looking up.
However, since then, the team have not had much luck, failing at the previous
Minor and the losing Oliver ‘Skiter’ Lepko late in December 2019 too. The team
has since filled the position with Jason ‘TANNER’ Connor Weedon and will be
going into the Bukovel Minor with this new roster.

NiP may not be the biggest threat in the tournament, considering their recent results but with a new player as a part of the roster, and the likes of Universe and ppd too, there is definitely a chance for some upsets.

All-in-all, Group A is a tough one to crack for all teams involved but for what it’s worth, it seems more likely that it will be Geek Fam and RNG who will come out on top and make their way into the playoffs. Whether either of these two teams, or any from Group A for that matter, can make it all the way through and claim the spot at DreamLeague Season 13 for themselves remains to be seen but with less than 2 days until the action, we’ll find out soon enough who will be crowned the champions of Bukovel.

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