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10 invite predictions for The Kiev Major

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

It's been relatively quiet in the Dota 2 scene since The Boston Major, but with The Kiev Major Qualifiers on the horizon, that's about to change.

With the first matches set to begin on march 6, Valve has yet to announce which teams will secure a coveted invite to the Major and avoid the ever-perilous qualifiers.

Compared to past Major qualifiers, two additional regions will be competing for a spot at Kiev. The South American and CIS Qualifiers have been split off from the North American and European ones, creating six qualifying regions.

Keeping that in mind, here are the 10 teams we think will be invited to the Kiev Major. For this prediction, we'll be working under the assumption that one team from each region will qualify for the Major, resulting in a total of 10 teams to receive invites

OG

OG ended 2016 by proving that even with a new roster, the team was just as strong as they were before. With their win at Boston, OG have won three of the four Majors Valve have hosted since the introduction of the system, and they show no signs of stopping their domination anytime soon. OG will be at Kiev, and every other team should be prepared to face this juggernaut.

Reasons why they might not make it

As the champions of The Boston Major, OG will receive an invite to Kiev. If they don't, heads will roll.

Evil Geniuses

As competitive as North American Dota is at the moment, Evil Geniuses are still the undisputed kings of the region. Placing 3rd/4th at The Boston Major, EG followed that strong performance up by winning the invite-only China Top 16 in December and Dota Pit League Season 5 in January. By winning both LANs they played in following Boston, EG are all but guaranteed to attend the next Major.

Reasons why they might not make it

Valve forgot to push the correct button and accidentally invited another team instead. Once again, this team is a near lock for getting an invite.

Digital Chaos

From Top 4 at The Boston Major to their first premier LAN win at ESL One Genting 2017, Digital Chaos have had a good couple of months. While there's been some losses along the way, DC have proven to be a tier 1 team that is fully capable of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the greats. And while we are far removed from The International 2016, DC's runner-up status may still hold some sway over whether they receive an invite to Kiev.

Reasons why they might not make it

Though DC won ESL One Genting, their results since have left a lot to be desired. The team fell to last place at Dota Pit League Season 5 and StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3, and failed to qualify for Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017. If DC were to receive an invite, it will be primarily based off of their Boston Major finish and win at Genting.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid have recovered from a terrible October that saw them fail to qualify for Boston and The Summit 6 and are now one of the stronger teams in Europe. They have just won their first LAN since DreamLeague Season 6 at SL i-League Season 3, and if that momentum continues to build, Liquid will rightfully secure a spot as one of the best teams in the world at Kiev.

Reasons why they might not make it

Beyond their win at SL i-League Season 3, Liquid's only other notable accomplishment was to qualify for DAC 2017. But as we've seen in the past, LAN wins are far more likely to get a team an invite to a Major than anything else.

Ad Finem

The Greek team's stellar performance at The Boston Major catapulted them into a solid second place, earning the underdog team plenty of fans along the way. As the runners-up to Boston, Ad Finem stand a strong chance of receiving an invite based solely off of their performance at the last Major, though time will tell if Boston was more than just a one-off performance.

Reasons why they might not make it

Ad Finem's performance at Boston is the biggest argument for the team to receive an invite. They've had disappointing placements in the qualifiers they've competed in since, struggling to carry their momentum at Boston into other tournaments.

Newbee

As competitive as China has been in recent months, Newbee has been one of the few to have strong results against both Chinese and international teams since Boston. At ESL One Genting, Newbee handily defeated Team NP, Virtus.pro and Wings Gaming before falling to Digital Chaos in a close 3-2 series, which speaks well to the strengths of both teams. More importantly, Newbee won the Chinese-only Dota2 Professional League Season 2 - Top League, placing them above the other Chinese teams who are also gunning for an invite.

Reasons why they might not make it

Newbee have not played a single professional match since Genting. Taking their performance at DPL into account, it seems unlikely for Newbee to miss an invite to Kiev, but it is not outside the realm of possibility.

Virtus.pro

Virtus.pro came out of the post-TI6 shuffle as one of the hottest teams in Europe, qualifying for tournament after tournament and winning The Summit 6 in short order. After they fell out of Boston in the Top 8, VP went on to take a comfortable 3rd/4th place at ESL One Genting in January. With the introduction of a CIS qualifier and the fact that the next Major is taking place in that very region, VP are a sound choice to represent CIS at the tournament.

Reasons why they might not make it

VP have not done much to inspire confidence in them since January. Besides Genting, they performed poorly at Dota Pit League Season 5 and very quickly fell out of the qualifiers for DAC 2017. VP's invite to Kiev is contingent on a CIS team receiving an invite, as they are the most logical choice.

Team VG.J

It took several months, but Team VG.J are finally showing just what their stacked roster is capable of when everyone is playing at their best. It started with a DPL Season 2 - Secondary League win in December, followed by successful qualifications to both DAC 2017 and SL i-League Season 3 in January. It was their second place finish at the latter event that solidified VG.J as being one of the most promising team deserving of an invite in China.

Reasons why they might not make it

SL i-League Season 3 was the only premier tournament VG.J competed in this season, and while their performance was strong, it was not a LAN win. Their performance against other Chinese teams may very well be what makes or breaks VG.J's chances at getting an invite.

TNC Pro Team

Put simply, TNC Pro Team's fall season was abysmal. The post-TI6 roster shuffle did not work out in their favor, as their dismal placements at qualifiers show it. But in the winter, TNC returned to prominence by winning World Electronic Sports Games 2016. Coupled with their wins over Team Secret and iG.Vitality at SL i-League Season 3, and TNC have the best shot at receiving a coveted invite out of all the other SEA teams.

Reasons why they might not make it

Due to the rules at WESG, TNC did not face a high level of competition on their path to victory. Furthermore, their placement at SL i-League Season 3, while strong, may not be high enough to warrant Valve's attention when it comes to invites.

Wings Gaming

As the current TI champions, the absence of Wings Gaming at Kiev would be surprising. Since Boston, Wings' greatest accomplishment has been Top 4 at ESL One Genting, and they haven't played a game in the time since. But with their past record to look at and no roster changes in the months since, an invite for Wings would be a safe bet for Valve, who have invited far worse teams to past Majors.

Reasons why they might not make it

Were Wings to receive an invite to Kiev, it would more than likely be based off of their status at TI6 champions rather than anything else. If Wings did not win TI6, it would be very difficult to justify why they should be invited over other Chinese teams.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.

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