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The Dota 2 Kiev Animajor is happening June 2-13, and for the second time this year the best Dota teams in the world are going to battle it out to see who will become this season’s major winner. Before the major even begins, here are the top five storylines to pay attention to coming into the major!

Quincy Crew enters the major with full team for the first time

Top 5 Storylines coming into Kyiv -
Quincy is finally at full strength and ready to make their mark at the Kiev Animajor. Provided By: One Esports

The tale of Quincy Crew has been one of misfortune. Their last trip to a Major had them placing a disappointing 9th-12th, really through no fault of their own. On the week that Quincy Crew intended to fly out to the Singapore Major, one of their support players Arif “MSS” Anwar, caught Covid-19 and had to skip the major. The severely depleted Quincy Crew had to settle for Wilson “Poloson” Koh Chin Wei as a substitute for the duration of the Singapore Major. This season, Quincy Crew have come back in a big way – taking the top spot in the North American region from Evil Geniuses, one of, if not the best team in the world. Now at full strength, they enter the Kiev Animajor with a 7-0 record, ready to finally prove themselves to the world.

South America finally brings its best at the Dota 2 Kiev major

Top 5 storylines coming into Kyiv: NoPing
NoPing came from nowhere to get the playoff seed coming into the Dota 2 Kiev major. Provided By: NoPing Esports

Other teams also had to contend with Covid-19 before the previous major. South American first seed Beastcoast’s captain Steven “Stinger” Vargas Mamani tested positive days before they planned to fly to Singapore. Stinger’s proximity to the team meant that none of them attend the major.

This season, Beastcoast have once again secured their spot at the Major. However, they come in as the second seed behind NoPing Esports. NoPing came out of nowhere this year and took the South American region by storm. In the previous One Esports Singapore Major, Thunder Predator were able to secure 5-6th place as a 2nd seed from the South American region. What will happen when South America gets to compete with the best that they can offer? It will all unfold at the Kiev Animajor.

T1 – from early season troubles to a playoff seed

Kuku smiles for the camera
Carlo “Kuku” Palad smiles at the camera, ready to prove himself in the Animajor. Provided By: Manila Bulletin

T1 was a team that faced a lot of criticism at the beginning of the season. The team had abruptly kicked their carry player Souliya “JackKy” Khoomphetsavong from the team days before the roster lock, despite making it into the Major Wild Card stage of the One esports Singapore Major with his help. Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon replaced JackKy soon after getting their placement.

After the replacement, the team had a lackluster start to the season, going 1-2 in the first 3 weeks of competition. But they picked it up from that point forward, ending the season 5-2 and getting the first seed through tiebreakers. This will be the first time that T1 will appear in a Major at full strength, as their captain and “master” Carlo “Kuku” Palad will be with them for this major. When asked about Kuku’s play, Southeast Asian Caster John “Johnxfire” Nathan Fernandez had this to say:

“Kuku is an outstanding captain though, and he definitely ties that team together perfectly – its not just his insights and analysis, but his free spirit and attitude that I think allows T1 to go beyond what people expect”

Kuku has the chance to display his leadership skills against the best Dota teams in the world. How far T1 can go from this point rests on his shoulders.

Team Liquid – the Dark Horse

Top 5 storylines going into Kyiv: Team liquid the dark horse
How will sumaiL’s addition affect the team at the Kiev Animajor? we will have to find out. Provided By: HolyHexor

Team Liquid have had a rollercoaster of a year. It started with their offlaner, Samuel “Boxi” Svahn leaving the team due to family issues. They then had to find a last minute replacement in Syed “sumaiL” Hassan. To accommodate for this change, their Midlaner Maximilian “qojqva” Bröcker had to move to the offlane. Despite all these changes, Liquid were still able to end the season in second place with a 5-2 record. The team has been able to adapt and develop new strategies with their current lineup.

In an interview in the Dreamleague EU DPC, coach William “Blitz” Lee commented on the team chemistry with the addition of sumaiL, stating that things had actually opened up when he joined the team. He also praised qojqva for this ability to adapt to the offlane role, stating that “Max (qojqva) is the only reason any of this works.” Any team with sumaiL on it, has a chance to make a splash at the major. Add that to the structure that Team Liquid has been able to provide, and we could very well see a deep run from Europe’s second seed.

Team Aster – finally fulfilling their destiny at the Dota 2 Kiev major

Team Aster boboka playing in Perfect World DPC China
Ye “Borax” Zhibiao looks to make his return to the international stage at the Dota 2 Kiev major Provided By: Egamersworld

Team Aster has consistently placed in the top two of the Chinese Dota Pro Circuit in the two seasons that the Circuit has existed. Despite their regional achievements, they have not been able to translate the same success on to the international stage. Their run at the previous One Esports Singapore Major was mired with controversy as one of their players, Ye “Borax” Zhibiao was accused of soliciting prostitution right before the major and was unable to attend. Team Aster ended their run at the One Esports Singapore Major in a disappointing 9-12th place. The team has come back with a vengeance, dominating the region with a 6-1 record. While the rest of China is not far behind, Team Aster are looking to be the best in their highly-competitive region.

Tune in to the Kiev Animajor stream from June 2-13 on the WePlay Twitch Channel