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Teams to Watch in WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020

06:21 PM January 08, 2020

All eyes will be on the CIS region when it hosts the first Dota Pro Circuit event of the decade in Bukovel, Ukraine.

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The WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020 will have a prize pool of  $300,000 USD and a total of 660 DPC points up for grabs, with the 1st-place team securing the last slot of the DreamLeague Season 13: The Leipzig Major. Here are the teams guaranteed to make the headlines in the tournament:

Geek Fam

Despite having a talented squad on paper, Geek Fam haven’t been able to contest regional giants Fnatic and TNC Predator like many people thought they would. The SEA team has had a rough start to the season, qualifying for ESL One Hamburg only to pull out at the last minute due to visa issues. They were able to secure their visa in time for DOTA Summit 11 in Los Angeles but only went as far as the group stages, finishing a measly 5th-6th place in a tournament comprised of only eight teams.

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Geek Fam announce Karl “Karl” Jayme shortly after releasing Eric “Ryoya” Dong (via Geek Fam Twitter)

Geek Fam narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Leipzig Major but booked their Bukovel Minor slot with ease, going undefeated in the SEA Qualifiers. Shortly after qualifying for the minor, they released American midlaner Eric “Ryoya” Dong and brought in the relatively unknown Karl “Karl” Jayme from Team Amplfy of the Philippines. With the Bukovel Minor stage now set, only time will tell if Geek Fam has what it takes to play their cards right and earn the last five seats to Germany.

Gambit Esports

While many of the world’s top teams were on a break, Gambit Esports contested TNC for the ESL One Hamburg trophy and pushed the eventual champions to a decisive game 5. Their optimism for the new season, however, was dealt a massive blow after a disappointing performance in the MDL Chengdu Major saw them finish bottom of their group and bow out of the tournament in the first round of the lower bracket. They finished 4th in the CIS Qualifiers for the Leipzig Major and will be taking the longer and more treacherous road to Germany in the form of the Bukovel Minor.

Gambit Esports at ESL One Hamburg © Turtle Entertainment

Gambit found the silver lining they desperately needed in the unlikeliest of places: Singapore. While the likes of PSG.LGD and Team Secret stumbled, Gambit displayed an impressive understanding of the new meta in the ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational Singapore. Although the CIS team can find solace in the fact that they finished their tournament run in 3rd place after being knocked out of the upper bracket by runners-up Evil Geniuses and getting eliminated at the hands of eventual winners Vici Gaming in the lower bracket finals, captain Artiom “fng” Barshack wouldn’t want to remain second fiddle to the winning team in Bukovel.

Nigma

After their crushing loss to OG in the TI9 Grand Finals, the entire Team Liquid squad composed of Kuro Salehi “KuroKy” Takhasomi, Maroun “GH” Merhej, Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov, Aliwi “w33” Omar, and Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi left the organization. They skipped the first major of the DPC season and returned under the banner of Nigma Esports. They were flawless in the European Open Qualifiers of the Leipzig Major but later failed to qualify for the tournament after falling short against Secret and Alliance in the closed qualifiers.

Nigma Squad Announcement via Nigma Twitter

Nigma then clawed their way through the lower bracket of the WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020 European Qualifiers to earn the sole European slot. With 4 TI7 champions in their squad, Nigma arguably has the most talented lineup out of all the teams participating in the minor. KuroKy and his teammates, however, still need to bring their A-game to Bukovel if they want to reunite with the big boys at the end of the month.

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