The fourth and final qualifier for AUNZ ESL 2018 Dota 2 Season 2 Championships has finally reached its conclusion. With this season extended from 4 teams to 6, the competition will now be more fierce, intense and exciting for the players and viewers.
In this group of six teams, two teams were qualified from the beginning of the first season. Natural 9 and Athletico Esports makes their return to the league. Joining them are SaveBuyBackPlz, Fox Gaming, IRS.R and the newly qualified ICLEN. With the tournament now being bigger than before, there will be new opportunities for Dota 2 competitions to grow even larger in the region.
Natural 9 had been a dominating force for the AUNZ region and looks to maintain that dominance. They did very well consistently over the past year, consistently scoring 1st or 2nd in each tournament. The players had gelled as a team very well and there is a lot of expectation for them to be a strong contender again.
Athletico is no stranger to esports, having teams in several other games such as CS:GO, Rainbow Six Siege, PUBG and Overwatch. They are the tournaments championship defenders, having won the 1st place for the 1st season, they are looking to maintain their position, especially with Natural 9 at their heels and more teams now in the competition.
As for the new contestants; many of them had proven themselves to be serious teams that had won their spot. Fox Gaming is a bit of an anomaly as most of the team members were formerly from Trident (that won the 2nd qualifier), as they technically disbanded and reformed under Fox Gaming, they are essentially almost the same team.
ICLEN had attempted multiple qualifiers before finally getting in on their 4th try. Despite that record, they have faced several teams. Through that gauntlet of matches in each qualifier, they proved to be fairly capable and they will not be afraid to keep the rest of the league on their toes.
SaveBuyBackPlz were the first to qualify and that should say a fair bit about their capabilities as a Dota 2 team. While they didn’t have to face as many matches as their fellow qualifiers, they are still a team to be wary of if they managed to grab that position in a fairly strong fashion, especially as they had defeated Fox Gaming (under Trident) and ICLEN.
Last but not least, IRS.R looks like a tough cookie, having dominated each opponent during their run of the qualifiers. They had already faced their fellow qualifier ICLEN, both winning and losing, but they are ready to show Australia and New Zealand that they are a team to look out for.
Which teams would you be cheering on to victory? Would it be the veterans of Natural 9 or current champions Athletico? Perhaps you want to cheer for some of the qualified teams instead?