The International 2022 will open its doors to the top 30 teams of the season. The first to enter the race for Aegis will be 12 teams that made it to the Last Chance Qualifier.
Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) is a mini-tournament held by Valve before the start of the main part of The International 2022 on October 15th. The championship adopted its format from the Wild Card, previously held at The International, after which it disappeared into oblivion.
This year the LCQ is being held unscheduled. It owes its appearance to the first Major tournament of the year, which was canceled at the start of the 2021-2022 season.
Tournament participants are divided into 2 groups of 6 teams each. It should be understood that the division is of a formal nature, since after the group stage we will have a full-fledged playoff in the Double-Elimination format, to which everyone will pass.
In a short series of materials, we talk about each of the groups: we analyze the strongest and the most mediocre participants, we try to predict what is happening during the event and calculate the path of the teams to the upper or lower bracket of the playoffs. Group A teams will open the rubric.
Region: Eastern Europe (DPC EEU)
How did you get to the LCQ: 3rd place qualifiers in Eastern Europe
Lineup for TI 11: V-Tune, No[o]ne, laise, swedenstrong, Solo
First in number, but not in importance, are Natus Vincere. The team took 3rd place in the LCQ qualifiers, thus being here.
Speaking of NAVI, it’s hard to predict anything. The only thing that is known for sure is that “born to win” will not pass the LCQ.
The “yellow-blacks” had a surprisingly good season: TOP-6 at DPC EEU 2021/2022 Tour 2: Division 1 Playoffs, TOP-2 at DPC EEU 2021/2022 Tour 3: Division 1 and the experience of playing on the big stage in the form The top 14 PGL Arlington Major 2022 brought them 341 DPC points.
Is there enough track record to get through the LCQ, given what is essentially a fresh line-up of a mix of young, perky, and retired veterans? Very unlikely.
Will this be enough to qualify for the playoffs in the upper bracket? Should be enough. but keep in mind the performance of “born to win” in groups at Arlington, where NAVI, having all the cards in hand, played them carelessly.
Verdict: a pass to the upper bracket of the playoffs, the peak result is TOP-4-6 LCQ.
Where they play: North America (DPC NA)
How they got to the LCQ: 2nd place in the North American qualifiers
Lineup on LCQ: Costabile, Gunnar, Moo, ZFreek, Husky
Fourth team in North America and second in LCQ qualifiers will be plowing their way into the group stage. The Americans will not be able to pave a beautiful path with laid paving stones.
Yes, the team will bite opponents and, most likely, wring out a couple of cards in non-obvious meetings. Thanks to the LCQ format, they will get into the playoffs, and the lower part of it, after which they will fly out after a round, or even without.
The Nouns did quite well in North America in the second half of the year, but that’s not something that will allow them to take on more massive opponents. The vibe of Complexity constantly hovers over this team, most likely due to ZFreek, who constantly put a spoke in the wheels of other clubs, but did not bring much harm.
The team is fighting, but not a champion.
Verdict: advance to the lower bracket of the playoffs, relegation to TOP-9-12/7-8.
Where they play: South East Asia (SEA DPC)
How did you go to the LCQ: the second place in the closed qualifiers in Southeast Asia
Lineup on LCQ: Natsumi-, Lelouch-, Force, Xavius, eyyou
Southeast Asia in this tournament can surprise. Polaris Esports may well become a sponsor of surprises, at least at LCQ.
You have to judge this from the result in the closed qualifiers for the LCQ. There, the searchlights were aimed exclusively at Polaris.
Someone will say that a full-fledged 5-card final (which was in Southeast Asia) does not mean anything, but rather speaks of the failure of the teams. In this case, I would regard it as an example of competitiveness.
How often do we see a team from the second division reaching the final, leaving behind one of the main favorites, and stopping a step away from the TI group stage.
But this is how “Cinderella stories” begin, which Dota knows firsthand. However, it is this drop in the form of one card that can turn out to be a stumbling block for the birth of another origin of “dark horses”.
Verdict: a pass to the top of the LCQ playoffs, TOP-5-6/TOP-4.
Where they play: Western Europe (DPC WEU)
How did you go to the LCQ: 2nd place in the closed qualifiers
Lineup on LCQ: Crystallis, Nisha, Resolut1on, Zayac, Puppey
Puppey had a chance to become the absolute record holder for the umpteenth time by making it to the group stage of The International. A beautiful story: the first champion, the only participant in all tournaments of the series.
Unfortunately, the current Secret will not allow the legendary captain to bring this to life. Of course, Puppey and the company will get into the playoffs from a high place in their group, they will sweep away in the first round, but then they will not add pressure, they will burn out, they will not cope.
Time is the enemy of Secret. Having reassembled the lineup, Puppey got a very combat-ready unit, whose candy-bouquet period quickly ended. We saw it towards the end of the competitive season, we watched it at last chance qualifiers.
Puppey is not getting younger, but Nisha is a pity.
Verdict: a pass to the upper bracket of the playoffs, TOP-4 LCQ.
Where they play: South America (SA DPC)
How they got to the LCQ: 3rd place in the qualifiers in South America
The International line-up: Mnz, Sebas, DrakenN, slad1n-, Mjz
Tempest could be the opening of the tournament, but this place is already taken by Polaris, and therefore the forecasts for the Peruvians are disappointing. Their journey to Aegis will end at the LCQ stage and quickly.
The squad assembled at the beginning of the season managed to fight in the first division of South America and even compete in the qualifiers, where the main stars of the region did not participate. What is the chance that such an inexperienced team will have something to present with a conditional Xtreme or the same Secret? I think the minimum, close to zero.
Verdict: TOP 9-12 LCQ.
Where they play: China (CN DPC)
How did you get to the LCQ: 3rd place in the qualifiers
Line-up on LCQ: Erika, Xm, bab, Frisk, Yang
Vici’s path to LCQ is a drama in 3 acts. It is as broken as it is chaotic.
After the TOP-6 at TI10, the club entered the whirlpool of Chinese reshuffles and wore there until August of this year. They were let in for the qualifiers in China, and with grief they made it to the top three in half, having received a slot on the LCQ.
TOP-5, TOP-5 and finally the regular TOP-7 and relegation to the second division. This is a brand new Vici Gaming. What can we say, if the team didn’t care about the home league so much that they didn’t show up for replays for a chance to stay in the top division.
Vici’s attitude to the game this season is not serious and, as for me, this is connected with the departure of the club’s driving force, the support duo Dy and Pyw. Naturally, this will not prevent them from reaching the upper bracket of the playoffs, but there is no need to talk about advancing to the group stage for such Vici.
Verdict: TOP-6 LCQ.
Walking through the participants of group B, you catch yourself thinking that the most interesting thing is ahead, in group B. About it in the next article.
Cover photos: Liquipedia, WePlay.