The Chinese closed qualifiers leading to ESL One Hamburg 2019 are set to commence this Friday with two exciting Dota 2 esports fixtures.
Team Aster, Royal Never Give Up, Invictus Gaming and CDEC Gaming are the four teams who will battle it out in a double-elimination playoff format.
All fixtures will be played in best-of-three (Bo3) series, with the sole exception being the grand finals, which will be played as a best-of-five (Bo5) series on Sunday, September 29.
Team Aster and RNG both received direct invites to the closed qualifier, whereas Invictus Gaming and CDEC Gaming had to fight their way through gruelling open qualifiers to earn their ticket.
Now they need to prove their worth once more, this time against Aster and RNG.
Team Aster will clash with Invictus Gaming, whereas it will be CDED Gaming will do their best to derail RNG.
Both fixtures will be played on Friday, September 27 at 18:00 CST.
Team Aster vs Invictus Gaming
Team Aster – -181.82 at BetOnline
Team Aster enter this fixture as favourites, although the odds seem to slightly overrate them.
They signed two new members in Song “Sccc” Chun at number one and Pan “Fade” Yi as number five at the start of September, who are both very solid additions to the team.
That being said, the Chinese outfit have not yet played a match with their new roster, meaning we do not know the true power they possess.
Invictus Gaming – +125 at BetOnline
Invictus Gaming recently added the highly experienced Hu “Kaka” Liangzhu to their roster as a replacement for Gao “dogf1ghts” Tianpeng, who left for RNG.
While losing a player like dogf1ghts would be a huge blow for any team, we are not too worried about Invictus and their quality after the acquisition of TI7 runner-up Kaka.
Despite the changes, IG are still a very strong team, or at least a much stronger than what the odds suggest.
Prediction: Over 2.5 total maps – +104 at BetOnline
The changes on both sides leave a lot of unanswered questions, namely how strong Aster actually are and whether they are justifiable favourites here.
While they might be slightly better than IG, we don’t believe Aster can outclass Invictus to a degree where this fixture will end as a clean sweep.
RNG vs CDED Gaming
Royal Never Give Up – -204.08 at BetOnline
The odds offered seem to be spot on, as there is no arguing RNG are the stronger team out of the two in this fixture.
While Royal Never Give Up are not quite up there with the elite few Dota 2 teams in the world, their seventh-eighth finish at TI9 suggests they belong in the top 10.
The team has just recently added dogf1ghts from IG as well as Lu “Fenrir” Chao as replacements for Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng and Tue “ah fu” Soon Chuan.
CDEC Gaming – +139 at BetOnline
CDEC Gaming played very well in the open qualifiers, yet they will have to produce something remarkable to win here.
While RNG are far from unbeatable, they are a step up from anything CDEC have faced on their road to the closed qualifiers.
And while they have faced RNG three times before in 2019, winning once, CDEC have not yet met the new and improved RNG, who will be a tough nut to crack.
Prediction: Royal Never Give Up to win – -204.08 at BetOnline
The two sides met each other back in July, where CDEC Gaming fought a close battle with NRG in the finals of China qualifiers for TI9.
On that day, RNG came out ahead (3-2), but only just, which suggests they could be set for another tough match against CDEC.
That being said, RNG look much stronger with their additions to the team and should get the win.