Last but not least, we take a look at the only region outside of China and Europe to have won a TI.
Dark days are upon the North America region ahead of the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit. The best team from the region for the better part of a decade has had its organization back out and move down south after a disastrous year, another top-level team was disbanded by its organization after horrendous results, and yet another had its financial backing removed after its sponsor turned out to be fraudulent. NA players and indeed teams have scrambled to come under new banners, but there’s a severe, persisting dearth of new talent that still plagues the region.
If you want to know how the teams are looking before the start of the next DPC season, here’s everything you need to know about NA Division 1 teams for the start of this season.
North America Division 1
You know something’s amiss in your region when the two teams qualifying to The International by way of DPC points place 8th and 11th on the table. In all of 2022, the only bright spot in NA Dota was TSM making it to the final of the Stockholm Major, where they lost to OG. The entire region is barely hanging on to pro Dota by a thread, with top-level players regularly expressing their dismay about the lack of newer players in the pro pipeline. It’s going to take a miraculous performance from one of the established teams to bring some much-needed hope to NA.
The following are the teams taking part in the first tour of the NA DPC season:
- Shopify Rebellion
- Thiuth Gaming
- Wildcard Gaming
- Tal "Fly" Aizik
- Andreas "Cr1t-" Nielsen
- Jonáš "SabeRLight-" Volek
- Abed "Abed" Yusop
- Artour "Arteezy" Babaev
They may have been abandoned by their long-time organization Evil Geniuses following a horrid year, but there’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that this group of players is still the best shot the NA scene has of a much-needed revival. Last year, while still under the banner of EG, four members of this group won two of the regional DPC tours and came 3rd in another, but their performances in other tournaments were nothing short of awful for a team of their caliber. They were 13th at the ESL One Stockholm Major, and 9th-12th at both the Arlington Major and
Armed with a powerful new sponsor and recently-recruited top-tier Offlaner SabeRLight-, Shopify Rebellion will be looking to tear the scene up with their years of experience and dominant play style. Few players can match — let alone outplay — Abed in Mid, Fly and Cr1t- are still brilliant, and as long as Arteezy doesn’t do what has unfortunately become known as “doing an Arteezy,” Rebellion should be fine. They were also plagued by drafting issues for quite a while as well, and since they’ve retained their coach from EG, here’s to hoping that improves.
- Jose "esK" Coronel
- Timur "layme" Magomedov
- Kobey “Napkin” Eimers
- José Carlos “N1ne” Suárez Martínez
- Anton “ antoha” Marchenko
Absolutely fresh in the DPC and already embroiled in the kind of drama only the pro Dota scene can bring, Thiuth Gaming began the season by having their former Position 5 player Bauyrzhan “lilskrip” Bisembaev be banned by Valve for account sharing. It’s a nasty blow to a team that has just formed and, considering the players they have, might require quite a while to get used to top level Dota. Still reeling, the team finally found a replacement in a
Named after a Gothic letter (for those who are wondering what it means and breaking their teeth over the correct pronunciation), the team contains two Mexicans, two Russians and an American, with Mid laner EsK being probably the only one to be known to followers of NA Dota thanks to his stint in Wildcard Gaming. Two of the players have been roaming the lower tiers for a few years, but the other two have no real trail in competitive Dota.
- Luke "Yamsun" Wang
- Nicolas "Gunnar" Lopez
- David "Moo" Hull
- Rodrigo "Lelis" Santos
- Jacob "Husky" Fifik
After being formed as late as midway through last year, nouns began with a bang by winning the American edition of Tier 2 tournament BTS Pro Series Season 11. They then rocked the third NA DPC tour of the year by placing 3rd. They had the same number of wins and losses as group leaders EG and Quincy Crew, but lost both matches in the tiebreaker to miss out on an appearance at the Arlington Major. If that wasn’t bad enough, they then proceeded to miss out on TI qualification from their region by losing the Grand Final 3-0 to Soniqs.
After also floundering in the Last Chance Qualifier, the team underwent a lengthy and sizable restructuring. They brought in American Carry Yamsun to replace the Brazilian Guilherme “Costabile” Costábile and Brazilian Soft Support Lelis to fill the gap left by US Dota veteran Zakari “Zfreek” Freedman. Meanwhile, Gunnar left but rejoined again about a month later. All this drama later, nouns is still a strong squad that includes a TI finalist alongside some dangerous, experienced talent.
- Enzo "Timado" Gianoli
- Jonathan De "Bryle" Guia
- Gainullin "kasane" Ilyas
- Matthew "Ari" Walker
- Matthew "Whitemon" Filemon
We’ve searched far and wide, but we can’t think of too many falls from grace worse than being Major finalists in May, and finishing the TI Group Stage in last place without having won a single series. Many fans blame their now-former coach, TI6 finalist and Shanghai Major winner Rasmus “MISERY” Filipsen, for their downfall. While there might be a grain of truth to this considering the fact that the scene stalwart joined just a couple of weeks after the Stockholm Major, it’s more widely thought that the issue may have been an inability to adapt to change.
Since their TI debacle, TSM have made three important changes. Their Carry and Mid have remained the same, but they’ve recruited Russian Offlaner Kasane, British Soft Support Ari and Indonesian Hard Support Whitemon. All of them are reputed players in their own right, but Whitemon is definitely the highest-profile player among the newcomers. Considering language and play style differences, it might take a while for TSM to get up to speed — especially since they also have a new coach in the shape of ex-player David “MoonMeander” Yang.
- Oleg "Lodine" Kvasha
- Joel Mori "MoOz" Ozambela
- Glib "Funn1k" Lipatnikov
- Danil "Dendi" Ishutin
- Denis "StoneBank" Korzh
When Dendi formed a new team at the start of 2020, there was a great buzz about how this might be his return to the big leagues. Almost 3 years on, it seems that B8 might have been the biggest damper to be put on the Dota 2 scene in 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic. After 3 years of struggling in the lower tiers of EU Dota, making numerous roster changes, and winning just one single game (still lost the series 2-1) the last time they took part in Division 2 of the DPC, B8 packed their bags and moved to a less-competitive NA region.
This time around, however, there’s a much better chance of success. For starters, Dendi brought with him a bevy of Ukrainian talent in the form of long-term friend and former teammate Funn1k, youngster StoneBank, and the decently-experienced Lodine. This quartet has been joined by MoOz of former Thunder Predator fame, and before they even enter a lobby it can be said that this team is leaps and bounds better than what the organization has harbored for the better part of the last couple of years.
- David "dnm" Cossio
- Francis "Kitzz" Arriola
- Paul "Speeed" Bocchicchio
- Nikolay "CTOMAHEH1" Kalchev
- Matthew "albinozebra1" Conley
They might have a bizarre name, but 5RATFORCESTAFF have been doing pretty well considering the fact that they have only been around for a year. In this short time, they managed to win DPC NA 2021/2022 Tour 2: Division 2, and subsequently stayed alive in the top division by the skin of their teeth. They did reasonably well in NA’s regional TI Qualifier, but the real highlight of their year came when they beat Brazilian outfit SG Esports to win the 12th season of BTS Pro Series for the Americas. Upon competing in the next edition, though, they flopped.
Since their attempt at reaching TI, the team has made just one change, with Bulgarian Support player CTOMAHEH1 coming in to take Sahil “Giant” Bhawtankar’s job. He’ll provide some much-needed experience and diversity to a team that’s talented but still relatively new and struggling to fit in. While many other teams may be harboring big dreams about attending Majors and winning DPC tours, 5RATFORCESTAFF’s goal, at least initially, will probably be to just stay alive.
- Diego Nicolás "Rises" Ortas Rodríguez
- Josue Ronald "BlackSoul" Ticona Aliendre
- Steven "Monster" Noel
- Nicolás "wij" Moreno
- Junior "Yadomi" Rimari
ALPHA came into NA’s Division 2 in a whirlwind, flying through the qualifiers and winning the very first Division 2 Tour they played flawlessly. Since then, however, things haven’t exactly gone as planned. ALPHA were knocked out of the TI Qualifier by Team DogChamp, and following that disappointment brought in two new Support players: Argentine Soft Support wij and Peruvian Position 5 Yadomi. This infusion of talent makes them the only pure Americas squad with players from five different countries.
While they don’t have any big-name players, every single member of ALPHA’s squad has been playing for several years, with most having been active on the pro scene for half a decade or more. The accumulation of increased experience and acclimated nerves from those years will undoubtedly give them a powerful edge over many younger teams. They might have just arrived from Division 2, but we reckon they will be quite a force even at this level.
- Samuel "Sammyboy" Anderson
- Francis "FLee" Lee
- Kirill "Sunlight" Kachinsky
- Vladimir "babitich" Abelyan
- Yegor ".Ark" Zhabotinskii
Another team that appeared early last year, Wildcard Gaming has made quite a name for themselves in the local circuits over that time period. They have never quite been good enough to upset the established order of things, but they’ve had consistently middling results in all three DPC tours, and indeed went very close to making it to the Regional TI Qualifier, but were outclassed by Soniqs and finished 3rd. They were also present in the Last Chance Qualifier, but couldn't get too far there.
After a mass exodus following their failure to enter the Holy Grail event of Dota, Wildcard have retained their Captain and refilled their ranks with some serious experience as well as one unknown quantity. Most of this talent comes from the CIS region, but the combination of a young, fast-hands Mid alongside four veterans has proven to be powerful in the past, and could prove so again.
The NA scene has been blown wide open by recent events, and the only thing that’s for certain at the time of writing is that it’s going to get very, very interesting. Keep an eye on our site for a plethora of Dota news, guides, analyses, and recaps.