With the CIS DPC qualifiers' conclusion, four teams join the direct invites in the Upper Division, and the rest fall to the Lower Division. Like every region, CIS underwent a large roster shuffle that created many new teams to compete in this year’s regional league. Many are full of unfamiliar players. This was not an extensive qualifier as teams played at most three series, so we’ve only seen a glimpse of what these teams have to offer, but there is lots of potential for them. Will any of these stacks be able to compete with the likes of Virtus.pro, Natus Vincere, and Team Spirit, or will they be relegated to the Lower Division at the end of the season?
After the swift disbandment of Just Error, Solo and Zayac formed their own squad to compete this year. NoTechies is definitely the strongest team to come out of the closed qualifier and is the most well-known roster. Their aggressive, fast-paced playstyle allows them to run over their opponents and leaves zero room for recovery. Ergon can snowball out of control on mobile nuking cores such as Void Spirit and Storm Spirit and take over the game, only dying twice across the entire qualifier. The team also utilizes some more unconventional picks, such as Weaver and Bristleback carry as well as Vengeful Spirit offlane. Though named NoTechies, Zayac has been known to be one of the few CIS players to play Techies in professional games, and we hope to see it come out this DPC. If there were a team to take one of the three CIS major spots, it would be NoTechies.
A once-prominent CIS organization, Team Empire hasn't been relevant since TI7 after an eighth-place finish. They’ve undergone many roster shuffles in the past few years and currently consist of a group of pretty much unknown players aside from EcNart. Recently, they’ve competed in several tier two tournaments and qualifiers but have had disappointing results. The team capitalizes on the four protect one strategy, moving around the map and creating enough space for Smiling Knight until he can dominate fights and siege high ground. It seems unlikely this team will challenge the direct invites, but perhaps they will restore glory to Team Empire’s Dota division.
NoPangolier is the home of players who have not consistently stuck with a roster in the past few years. Ghostik was a powerful offlaner during his time on Team Empire, but since then has been jumping between teams. Palantimos, Pikachu, and Bignum competed together briefly in last year’s DPC, claiming fourth place at the DOTA Summit 11 Minor. Despite having played together in the past, the team seems to have very unorganized drafting and play, using some absurd picks such as Gyrocopter and Axe position five. Though it may have won them games in the qualifiers, it’s doubtful that drafts like this will be able to defeat tier-one teams.
EXTREMUM is a Russian organization that formed in late 2019 to compete in the 2020 DPC season. Of that original roster, G is the only player to remain on the active roster and since then has switched from mid lane to hard support. In the past, G had great success on VP but has had little to none on EXTREMUM. The only notable tournament the team was able to qualify for was ESL One Germany 2020, which they exited in last place. For the DPC qualifier, the team acquired offlaner Shachlo, who previously played on the most powerful iteration of Gambit, and Chuvash, who has been a consistent position four player on Na’Vi and Forze in the past. Shachlo is the standout player of this team and has been dominant on Mars and when he’s not banned. This version of EXTREMUM seems to be the strongest the organization has been, but will it be competitive in the Upper Division?
The CIS Upper Division will begin on January 21, with the Lower Division beginning on January 18.