Team Secret and 9Pandas Defy Dota 2 Doubts to Qualify for ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023

The closed qualifiers for ESL One Kuala Lumpur in Dota 2 concluded recently, and due to limited slots available, the competition was exceptionally tough, resulting in some prominent teams missing out on qualification. Despite this, two experienced Dota teams, Team Secret and 9Pandas, have secured spots in the event through unexpected and impressive performances.

Both Team Secret and 9Pandas faced challenges during the post-TI 2023 roster shuffle, failing to secure promising prospects and consequently setting low expectations following their disappointing runs at TI 2023. The new roster for 9Pandas was perceived as a downgrade, and Team Secret, despite welcoming back two familiar players, didn’t appear convincing enough for fans regarding their chances at the Malaysian tournament. However, both teams defied expectations and secured spots in a remarkable manner.

Team Secret initially struggled in the Western European qualifier, losing 0-2 to OG and dropping the opening map to Alliance in the lower bracket. Despite this setback, they made a strong comeback, defeating Alliance, Team Tickles, and gaining revenge against OG. Ultimately, they secured their spot by defeating Entity. Throughout the qualifiers, Team Secret demonstrated impressive coordination and chemistry, evolving and improving as the competition progressed.

In the Eastern European qualifier, a similar narrative unfolded for 9Pandas. They faced an early elimination from the upper bracket by the relatively unknown squad Klim Sani4. However, an impressive run through the lower bracket allowed 9Pandas to secure their place in Kuala Lumpur.

Although many anticipated NAVI or Virtus Pro to claim the second slot in the EEU qualifiers, both teams were eliminated by 9Pandas. As a result, 9Pandas is expected to be a strong contender in the upcoming tournament in December.

All the qualified and invited teams will gather in Kuala Lumpur on December 11 to compete for a $1 million prize pool. This event marks the beginning of Dota 2’s “2024” competitive calendar, marking a new chapter in the scene after the dissolution of the Dota Pro Circuit.

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