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The Dota 2 Stockholm Major is the first Major of the 2021-2022 DPC season and it is right around the corner.
Fourteen teams from five regions will be competing for their slice of the US$500,000 prize pool and the 3,650 DPC points that go along with it.
Doing well at the Major will also be a big step toward qualifying for The International 11 (TI11).
With so many teams competing, it can be hard to keep track of the tournament. Fortunately for Dota 2 fans, we've compiled a list of the most exciting team from each region to watch:
OG Esports (Western Europe)
Among all the teams on this list, OG Esports are the one that showed the most growth during the 2021-2022 DPC season.
OG ended the Winter Tour in a three-way tie with Team Secret and Nigma Galaxy, managed to claw their way into the regional finals only to place third, receiving no DPC points.
Despite their rocky start, the team bounced back during the Spring Tour, taking first place in Western Europe.
OG were able to defeat powerhouse teams such as Tundra Esports, Team Liquid, and Gaimin Gladiators as they made their way to the top of the region.
OG will be the second team at Stockholm with a two-time TI winner on the roster.
Due to complications with team captain Mikhail "Misha" Agatov and coach Evgenii "Chuvash" Makarov's visas, Sébastien "Ceb" Debs and Johan "N0tail" Sundstein will be standing-in for the Major.
When OG Esports play against Evil Geniuses in the group stage, it will be the first time in history that two teams will be facing off against each other with a two time TI winner on each side (who were both on the same TI-winning team at that).
Besides the team's strength, the new OG Esports represent the next generation of Dota 2 players.
Core players Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf and Bozhidar "bzm" Bogdanov are both 17 years old, one year younger than the very first patch of Dota 1, which was released in 2004.
It will be exciting to see how they deal with their first major LAN event.
Artem "Yuragi" Golubiev
Bozhidar "bzm" Bogdanov
Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf
Tommy "Taiga" Le
Sébastien "Ceb" Debs (stand-in)
Johan "N0tail" Sundstein (coach/stand-in)
Team Spirit (Eastern Europe)
It has been a tumultuous Spring Tour in Eastern Europe due to all the political issues facing the region, with the second tour of the season indefinitely postponed for a time due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Once the Tour resumed, all the Division I teams competed in a last-chance qualifier for the Stockholm Major due to time constraints.
It's been a tough time for all the teams in the region, yet despite all the problems facing them, Team Spirit have showcased incredible resilience in the face of adversity, even when Ukrainian player Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk's apartment was looted by the invading army.
The TI10 champions impressed again at the Stockholm Major qualifier for Eastern Europe.
Team Spirit were knocked down to the lower bracket by BetBoom Team but came back in the lower bracket final, defeating Mind Games in the fastest game of the entire Spring Tour among all regions.
It's no surprise to find Team Spirit at Stockholm. Still, considering the turmoil currently affecting their region, it's anybody's guess how well they'll perform at the Spring Major and the only way to find out is to tune into their matches.
Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk
Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek
Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov
Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov
Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov
Airat "Silent" Gaziev (coach)
BOOM Esports (Southeast Asia)
Among all the Dota 2 regions, Southeast Asia is the most competitive.
In previous years, it was a toss-up with regards to which team would win each DPC league. A team that placed first during one season would find themselves struggling in the next league.
Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation atta- when BOOM Esports showed up. Originally a Division II team, BOOM Esports were promoted to Division I before the Winter Tour due to match-fixing allegations against Omega Esports.
Teams in the region quickly learned that underestimating BOOM was a big mistake, as they placed first at both the Winter Tour regional league and the Regional Finals.
They also won the GAMERS GALAXY: Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022 back in March against some stiff international competition.
BOOM Esports are among the most aggressive teams attending the Stockholm Major. Their playstyle revolves around running at the opponent and limiting their map movements as much as possible.
This makes BOOM one of the most exciting teams to watch, as there is rarely a dull moment when they play.
Souliya "JaCkky" Khoomphetsavong
Erin Jasper "Yopaj" Ferrer
Saieful "Fbz" Ilham
Timothy "Tims" Randrup
Andrei "skem" Ong
Chai "Mushi" Yee Fung (coach)
Evil Geniuses (North America)
Evil Geniuses has been the powerhouse of North America for the last eight years. The team has attended six Internationals in a row, winning TI5 and taking third place in 2014, 2016, and 2018.
This iteration of Evil Geniuses got off to a slow start, placing third during the Winter Tour.
Losing long-time captain Tal "Fly" Aizik and offlaner Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang were big blows to the organization and for a while, it looked like EG may no longer be the top dog in the region.
Evil Geniuses weren't down for long though.
The teamwork between the players kept improving over time and that paid off during the Spring Tour, as EG forced a three-way tie against rivals TSM and Quincy Crew. EG ultimately won the tiebreaker and placed first at the Spring Tour.
With legendary carry player Artour "Arteezy" Babaev on the team, along with two-time International winner Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka (who will be facing his former OG teammate Ceb), Evil Geniuses might be in the best spot possible to break their third-place finisher curse.
Artour "Arteezy" Babaev
Abed "Abed" Yusop
Egor "Nightfall" Grigorenko
Andreas "Cr1t-" Nielsen
Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka
Kanishka "BuLba" Sosale (coach)
Thunder Awaken (South America)
South America is the most unique region in Dota 2 with a specific meta.
Heroes such as Ogre Magi, Kunkka, and Snapfire are ignored in other regions but thrive in South America, especially in the hands of Thunder Awaken.
Across two DPC leagues, the Peruvian team only dropped two games in their 14 matches.
That's a remarkable record of 28-2 in the Winter and Spring Tour combined. No other team has dropped fewer games across all regions during the DPC leagues than Thunder Awaken.
It's that consistency that makes Thunder Awaken worth watching. South American teams have had unpredictable results in International events, either bombing out early during tournaments or making impressively deep runs.
Hopefully, Thunder Awaken will be able to bring their consistently impressive performance to Stockholm and remind the world not to underestimate the region.
Christian "Pakazs" Savina
Gonzalo "Darkmago" Herrera
Rafael "Sacred" Yonatan
Farith "Matthew" Puente
Jose "Pandaboo" Padilla
The ESL One Stockholm Major will take place from 12 to 22 May and features 14 of the best Dota 2 teams in the world fighting for their slice of the US$500,000 prize pool and 3,650 DPC point pool. For everything you need to know about the Stockholm Major, check here.
Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.