ESL One Hamburg is one of the biggest tournaments kicking off the Dota Pro Circuit. Even though it's no longer a Valve Major, this tournament has a huge impact on the rest of the season. Teams from all over the world are looking to make their mark at Hamburg, so here's five storylines to watch at ESL One Hamburg!
5. Team Aster on the Rise
Team Aster is Xu "BurNIng" Zhilei's way of breaking back into the scene.
Aster's roster is comprised of some of the best Chinese players in Dota 2, from the legendary carry Liu "Sylar" Jiajun to support Lu "Fenrir" Chao. For a long time PSG.LGD has been the reigning king in China, but Team Aster is looking to change that.
4. Forward Gaming's First LAN
Forward Gaming has a roster of old vets under a new name. ESL One Hamburg will be the team's first LAN, and the subsequent results will prove whether or not star power can translate into wins. Forward Gaming has a lot riding on this one, and a win here could set the team up for a great season.
3. Virtus.pro Aims for Number One
Virtus.pro absolutely dominated last year's Dota Pro Circuit, and this time around its looking to do it again. Facing off against VP is like trying to wrestle a bear -- because even if you do manage to win, you certainly won't come out unscathed. VP is ruthless, aggressive and persistent, and this tournament will show if its still on top.
2. EVOS Esports Break Into the Scene
EVOS Esports' previous track record is underwhelming. But for a widely unknown team, even just qualifying for ESL One Hamburg is a massive accomplishment on its own. For a team looking to get its name known, there's no better publicity than this.
1. Alliance Comeback
Alliance has been on the downswing ever since its glorious International victory in 2013. But finally things are looking up for the team, and qualifying for ESL One Hamburg has put the team directly where it needs to be to succeed.
Photos courtesy of Alliance, Valve, EVOS Esports, Virtus.pro, ESL and Forward Gaming