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Photo of the Alliance Dota 2 Team and Smash player Armada
NEWS

Alliance Are Back at the International 2019

Aug 092019

In November of 2017 Loda spoke to us about creating a legacy. He was prepared to spend the time and resources required to build a team that he believed in. A little over 6 months after that article the full Alliance roster was announced and many were not sure what to make of it. Most of the players were relatively unknown in competitive Dota 2, coming over from HoN. How they would perform in an already well established Dota scene was a giant question mark, but it wasn’t long before we had our answer.

Laying the Foundation - While they did not make it to TI8 immediately after Qojqva joined, that was never the plan. It would have been nice for sure but those kinds of expectations would be unreasonable. The important part would be how the team performed at the events immediately following TI and it is safe to say that Alliance passed that test with flying colors.

Over a two-month period following TI8 Alliance went on to win four smaller online events, qualified for the Kuala Lumpur Major, ESL One Hamburg, and won Reshuffle Madness. It was a dream start for a roster that had ignored the annual post-TI shuffle period to work on team cohesion. It also proved Loda knew what he was doing when he picked these members for the team, everyone could see the potential was there.

 

During Kuala Lumpur Alliance continued to surprise everyone. They made it to the upper bracket at their first Major which immediately made the event a success, and as we would learn later on, the points earned from Kuala Lumpur would play a major role in securing Alliance their direct invite to TI.

 

At the time, though, everyone was just impressed that they had made it to the upper bracket at a Major. While they failed to win a series after that, losing to PSG.LGD and TNC is nothing to be ashamed of and it provided the evidence everyone needed that Alliance had TI potential. They followed this up by qualifying for the Chongqing Major immediately afterwards and you couldn’t have asked for a better start to the DPC season for Alliance.

 

 

However not long after Chongqing some hard times fell on Alliance. Qojqva and miCKe were removed from the roster at different times due to health concerns, the latter being at the Dota PIT Minor. Despite playing with a stand-in carry Alliance still finished 3rd and they even won the GG Bet Invitational. Their time with a weakened roster had however left them in the dust of other teams in the DPC and they were desperate to catch up with only one Major left in the season.

 

Alliance qualified for their 3rd Major of the year with Epicenter but there was a massive wall in front of them if they wanted to receive a direct invite to TI9. Among the teams in attendance there was a decent number who were fighting for the last few direct invite spots. Alliance would need to have their best performance yet in order to avoid having to play through qualifiers and unfortunately after meeting VP twice during the group stage, found themselves starting in the lower bracket. However, Alliance was back together and with miCKe, Qojqva, Boxi, iNSaNiA, and Taiga together once again they never lost faith that they could make a tremendous lower bracket run. 

 

They beat Infamous and then upset RNG before finding themselves facing Gambit in a match that would determine which team would be going to TI. Gambit had been one of the best performing CIS teams all season which made people doubt once again that Alliance had what it would take. However, during the single most important series of the entire season for both of these teams we saw something incredibly different to expectations play out.

 

Gambit looked nervous, uncoordinated, and unsure of themselves during the game while the opposite was true for Alliance. The composure and calm demeanor of the players could be seen before the game started, and could be felt inside the match. Alliance quickly found themselves reaching the top 6 of a Major after a 2-0 victory over Gambit and they had secured their direct invite to TI9.

The first large goal the team had set was accomplished, and not only that they had done it by placing top 6 at a tournament with every single one of the world’s best teams in attendance. Three mere matches stood between them and being crowned champions and while that is a tremendous mountain to climb, they proved they were capable of taking on that challenge only a few months before The International was set to begin.

 

The potential Loda had seen when he brought this roster together had started to come to fruition and it was in no small part due to the fact that the team had never given up. Through all the setbacks they continued to try to improve together and work through their problems instead of giving up and kicking players which is sometimes all too common in Dota. It’s commendable on its own that Alliance never called it quits but it’s even better that it paid off for them in the end.

 

The icing on the cake would come shortly after when Alliance took home 1st place at The Summit 10 only a few weeks ago which was the last official tournament before TI9 begins. This was their first major tournament win and they couldn’t have picked a better way to cruise into their bootcamp in Shanghai.

 

 

The Players

 

Qojqva

 

Qojqva has been playing Dota 2 competitively since 2012. It’s difficult to find players who have been around for as long as he has. While the rest of his team was relatively new to Dota, he was the grizzled veteran who could be there for them when they needed an experienced hand to show them the way. More importantly he is an adept Mid/Carry player who is known for his ‘German efficiency’. His large hero pool and ability to play both hard farmers and tempo-controlling team fighters makes it extremely difficult to target ban him which always leaves Alliance with a win condition available during the draft.

 

 

miCKe

 

It’s safe to say that miCKe has evolved as a player tremendously during his time with Alliance. He can play both safelane and mid allowing some fluidity in the draft, although he is mostly playing from the safelane currently. He has gone up against the best offlaners the world has to offer and has come out ahead against nearly all of them at this point. During a meta where the safelaner is pressured heavily, he keeps a cool head even if he does suffer setbacks during the laning phase — something from his competitive pedigree that he brought with him during the transition from HoN. His Slark and Sven made short work on Pain Gaming in the finals of The Summit where he only died twice in the team’s dominant 3-0 win.

 

Boxi

 

The offlane is constantly changing so you need a flexible offlaner who can adapt and play a wide array of heroes. Not only that, they need to have confidence in themselves as the game can hinge on their initiations going right. Boxi has been a constant source of game-winning decision making for Alliance. He isn’t afraid to sacrifice himself for a good fight, charging in on Centaur, jumping in on Axe, or even taking over a game himself on Timbersaw. Boxi is exactly the kind of player every successful team needs and as long as he can find the items he needs you know he’s going to have his presence felt in a game.

 

Taiga

 

After TI7 Taiga began playing Dota 2 competitively. He was the last member of the team to switch from HoN to Dota 2 although he certainly doesn’t play like he’s new to the game. His Dark Willow, Tusk, Earth Spirit, and Enigma all look like they need to be first banned with the way he creates opening around the map and forces the enemy to spend a lot of their attention on him during team fights. This in turn opens up the game for his cores to take over while he is being focused on by his opponents. Taiga often ends up dying more than anybody else on his team due to the way he plays but it goes to show how good of a grasp he has on what his role is on the team. Should it help Alliance close out a game he has no qualms about dying if it can take down one or more of the high priority targets on the other side.

 

 

iNSaNiA

 

Recently at The Summit 10 iNSaNiA turned himself into a crowd favourite. His laidback attitude, sense of humor, and incredible in-game plays made him into the star of the tournament. His casting gave us some great insight into how he thinks about the game and what he’s thinking about when he’s making huge plays for his team. After listening to him talk about Dota, it’s no wonder he is the team’s captain and that they’ve been playing so well together. On top of having a great mind for Dota, he’s also pretty good at the game itself. We’ve seen his Grimstroke set up brutal one sided teamfights, his rubick steal Black Hole and win his team the game, and many more team fight or game winning plays on a multitude of heroes from his pool.

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