The last few weeks have been hectic and exciting. Qualifiers for Dota, Na`Vi vs Fnatic in the finals of a CS:GO tournament, and playoffs have begun in League of Legends where both Fnatic and Team Liquid have been dismantling their opponents. More tournaments await us in the upcoming weeks as well so you definitely won’t want to miss any of the action, but in case you do, we’ll also have you covered.
Last week's 7th rendition of the Starseries i-League finals provided for some classic old-school battles of Counter-Strike's most legendary players and teams. Alas, fans of the game were blessed when the CIS boys of Natus Vincere were paired against Fnatic for a hectic, but speedy grand final.
Although Na’Vi managed a three and out series victory, Fnatic did manage to hold their own each and every match, blocking the opposition, led by s1mple, from completely annihilating them.
The initial map of the series, Mirage, ended up being the most promising for the Swedes. Fnatic even managed a first half lead of 8-7, and to most of the spectators, the rest of the finals looked promising for them. This early momentum by Fnatic would quickly be shut down by a star-studded pistol round performance, paving the road for a string of round wins, changing the scoreline to 14-9.Though the rest of Mirage showed a small glimpse of comeback potential, with KRIMZ fragging like the mad man he is known to be, Na’Vi would prove to be too strong for Fnatic, and would take the map 16-13.
The remainder of the tournament looked like a mere reflection of the first map, as Fnatic would take first half victories, lose a string of rounds, and were forced to fight their way out of holes that were just too deep for them to manage. Thanks to a more than stellar performance by s1mple, the Na’Vi boys found themselves with pockets filled with newfound wealth, and another easy tournament victory to add to their resume.
DotaPit Minor Qualifiers
The regional qualifiers for the Dota Pit Minor have been played out. The format for this event was a bit odd with it being a simple double elimination bracket with no group stage at all. As several of our other teams had already qualified, Alliance was the only team participating in the EU Minor Qualifiers. It’s important to note that for these qualifiers they are playing with their new substitute, Madara, while miCKe recovers from an injury. Madara may provide some fresh views while subbing, which could prove very helpful at the upcoming Minor. Making it through the Minor Qualifiers and then the Minor would provide Alliance ample time to return to their strong early-season form.
Their first match saw them face off against Team Singularity, an open qualifier team with notable players EGM and Xcalibur. Alliance won the match without much worry, taking an easy 2-0. Their next opponents would prove much tougher as unfortunately the seeding put Alliance and NiP, the two best teams in the qualifiers, on the same side of the bracket. The first game was a 75 minute slugfest, with NiP taking that game and ultimately the series. Thankfully though, the worst was over as none of the teams in the lower bracket would stand much of a chance against Alliance. Best of 1’s are always terrifying but lucky for us there were no surprises and Alliance went through the lower bracket easily, securing their qualification to DotaPit. Make sure to keep an eye out for Alliance during Dota Pit as they will be an easy favorite for winning the whole thing and moving on to the Major. As to whether Alliance will return to form? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Paris Major Qualifiers
The upcoming Dota 2 Major will be taking place at Disneyland in Paris. In a place where magical things are said to happen, Fnatic and PSG.LGD sit incredibly close to securing their TI9 invites while Team Liquid looks to earn their first big haul of the year. EG will also be in attendance but as they have already secured their slot at The International they will be playing solely to win the Major without any need to worry about their placement among the DPC ranks.
Each of these teams qualified through their regions without losing a single series, showcasing that as the year has progressed, our teams have constantly become stronger. Fnatic’s stranglehold of the SEA region has continued while they have also applied more and more pressure to the top teams in international competitions at every event they attend. The only threat Fnatic saw during their qualifier run was TNC who managed to take a game off of them in what was otherwise a spotless run. EG’s run was similar as they easily 2-0’d both of their opponents during the group stage before beating J.Storm 2-1 to qualify to the event, retaining their position as kings of North America.
PSG.LGD qualified by beating RNG, Royal, and Newbee. While it would seem obvious that PSG.LGD would take one of the top spots in China the region has traditionally been very competitive when it comes to qualifiers. Despite constantly seeing new Chinese teams emerge and grab qualifier spots in tournaments from older teams PSG.LGD remains on top and it is very likely we’ll see them secure their invite to TI9 in Paris.
Team Liquid on the other hand took down OG, the TI8 winners, in order to make it to what may be their most important tournament of the year for them. They sit in a very confusing 11th place in the DPC ranks due to their struggles of fielding their full roster which has kept them at the lower end of the rankings. With one good placement in Paris, Team Liquid will instantly blow past most of their competition and with how well we know they can play we can confidently say this one is in the bag.