Dota 2 Starladder
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StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Recap

Mar 21, 2019
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Image via Liquipedia.

The StarLadder and ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor had a rocky start with several Russian players being denied entry into the Ukraine before the event even started. Vitalii Niklaevich “vl1at” Volochai, one of the casters for the event, tweeted that Old but Gold was denied entry into the Ukraine earlier that day and were being deported back to Minsk, Russia. They attempted to enter the country the next day and they successfully were granted permission to attend the event. This put a lot of stress on the tournament organizers, players, and the management team for Old but Gold. In addition to Old but Gold’s issues at the board, Gambit Esports were also denied entry into the country for having three Russian players on their team but were also granted entry upon their second attempt. The mood for the Minor was somber with geopolitical issues haunting the event, but thankfully the teams were able to participate in the end.

Eight Will Compete, Four Will Move On to the Semi Finals

The Group Stage was comprised of two groups of four teams with Group A boasting the likes of Royal Never Give up (RNG), Old but Gold (gOLD), OG, and Flying Penguins. Group B saw Vici Gaming (VG), Gambit Esports, BOOM ID, and Demolition Boys competing for their chance to continue to the Playoffs. Group A was full of surprised as we saw Flying Penguins out performing RNG and gOLD. OG was eliminated after losing to gOLD which sent the team home much before fans of the game, and team, expected.  Group B performed as expected with Vici Gaming going 2-0, Gambit Esports managing to winning the Decider match against the Demolition Boys, and BOOM ID being eliminated after a disappointing 0-2. Many of the matches were decided during the pick and ban stages with late game carry’s securing matches . Sven was a popular pick but didn’t always secure a win and Lifestealer didn’t see a single pick with him being banned in most games.

After the conclusion of Group Stage, we saw Vici Gaming , gOLD, Flying Penguins and Gambit Esports moving forward to the Semi Finals.

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How to finish on top

As the only Chinese team to make it out of the Group Stages, Vici Gaming (VG) had an incredibly strong showing at the minor. VG was able to perform so well during the Minor that they only dropped a single game throughout the entire tournament and it was during Group Stage.  VG has been performing well throughout the season and their experience was really able to shine through. Many of the other teams at the event lacked their experience, making VG’s performance that much stronger. One of VG’s favourite heroes, Phantom Assassin, was drafted in four out of their five games along with one of the great mid lane heroes, Brewmaster.

After their stellar performance at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor, VG sits in a comfortable 6th place with only four more events left to compete in. If they can continue their dominance and remain steadfast in their drafting and gameplay, they should be able to secure a ticket to TI9 in Shanghai this year! As long as Bai “r0tK” Fan remains as their drafter and coach, their TI9 ticket is set.

What’s Next?

With the OGA Dota PIT Minor taking place in just over a month, teams will have some time to recoup and set their sights on preparing for this next Minor. Even win counts and every DPC points could mean the difference between securing a TI9 ticket or having to compete in the Open Qualifiers.

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Gillian Linscott
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As the quintessential nerd, Gillian comes from a childhood of band camps, video games and fandoms. It wasn't until being introduced to Dota 2 that she realized how passionate she was about MOBA’s and eSports. If she’s not watching Twitch or writing about the latest MOBA community drama, she can be found making lattes or supporting the carry in Dota 2.
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