Dota 2 Minor Recap: Captains Draft 4.0

Pro Circuit leader Team Secret claims title at first Minor of 2018. Fellow Top 8 ranked squads Vici Gaming, Mineski, OG round out Top 4 in Washington DC

2018’s first Pro Circuit Minor has official come to an end and a new Minor champion has been crowned in Washington DC. After four days of Dota 2 action, the field of eight teams was reduced to just one, as Team Secret survived the gauntlet at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor and won its first Pro Circuit event of 2018. With an overall record of 8-5 at the event, the Pro Circuit leader had to work a bit for this win, but the European squad proved itself able to overcome adversity to earn its fourth Top 4 finish of the season. This performance in Washington DC strengthens the team’s hold over the top rank in the Pro Circuit standings, pushing the teams point total to over 4,000. Team Secret wasn’t the only squad to earn Qualifying Points at the event though, with Mineski, Vici Gaming, and OG filling out the rest of the Top 4 at the Minor. Vici Gaming’s 2nd place finish moved the team up from a tie for 7th place into a tie for 5th place in the standings. The team that Vici Gaming is now tied with is none other than Mineski, whose 3rd-4th place finish moved the Southeast Asian squad up from 6th into the aforementioned tie for 5th. OG was the final member of the Top 4, but unfortunately for the European squad, its Top 4 finish did not move it up the Pro Circuit standings. In fact, OG actually fell a spot down the rankings, from a tie for 7th to 8th overall due to Vici Gaming earning more points at the event and breaking the tie between the two squads. With the matches now over and the standings adjusted, we can take a closer look at how the eight participants in Washington DC fared at this event, as well as see what’s coming up in the future for these teams on the Pro Circuit.

 

Evil Geniuses 600px-EG

Place: 5th-8th

Winnings: $12,000

Evil Geniuses may have come into this first minor of 2018 as the highest ranked North American squad on the Pro Circuit, but the team’s recent changes had introduced a dangerous level of uncertainty in 2018. Adjusting to a new player, a new coach, and the switching of positions for two of its players presented the team with a significant challenge in addition to those it would receive from its opponents in Washington DC. The hope for the North American squad was that the team’s adjust period would be brief, and that the talent and experience of its players, new and old, would be enough to lift the squad up and fuel a successful run at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor.

As EG made its way through the Group Stage at the Minor, it appeared that its hopes had been well placed, as the North American squad performed admirably in its opening matches. The team lost its initial match against fellow North American team compLexity Gaming after surrendering a sizable lead in the mid and late game stages. EG managed to bounce back from that disappointing opening performance with a relatively quick victory over paiN Gaming thanks to a big performance from Arteezy on Outworld Devourer. That win set EG up for a rematch against compLexity Gaming in its final match of the Group Stage, with EG earning its revenge against its NA rival behind an impressive Clockwerk game from Suma1L. Those performances put EG in second place in its group, but it would face a tough opponent in the opening round of the Playoff Stage in Team Secret. The Pro Circuit leaders showed why they were the top ranked team in Game 1 of the series, heavily punishing MISERY’s Bounty Hunter pick and rendering Fear’s safe lane Underlord largely ineffective to win the opening match. EG showed that it wasn’t going to go down without a fight in Game 2 though, drafting a heavily team fight oriented lineup. While Team Secret held the lead for almost the entirety of the game, EG finally found the setup it was looking for and seized control of the game to tie up the series. Unfortunately for EG, its efforts weren’t enough to defeat Team Secret in the end, as the European squad came back to win Game 3 and knock the North American team out of the tournament. Despite its solid performance, EG ended its run at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor in the collective 5th-8th place position.

EG’s performance at the first Minor of 2018 was certainly an encouraging one, despite the team’s position in the lower half of the standings. Given the uncertainty brought on by the team’s recent roster shifts, I had projected EG to finish within the 5th-8th place range that it found itself in. However, the squad looked impressive considering it was playing its first official matches with the new lineup. The fact that the team split its two games against North American rival compLexity Gaming bodes well for the team’s chances to maintain its position as the leader within that region. The team’s performance against Team Secret was impressive as well, as EG managed to take a game off of the Pro Circuit leaders and remain competitive throughout the series. While the end results for this team may not have been fantastic on paper, it remains an encouraging sign that the team should be able to remain among the Pro Circuit leaders in 2018. EG has one more Pro Circuit event scheduled for the month of January, as the team will be traveling to Malaysia to compete in the ESL One Genting Minor. Beyond that, the team has received direct invites to both the ESL One Katowice and Bucharest Majors, as well as the GESC E-Series: Jakarta Minor in the coming months.

 

Team Secret Secret_logo

Place: 1st

Winnings: $108,000 (Total) & 150 Qualifying Points (Per player)

Team Secret entered 2018 as one of the strongest and most formidable teams in the Dota 2 world. A dominant stretch in 2017 earned the European squad a position as the highest ranked team on the Pro Circuit with three Top 4 finishes. The team’s impressive performances on the Pro Circuit stage combined with its near total control over the European region put Team Secret in one of the most favorable positions possible. With all significant factors working in its favor, Team Secret came into the first Minor of 2018 with a sense of confidence and momentum that few teams on the Pro Circuit, if any, could match.

The European squad would begin its run at the Minor with an encouraging start to its Group Stage matches with a game against Team Empire. Despite falling behind slightly going into the late-game stage, the team got solid performances from Fata, Ace, and MidOne to pull off a comeback win. Unfortunately, Team Secret’s momentum would end at that game, as the team struggled in its final Group Stage matches. The team’s match with Mineski saw its draft heavily pressured as the Southeast Asian squad outfought Team Secret. Its final match against Vici Gaming went slightly better, with the European squad getting a quality performance from MidOne on Sniper. However, MidOne’s contributions would not be enough, as Vici Gaming’s core duo of Medusa and Outworld Devourer proved too strong for Team Secret to handle. The 1-2 record set Team Secret up for a series against North American squad Evil Geniuses in the first round of the Playoff Stage. Team Secret managed to strike first against EG, winning a back and forth affair in Game 1 of the series. A heavily team fight oriented lineup got the best of Team Secret in Game 2, as the North American squad managed to even up the series. Game 3 was rather one sided, as Team Secret got big performances from MidOne and YapzOr to close out the series and advance to the next round to face Mineski. That series began in successful fashion for Team Secret as well, as Ace and MidOne combined for 27 kills and just 6 deaths in a game that the European squad largely controlled from the mid-game stage onward. Game 2 would be even more one sided, with Ace posting a 13-1-6 scoreline as Team Secret dominated the game from the start to earn a 2-0 series win and a spot in the Finals of the Minor against Vici Gaming. The team found itself behind big in Game 1 of the Finals, trailing Vici Gaming by nearly 15k net worth. However, a massive performance from Ace on Lifestealer led Team Secret to an absolutely amazing comeback to take the first match of the series. Game 2 was a closer affair for most of the match, but eventually Team Secret’s lineup found itself lagging behind in team fight strength as Vici Gaming managed to claim a win to tie the series at 1-1. Game 3 was not close at all, with Team Secret’s lineup struggling to gain any traction as it lost its second game in a row. However, the European squad would bounce back in Game 4, riding a 20-6-14 showing from MidOne on Ember Spirit to a series tying win to force a decisive Game 5. The final match was not quite as contentious as some of the previous games, as Team Secret built an early lead and never looked back to win the series 3-2 and claim 1st place at the first Minor of 2018.

The Pro Circuit leaders began 2018 much like how they ended 2017, with big wins of the Pro Circuit stage. Team Secret’s victory in Washington DC is impressive, but at this point it might not come as much of a surprise to Dota 2 fans, as the team has made a habit of winning high profile events so far this season. That reputation and near spotless track record both in Europe and internationally had Team Secret projected for a Top 4 finish, and squad more than held up its side of the bargain. Team Secret’s performance at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor saw it struggle slightly with some losses throughout the event, but in the end the European squad managed to pull through and overcome those setbacks to earn another Top 4 finish. The team may have earned its first Top 4 finish of 2018, but it likely won’t be the team’s last one, as Team Secret has a busy schedule of events in the near future. Team Secret will be attending the ESL Genting Minor at the end of January, as well as both the ESL One Katowice and Bucharest Majors in February and March, respectively.

 

compLexity Gaming 727px-Col_big_logo

Place: 5th-8th

Winnings: $12,000

CompLexity Gaming entered 2018 with optimism and confidence following some early success to start the season. Though the team is still far from the Top 8 in the Pro Circuit standings, its two Top 4 finishes in 2017 served as encouraging signs that the team is capable of competing on the Pro Circuit. With the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor being the first Pro Circuit event of 2018, compLeixty Gaming had a chance a close the gap between itself and the Pro Circuit leaders and start its year with a solid performance.

CompLexity got off to an impressive start in the Group Stage, managing to take down Evil Geniuses with a strong come from behind effort in its opening match. Unfortunately for the North American squad, it wasn’t able to maintain that early momentum in its next matches, losing a game to OG and then subsequently losing a rematch with EG. The team ended the Group Stage with a 1-2 record, putting it in 3rd place in its group and setting up a series against Chinese squad Vici Gaming in the opening round of the Playoff Stage. Game 1 didn’t go well for compLeixty Gaming, as the team attempted to put together a lineup centered around a core trio of Batrider, Drow Ranger, and Enigma. The North American squad fell behind early, and were forced to play with a net worth deficit for the entirety of the relatively short match. After the tough loss in Game 1, the North American squad needed a solid performance in Game 2 to keep its run at the Minor alive. The Game 2 draft for compLexity Gaming revolved around Phantom Lancer and Ursa picks, but the team faced significant struggles with this lineup as well. Vici Gaming’s lineup played aggressively early, punishing compLexity Gaming’s heroes and building up an early advantage again. Despite a valiant effort on its part, the North American squad couldn’t take control of the game away from Vici Gaming, losing the game and ending its run at the event. The loss to Vici Gaming gave compLexity Gaming a final position in the collective 5th-8th place range.

For compLexity Gaming, the finish within the bottom half of the teams at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor has to be a bit of a disappointment for the North American squad. After the team’s solid performance at the end of 2017, it appeared that the squad could take another step forward in the new year. That factor, combined with the team’s roster stability in the wake of changes from some of its fellow participants at the event, had led to me projecting the team for a Top 4 finish in Washington DC. Unfortunately, the team wasn’t able to match up to that prediction, but the team’s performance at the Minor is not necessarily as bad as it may appear on paper. The Captains Draft game mode appeared to force the team into some more unorthodox and risky drafts that may have left the team less comfortable than it may have liked. Of course, every successful team needs to have a degree of flexibility i nits drafting choices, but compLexity Gaming seemed to be particularly restricted in its matches. The 5th-8th place results may be somewhat disappointing, but I would expect the squad to return to a more confident form with a return to Captains Mode in the future. The North American squad will have several opportunities to perform again on the Pro Circuit stage in the future. CompLexity Gaming is set to attend both the ESL One Genting Minor and the Bucharest Major, and will be participating in the North America Qualifier for the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4.

 

paiN Gaming PaiN_Gaming_2017

Place: 5th-8th

Winnings: $12,000

paiN Gaming didn’t exactly come into this first event of 2018 with the highest of expectations considering the South American squads recent struggles. After suffering through some roster changes, at the end of 2017, it appeared that the team would be able to stabilize in time for this event. Unfortunately, the roster issues persisted into the new year as the team’s CEO was forced to step in and serve as a stand-in for the squad at in Washington DC. Even with this significant setback, the squad was still hoping for a solid performance at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor to start the 2018 section of the season.

Unfortunately for the South American squad, it did not begin the event in particularly strong fashion, as paiN Gaming struggled early in the Group Stage. The team lost both of its matches in the Group Stage, falling to OG and Evil Geniuses to finish in last place in its group. That last place finish put paiN Gaming in a match up with Southeast Asian squad Mineski in the first round of the Playoff stage, and the South American squad would fair no better than it did in the previous stage. paiN Gaming was simply run over in back to back matches against the SEA squad, losing the series 0-2 in less than an hour of total game time. The two matches saw paiN Gaming out-killed by a total score of 14-61 as the team couldn’t put up a strong enough challenge to slow Mineski down. That defeat left paiN Gaming with an 0-4 overall record at the Minor along with a finish in the collective 5th-8th position.

While the poor performance at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor is certainly disappointing for paiN Gaming, it wasn’t necessarily unexpected. The 5th-8th place finish for the team lines up perfectly with the projection that I had for this team coming into the event. The team’s limited experience on the international stage combined with the squad making its debut on the Pro Circuit didn’t serve to instill much confidence in paiN Gaming. The recent roster issues that the team has faced also raised some questions about how well the team would be able to perform without its usual roster. The Pro Circuit debut for paiN Gaming was not what the team had been hoping for, and with the revocation of the Major status for the Galaxy Battles II event later this month, paiN Gaming doesn’t have another Pro Circuit event on the schedule. We will have to wait and see if the South American squad is able to find a player to fill its roster vacancy, and if that player can help the team return to the Pro Circuit stage in the future.

 

OG 425px-OG_RB_Logo

Place: 3rd-4th

Winnings: $37,500 (Total) & 30 Qualifying Points (Per player)

OG’s late surge to close out the 2017 section of the season put the European squad in a solid position heading into the new year. With the team playing more confidently and more consistently in its home region, the team’s expectations in 2018 were high. With a few of the participating squads in Washington DC adjusting to roster changes, OG came into the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor as one of the stronger and more favored teams.

OG wasted no time showing just why it was considered one of the stronger teams in the field at the Minor, as the squad got off to an impressive start in the Group Stage. After a quick and one sided match against paiN Gaming, the squad put together another solid performance against compLexity Gaming to earn the top spot in its group. The European squad would face Team Empire in the first round of the Playoff Stage to determine which team would earn itself a spot in the Top 4 at the event. Game 1 saw OG fall behind early, as Team Empire’s lineup played aggressively in the laning stage. However, N0tail and Resolut1on were able to maintain high levels of farm throughout the game, and the trio of Brewmaster, Elder Titan, and Disruptor gave OG the team fight power it needed to wipe away the team’s deficit and claim a win in the opening game of the series. Game 2 played out in a somewhat similar fashion, with Team Empire exerting heavy early pressure on N0tail and S4. Once again, OG’s draft came through in the mid and late-game stages, as the team’s highly tanky heroes and sustainability allowed it to control team fights and close out the series 2-0. OG faced off against Chinese squad Vici Gaming in the next round, but the European team wouldn’t be able to maintain its earlier momentum. Game 1 saw OG come out with a more aggressive lineup and a core Dazzle pick for N0tail, but Vici Gaming managed to punish both of those draft decisions in a wire to wire victory. In Game 2, OG would attempt a more conventional draft centered around a duo of Terrorblade and Viper. Despite a fantastic performance from Resolut1on on Terrorblade (16-4-13 scoreline with over 34k networth) that drastically extended the game, OG’s lineup proved largely ineffective when it came down to head to head fights. With OG’s heroes unable to stop the advance of the Vici Gaming lineup, the European squad was forced to concede defeat. The loss ended OG’s run at the Minor, but the European squad earned itself a finish in the shared 3rd-4th place position to start 2018.

OG came into this event as one of the favored teams in the field of participants following what had been and impressive stretch at the end of 2017. The team’s improved results in Europe combined with its recent breakthroughs on the Pro Circuit had led to the team having a projected finish within the Top 4 for this event. The team proved that prediction to be correct, as it put together a strong performance in Washington DC to earn its third Top 4 finish of the season. The team’s performance at the event was encouraging, but the level of competition that it faced during its run may not have been as high as it could have been. The team faced two opponents in the Group Stage that is was expected to beat by significant margins (paiN Gaming & compLexity Gaming), and its first opponent in the Playoff Stage was a Team Empire roster making its Pro Circuit debut and adjusting to a roster change made just days earlier. When OG faced another Top 8 squad in Vici Gaming it faltered a bit, suffering a tough loss against the Chinese team. Even with all that being said, the team’s run at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor has to be considered a success for OG. The team still earned itself a significant amount of Qualifying Points, and the losses to Vici Gaming are slightly less concerning considering the different game mode at this event. The team’s Top 4 finish helps solidify the its hold over a Top 8 spot, and the European squad will have more opportunities to improve its ranking in the future. OG is scheduled to compete in February in the Europe Qualifier for a spot at the Bucharest Major

 

Team Empire 600px-Team_empire

Place: 5th-8th

Winnings: $12,000

After spending the 2017 section of the season working its way up in the CIS region, Team Empire finally made its Pro Circuit debut in Washington DC. The team’s impressive track record within its home region and experience at multiple third party events on the international stage had the team looking solid entering the new year. However, the team’s recent roster changes raised some questions regarding how the team would perform in its first Pro Circuit event of the season.

Team Empire would not begin its run at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor in particularly strong fashion, as the CIS squad faced off against Pro Circuit leader Team Secret in its opening match. Despite holding a net worth lead into the late-games stages, Team Empire couldn’t hold off the European squad and lost its first Group Stage game. Its second match didn’t go much better, as Vici Gaming dominated the CIS squad in a distinctly one sided match. The 0-2 record for Team Empire in the Group Stage set it up with a series against European squad OG in the first round of the Playoff Stage. Game 1 saw Team Empire draft around a core duo of Templar Assassin and Luna, and while the squad did manage to get to an early lead, it couldn’t hold onto it for long. OG’s lineup outfought and out-farmed Team Empire’s heroes to hand the CIS squad a defeat in the first match of the series. Game 2 would see a different strategy from Team Empire, as the squad picked up cores of Vengeful Spirit, Queen of Pain, and Lone Druid supported by teamfight oriented supports in Disruptor and Zeus. Once again Team Empire got out to an early lead, but by the time the mid and late-game stages rolled around, its team fighting capabilities were largely outweighed by the sustainability and tankiness of OG’s draft. The second loss dropped Team Empire out of both the series and the tournament, with the team finishing its run at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor in the collective 5th-8th place position.

Team Empire’s finish within the bottom 4 teams at this event doesn’t necessarily come as much of a surprise. Coming into the event, I had the CIS squad projected to fall within the 5th-8th place range, and that’s exactly where Team Empire ended up. The team had been looking stronger in the CIS region, and its international experience gave it a slight edge compared to other squads we’ve seen in their Pro Circuit debut. However, given the strength of the other teams in Team Empire’s group and its tough match up in the Playoff Stage, its hard to say that the team could have been expected to do much better than it did. The squad did end up with an 0-4 overall record at the event, which doesn’t look particularly strong on paper. But when you look at the fact that all four of those matches were played against teams in the Top 8 on the Pro Circuit standings, the team’s performance looks significantly more impressive. The fact that the team was also having to adjust to the recent addition of yoky- as a an official member of the roster is another factor that makes the team’s poor finish somewhat less damaging. It may not have been the debut that the squad may have liked, but Team Empire at least showed that it has the potential to compete with top Pro Circuit teams. Given more time to adjust to its lineup and compete on the international stage, Team Empire could emerge as a significant power on the Pro Circuit. The team will have opportunities to return to the Pro Circuit stage in the near future, as the squad is set to compete in the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4 Minor at the end of the month, and will begin February by playing in the CIS Qualifier for the Bucharest Major.

 

Vici Gaming VICI_Gaming

Place: 2nd

Winnings: $69,000 (Total) & 90 Qualifying Points (Per player)

Vici Gaming did not enter the season as an obvious choice to emerge as a leading team within its home region, but the Chinese squad doesn’t seem to care much about that. The team comes into the first Minor of 2018 as one of two Chinese squads ranked within the Top 8 on the Pro Circuit after finding some success in 2017. With relatively consistent success in China, three Pro Circuit appearances, and two Top 4 finishes across those three events, Vici Gaming came into the new year as an impressive squad. The team may have been somewhat overlooked to begin the season, but the Chinese squad came into the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor looking to put its skills on display again and add another Top 4 finish to its growing resume.

Vici Gaming’s run at the Minor would begun with a tough loss, as the squad lost its first Group Stage match to Southeast Asian squad Mineski. Despite an impressive performance from Paparazi on Razor, the Chinese squad was playing from behind for most of the game, and never managed to fully close that gap. The team’s next two matches would go decidedly better though, as Vici Gaming put together a dominant victory over Team Empire along with a long and hard fought win over Team Secret to end the Group Stage with a 2-1 record. That record set the team up for a series against compLexity Gaming in the first round of the Playoff Stage, though Vici Gaming would not have much difficulty moving past the North American squad. Game 1 saw Ori and eLeVeN combine for a scoreline of 23-4-16 in as the Chinese squad came out with a dominant performance to claim an early series lead. Game 2 would be just as decisive for Vici Gaming, with Paparazi putting in a match high 12 kills and LaNm having 0 deaths in the game as the Chinese squad finished the series off 2-0 to move on to the finals and another chance to take on Team Secret. Vici Gaming appeared to be getting off to an ideal start in the finals, as the team built up a lead of nearly 15k net worth behind a core trio of Faceless Void, Medusa, and Mirana. Unfortunately, the Chinese squad couldn’t close out the win, as Team Secret put together a monumental comeback effort to snatch victory away from Vici Gaming in Game 1. Game 2 saw the team rectify the mistakes of the previous match, as Paparazi’s Storm Spirit led the team to a solid and decisive win to even the series, while strong showings from Ori and eLeVeN helped the team take a quick win in Game 3 to take the lead. Despite Paparazi and Ori combined for 29 kills and just 7 deaths, Vici Gaming couldn’t close out the series in Game 4, losing to a Team Secret draft headlined by MidOne’s Ember Spirit. The final game of the series was significantly less dramatic, as Vici Gaming’s draft suffered early and couldn’t mount a comeback as the Chinese squad lost the series 2-3 to finish in 2nd place at the event.

The 2nd place finish at the Minor is a fantastic sign that Vici Gaming can maintain the high level of play that marked its Pro Circuit campaign in 2017. Coming into this event, the squad’s solid performance in China and significant success at Pro Circuit event had the team projected for a Top 4 finish, and the Chinese squad more than lived up that prediction. The Top 4 finish moves the squad up into a tie for 5th place in the Pro Circuit standings with Mineski, and leaves Vici Gaming just one spot behind fellow Chinese squad Newbee. After a strong 2017 section of the season, it is highly encouraging to see Vici Gaming carry its momentum into the new year, but this first Minor of 2018 won’t be the team’s only chance to show its strength. Vici Gaming has been directly invited to the ESL One Genting Minor later this month, along with the ESL One Katowice and Bucharest Majors in February and March.

 

Mineski 600px-Mineski-dota_logo

Place: 3rd-4th

Winnings: $37,500 (Total) & 30 Qualifying Points (Per player)

Mineski entered 2018 and the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor as the highest ranked Southeast Asian team on the Pro Circuit. However, it has been a while since the squad has been able to claim success at a Pro Circuit event, as the team’s last Qualifying Points came at the front end of the season in October. In the meantime, Mineski has begun seeing increased competition from its Southeast Asian rivals, as some of the region’s stronger teams have begun recovering from slow starts to the season. With regional opponents creeping in, Mineski came into the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor looking for a solid performance to build momentum heading into the rest of the season.

Momentum is exactly what Mineski managed to get from its Group Stage performance, as the team came out in impressive fashion to begin the event. Big wins over Vici Gaming and Pro Circuit leader Team Secret put the Southeast Asian squad at the top of its group with a 2-0 record. That position as group leader allowed Mineski to pick a favorable match up to begin its run in the Playoff Stage, as the Southeast Asian squad would face paiN Gaming in its first series. Mineski was able to dominate the match up, defeating paiN Gaming 2-0 in less than one hour of in-game time as the South American team couldn’t seem to slow Mineski down. That victory pushed Mineski into a Semifinal match up against Team Secret, an opponent that would prove far more of challenge for the SEA squad. Game 1 saw Mineski keep things close in the early stages of the match, but eventually Team Secret managed to pull away behind impressive performance from Ace and MidOne on Chaos Knight and Ember Spirit, respectively. Game 2 went decidedly worse for Mineski, as its supports were heavily punished and iceiceice’s offlane Phoenix had a particularly hard match. Mineski lost the series 0-2, bringing its run at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor to a close with a finish in 3rd-4th place overall.

For Mineski, the return to a Top 4 position at a Pro Circuit event is a significant sign that the team is getting back into its early season form. Following a stretch in which the team appeared to be suffering from a drop off in international play, the expectations were somewhat tempered for Mineski at this event. I had the squad projected to finish within the 5th-8th place range, with the potential to move into a Top 4 spot if it was able to get over its recent poor performance at the Perfect World Masters. Mineski did just that, going a long way towards showing that the lapse at that previous Minor was an aberration rather than the beginning of a downward trend for the squad. Though the team couldn’t beat Team Secret in the Playoff Stage to reach the finals of the event, it did manage to win its two Group Stage matches against Vici Gaming and Team Secret, two of the Top 8 teams in the Pro Circuit standings. The team’s solid performance and the Qualifying Points that it earned from this event will go a long way towards solidifying the team’s position within the Southeast Asian region, as there is an even wider gap between the team and its regional rivals. Mineski will have several opportunities to further increase that gap in the future, as the team has received direct invites to the ESL One Genting Minor along with both the ESL One Katowice and Bucharest Majors later this year.

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