Jakarta Bleeds Blue: Evil Geniuses defeat VGJ.Thunder, claim first Minor Championship of season. Na’Vi, Infamous, secure Top 4 finishes in Indonesia.
Pro Circuit Minors may not carry as much weight or prestige as the Majors in the Dota 2 world, but the action and level of play in the Minors refuse to take a back seat to their larger peers. The Dota 2 world got the chance to experience this first hand, as the GESC: Indonesia Minor has come to an end after some of the most exciting Dota on the Pro Circuit in 2018. The event brough 8 Pro Circuit squads to Jakarta for the chance to earn much needed Qualifying Points, money, and the title of Minor Champion. The field of teams at this event included three squads making their Pro Circuit debut, two Top 8 ranked teams, four total ranked squads, and one team looking for its first Qualifying Points of the season. That level of varying experience and success on the Pro Circuit meant that every team was hungry for a win and looking to prove something at the Minor, and after four days of play in Indonesia we can see who managed to make a statement to the Dota 2 world. The team walking away with the crown this time is North American squad Evil Geniuses, as the team put together a perfect 7-0 run that saw it simply dismantle each of its opponents en route to an impressive Minor Championship. The team’s win earned it enough Qualifying Point to reclaim a position among the Top 8 teams on the Pro Circuit, with its 450 added points moving EG from 9th to 7th overall. The team that EG defeated to earn its Minor Title was VGJ.Thunder, who secured a 2nd place finish in back-to-back Pro Circuit events after its 2nd place run at the Bucharest Major. The 270 points that the team earned towards it total don’t move VGJ.Thunder anywhere in the standings, but does help provide a further buffer against potential challengers below it and closes the gap between itself and rival Chinese squads Vici Gaming and Newbee. CIS squad Na’Vi secured itself a finish in the shared 3rd-4th position, though the 90 points that it adds to its total doesn’t prevent it from moving down in the standings from 7th to 8th overall. The final Top 4 team though was a pleasant surprise, as South American squad Infamous secured both its first Qualifying Points of the season and the first Qualifying Point for South America as a whole on the Pro Circuit. With the story lines sorted out and told, the dust settling in Jakarta, and the Pro Circuit standings adjusted, we can take a look at how each of the eight teams performed at the Minor and see where each of them stand heading into the final few months of the season.
Winnings: $110,000 (Total) & 150 Qualifying Points (Per Player)
Evil Geniuses entered the GESC: Indonesia Minor in need of a strong showing to help build up some momentum for the North American squad. Back to back Major finishes outside of the Top 4 had left the team in a precarious position, as it had actually fallen outside of the Top 8 ranks in the Pro Circuit standings. The squad remained the top ranked team in North American, but it was in serious need of a quality finish on the Pro Circuit stage to push itself back into that Top 8 territory. With the smaller field of participants and less formidable opponents at the GESC: Indonesia Minor, Evil Geniuses had the perfect opportunity to boost its efforts to reclaim its position among the Pro Circuit’s leading teams.
The North American squad began its run at the Minor with a match against South American team Infamous in the opening matches of the Group Stage. EG opted to go core a Drow Ranger strategy, picking up the hero along with fellow cores of Puck and Visage with Chen and Rubick supports. The extra damage and the mobility of its lineup allowed EG to establish and aggressive and fast paced tempo that Infamous was simply not ready to handle. The South American team conceded defeat in under 19 minutes of game time as Evil Geniuses put together a masterful performance in its first match of the Minor. That win set the team up for a Bo3 series against CIS squad Na’Vi to determine the top seed of Group A. EG dominated Game 1 of the series, with its core trio of Lifestealer, Dragon Knight, and Pugna combining for a stat line of 31-13-39 as the team controlled nearly every team fight in the match in a wire-to-wire victory. Game 2 went in a similar fashion for Evil Geniuses, as its lineup was able to both pressure and out scale the heroes of Na’Vi. With that, EG completed a perfect 3-0 run through the Group Stage and secured the top seed in its group. That status as the top seed in Group A allowed the North American squad to advance directly to the Semifinals of the Playoff Stage where it would face Na’Vi in a rematch of its Group Stage series. Unfortunately for Na’Vi, this series began in the same fashion as the previous one, as EG picked up an Io to help facilitate a mobile and aggressive strategy. Cr1t-‘s Io (0-0-10) stayed alive throughout the entire match and picked up assists on half of the team’s kills as EG steadily built up is net worth lead. Without any viable way to turn the tide of the match or win a team fight, Na’Vi was forced to concede ad EG claimed the 1-0 series lead. Game 2 saw Na’Vi attempt to establish control and momentum for itself with early aggression and setup for a Legion Commander pick. However, EG’s lineup managed to turn that aggression against Na’Vi with some early team fight damage and control. The core trio of EG combined for a 21-10-39 stat line, but Misery’s Rubick (2-5-25) helped serve as a lynch pin for the EG lineup as well with 25 assists on the team’s 32 total kills. The Na’Vi snowball never got rolling in this match, as EG controlled things throughout the game to defeat Na’Vi with a 2-0 series sweep. That win advanced EG to the Finals of the Minor to face Chinese squad VGJ.Thunder, but the Bucharest Major runner-up didn’t prove to be much of a challenge for the North American team either. EG dominated Game 1 of the sereis, with Suma1L’s Pugna (7-3-5) helping the team secure a win in just over 20 minutes of game time. The VGJ.Thunder cores were heavily pressured and killed off multiple times, sapping any sense of momentum from its lineup as a whole and prompted the quick “gg”. The North American squad didn’t let off the gas in Game 2 though, drafting a core trio of Phantom Lancer, Beastermaster, and Visage along with another Io pick. Once again the strategy paid off for EG, as Arteezy’s Phantom Lancer (8-0-4) out fought and out farmed all of the VGJ.Thunder coes and Cr1t-‘s Io (2-4-9) pulled in 9 assists on the team’s 15 kills. VGJ.Thunder were again in a position where its cores faced a near insurmountable disadvantage, and the Chinese squad backed out of the game just short of the 27 minute mark to give EG a quick 2-0 win and the title of Minor Champion.
Evil Geniuses came into the GESC: Indonesia Minor looking for a chance to reclaim its spot in the Top 8 on the Pro Circuit standings and reestablish itself as one he world’s leading squads. Prior to the start of the matches in Jakarta, the North American squad was projected to finish in the Top 4, and EG managed to live up to that prediction in emphatic fashion. The team put together an exceptional performance at the Minor in a field in which it was one of, it not the, favorite to win the event. The team looked confident and consistent across its Group Stage matches, blowing by Infamous and Na’Vi with three straight victories in one-sided match ups. One the team reached the Playoff Stage though, it appeared to hit a whole other level of play. The North American squad once again had complete control in both of its matches against Na’Vi in the Semifinals, and it never seemed like there was a moment where EG wasn’t sure of what it wanted to do and whether or not it would succeed. Even in the Finals of the Minor, the team seemed simply unfazed by anything that VGJ.Thunder threw at it. The team displayed a cold and brutal level of efficiency that made for some incredible, if somewhat short, Dota at this event. That kind of efficiency and confidence is exactly what EG needs moving forward this season, and the GESC: Indonesia Minor may have been the spark that lights a fire under the North American squad on the Pro Circuit stage. Of importance as well is the fact that the team’s 1st place finish at this event gave it enough Qualifying Points to return to the Top 8 in the Pro Circuit standings, as it has moved up from 9th to 7th overall. Even with those points added to its total, the North American leader doesn’t have a lot of breathing room between itself and the squad just outside of the Top 8. If Evil Geniuses wants to maintain its hold over that spot and avoid losing it again, it will need to show that this recent form it displayed in Jakarta is something that the team can maintain over the next few months. The team won’t have to wait long for an opportunity to show the Dota 2 world that needed consistency, as the North American squad is just days away from competing in the North America Qualifier for the MDL Changsha Major, as well as the DAC 2018 Major at the end of the month. We’ll see if Evil Geniuses can keep a hold of its Top 8 ranking on the Pro Circuit this time around.
Rex Regum Qeon
Rex Regum Qeon came into the GESC: Indonesia in a rather strange position as it made its debut on the Pro Circuit stage. The Indonesia Qualifier that the team won had been an opportunity that it would not have otherwise been likely to obtain. With that said, the SEA squad was playing with house money in a way, as the team was not expected by many to be one of the stronger teams in the field of participants. With its role as the underdog firmly established, Rex Regum Qeon hoped to surprise the Dota 2 world with a strong showing in its Pro Circuit debut and a potential run at a Top 4 finish.
The Southeast Asian squad began its run at the GESC: Indonesia Minor in Group A with a Bo1 match against Na’Vi in the opening games of the Group Stage. The team attempted to utilize a core trio of Lycan, Queen of Pain, and Sand King, but quickly found itself pressured and punished by Na’Vi. The CIS squad’s fast paced tempo put Rex Regum Qeon on the defensive early, and the SEA team was never able to bring things back into its own favor as it dropped its first match of the Minor. That loss shifted the team into a Bo3 series, as Rex Regum Qeon faced South American squad Infamous to determine the last seed in Group A. Game 1 saw the Southeast Asian squad get absolutely dominated, as the team were out killed 4-31 in a ridiculously one sided match. In Game 2, the squad tried to rely on cores of Dragon Knight, Chaos Knight, and Tinker to see them through, but those picks fell flat again against Infamous. With that trio combining for a stat line of 5-20-9, it was apparent that the team’s South American opponent was in full control of the match as Rex Regum Qeon received a relatively quick 0-2 loss to place it at the bottom of the standings in its group. Because of that, the team had to play in the Bo1 opening round of the Playoff Stage, where it faced European squad The Final Tribe with its tournament life on the line. Once again, the Southeast Asian squad fell victim to an aggressive and fast paced play style, as The Final Tribe came out with a lineup brimming with early team fight power and burst damage. While the team was able to draw out the match and delay its opponents for a small time, the momentum that The Final Tribe had built up was too much for Rex Regum Qeon of overcome. Facing mega creeps and with no options remaining, the team finally conceded defeat, losing the match and ending its run at the Minor with a position in the combined last place of 7th-8th.
Rex Regum Qeon did not have the strongest of showings at the GESC: Indonesia Minor, but that was very much expected from the Southeast Asian team. The squad had shown potential in its winning of the Indonesian Qualifier, but within the greater SEA region it was still a team hanging out of the periphery of the competitive scene. Coming into the Minor, the team was projected to finish in the 7th-8th place range, a prediction that the team was unable to overcome in Jakarta. The team’s 0-4 record is somewhat disappointing for it, as it would have been a significant accomplishment to take a victory in its Pro Circuit debut. However, the SEA squad honestly wasn’t expected to achieve much or even compete that seriously on the Pro Circuit stage. The Indonesia specific qualifier gave the team a valuable opportunity to earn experience on the Pro Circuit stage, but this appearance at the Minor was never expected to be more than a learning experience for the team. The question now is how the team will move forward after having earned that opportunity to compete against some of the Pro Circuit’s premier teams. If all goes well, then Rex Regum Qeon could use this opportunity on the Pro Circuit stage to make adjustments and improvements to potentially push it into a stronger position in the Southeast Asian region. We may have to wait a while to see whether that scenario plays out or not, as the team is not scheduled to participate in any regional qualifiers as of right now. However, it will be attempting to make a run through the Open Qualifiers in April for the MDL Changsha Major. Time will tell if the squad will manage to turn this experience into a driving force for it over the course of the rest of the season, or if this is that last fans will be seeing of Rex Regum Qeon on the Pro Circuit stage.
Fnatic came into the GESC: Indonesia Minor as a team on the rise on the Pro Circuit. After finding its first international success of 2018 with a Top 4 finish at the ESL One Katowice Major, the squad stood in a position to threaten both for a Top 8 spot in the Pro Circuit standings and the title of highest ranked team in Southeast Asia. With current regional leader Mineski facing some struggles of late, the door was wide open for Fnatic to make a strong push to improve its standing both at home and on the Pro Circuit.
The Southeast Asian team opened up play in the Group Stage of the event with a Bo1 match against North American squad Digital Chaos. Fnatic dominated the match up behind some aggressive play that took advantage of the Digital Chaos lineup. With Abed leading the way for the team on Phantom Lancer (15-0-7, 21.1k net worth), Fnatic easily took the win in this opening match after out killing Digital Chaos by a score of 30-10. That win set Fnatic up for a Bo3 series against Chinese squad VGJ.Thunder to determine the top seed in Group B. Game 1 saw Fnatic come out with a four core lineup of Viper, Templar Assassin, Enigma, and Nature’s Prophet. The strategy proved effective for the SEA squad, as Fnatic was able to out scale the lineup of VGJ.Thunder and hold the net worth advantage throughout the entire match. VGJ.Thunder made one final attempt to turn a team fight in its favor, but those efforts failed and the Chinese team conceded defeat in the opening match of the series. The team looked for a mixture of team fight damage and setup with its Game 2 draft, picking up cores of Razor, Gyrocopter, and Beastmaser alongside Ancient Apparition and Earth Spirit. Unfortunately for Fnatic, that lineup couldn’t gain much ground against VGJ.Thunder’s draft, as the SEA squad lost fights early and often and fell behind by a significant margin. Despite attempts both to take team fight wins and out scale VGJ.Thunder’s cores, Fnatic couldn’t make a big enough dent in its net worth deficit to alter the course of the match. Although Fnatic drew the game out and continued fighting for nearly 40 minutes, the team eventually lost its Ancient and lost its lead in the series as the score was tied 1-1. With the top seed in Group B on the line, Fnatic opted for a core trio of Luna, Tiny, and Enchantress as it hoped to tear through VGJ.Thunder’s lineup with a high level of burst damage. This tactic proved unsuccessful for Fnatic though, as VGJ.Thunder picked up relatively tanky cores and supplemented them with initiating heroes with team fight power. Fnatic’s damage was impressive, but its wasn’t enough to punch through the front line of VGJ.Thunder and forced the team to play from behind in the match. Fnatic was unable to close that gap, losing the match and the series to fall into the Runner Up match and a Bo1 series against The Final Tribe. The SEA squad was able to handle its business against the European challenger with EternaLEnVy’s Lifestealer (10-1-10) and Abed’s Death Prophet (11-3-11) leading the team to a fairly one sided victory. The win advanced Fnatic to the Quarterfinals of the Minor, where it faced CIS squad Na’Vi in a Bo3 elimination series. Game 1 proved to be an all-out endurance match, as the two teams traded the lead back and forth for over 70 minutes of action. Eventually, EternaLEnVy’s Death Prophet (16-7-24, 37.2k net worth) helped lead the team to one final team fight victory that secured it the win in the series opener. Game 2 looked as though it was going Fnatic’s way as well, as the team held a small net worth lead heading towards the late-game stage. However, despite another solid performance from EternaLEnVy on Luna (8-4-6), Fnatic was unable to overcome the damage and team fight power of Na’Vi’s lineup as the series was tied up 1-1. Game 3 looked to be in the bag for Fnatic, as the SEA squad put its previous loss behind it and dominated the game from the very beginning. With the team pushing its net worth lead over the 30k mark, it appeared that Na’Vi would need a miracle to come back and claim a win. However, a miracle is exactly what the CIS squad pulled out, as the team held off multiple pushes from Fnatic and Dendi’s Divine Rapier purchase on Lina fueled and incredible comeback victory. That shocking loss ended Fnatic’s run at the Minor with a 5th-6th place finish.
Fnatic came into the GESC: Indonesia Minor looking to build on its recent success on the Pro Circuit stage. Prior to the start of the action in Jakarta, Fnatic was projected to claim a Top 4 spot at the event. Unfortunately for the Southeast Asian squad, it was unable to live up to that prediction as it fell just short of the Top 4 mark at the Minor. The team put together a solid performance in the Group Stage of the event, winning its match ups against Digital Chaos and The Final Tribe as the favored squad. The team also had a solid showing in its 1-2 loss to VGJ.Thunder, a team that was just coming off of a massively successful performance at the Bucharest Major. The 1-2 loss to Na’Vi in the Quarterfinals came as both a shock and a disappointment for the SEA squad. While Na’Vi is a talented squad in its one right, the truth is that Fnatic had that third and final game well in hand throughout the match and should have been able to close out that victory and earn a Top 4 spot. That comeback effort from Na’Vi and the subsequent loss for Fnatic is probably going to sting for a while for both the team and its fans. The team blew a significant opportunity to build up its momentum and make a push further up the Pro Circuit standings, and that missed chance has to be frustrating for the team. However, Fnatic can’t afford to dwell on missed opportunities for long, as the team is still in a position to compete both within the Southeast Asian region and potentially on the Pro Circuit stage as well. The SEA squad will follow up its performance at this Minor with an appearance at the DreamLeague Season 9 Minor beginning a few days from now. The team will also see Pro Circuit action in April as it plays in the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 5 Minor and the Southeast Asia Qualifier for the MDL Changsha Major. With those opportunities fast approaching, Fnatic will have its chance to continue building itself up and climbing through the ranks in the Pro Circuit standings.
Winnings: $65,000 (Total) & 90 Qualifying Points (Per Player)
VGJ.Thunder came into the GESC: Indonesia Minor riding a high of confidence in the wake of its incredible 2nd place run at the recent Bucharest Major. That performance had catapulted the Chinese squad to the forefront of the Pro Circuit scene with a position in the Top 8 in the standings. That recent success has shifted the picture a bit for VGJ.Thunder, as the team went from trying to find a place in the Pro Circuit standings to being a potential contender to take the position as the top ranked squad in the Chinese region. The the smaller field and lower stakes of the GESC: Indonesia Minor, the team had a perfect opportunity to build up its momentum with another solid showing in Jakarta.
VGJ.Thunder opened its run at the Minor with a match against The Final Tribe in the opening matches of the Group Stage. The match went back and forth over the first 30 minutes of play, as the net worth lead swung back and forth between the two squads. Eventually though, VGJ.Thunder was able to rely on Freeze’s Tinker (8-6-6) and Sylar’s Weaver (6-2-14) to out scale its European opponent and take control of the match. The Final Tribe made one final team fight attempt, but the Chinese squad was able to wipe it out to complete its opening match victory. That win moved the team into the Winners’ match against Fnatic for the top seed in Group B. Game 1 did not go well for the Chinese squad, as Fnatic dominated the match up despite a solid effort from Freeze on Lina (8-5-1, 20.k net worth). Fnatic led for the entirety of the match in terms of net worth as VGJ.Thunder’s lineup could never sustain enough momentum to turn the tide. In Game 2, VGJ.Thunder flipped the script, putting together a dominant performance of its own against its Southeast Asian opponent. Behind an impressive performance from Yang’s Tiny (14-5-13), VGJ.Thunder was able to establish a favorable pace early and maintain its lead through solid team fight execution to tie up the series 1-1. That win forced a decisive Game 3 in the series, and VGJ.Thunder managed to carry over its momentum from its Game 2 victory. With Sylar leading the way on Death Prophet (11-3-9) and Yang’s Batrider (7-4-16) providing crucial team fight initiation, VGJ.Thunder was able to control the game nearly from start to finish to close out the series with a 2-1 win. With that, VGJ.Thunder earned the top seed of Group B and advanced directly to the Semifinals of the Playoff Stage to face South American squad Infamous. The Chinese squad was caught off guard in Game 1 of the series, as its lineup was unprepared to face the early aggression of Infamous’ draft. The team quickly lost ground across the map, and was facing mega creeps and a near constant siege from Infamous. Sylar’s Medusa (5-3-8, 45.4k net worth) was all that stood between VGJ.Thunder and defeat, as he picked up two Divine Rapiers in an attempt to continue holding back the pushes from Infamous. However, Infamous was eventually able to circumvent the Medusa with its Naga Siren pick, leaving the Chinese squad unable to defend its base as it lost the series opener in dramatic fashion. VGj.Thunder responded to that initial loss with back to back dominant showing against its South American opponents. The team out killed Infamous 82-34 over the final two games of the series, and held the net worth advantage across all but 4-5 minutes out of over 62 minutes of game time. With those back to back stomps over Infamous, VGJ.Thunder secured its place in the Finals of the Minor and a Bo3 series against North American squad Evil Geniuses. This time it would be VGJ.Thunder who was on the receiving end of a one-sided match up, as EG easily took a 2-0 sweep of that final series. VGJ.Thunder was completely out played and dismantled, earning just 15 kills across the two matches and losing in just under 47 minutes of total game time. Despite the trouncing that it received in the Finals, VGJ.Thunder still ended its run at the Minor with a 2nd place finish overall.
VGJ.Thunder came into the GESC: Indonesia Minor with a mission to prove that it could maintain the success that it had earned at the Bucharest Major. There were questions about whether the team’s strong showing in Bucharest was the start of a trend for the team or a flash in the pan that it wouldn’t be able to replicate. Coming into the event, VGJ.Thunder was projected to finish in the Top 4, and the Chinese squad was able to keep pace with that prediction with few issues overall. The team seemed to breeze through its Group Stage matches, which was largely expected based upon the teams that it was facing in Group B. The team handled business against a Final Tribe squad making its first ever Pro Circuit appearance, and managed to take a 2-1 victory over Fnatic as well. Fnatic has been making something of a surge on the Pro Circuit of late, and VGJ.Thunder’s victory over it in a Bo3 LAN setting goes a long way to help reinforce the team’s position as one of the leading squad on the Pro Circuit. In the Playoff Stage, the team handled itself well too, despite coming up short of claiming the title in Jakarta. The team was momentarily caught off guard by Infamous, but considering how well the South American squad played, VGJ.Thunder wasn’t the only team to be thrown off by Infamous. That being said, the Chinese squad was able to rally from that opening loss and quickly retake control of the series in a show of confidence and composure that is a highly valued asset for any Pro Circuit team. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t carry any momentum over into its series against Evil Geniuses, which comes as a small disappointment for the team. It would have been a solid sign to see VGJ.Thunder take at least one game off of the North American squad, but considering the level that EG was playing at in this event it didn’t seem likely that any team in the field would have been able to take it down. For VGJ.Thunder, this Top 4 finish doesn’t necessarily help its climb up the Pro Circuit standings. Of course, every Qualifying Point matters in the end, but for VGJ.Thunder the emphasis didn’t seem to be on exactly where it placed at this event so long as it remained in the Top 4. The bigger achievement for VGJ.Thunder as it leaves Jakarta is that is has shown that its Bucharest Major run was no fluke, and that the team can potentially maintain this impressive level of play in future Pro Circuit events. Speaking of future events, VGJ.Thunder is set to compete in one soon, with the opportunity to earn spots in more events coming up as well. The team will be one of the participants at the DAC 2018 Major later this month, and are also set to participate in the China Qualifier for the EPICENTER XL Major as well as the ongoing Dota 2 Professional League Season 5, which serves as a qualifier for the MDL Changsha Major. With its reputation and consistency improving with every appearance and a multitude of opportunities coming its way, VGJ.Thunder’s status as a leading team on the Pro Circuit doesn’t appear to be in much danger right now.
Digital Chaos came into the GESC: Indonesia Minor following a roller coaster of different names and organizations. After beginning its Pro Circuit existence under the name Animal Planet, the team briefly joined Iceberg Esports before going back to Animal Planet and now signing with Digital Chaos. The move also prompted a roster change as well as the loss of its former captain. All of those changes came before the team had ever played a match at a Pro Circuit LAN, as the GESC: Indonesia Minor served as the North American squad’s debut. Despite the concerns from the team’s recent changes, Digital Chaos came into the Minor with an opportunity to put together a strong showing its its first Pro Circuit appearance of the season.
The North American squad began its run at the Minor with a Bo1 match against Fnatic in the opening games of the Group Stage. The team attempted to make use of an Io strategy, pairing the support with cores of Juggernatu, Viper, and Beastmaster. Unfortunately for Digital Chaos, that strategy was punished heavily by Fnatic as the SEA squad applied significant pressure to its lineup. Both Stan King’s Io (0-8-5) and Bryle’s Viper (2-8-2) were severely limited and largely ineffective in this match as Fnatic held a wire-to-wire net worth lead to hand DC its first loss of the Minor. That opening loss dropped Digital Chaos in to the Group Loser series, where the team would face The Final Tribe to determine which squad would finish last in the Group B standings. Game 1 of the series did not go well for Digital Chaos, as the team attempted to play more aggressively at the beginning of the match. While the North American squad secured a few kills and an early net worth lead, the team fight power of The Final Tribe was rather easily able to turn the tide and control the pace of the game moving forward. With its team fight power lacking and its cores unable to out scale the enemy, Digital Chaos was forced to concede defeat in the series opener. Game 2 saw the team make a change in tactics, as it picked up a core trio of Medusa, Tiny, and Enchantress. The match went back and forth all the way through to the late-game stage, with neither side leading by more than 3k net worth before the 30 minute mark. In the late-game stage, The Final Tribe began to pull away, taking the better of a few engagements to build up a modest lead. DC refused to go away though, and the North American squad manged to take control late with a fantastic team fight win that gave it the opportunity to march down the mid lane and close out a comeback win to tie up the series 1-1. With the series on the line, DC opted for a team fight oriented draft in Game 3, picking up cores of Faceless Void, Shadow Fiend, and Sand King to go along with Ancient Apparition and Chen. That lineup was able to keep pace with The Final Tribe throughout the match, as the two squad again traded the net worth lead back and forth across the early and mid-game stages. Around the 35 minute mark though, Digital Chaos managed to take control of the match and looked poised to close out the game and the series. However, the Final Tribe put together an incredible team fight performance, wiping out DC’s lineup twice and snatching the victory away from the North American squad to hand it a stunning 1-2 loss. That loss put Digital Chaos in the low seed position in the Playoff Stage, and the team faced CIS squad Na’Vi in a Bo1 series with its tournament life on the line. The NA squad looked for a combination of initiation and team fight power with a core trio of Phantom Lancer, Gyrocopter, and Batrider. However, that trio never got off the ground, as Na’Vi controlled the tempo early and put Digital Chaos on the back foot with an aggressive play style. That early pressure heavily stunted the growth of Digital Chaos’ cores, and the team quickly found itself out scaled by the CIS squad. Down by over 20k net worth and with no options left to it, Digital Chaos conceded defeat, losing the match and ending its run in Jakarta with a finish in the 7th-8th place position.
Digital Chaos came into the GESC: Indonesia Minor against the backdrop of changes both to the squad’s organization and its roster. Despite those recent changes and the concerns that they may have raised, the North American squad was hoping to put together a solid showing to make its Pro Circuit debut a successful one. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t get it done in Jakarta, as the team’s performance left a lot to be desired. Digital Chaos entered the GESC: Indonesia Minor projected to finish in the shared 5th-6th place position, but the North American squad fell short of that mark. The team’s Group Stage loss to Fnatic doesn’t come as a significant surprise for the team, as the SEA squad is a more established Pro Circuit squad and the Bo1 format didn’t give Digital Chaos a chance to fully adapt and adjust after its loss. The 1-2 loss to The Final Tribe is where the team may have disappointed a bit, as the match up of two debuting squads was a significant opportunity for DC to show its strength. Of particular importance for the team was the loss of its late-game lead in Game 3 of the series, as the team failed to close out an opportunity to finish strong and complete what could have been a victory. The team’s sole Playoff Stage match against Na’Vi was another unfortunate but not unexpected loss. The early aggression that Na’Vi common employs was a bad match up for Digital Chaos to go up against, and once again the Bo1 format prevented the team from having an opportunity to make adjustments in the series. Overall, the debut performance for Digital Chaos was not the triumphant showing that it may have been hoping for. However, considering the fact that the team changed its roster just days prior to the start of the Minor, these struggles may not be reflective of where the team stands as a whole. With more time to acclimate to its newest roster addition and adjust its strategies, we could see Digital Chaos show the strength that we saw when the team was competing in the North American region as Animal Planet. The team will have some opportunities to compete in familiar territory in the coming days, as the squad has a few regional qualifier appearances lined up already. The team is set to play its first series of the StarLadder i-League Invitational #5 North America Qualifier a few days from now and will be competing in the regional qualifier for the MDL Changsha Major later this month as well. With those opportunities on the horizon, we’ll see if Digital Chaos is able to push past its lackluster debut and get itself on the right track towards competing in the NA region again and earning another chance to perform on the Pro Circuit stage.
Winnings: $35,000 (Total) & 30 Qualifying Points (Per Player)
Infamous came into the GESC: Indonesia in the same predicament that all South American teams have been in so far this season. The region’s squads had been struggling to find success on the Pro Circuit stage since the beginning of the season, with no team being able to claim a Top 4 spot at a Pro Circuit event and break into the standings. Among those South American leaders, Infamous has been one of the teams on which the region’s hopes have rested. The squad has been grinding all season long to improve and adjust to the international game, and the team came into this Minor hoping to finally snap the streak of futility in the South American region.
Infamous began its play at the GESC: Indonesia Minor with a Bo1 match against Evil Geniuses to open up the Group Stage action. The South American squad fell behind early to a relatively aggressive strategy from EG that caught it off guard. With the Infamous cores on the defensive and unable to keep pace with EG’s lineup, Infamous conceded defeat in a match that lasted just over 18 minutes. That loss pushed Infamous into the Losers’ Match for a Bo3 series against Rex Regum Qeon to determine the low seed of Group A. Infamous came out on fire in Game 1 of the series, as it dominated the match up against the Indonesian squad. The South American squad racked up 31 kills while surrendering just 4 to RRQ in an absolute walkover to give Infamous the lead and the momentum in the series. Game 2 saw Infamous come out aggressively again, as its lineup took fights early and often to keep Rex Regum Qeon’s heroes on the defensive. Between Papita’s Razor (17-0-6) and Kotarō Hayama’s Tiny (11-2-8), Infamous had no issues closing out a convincing 2-0 win over Rex Regum Qeon. That win gave Infamous the chance to play Na’Vi in the Bo1 Decider Match. Na’Vi attempted to run a greedier and more aggressive strategy, but Infamous responded with high levels of early fighting power and hard farming cores of Viper and Morphling. Papita and Kotarō Hayama led the way for Infamous once again, combining for a stat line of 28-10-22 with a combined net worth of over 62k as Infamous lead for nearly the entirety of the match and defeated Na’Vi to advance to the Quarterfinals. In the Playoff Stage, the South American squad faced off against European team The Final Tribe with a spot in the Top 4 on the line. Infamous opted for a team fight oriented draft in Game 1 of the series, picking up cores of Morphling, Gyrocopter, and Brewmaster along with a support duo of Earthshaker and Disruptor. Unfortunately, that strategy didn’t pan out well for the South American squad, as The Final Tribe was the team to control early team fights. The team’s support duo and its offlane Brewmaster pick were heavily punished and pressured in this game, severely reducing their effectiveness in fights. Aside from a brief surge between the early and mid-game stages, Infamous trialed throughout this match as it lost the opening game of the series. Game 2 saw Infamous look rely on a core duo of Death Prophet and Terrorblade to see them through to a victory. Early on it was unclear which side would come out ahead, as the two teams kept things close in terms of net worth and pace. However, after the 30 minute mark Infamous’ lineup began to shift the momentum of the match in its favor with a series of strong fights. Once more it was the duo of Kotarō Hayama on Terorblade (9-5-14, 31.4k net worth) and Papita on Death Prophet (15-2-10, 27.7k net worth) that led Infamous to victory, with Terrorblade picking up a Divine Rapier to help the South American squad complete its victory and tie up the series 1-1. With a spot in the Top 4 on the line, Infamous appeared to have its back against the wall in Game 3. The team fell behind in a big way early, losing fights and quickly giving up ground to The Final Tribe’s aggressive play. The cores of Infamous were facing significant pressure and its team fight execution never seemed to be strong enough to turn an engagement in its favor. With the team down by nearly 20k net worth, it appeared all but over for the squad. However, one final team fight attempt finally struck pay dirt for Infamous, as the coordination and execution that it had been lacking all game long eventually came together at the perfect time. With The Final Tribe’s lineup killed off and caught with limited buybacks, the European squad couldn’t hold off Infamous’ final push as the South American team rushed into their base and complete an incredible comeback win. The comeback win to secure a 2-1 series victory was an amazing achievement for Infamous, but the team still had a date with VGJ.Thunder in the Semifinals of the Minor. Infamous kept its previous momentum going into Game 1 of this series, as the team came out with early aggression and team fight power that left VGJ.Thunder almost constantly on the defensive. The South American squad pushed its net worth advantage to over 20k behind huge performance from Papita’s Death Prophet (11-0-13, 32.1k net worth) and Kotarō Hayama on Templar Assassin (11-2-9, 36.9k net worth), but ran into some difficulties closing out its victory. VGJ.Thunder refused to give in even in the face of mega creeps, with Sylar’s Medusa (5-3-8, 45.4k) purchasing two Divine Rapiers and helping to hold off multiple attacks from Infamous. The South American squad couldn’t get past the Medusa, so it went around her using its Naga Siren. The team utilized back to back Songs of the Siren, keeping Medusa from moving or acting while the rest of the team moved in and finally brought down the Ancient to secure a win in a match that went on for over an hour of game time. After that incredible defensive effort, VGJ.Thunder was keen on revenge against the South American squad, and it earned it in Game 2 of the series. Despite Kotarō Hayama putting together a valiant effort on Morphling (6-4-1), Infamous could not stand up to the tankiness and damage output of VGJ.Thunder’s lineup. The South American team trialed in terms of net worth throughout the entirety of the match as it was outplayed by the Chinese squad. With that loss tying up the series, Infamous moved into Game 3 looking for damage and sustainability in its lineup. To that end, the team picked up cores of Dragon Knight and Troll Warlord, supplementing those picks with Omniknight, Tusk, and Disriptor. That lineup held even with VGJ.Thunder through the early stages of the game, but quickly fell behind after that point. VGJ.Thunder had the tankiness and team fight power to withstand and overcome Infamous’ lineup, and it proved that point by dominating nearly every team fight past the laning stage. With the Chinese squad pushing its net worth advantage over the 20k mark, Infamous ran out of steam and couldn’t prevent VGJ.Thunder from taking its Ancient and closing out the series. While the team lost the series 1-2, its run at the Minor ended with Infamous claiming its first Top 4 finish of the season.
Infamous came into the GESC: Indonesia Minor looking to finally break through on the Pro Circuit standings and earn the first Qualifying Points of the season both for itself and for the South American region as a whole. Before the start of the action in Jakarta, the team wasn’t expected to reach that goal, as the team’s struggles on the Pro Circuit stage had been well documented to that point. The team had been improving in the international level thanks to its multitude of Pro Circuit appearances, but hadn’t shown a large enough leap in progress to instill a high level of confidence. Coming into the Minor, Infamous was projected to finish in the 7th-8th place range, but the South American squad blew that meager prediction right out of the water with its performance in Jakarta. The team looked fantastic in the Group Stage despite not coming away with the best record overall. The team lost its initial match to EG by a sizable margin, but that loss didn’t come as much of a shock considering the previous match ups between the two teams. The South American squad was able to handle itself against Rex Regum Qeon, which was impressive not because of the strength of its opponent but because of how composed and confident that Infamous’ lineup appeared in that series. More impressive than that win was its Bo1 victory over Na’Vi, in part due to the fact that the team was able to adapt and counter the aggressive play style that had often caused it issues in other international events. Beyond that point, things only look better for Infamous in the Group Stage. Its victory over The Final Tribe had the team again looking strong and confident in itself and its strategies, and the fact that it managed to take a game off of VGJ.Thunder, a team that was just coming off of a 2nd place finish at the recent Major, is another massive step forward for the squad. The biggest step for Infamous though its its Top 4 finish at this Minor, as it becomes the first ever South American team to earn Qualifying Points on the Pro Circuit. Infamous may not be competing for a Top 8 spot any time soon, but it has finally shown that it is capable of competing and winning on the Pro Circuit level. The South American region has only ever needed time to develop and an opportunity to compete, and Infamous has received both and turned them into success on the Pro Circuit stage. The question now for Infamous will be whether it can maintain this level of play in larger and more significant Pro Circuit events. The rest of the season schedule is already filling up, and Infamous will only have a few more chances to earn another spot at the Pro Circuit event. One of those chances is just a few days away, with the squad set to participate in the South America Qualifier for the MDL Changsha Major. With the experience of Pro Circuit success under its belt, it will be interesting to see where the team goes from here as it continues its push towards TI8 this summer.
The Final Tribe
The Final Tribe did not get off to the most auspicious of starts on the Pro Circuit, as the squad faced significant struggles earlier in the season. However, 2018 saw the team make a marked improvement in its play, leading to The Final Tribe earning its first opportunity to play on the Pro Circuit stage. As the team came into its Pro Circuit debut at the GESC: Indonesia Minor, The Final Tribe were looking to claim a spot in the Pro Circuit standings with a strong showing in Jakarta.
The European squad was in for a tough challenge to start its run at the Minor, as The Final Tribe opened up its Group Stage play with a Bo1 match against Chinese squad VGJ.Thunder. The two squads traded the lead back and forth over the first 30 minutes of play, but eventually The Final Tribe found its cores out scaled by their opponent. With Frost’s Terrorblade (3-4-9, 22.4k net worth) unable to tip the scale in its favor, The Final Tribe lost its opening match of the Minor. The European squad faced fellow debuting squad Digital Chaos next in a Bo3 series to determine the low seed in Group B. The Final Tribe dominated Game 1 of the series, with Era and Frost combining for a 17-2-20 stat line with Outworld Devourer and Tiny, respectively. Game 2 was a more contentious affair, but The Final Tribe began to pull away in the late-game stage. Unfortunately, the team was unable to hold that lead, as Digital Chaos’ lineup turned the final fights of the game in its favor to wipe out The Final Tribe’s lead and even the series at 1-1. Game 3 saw the two teams remain close once again through the early and mid-game stages. Digital Chaos made a late surge that gave it the advantage around the 40 minute mark, but The Final Tribe wouldn’t go down without a fight. That fight proved successful for The Final Tribe, as the squad pulled off a clutch series of kills that allowed it to turn the tide and stun Digital Chaos to secure a 2-1 series victory. That win set The Final Tribe up for one final Bo1 Group Stage match against Fnatic. Unfortunately, The Final Tribe didn’t carry any of its previous momentum over into this game, as its cores were largely contained and limited as Fnatic claimed a wire-to-wire victory over the European squad. That loss put The Final Tribe into Round 1 of the Playoff Stage where it faced Rex Regum Qeon in a Bo1 elimination match. The European team was absolutely in control of this match from that start, with Frost’s Juggernaut (8-1-12) and Jonassomfan’s Tiny (12-0-12) leading the charge as The Final Tribe marched through RRQ to advance to the Quarterfinals against Infamous. Game 1 saw the team come out strong with some aggressive and fast paced play that put The Final Tribe ahead early. The lineup of Infamous was never able to catch up after that slow start, posting just 10 kills as The Final Tribe won the series opener. Game 2 was even throughout the first 30 minutes of play, with neither side able to build up a sizable net worth lead. From that point forward though, Infamous took control of the game with a series of incredible team fight victories. Despite a solid showing from Frost’s Lifestealer (10-5-7) The Final Tribe simply couldn’t hold back Infamous as the series was tied up at 1-1. Game 3 looked like a walkover early, as The Final Tribe’s aggression allowed it to take a massive lead over Infamous. The Final Tribe held the net worth advantage throughout the entirety of the match, with Era, Frost, and Jonassomfan combining for a stat line of 24-9-33). However, Infamous pulled off a miraculous team fight win late in the game that caught The Final Tribe’s lineup without buybacks. Without a fall back plan to defend its base, Infamous made a headlong rush into its opponents base and managed to win an absolutely absurd comeback victory to knock The Final Tribe out of the Minor. That stunning 1-2 loss ended the team’s run at the Minor, with The Final Tribe finishing in the 5th-6th place position in its Pro Circuit debut.
The Final Tribe came into the GESC: Indonesia Minor looking for a chance to prove that it belonged among the top squads on the Pro Circuit. Prior to the start of the games in Jakarta, the European squad was projected to finish within the 5th-6th place range, and The Final Tribe was able to match that prediction with its run at the Minor. Despite coming up short of the mark to earn a Top 4 finish and Qualifying Points, The Final Tribe did put together a solid showing in its Pro Circuit debut. The team’s 2-3 Group Stage record may not appear very strong at first glance, but it holds up better within the context of the team’s situation. Its losses to Fnatic and VGJ.Thunder were expected for a squad making its first Pro Circuit appearance, and The Final Tribe was fairly competitive across those two matches. The Bo3 series against Digital Chaos was the true 50/50 test for The Final Tribe, and the European squad was able to claim a victory in a series where it was relatively evenly matched with its opponent coming in. Within the Playoff Stage, the team represented itself well, though perhaps not as well as many might have hoped. The team’s win over Rex Regum Qeon was a one sided performance in its favor, but every other squad in the field of participants was significantly favored over the Indonesian squad. The team’s 1-2 loss to Infamous will likely be where fans and analysts are the most disappointed in The Final Tribe, as the South American squad had been struggling on the Pro Circuit stage all season long. However, Infamous put together a truly inspired performance at this Minor, and with how well the team was playing in Jakarta, The Final Tribe’s loss in that series can be seen in a much more positive light. Overall, the European squad put together a solid showing in its first Pro Circuit appearance. Though it was just short of the mark to earn itself Qualifying Points, the team has shown that it is looking to make that next step and become a contender on the Pro Circuit stage. The question for the Final Tribe is when its next Pro Circuit appearance may be. As of now, the team is scheduled to participate in the Europe Qualifier for the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 5 Minor. We will see if the European squad is able to turn this showing in Jakarta into the start of a run to the forefront of the European region and back onto the Pro Circuit stage.
Winnings: $35,000 (Total) & 30 Qualifying Points (Per Player)
Na’Vi came into the GESC: Indonesia Minor in one of the more peculiar situations among the Pro Circuit squads. The team’s recent roster additions had simultaneously introduced a level of uncertainty to the team while also catapulting the CIS squad into the Top 8 in the Pro Circuit standings. Those two results came together in a dangerous way for Na’Vi, as its ranking dropped a bit while the team acclimated to its new players. That process led to some forgettable performances in the teams last two Pro Circuit appearances, but Na’Vi came into this Minor looking to stop the bleeding and show that it’s roster was fully adjusted and ready to compete on the Pro Circuit stage.
The CIS squad opened its GESC: Indonesia Minor run with a Bo1 match against Rex Regum Qeon in the opening matches of play in the Group Stage. Na’Vi wasted little time getting into the sort of fast paced play that we’ve come to expect from the team, as it came at Rex Regum Qeon’s lineup early and often. With the team able to out kill its opponents by a score of 28-13, Na’Vi established a level of control over the match that its opponent could never overcome as the team earned its first victory of the Minor. That win advanced Na’Vi into the Winner’s Match of Group A for a Bo3 series against Evil Geniuses. The North American squad would control almost all of Game 1 of the series, despite Crystallize putting together a solid performance on Phantom Lancer (10-3-4). The EG lineup had too much team fight power and were too sustainable for Na’Vi to break through as the CIS squad fell behind 0-1 in the series. Na’Vi opted for a team fight oriented draft in Game 2, picking up cores of Morphling, Death Prophet, and Tidehunder to combat EG. Unfortunately, EG’s lineup was able to scale faster and fight earlier than Na’Vi, as the North American team built up a sizable lead early that the CIS squad was never able to put a dent in. Facing a net worth deficit of nearly 30k at the 30 minute mark, Na’Vi conceded defeat to loss the game and the series. That loss forced Na’Vi to play one final match in the Group Stage against Infamous to determine the low seed in Group A. Na’Vi looked to be aggressive in its draft against the South American squad, picking up cores of Faceless Void and Gyrocopter but also throwing in Beastmaster and Doom. The plan immediately backfired, as Infamous picked a lineup of tanky and early team fight based heroes that stymied Na’Vi’s aggressive play. Na’VI found itself trailing significantly in the late-game stage, and despite some strong surges around the 30 and 40 minute marks, the CIS squad couldn’t complete the comeback and lost the match. That loss started Na’Vi at the very beginning of the Playoff Stage bracket, where the team faced Digital Chaos in a Bo1 elimination series. Na’Vi was able to handle Digital Chaos with relatively few issues as the team’s lineup dominated team fights and surrendered just 10 kills to the North American squad. With that win, Na’Vi advanced to the Quarterfinals to face Southeast Asian squad Fnatic in a Bo3 series. Game 1 of that series proved to be an absolute slug-fest as both sides went at each other constantly in a match that lasted over 78 minutes. With Crystallize, Dendi, and GeneRaL combining for a stat line of 32-26-49 and a combined net worth of nearly 95k, Na’Vi managed to make a late surge to briefly retake the lead and put itself in a position to win the match. However, Fnatic came back with one final team fight win that sapped away the last of Na’Vi’s momentum and handed them a close loss in the opening match of the series. Game 2 was a little more in line with Na’Vi’s preferences, as the team once again came out with some early aggression against its opponent. While Fnatic was able to keep things close in the early and mid-games stages, Na’Vi eventually pulled away late. Behind a fantastic showing from Crystallize (16-1-11, 33.6k net worth), the team was able to close out a victory and tie up the series at 1-1. With its tournament life on the line, Na’Vi went with a lineup designed to mix damage with team fight setup. The squad drafted cores of Lifestealer, Lina, and Tiny to go along with a support duo of Kunkka and Ancient Apparition. Early on its appeared that this draft was a mistake for Na’Vi, as Fnatic pushed the tempo of the match and leaped out to a massive net worth advantage in the mid and late-game stages. The Southeast Asian squad methodically pushed Na’Vi all the way back into its base, claiming mega creeps along the way, but the CIS squad wouldn’t give in even with its back against the wall. With a series of unbelievable defenses of its base and a key Divine Rapier pickup from Dendi, Na’Vi was able to catch Fnatic in a situation where it was unsure of whether to commit its buybacks. Utilizing that hesitations, Na’Vi rushed into the Fnatic base and brought down the Ancient before the SEA squad could either regroup for a defense or teleport to Na’Vi’s base to close out the match. That desperation play earned Na’Vi a spectacular 2-1 series victory as it advanced past a stunned Fnatic lineup and secured both a Top 4 spot and a rematch with EG in the Semifinals. Game 1 of that rematch appeared to be going well for Na’Vi at the start, as the team managed to find pick offs against the North American team’s heroes. However, those early kills didn’t do enough to slow down the farming of EG’s cores, as the team blew past Na’Vi in terms of net worth and never looked back. The early pace that Na’Vi had established with its pick offs didn’t prepare it to face EG’s considerable team fight damage, as the North American squad handed Na’Vi a loss in Game 1 of the series. In Game 2, Na’Vi attempted establish its preferred pace once again, relying on cores of Chaos Knight and Razor along with a ganking trio of Legion Commander, Disruptor, and Tusk. Unfortunately for Na’Vi, EG proved difficult to keep contained, as the North American team again manged to protect its cores and turn early team fights in its favor. The CIS squad was unable to build up significant momentum with its Legion Commander pick, and its cores were out scaled yet again by those of EG. With the team losing its base and facing a near insurmountable net worth deficit, Na’Vi threw in the towel to end the series. The 0-2 loss to EG stopped Na’Vi’s run at the Minor with a finish in the 3rd-4th place position.
Na’Vi came into the GESC: Indonesia Minor as a squad facing a few questions, as its recent play on the Pro Circuit stage had left some doubts as to when and how well the team’s new roster would be able adjust to its new members. The team had seen its fair share of difficulties leading up to the event, but Na’Vi was still projected to finish in the Top 4 among the participants at the Minor. The CIS squad was able to live up to that prediction, putting together a strong and encouraging performance in Jakarta. The team did not get off to the most grandiose of starts, as its Group Stage performance was not as strong as what may have been expected. It’s only win came against Rex Regum Qeon, a team that few expected to accomplish much and finished its run at the event without a single victory to its name. Aside from that, the team looked a bit shaky against Evil Geniuses and Infamous as it lost all three matches against that duo. The Group Stage record wasn’t fantastic for Na’Vi, but its play in the Playoff Stage turned that poor start around. The team handled Digital Chaos in a match up in which it was rather significantly favored, but the series against Fnatic is where Na’Vi showed its strength. While Fnatic is not exactly one of the elite squads of the Pro Circuit, it is still a ranked squad and a formidable opponent that Na’Vi was able to overcome with its strong play and incredible resilience and determination. The team’s loss to EG in the Semifinals was a bit disappointing, but considering how well the North American squad had played both in its Group Stage series against Na’Vi and in the event as a whole, it wasn’t an expected defeat for the CIS team. Overall, the team put together a solid performance in Jakarta and showed the level of confidence and coordination that we’ve been hoping to see since the team’s new roster was fully revealed. The team has gone a long way towards showing that it is ready to compete on the Pro Circuit stage again, but the question will be whether it can remain consistent moving forward. The squad is just days away from participating in the CIS Qualifier for the MDL Changsha Major, and will be competing in both the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 5 Minor and the EPICENTER XL Major in April. This string of matches and events over the next month or so will be the crucial period that determines whether Na’Vi continues to struggle on the international level or if it can live up to its billing as a Pro Circuit contender.