Gambit Esports is heading back to the Pro Circuit stage as the team secures the lone CIS slot at The Bucharest Minor
The second round of Pro Circuit qualifiers in this 2018-2019 campaign are coming to a close, and the field of teams for the second Minor of the season is now filling out with the representatives of the 6 Dota regions fighting their way past their regional rivals. The CIS region officially becomes the penultimate region to complete its Minor qualifier, and we now know which squad will be heading to the Romanian capital to compete in The Bucharest Minor. 4 squads made up the field for this qualifier, with 3 of them (Team Empire Hope, Gambit Esports, and Winstrike Team) returning from the Major qualifier while the other (Nemiga Gaming) was making its first appearance at a Pro Circuit qualifier this season. 1 of the teams (Gambit Esports) in the field had previously attended the last Pro Circuit Major, while the rest of the teams in this qualifier were chasing the opportunity to make their debut on the Pro Circuit stage. In the end though, only 1 of them proved to be successful, as Gambit Esports was the squad to come out on top against its regional rivals and lock down the sole CIS slot in Bucharest. Though only Gambit Esports will be moving on to The Bucharest Minor, we should take a look at how each of the teams fared in this qualifier and where they may fall in the overall regional hierarchy. As with the previous recap posts for the last Pro Circuit qualifiers, we will be dividing the participants up based upon their final standings in this event.
1st (Qualified for The Bucharest Minor)
Record: 6-1 (3-0 series record)
After missing out on its shot at earning back to back Major appearances, Gambit Esports was looking for the opportunity to reaffirm its strength and position within the CIS region. The Minor qualifier provided the team with just the chance that it was looking for, and the squad absolutely made the most of that opportunity by putting together a dominant performance against its regional rivals. The team posted a 6-1 record in this qualifier, with its lone loss coming against Winstrike Team in its first match of the qualifier before the team rattled off 6 straight wins to secure itself a place in Bucharest. While the team did not necessarily blow out its opponents across its 6 victories, its performance in this qualifier showed a level of strength and resiliency that makes Gambit Esports a dangerous opponent on the international level. Between its strong showing at home and its previous experience at The Kuala Lumpur Major, Gambit Esports will enter The Bucharest Minor as a formidable squad and a potential threat to claim the title of Minor Champion.
Record: 5-4 (2-2 series record)
After an absolutely disastrous performance in the Major qualifier, Winstrike Team managed to put together a significantly better showing this time around at the Minor qualifier. Though the team still did not manage to qualify for Pro Circuit event, the team posted a commendable 5-4 overall record against its regional rivals to finish 2nd among the field of 4 teams. Given the team’s rather rough start to the season so far, it can’t be stated for sure whether this performance will be the start of some sort of turn around for Winstrike Team, but it is certainly better than the previous showings that the team has put together this season. It may still be quite some time before this team inspires the levels of confidence that it held last season, but this performance at least constitutes a small first step towards eventually reclaiming its former position as a leading squda in the CIS region.
Team Empire Hope
Record: 2-4 (1-2 series record)
Team Empire Hope was not a team that was in consideration as an immediate candidate for success within the CIS region, but the secondary squad of the Team Empire organization was still able to represent itself well in its first set of Pro Circuit qualifiers. The team improved upon its 4th place finish in the Major qualifier with a 3rd place run in this Minor qualifier, although both performances left the squad short of the mark needed to qualify for a Pro Circuit event. Considering the fact that this team had only recently been formed, this can hardly be looked at as a failure for the team, and its back to back Top 4 finishes in these qualifiers bodes well for the team’s chances of competing consistently within the region. As the season goes on, we will likely get a more accurate feel for just where this Team Empire Hope squad stacks up against its regional rivals, but for the time being the team has made quite a strong first impression with its performances in these last 2 Pro Circuit qualifiers.
Record: 0-4 (0-2 series record)
It wasn’t exactly a triumphant first appearance in a Pro Circuit qualifier for Nemiga Gaming, as the largely Belarusian squad ended up finishing at the bottom of the event standings while posting a 0-4 record. Considering the fact that the squad has very little experience at what would be considered the top level of competition within the CIS region, this result is hardly surprising, but that likely comes as little consolation for the squad in the wake of its winless efforts. There were a few flashes of potential from Nemiga Gaming though, particularly in its initial series against Team Empire Hope. However, those flashes don’t appear to be enough to keep Nemiga Gaming in contention with the leading squads within the CIS region, at least not yet. Given time and further experience, we may very well see Nemiga Gaming again some time this season, but the squad will have to take some rather significant steps forward in its development before that happens.