Vici Gaming, Royal Never Give Up set to return to Pro Circuit stage after successful runs in the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor China Qualifier
The second set of regional qualifiers for the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor are beginning to come to an end, as the last of the 8 teams that will make up the field in Kiev are being decided. China has become the first region in this second group to conclude its qualifier run, with 2 of the region’s teams now set to take the Pro Circuit stage in the third Minor of the 2018-2019 season. Of the 4 teams that participated in this qualifier, 3 of them (Vici Gaming, Royal Never Give Up, and Team Aster) had all previously attended a Pro Circuit event this season. The odd team out in the field was Room310, a lesser known squad whose experience to this point in the season had been limited to small regional events and open qualifier runs. Each of these 4 teams was looking to earn itself a place at the Minor, but just half of them would be successful with 2 slots at the Minor on the line in this qualifier. When all was said and done in this event, it was Royal Never Give Up and Vici Gaming who were able to lay claim to those spots, beating out their regional rivals and punching their tickets to Kiev. Though those 2 teams will be the only squads representing the Chinese region at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor, we will take a look at how each of the teams in the field 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.
Top 2 (Qualified for StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor)
Royal Never Give Up
After opening the season with an appearance on the Pro Circuit stage at the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor, Royal Never Give Up had faded a bit within the Chinese region, as its results fluctuated a bit and other squads began to make pushes of their own. After some changes to the team’s roster though, RNG is finally making its way back to the Pro Circuit stage, as the team has managed to out play its regional rivals in this qualifier to earn itself a place at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor. The team put together a perfect run in this event, taking back to back 2-0 series victories over Room310 and Team Aster in order to secure its place at the Minor. Across the team’s 4 matches in this qualifier, RNG out killed its opponents 113-57 while every member of its team managed to put together a KDA ratio of at least 4. After this dominant showing against its regional rivals, Royal Never Give Up stands as a formidable opponent as it prepares for its second Minor appearance of the 2018-2019 Pro Circuit season in Kiev.
After the team’s failure to qualify for the DreamLeague Season 11 Major, there were some concerns that this Vici Gaming squad was beginning to lose its edge over its regional rivals. Some rumors were even swirling that the organization was potentially considered trying out some changes to its roster coming into this qualifier, with the team’s use of Agressif as a stand-in for its first series lending some credence to those rumors. After losing its first series against Team Aster though, the squad’s usual lineup returned for the second day of the qualifier, putting together back to back 2-0 victories over Room310 and Team Aster to secure itself a place in Kiev for the Minor. The team’s efforts in this successful qualifier run were spearheaded by its core trio, as Paparazi, Ori, and Yang combined to average 17.83 kills and 30.33 assists on just 5.67 deaths per game across the team’s 6 total matches. If the squad can continue to get that kind of output from its core trio on the Pro Circuit stage, then any concerns about a potential roster change will likely be cast aside as the Chinese team should be in line for a strong result at the Minor.
Team Aster came into this Minor qualifier with a bit of a difficult look to its roster than what we had seen in its Major qualifier run, with Mushi standing in for loveyouloveme. While the team was able to put up a solid fight against its regional rivals even with its altered lineup, the team’s efforts proved insufficient to earn it a place on the Pro Circuit stage. With a 2-4 overall record, Team Aster ended up finishing in the 3rd place position in this qualifier, just short of the mark to qualify for the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor. The team began its qualifier run in impressive fashion with a 2-0 win over Vici Gaming, but a 0-2 loss to Royal Never Give Up and another 0-2 defeat in its rematch with Vici Gaming saw the squad’s chances of reaching the Minor fade rather quickly. The team’s performance this season has proven to be relatively inconsistent, both within its home region and on the international level. With the team now failing to qualify for either the Major or the Minor, it would appear that Team Aster is approaching a critical junction in its 2018-2019 campaign. With regional rivals on the rise and teams like PSG.LGD still sitting atop the Chinese hierarchy, Team Aster will need to improve its fortunes fairly quickly over the second half of the season or risk falling down the rankings within its own home region.
Though the team had a couple of recognizable names on its roster, Room310 has been considered to be a lower tier team for most of the season so far, and the squad did not come into this qualifier as one of the favored teams in the field. However, the team’s successful open qualifier run and the fact that there were 2 slots up for grabs at this event meant that there was a small degree of hope that the squad could put together a strong enough performance to beat out some of its regional rivals. Things did not work out according to plan though, as Room310 ended up finishing at the bottom of the standings for this qualifier, and failed to record a single win in either of its series against Royal Never Give Up and Vici Gaming. While that result was not necessarily unexpected, it is always a bit disheartening to see a squad go winless in a regional qualifier. With the team being out killed 46-128 across its 4 total matches, there isn’t a whole lot to look for in terms of silver lining for Room310. The only positive here for the squad is that the chance to go toe to toe with some of the top teams in its region could potential help fuel the team to stronger performances over the rest of the season.