OG dominates regional rivals, strings together 9 straight wins to secure the lone European spot at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor
The regional qualifiers for the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor are coming to a close, as the second group of regions are finishing up their runs and the field of teams heading to Kiev is coming into focus. Europe was the penultimate region to finish its qualifier, with the 6 participating squads whittled down to just a single winner which will represent the region on the Pro Circuit stage at the Minor. Of the 6 squads that entered this event, 5 of them (Vega Squadron, OG, Kaban, The ReaL DeaL, and Alliance) had previously participated in a Pro Circuit qualifier. In the end though, only 1 of the team stood victorious as the winner of this qualifier, with OG taking down Alliance 3-0 in a Bo5 Grand Final to punch its ticket to Kiev. Although OG will be the only team advancing to the Minor, we will be taking a look at the overall performances of all 6 teams in this qualifier and what may come next for them. 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 StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor)
Record: 9-1 (4-1 Group Stage [1-0 Tiebreaker], 5-0 Playoffs)
In the wake of a somewhat disappointing 5th-6th place finish in the recent Major qualifier, OG came into this Minor qualifier looking for an opportunity to bounce back and reaffirm its strength at the expense of some of its regional rivals. As it turns out, the squad was able to do exactly that, as OG simply tore its way through this qualifier and out played its opponents at nearly every turn with a 9-1 record that secured the team a place in Kiev. After losing its initial match against Kaban, OG proceeded to rattle off 9 straight victories against Kaban, Dota2Players, Vega Squadron, and Alliance in an absolutely dominant display of strength. With this impressive showing against its regional rival, the defending TI Champion should come into the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor as one of the stronger teams in the field and an early favorite to claim the title of Minor Champion in Kiev.
Record: 5-3 (3-0 Group Stage, 2-3 Playoffs)
Alliance has proven to be something of a surprise leader within the European region, as the team started its season with a string of impressive performances against its regional rivals that included successful qualifier runs for each of the first 2 Majors of the 2018-2019 campaign. However, a setback in the most recent Major qualifier had some wondering if the squad was beginning to regress. After fighting its way through the open qualifier though, Alliance was able to earn itself a spot in this Minor qualifier and a shot at redemption as it looked to earn its third appearance on the Pro Circuit stage this season. The squad certainly got itself off to a strong start in this event, as Alliance won its first 5 matches of the qualifier to march its way straight to the Grand Finals. Unfortunately, the team’s momentum died out there, as Alliance suffered a 0-3 defeat at the hands of OG to wind up just short of the mark to qualify for the Minor. Despite failing to qualify, Alliance’s strong performance in this regional qualifier should go a long way towards alleviating some of the concerns that popped up after the squad’s disappointing Major qualifier run. So long as the squad avoids another significant setback like that one, then Alliance should continue to be a formidable force within the European region over the final half of the Pro Circuit season.
Record: 2-4 (2-2 Group Stage, 0-2 Playoffs)
After coming up 1 series short in its attempt to earn a place at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major, Vega Squadron came into this Minor qualifier with high hopes and a strong shot at reaching its second Pro Circuit event of the season. While the team was able to fight its way through the Group Stage of this qualifier, it ultimately came up short in the Playoffs as it lost its final series 0-2 against OG. That loss brought the team’s overall record to 2-4 in this qualifier, with the squad finishing in the combined 3rd-4th place position in what was a slightly disappointing performance. The squad’s most recent addition, Midlaner DM, seemed to struggle to a certain degree in this event with averages of 3 kills and 8.33 assists with 6.17 deaths per game. A lot of that can likely be attributed to his relative inexperience within the European region, but as DM grows more comfortable with his teammates, and they with him, Vega Squadron should continue to be a potential threat moving forward into the second half of the season.
Record: 3-4 (3-2 Group Stage [0-1 Tiebreaker], 0-2 Playoffs)
As a team that had only recently been formed within the European region, Kaban had not come into this latest round of Pro Circuit qualifiers with the highest expectations of success. However, the team’s 5th-6th place finish in the recent Major qualifier had instilled a bit of hope that perhaps the squad could find its way to the Pro Circuit stage with a strong performance against against its regional rivals. Unfortunately, the team’s performance in this Minor qualifier was not quite strong enough, with Kaban putting together a 3-4 overall record to finish in the 3rd-4th place position among the 6 participating teams. The silver lining for Kaban in this qualifier run was the fact that the team got some impressive showings from its Carry/Mid duo of Oliver and Nine. The players combined to average 11 kills and 13.72 assists with 5.85 deaths per game, and served as the driving force behind the team’s performance. While Kaban does not appear to be ready for a move into the realm of the leading teams in Europe at the moment, there is a fair bit of potential to this squad that it can hopefully expand upon and capitalize on moving forward through the rest of the season.
The ReaL DeaL
Record: 0-3 (0-3 Group Stage)
After the team’s appearance in the previous Major qualifier, there was some small hope that The ReaL DeaL could take advantage of this second chance and put together a stronger showing against its regional rivals in this Minor qualifier. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way, as The ReaL DeaL failed to earn a single win in this event for a 0-3 record and a place in the combined 5th-6th position. Even more disappointing for the squad is that it didn’t even end up playing all of its scheduled matches, as Game 2 of its 2-game series against Alliance was not played. The match could not have affected the standings at that point, but it is still somewhat disappointing that The ReaL DeaL did not take that last opportunity to potential earn itself a win at this event. Between this showing and its recent performance in the Major qualifier, The ReaL DeaL does not look like it is ready to compete with the top squads in Europe just yet. If the team plans on staying together moving forward though, perhaps it could develop into a potential contender over the second half of the season.
Record: 0-4 (0-4 Group Stage)
The expectations for this team were not particularly high coming into this event, as most of its roster only had experience playing in smaller regional events against lower tier competition. That being said, Dota2Players were absolutely blown out of this regional qualifier, putting up a 0-4 record that saw it out killed 44-119 as the team ended up playing from behind across nearly the entirety of its matches. To be fair to Dota2Players, this result was entirely expected, as the team was considered to be rather significant underdogs no matter what match up it ended up in. With that in mind, this performance from the team is less of a disappointing result and more of a potential learning experience for a roster of fairly inexperienced players. Regardless of whether or not this team elects to remain together moving forward, the chance to test themselves against some of the strongest teams in its region stands as a valuable opportunity for the members of Dota2Players.