Gambit Esports returns to the Pro Circuit stage as it claims the lone CIS spot at the OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019
The second of the regional qualifiers for the OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019 has officially come to a close, as the another squad in the field for the 2018-2019 season’s fourth Minor has been decided. The CIS qualifier was the first to conclude its run, with the field of 8 participating teams narrowed down to just a single winner to take the stage in Split, Croatia later this month. When the qualifier had ended, Gambit Esports stood as the victorious squad, as the team posted a 6-1 overall record to claim its place on the Pro Circuit stage. The event will be the team’s second Minor appearance, and its third Pro Circuit appearance overall so far this season. With the action from this regional qualifier officially at and end, the time has come to take a look at how of the teams in the field performed in this event and how they stacked up compared to their pre-qualifier projections.
1st (Qualified for OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019)
Gambit came into this event as one of the clear favorites to claim the lone CIS spot at the Minor, and the squad certainly didn’t disappoint with an impressive performance against its regional rivals. The team dropped just a single game on its path to success, posting a 6-1 overall record while claiming series wins over Pavaga Junior, Na’Vi, and Old but Gold to lock down its place on the Pro Circuit stage. The team was strong across the board over the course of this qualifier, with its core trio of Daxak, Afoninje, and Afterlife averaging a combined 21.29 kills and 35.86 assists on just 7.57 deaths per game while the Support duo of Immersion and fng averaged 35 assists per game in a dominant series of performances. The lowest KDA for the squad in this qualifier was 5.24 from fng, as the squad put together an incredibly strong and balanced attack that none of its opponents could seem to contend with. if the squad can continue to play like this moving into the Minor itself, then Gambit Esports will almost certainly be considered one of the favorites heading into that event as it looks to claim its first Minor Championship title in Split.
Old but Gold
Old but Gold came into this Minor qualifier as a rising force within the CIS region, and the team certainly lived up to that billing with an impressive performance against its regional rivals in this event. While the squad ended up falling short of the mark to secure itself a spot on the Pro Circuit stage, Old but Gold’s strength was on display in this qualifier as it posted a 5-4 overall record. The team fought its way past both Winstrike Team and Black Hornets Gaming in a pair of 2-1 victories, before falling 1-2 to Gambit Esports in the Finals to finish in 2nd place. Across its 9 total matches in this qualifier, the team’s Carry/Mid duo of Illidan and G put together some incredibly impressive performances, averaging a combined 14.89 kills and 18.67 assists with 8.33 deaths per game to help bring the team just 1 game shy of claiming a spot on the Pro Circuit stage. At this stage in the season, it is clear that Old but Gold has the potential to be a legitimate power within the CIS region, though the squad will have to wait for the fifth and final round of Pro Circuit qualifiers in May before it can take another shot at improving its position in the Pro Circuit Rankings.
Na’Vi came into this Minor qualifier as one of the favorites to compete for the region’s lone spot on the Pro Circuit stage, but the squad was not quite able to reach that mark with a 2-3 overall record and a 3rd-4th place finish in the event. The team’s qualifier run did not prove to be overly impressive, as the team began the event with a 2-1 series victory over No Creativity that included a crushing loss at the hands of the nearly unknown squad in Game 2. Though the team managed to win that series, dropping a match against an opponent that Na’Vi was heavily favored against came as a significant concern for the squad. It certainly didn’t help that the team’s final opponent of the qualifier was another of the event favorites in Gambit Esports, as Na’Vi was handily defeated 0-2 in its series against that squad. From what we’ve seen from this Na’Vi roster in the past, it is fairly clear that this poor performance is more due to a lapse in focus or discipline as opposed to any sort of sudden loss of skill or ability. The question for the team moving forward though is whether it can bounce back and continue performing up to its standards within the CIS region, or if the squad is headed for a slump to finish out the 2018-2019 season.
Black Hornets Gaming
After a decent showing in the Major qualifier, Black Hornets Gaming entered this Minor qualifier with a small degree of hope that it could potentially contend for a spot on the Pro Circuit stage. The team wasn’t quite considered to be on the same level as favorites like Na’Vi and Gambit, but it was at least seen as a potential threat. With a 3-2 overall record and a 3rd-4th place finish in this event, the team ended up in just about the exact position that it had been projected to fall into. The team took a solid 2-0 victory over FlyToMoon in its initial series before taking a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Old but Gold to close out its qualifier run. Across its 5 total matches in this event, the team’s Carry/Mid duo of Palantimos and Pikachu put up a combined average of 14.6 kills and 15.4 assists on just 7.2 deaths per game. If the squad can continue getting production like that from its cores moving forward, then Black Hornets Gaming have the potential to move up the CIS hierarchy over the final months of the season.
With the team seeing its first action since the rather dramatic change to its roster, many were unsure of exactly what to expect from Winstrike Team in this Minor qualifier. While the team ended up finishing in the bottom half of the event standings, it managed to put together a solid performance in its lone series of the qualifier. The team ended up losing to Old but Gold 1-2, but its play against its regional rival was fairly impressive overall. The team dominated Game 1 of the series, and held net worth leads throughout the first half of both Games 2 and 3 before allowing Old but Gold to come back in the late-game stage. Despite losing control of the back end of the series, Winstrike Team managed to get a combined average of 26 kills and 37.99 assists on 14.33 deaths per game from its core trio of Silent, DM, and nongrata. Those performances has Winstrike Team come dangerously close to a series victory in this qualifier, and could hopefully be a sign to stronger play from this squad moving forward through the final months of the Pro Circuit season.
Unfortunately for FlyToMoon, it appears that its recent roster changes were not enough to secure the squad any wins in this Minor qualifier. The good news for the squad is that the team’s new Carry Nix was able to put together a combined stat line of 14-4-11 in the team’s lone series of the qualifier. The bad news is that those efforts were not nearly enough to help the team overcome its opponent as FlyToMoon lost 0-2 to Black Hornets Gaming. The squad managed to keep things competitive through the first half of both matches, but the late-game stage saw it fall apart. Beyond the 25 minute mark of both matches, FlyToMoon was out killed 5-31, giving the team no chance for any sort of comeback effort as its qualifier run was brought to an early end.
Expectations weren’t particularly high for Pavaga Junior coming into this event, and the team unfortunately proved unable to defy said expectations as it was rather handily defeated by Gambit Esports. Out killed 11-58 over the course of a 0-2 series loss, the team was simply out matched as it suffered a crushing defeat that saw it trail in terms of net worth for pretty much the entirety of the series. Considering the strength of Gambit Esports, this result is hardly surprising for Pavaga Junior, but it is still somewhat disappointing that the squad only gets to play the one series due to the format for the qualifier.
As the final squad to make it into the field for this Minor qualifier, No Creativity was not expected to find much success in this event. While the team ended up in the bottom half of the event standings in the 5th-8th place position, the squad managed to put together a much stronger performance than many had been anticipating. The team took a game off of one of the qualifier favorites in Na’Vi, claiming a blowout victory in Game 2 of what ended up being a 1-2 series defeat for No Creativity. With only 1 more set of Pro Circuit qualifiers left in the 2018-2019 season, it doesn’t appear that No Creativity is likely to have another shot at claiming a place on the Pro Circuit stage. However, the team will at least have its lone victory in this qualifier as a bright spot in its season.