Better late than never: Team Sirius earns its Pro Circuit debut at the final Minor of the season as it joins EHOME as the 2 Chinese representatives at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2
The first regional qualifier for the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2 has officially come to an end, with the first teams in the field for the event now set. 6 squads from the Chinese region came into this qualifier looking to lay claim to a place at the season’s final Minor, but just 2 of the those challengers would end up securing themselves places on the Pro Circuit stage. When all was said and done in the qualifier, it was the duo of EHOME and Team Sirius who came out on top, with the 2 teams set to represent their home region in Kiev. The event will be the third Minor appearance and 6th Pro Circuit event overall this season for EHOME, while Team Sirius will be making its first ever appearance on the Pro Circuit stage. With the conclusion of this qualifier, no other Chinese squad will be making appearances on the Pro Circuit stage this season, with the unsuccessful squads from this event now looking ahead to the upcoming TI9 qualifiers for their next opportunity to earn an appearance on the international level. Before we start thinking about those qualifiers though, we can take a look at the results from this one, with the participants categorized based on their final place in the event standings.
Top 2 (Qualified for StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2)
Record: 8-0 (4-0 Group Stage, 4-0 Playoffs)
In the wake of a less than impressive showing in the recent Major qualifier, the expectations for EHOME were set somewhat lower as the squad entered this final Minor qualifier of the 2018-2019 season. The task of turning thing around just days after the conclusion of that event was certainly a daunting one, but it was one that EHOME proved to be more than capable of accomplishing as it put together an incredible showing against its regional rivals in this event. The squad did not lose a single match on its path to the Pro Circuit stage, winning 8 straight games to sweep past every opponent and claim 1 of the 2 Chinese slots at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2. Leading the way for the squad in this impressive performance was NeverEnd, as the team’s Carry put together ridiculous averages of 8 kills and 8.75 assists on just 1.38 deaths per game. Should the squad continue to get that kind of production from NeverEnd and the rest of its lineup, then EHOME will likely be one of the more formidable threats in the field for the final Minor of the season.
Record: 6-6 (2-2 Group Stage, 4-4 Playoffs)
After an unimpressive 2-6 performance in the Major qualifier, Team Sirius did not come into this event as a leading contender in the field, as the squad was considered to need a dramatic improvement in its level of play to have a chance at claiming a place on the Pro Circuit stage. The squad managed to make those needed adjustment though, holding its own against its regional rivals to put together a 6-6 record that earned it a place at the final Minor of the 2018-2019 season. The team’s play was far from dominant, but it was able to dig deep and turn in quality performances when it mattered most, with ASD in particular coming through for the squad in key situations. The Midlaner averaged 7.33 kills and 6.25 assists on just 3.42 deaths per game to lead the squad to perhaps its most impressive performance in its relatively short history. With the considerable levels of skill and experience that this team has on its roster, Team Sirius will come into the Minor as a dangerous squad in what will be the team’s debut appearance on the Pro Circuit stage in Kiev.
Record: 8-7 (2-2 Group Stage, 2-0 Tiebreakers, 4-5 Playoffs)
Keen Gaming’s somewhat underwhelming performance in the recent Major qualifier had come as something of a surprise, but the hopes were that the squad would be able to bounce back with a strong showing in this Minor qualifier and earn itself one last Pro Circuit appearance before the end of the season. While the team’s 8-7 record in this event wasn’t necessarily bad, it wasn’t quite enough to get Keen Gaming to the Minor, as the squad fell 1 game short of that mark after a 1-2 loss to Team Sirius. Keen Gaming’s rather abrupt setbacks over its last 2 qualifier appearances have certainly been unexpected developments within the Chinese region, but they just go to show how crowded the region truly is that even the most subtle or minor of mistakes can have such a significant impact on a team’s performance. With the team’s failure to secure a place on the Pro Circuit stage, Keen Gaming’s fate with regards to a potential direct invite to TI9 is now out of its own control. The squad will have to hope that it doesn’t end up being jumped over in the Pro Circuit Rankings as it watches the final Major and Minor of the season from home.
Typhoon E-Sports Club
Record: 4-7 (2-2 Group Stage, 1-1 Tiebreakers, 1-4 Playoffs)
Expectations were not particularly high for Typhoon E-Sports Club coming into this Minor qualifier, but the squad’s play came as something of a pleasant surprise as it put together a 4-7 overall record that earned it a 4th place finish in the event. At first glance, that record may not seem all that impressive, but it should be noted that Typhoon E-Sports Club played all 11 of its total matches in this qualifier against ranked opponents, as the squad was tested against squads with experience playing on the Pro Circuit stage. With the team’s Carry/Mid duo of Fonte and Aq combining to average 13.18 kills and 15.46 assists on just 6.18 deaths per game, Typhoon E-Sports Club appear to have a fair bit of potential to work with moving forward. The squad may not be ready to compete with the heavy hitter in China just yet, but the upcoming TI9 qualifiers will certainly provide the squad with an opportunity to make improvements and potentially display its strength against its regional rivals.
Record: 0-4 (0-4 Group Stage)
Things did not go all that well for Newbee in this final Pro Circuit qualifier, as the squad did not earn a single win to finish the event with a 0-4 record. Out killed 55-87 over the course of those 4 matches, Newbee found itself playing from behind throughout the vast majority of its match ups as the squad simply could not find its footing against its regional rivals. With this winless performance in the Minor qualifier, Newbee has officially failed to record a single appearance on the Pro Circuit stage in this 2018-2019 season, and its former position as a regional leader in China has been eroded by a campaign of frustration and frequent changes to its roster. With the conclusion of this qualifier, the schedule seems to be somewhat empty for Newbee, as the squad will most likely look to regroup and prepare itself for a run in the upcoming TI9 qualifiers.
Record: 2-4 (2-2 Group Stage, 0-2 Tiebreakers)
This Minor qualifier proved to be a tale of two halves for Team Aster, as the squad seemed to be holding its own through its first two series with a pair of 1-1 splits. Once the tiebreaker matches began though, the team appeared to lose its nerve, as it lost back to back Bo1s to end its run in the qualifier with a 2-4 overall record and a 5th-6th place position. The dropoff for Team Aster in thos tiebreaker matches was rather drastic, as the team was out killed across those 2 matches 27-60 and trailed in terms of net worth for all but 1 minute out of nearly 67 minutes of total game time. With this team’s poor showing in this qualifier, Team Aster’s hopes of earning itself a Top 12 position in the Pro Circuit Rankings have officially been declared dead, with the squad next goal likely being to prepare itself for a run through the upcoming TI9 qualifiers.