StarLadder and ImbaTV’s first minor of the 2018-2019 Pro Circuit will take place at the beginning of March in Kiev, Ukraine. As with every Minor, eight teams will have to fight each other for that juicy $300,000 prize pool as well as 500 DPC points needed for TI 9.
The last couple of days have been an arena for the qualifiers. We saw some amazing games that were definitely worth watching. Although the qualifiers are not over yet, we already know the names of the first five participants. We are yet to find out the last Chinese, European, and South American representative at the event.
Let’s take a look at what happened up to now.
The first team that got into the Minor was Boom ID. Since all the big names from SEA were occupied with the DreamLeague Season 11 Major, this gave the others the chance to shine. And they did. Dreamocel and his fellas were able to deal with legends such as Dendi and Ohaiyo in their path to success.
Tigers might be one of the biggest upsets in the qualifiers because people were expecting a lot from them. Having a TI winner and a finalist in the same team always brings expectations. Sadly, they were unable to live up to the expectations and lost two games in a row. The future of Tigers is still unknown, but we hope to be able to see them again really soon.
The latest addition to the region is EternaLEnVy’s team - Flying Penguins. Their journey was pretty hard because they were sent to the Lower Bracket in their first game against Team Team. After the unfortunate result, EE and his team-mates were able to slice through wut the frog without much trouble. Jacky Mao, who is back in the carry position, proved yet again that he’s still got it.
The big favorite compLexity Gaming was able to deal with wut the frog in the first round. Their second enemy was FP’s executors - Team Team. The first game between the two was relatively close, as there was tons of back-and-forth action. In the end, compLexity Gaming was victorious. Having a morale advantage, game two was a breeze for them.
Envy’s team was able to take sweet revenge on Team Team in the Lower Bracket, which meant that the Final was between CoL and FP. Jacky shined yet again for his team and was able to lead them to victory. The first game was a really exhausting marathon lasting nearly 80 minutes.
Naturally, losing such a long game has its psychological effects. In the second game, CoL just looked tired and didn’t know what to do, which was more than welcomed for Flying Penguins, who were able to take the series and secured their spot in the Minor.
Even though there will be two CIS teams in the event, there will be no Ukranian representatives, which will not be a good thing for the home crowd. CIS and China are the only regions that will have two teams.
Gambit Esports is the first team which was able to reserve their ticket. Unlike the other quals, here there were two phases. The winners from phase one had to fight yet again in phase two. As expected, Team Empire and was the first one to go through. The second team from the first phase was Aachen City Esports. However, they were quickly 2-0ed by Gambit Esports in the first game of the second phase.
Team Empire was able to deal with Old But Gold, which meant that the “megafight” between the two favorites was on its way. The heavy push start from Gambit was a bit too greedy, and they dropped game one. With their backs against the wall, they went with an entirely different strategy in the second game, which gave them the victory and tied the score. The final game was a little bit too one-sided in Gambit’s favor, and just 30 minutes in GG was called.
Following their defeat, TE fell yet again in a three-game scenario, this time against Old But Gold, who will be the second participant from this region.
Similar to CIS, there will be two Chinese teams at the event. However, there were no first and second phases. Instead, there is just an Upper and Lower Bracket. The winner from each one goes to the tournament.
The first team that managed to secure their spot was Royal Never Give Up. They did it without dropping a single game. If they can showcase the same performance in the actual Minor, we may see a Chinese winner.
The second spot is still being fought over. The winner between Vici Gaming and Room310 will have to fight Team Aster. Sylar and his team-mates are still struggling to find their form, despite having all those big names in their squad. They did pretty much nothing in the Chongqing Major, and they also failed to qualify for DreamLeague Season 11, despite finishing first in their group.
Europe and South America are yet to send their champions. OG and Kaban were able to leave the group stage in group A as expected. In group B, Vega Squadron and Alliance were the ones that went through.
The first Semifinal game will be between OG and Vegam because n0tail and Co. were able to beat Kaban in the tiebreaker. Coming in second, we have Alliance vs. Kaban. Pretty much every team here deserves that spot for the Minor.
In South America, we have two Brazilian and two Peruvian teams that will have to fight for that place in the StarLadder Minor. Thunder Predator is definitely the favorite if we take into account their most recent results.
Make sure to watch the games live on ESTNN TV so that you don’t miss any of the action!