Alliance have always been a mainstay in the scene, is 2021 the year one of the DPC’s oldest orgs takes TI for a second time?
Alliance has come a long way since Jonathan "Loda" Berg put together the first incarnation of the team. That squad went on to win TI 3 back in 2013. That legendary roster included Loda himself, as well as popular streamer and former pro Henrik "AdmiralBulldog" Ahnberg, and current Alliance captain, Gustav "s4" Magnusson.
Alliance’s latest roster might not have achieved the same infamy just yet, but it certainly isn’t lacking in star power. Team captain s4’s storied history in Dota goes all the way back to DreamHack Winter 2012 and his epic Magnus plays and groundbreaking Rosh bait strategy.
The team’s mid lander, Linus "Limmp" Blomdin, has seen plenty of time in the pro circuit too. He got his first taste of the DPC back in 2014 with compLexity Gaming. Although, Limmp has bounced between a few EU teams, playing under Ninjas in Pyjamas banners, as well as making up a fifth of Alliance’s 2016 roster.
But it isn’t just DPC veterans making up the present roster. Nikolay "Nikobaby" Nikolov has been playing pro Dota since 2014 too, but his main stage experience didn’t come until 2019, when he attended TI 9 with Mineski. Since landing with Alliance however, Nikobaby has proven he’s a dominating force on the field. Racking up a massive 9.15 average kills per game throughout Season 2 of the EU DPC’s Upper Division.
The team’s supports are also not to be overlooked. Artsiom "fng" Barshak, earned his stripes playing with CIS squads such as Virtus.Pro, Gambit and Team Spirit. And alongside fellow support Simon "Handsken" Haag, the pair bring plenty of opportunity and clever positioning to the fore for the team.
A roller coaster 2021 run
As one of the oldest organizations in the pro Dota scene, Alliance has seen plenty of shifts in the circuit format over the years. 2021 saw yet another change to the DPC; moving to a two-season league style format with teams competing in their respective regions, and only two Majors.
It was a massive change, but Alliance seemed to slip into the new format with little problems. Holding their own against Secret’s monstrous start to Season 1, taking second place and qualifying straight to the Group Stage of the Singapore Major.
However, their Season 1 victories ended there, with the team failing to make it through to the Playoffs.
The team came back with a vengeance in Season 2, smashing their way to top seed in EU. Alliance was straight to the Playoffs at the WePlay AniMajor. But the event saw a similar narrative play out. Alliance’s Round 1 match against T1 saw them knocked down to the Lower Bracket. They played just one more series at the Animajor, against Team Spirit, who managed to pull out on top after a grueling three games. After an amazing Season 2 in the DPC, Alliance bowed out of the Animajor 9th-12th in the event standings.
Alliance's odds at TI 10
There’s no doubt that Alliance’s current roster have the skill and synergy to take the top spot at Dota 2’s premiere event. Their run through Season 1 & 2 of the EU DPC’s Upper Bracket proves it. However, once the stakes get higher, things start to fall apart. If Alliance can stay cool under pressure at TI 10, they might just be able to add another Aegis of Champions to the orgs long legacy.