There are only a few Major events left before TI9. As we reach this stage of the competition, we often see the circuit’s rising stars, or surprising dark horses emerge. As teams from all regions racing to secure enough points to score an invitation to The International.
The Dota PIT Minor 2019 has been an excellent sampler for the kind of Dota 2 we expect to see with TI9 drawing closer. It’s provided us with some thrilling games already. The Minor began on April 22, with the group stages ending last night, April 24.
The group stages at this tournament were a two-day round robin event, with teams facing off in a series of Bo3’s. Now they’re done and dusted, and all our teams have now been seeded for the playoffs, which begin today.
If you’ve missed out on the rollercoaster of highs and lows so far, we’ve rounded up some of the best series from both days of the competition.
Group A Highlights
Group A’s teams gave us a breakneck start to the competition from day one of the event, and some of the most exciting series of the tournament so far.
Day 1: Ninja’s in Pyjamas vs Royal Never Give Up
Our opening series of day one saw EU team Ninjas in Pyjamas pitted against China’s lucky underdogs, Royal Never Give Up.
Game one saw the net worth see-saw back and forth as the game stretched out to sixty minutes. But as it ended, things were looking good for NiP. Saksa’s Lion racked up a massive 11 kills in that first game of the series, and Ace’s Drow Ranger pick proved to be the right call to carry NiP to victory.
But when it was banned first pick by RNG in game two, things started to look very different for both teams. RNG took game two in 38 minutes. Setsu was on fire throughout this game, with 14 kills and only one death. Game three was an even bigger slaughter. RNG racked up 33 kills to NiP’s 18. Monet was unstoppable on Medusa, ending game three with a whopping 31.2k net worth.
Royal Never Give Up have already had a few Cinderella stories at tournaments this year. After watching their opening performance against NiP, it’s fair to say the team are shaping-up into a formidable opponent.
Day 1: Boom ID vs Gambit Esports
Our other group A games were just as exciting, as SEA boys BOOM ID stomped through their series to take the win against CIS team Gambit Esports.
BOOM was merciless in game one. Earning themselves a 23-kill lead over Gambit, who clung on for 52 minutes before finally relenting to BOOM’s brutal offensive.
Though the Indonesian team faltered in game two, and Gambit looked a little more like themselves. Excellent performances from Afoninje’s Templar Assasin and Daxak’s Lifestealer were able to pull them a victory and stretch the series to three games.
But if game one had seemed merciless, then game three was a massacre. BOOM ID were 20 kills up at 28 minutes when game three was called.
BOOM ID are a strong team rising in the SEA scene, with some standout players. Jhocam had a total of 49 assists at the end of their opening series, and both Mikoto and Dreamocel (Fervian) both proved they have what it takes to carry BOOM’s furious, fast-paced style of play well in both the early, and late game.
Group B Highlights
The competition coming from our Group B teams proved to be just as gripping, with some real upsets and surprises.
Day 2: Alliance vs Majestic Esports
Majestic performed well during the first day of the group stages. After game one of this series, it looked as if they might sail through undefeated.
But Alliance weren’t prepared to let that happen. They came into game two rampaging, securing themselves a blistering lead in the net worth. At 27 minutes, GG was called. Alliance had 37 kills on the board to Majestic’s 7.
While game three didn’t provide quite the blood-bath of two. It was still clear from the opening minutes that Alliance were playing to win. After another short, fast game, they brought Majestic’s winning run at the Minor to a close.
This game was really something of a come back for Alliance, who have struggled a little to find their feet this season. Madara- and iNsania delivered some of the best performances we have seen from them recently, and as a whole Alliance looked like a fresh team as they thrashed Majestic Esports into submission.
Day 2: EHOME vs Forward Gaming
EHOME had their first taste of loss against Alliance, back on day one, and looked on the verge of finishing the groups without a single victory under their belt.
They came into game one of this series looking stronger than they had previously in the competition. Staying objective focused and securing themselves a swift, short victory.
But Forward Gaming came back in game two, and although the series was going on to game three, EHOME looked a little shaky.
As the final game in the series, and the group stages, neared the thirty-minute mark, EHOME came online again. The next thirty-minutes saw the boys from China give it their all. END’s Wraith King was unkillable, no matter how many times Forward committed heroes and resources to an attempt.
At 57 minutes, EHOME finally scored their first victory of the tournament against Forward.
It’s been a very rough season for EHOME. They’ve had more than a few lacklustre performances this year. It will be interesting to see if this is a signal we’re about to see a new lease of life from the team.
With so much fast and fancy Dota 2 being pulled off at this tournament, it’s hard to say who we’ll see at the top once the Minor ends. But we’re definitely looking forward to the rest of the ride.
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