Dota 2 - starladder imbatv dota 2 minor review
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Dota 2 – StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Review

The final minor on the DPC season is completed. An event that saw 8 teams compete for not only their share of the $300k prize pool, but for the final two spots at the final Major of the DPC season, the EPICENTER MajorMoscow 2019. Out of the 8 competing teams, only Ninjas in Pyjamas have guaranteed their invitation to The International 9, meaning that the 500 DPC points on offer could be the difference between earning an invite to TI9, or having to endure the open qualifers for the remaining spots at TI. 500 DPC points isn’t much, but advancing to the grand final at StarLadder also qualifies the two teams for the EPICENTER Major, where a much more appealing 15000 DPC points are on offer. Win EPICENTER Major 2019, you’ll be at The International- Simple.

Dota 2 - starladder imbatv dota 2 minor review

StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor
June 12 – June 16, 2019 
$300,000 USD Prize pool
Patch 7.22c
Qualified Teams- Alliance, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Complexity Gaming, Team Anvorgesa, Winstrike Team, Mineski, EHOME, Team Sirius

Group Stage

Group AGroup B
AllianceNinjas in Pyjamas
Team AnvorgesaTeam Sirius
Winstrike TeamComplexity Gaming

With only 4 of the 8 teams able to qualify for the playoffs, every game was crucial. Each group consisted of a double knockout format, lose twice and you’re on the plane home. Group A saw Alliance take both series against Winstrike and EHOME in the following Winners’ match, instantly advancing them to the knockout stage. EHOME were able to defeat South American qualifiers Team Anvorgesa before falling to Alliance in the Winners’ match, leaving EHOME one final chance to qualify for the next round. Team Anvorgesa were able to send the disappointing Winstrike home, who failed to win a series. The final spot for the knockout stage was up next. EHOME always looked control of game 1, withstanding Team Anvorgesa‘s strong early game and allowing NeverEnd’s Naga Siren to get online and carry them to victory. However, game 2 and 3 were… different. Both games were close until Team Anvorgesa were able to take the big team fight they needed, enabling them end the game and EHOME’s tournament.

Group B was stacked with quality teams, so much so that it’s a shame that two of these teams had to go home. NIP took care of Team Sirius after dropping game 1, while Mineski defeated Complexity in another 3-game series. The Winners’ Match saw NIP only needing two games to advance to the knockout stage, party due to Mineski’s random drafting. The elimination match between Team Sirius and Complexity that saw Team Sirius out-draft Complexity in both games. First game saw Sirius last pick Broodmother against a lineup that had no way to deal to control her or her Broodlings. While Game 2 was looking like Sirius may pick up Brood again with the last pick of the draft, forcing Complexity out of what I can only assume as fear, to use their last pick on a support Axe, which didn’t pay off and sent them home. This meant Team Sirius met Mineski for the deciding spot in the main event. Unfortunately for Mineski fans, it ended a rather bad day as they dropped both games again with, some questionable drafting. This draft meant Mineski had weak lanes, something Team Siriu were able to exploit and capitalize on, earning themselves the series win and advancing on.


Team Sirius looked to continue off from their last few series, taking game one against Alliance. Team Sirius would have been happy with their draft in game 2, picking up a last pick Brood again. This time though, Alliance were able to withstand the mid game pressure with their strong team fighting line up that eventually saw the Brood fall off, suddenly Alliance were the stronger team and were able to force game 3. This time Boxi put on a masterclass with Mars, following up from his great performance on Omniknight in game 2 and sent China’s remaining hope to the lower bracket- Game 3 to Alliance.

NIP faced off against the surprise of the tournament, Team Anvorgesa. There were no surprises in this series however, as NIP were in control in both games with excellent drafting. Game 1 saw NIP control the map, allowing Ace’s Naga to free farm and slowly take towers and starve Anvorgesa from farming. Game 2 saw NIP in complete control, with Aegis, pushing down mid lane to potentially end. All looked well, then suddenly a teamfight that initially didn’t look too bad, ended up being all Anvorgesa as not only was Aegis spent, but also two buybacks to ensure Ace could escape on his Sven. NIP was able to recover though and advance to the next round.

The first lower bracket game of the playoffs saw a greedy draft by Team Anvorgesa, which paid the price as 3 big team fights in the space of 10 minutes proved too much for their draft to come online- Game 1 to Team Sirius. Game 2 was much closer and could have gone either way to be honest, Team Sirius proving that they were the better team, ending an impressive run by the South American’s that I’m sure they will build upon.

Upper Bracket Final

Finally, one of the match ups I was looking forward to- NIP vs Alliance. IO and Morphling are a great combination, Alliance would have been extremely happy with their draft, but if there’s one aspect of NIP that really stood out this tournament, its ppd’s drafting. Game 1 featured strong drafts by both teams, but NIP’s execution was much, much better. Constantly pressured the safe lane of Alliance, not allowing Morph or even IO to get decent farm and never giving Alliance a chance in Game 1. Game 2 saw NIP pick one of their favorites, Bristleback in somewhat a greedy draft, giving Saksa the jungle with his Enigma. Alliance picked Storm Spirit, gave it to qojqva and enjoyed the show. qojqva was brilliant, despite NIP picking Anti-Mage on Ace to counter him. Game 2 was close, but one teamfight changed everything as Alliance wiped NIP and claimed Aegis and some map control. Vision is everything, as they were able to catch NIP offgard, with no buyback available NIP perhaps prematurely called GG, forcing Game 3. Game 3 replicated Game 1, but this time it was Alliance bringing the pressure to NIP, specfially Ace’s Medusa in the mid lane. Taiga on Earth Spirit and qojqva again on Storm ensure Ace struggled in lane and never recovered. Alliance proving that anything NIP can do; they can do better! Alliance securing a spot in the grand final and more importantly, their spot at EPICENTER Major 2019.

Lower Bracket Final

Perhaps the only disappointment to the tournament was the lower bracket final, this one sided series saw a surprise start to the draft from NIP in game 1, where FATA got a mid Gyrocopter and a support Zues, rather than an IO or another hero that enables Gyro. Never less, NIP outclassed Team Sirius as Ace redeemed himself with a great game on Sven. Team Sirius perhaps focused too much on letting their Naga farm, as they slowly lose map control and eventually, control of the game. Game 2 saw both Gyro and Sven picked up again by NIP, with similar results. NIP move on in a rematch against Alliance!

Dota 2 - starladder imbatv dota 2 minor review

Grand Final

Anytime a grand final series goes 5 games, you know it’s a good series and this was no exception. Game 1 was all Alliance, continuing off from their last series against NIP as miCKe on his Troll and qojqva on QOP dominated. NIP continued with their Gyro experiment, giving it to Ace this time but they were simply outplayed by two playmaking cores. Game 1 to Alliance.

Game 2 saw a more traditional draft from NIP, focusing on teamfights while Alliance went away from their playmaking cores and sent Medusa mid for qojqva. As expected, NIP’s lineup came online much quicker and applied far too much pressure for Alliance to withstand. miCKe’s Weaver failed to have an impact while FATA showed that he can style as well on his Mirana. All even at 1 game apiece.

Game 3 was FATA again styling and showing some flashy plays on his Templar Assassin. 33 was excellent as well, his Batrider proving the perfect initiation tool for TA and Ace’s Ursa, bursting down targets at will- NIP 2-1.

Credit: DotA 2 Digest

Game 4 was game of the tournament. If you only watch one game from this tournament, make sure it’s Game 4 from this grand final. One hour of action packed Dota where looke both teams were on top at various stages. We got to see some incredible individual plays, Slardar Aghs and a draft that should have carried NIP into the late game. Except it was Alliance that capitalized on some questionable AM plays from Ace, allowing Alliance to take game 4 and take this GF to Game 5.

Dota 2 - starladder imbatv dota 2 minor review
Your winners- NIP

It was too much to ask for Game 5 to live up to the previous game, but something close would of been nice. Alliance gambled the draft, picking up Faceless Void for miCKe. After miCKe’s tournament, you wouldn’t have expected the subpar performance that he delivered. It didn’t help that NIP last picked Meepo and itemized perfectly to enable him. Meepo ended up going Beyond Godlike and finished 16-0, but his team were just as good with ppd on Abaddon with Vlads, FATA picking up a Pipe and Crimson Guard on a position 1 Lifestealer, and even a Mekansm on 33’s Sand King, Alliance never had a chance at killing Meepo. Again, ppd and his team came through with some excellent drafting and strategies, ensuring they take out StarLadder and build momentum ahead of EPICENTER Major on June 22.

For more on Dota 2, check out our previous coverage.

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Written by Shaun Grimley

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