StarLadder’s Final Minor of the year – Overview and Predictions

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We have said it many times before but it has to be said again – this Pro Circuit is just packed with so many Majors and Minors that there is literally a tournament every single week.

Being a huge Dota 2 geek myself, I find this cool and interesting, but for the average viewer, it could get pretty overwhelming. Some players have also spoke about the amount of tournaments. However, Valve is yet to decide what will be the schedule for the next Pro Circuit season.

However, the high amount of games is a good thing for the people who are into betting. If you are following the pro scene up close, you can make some nice bit of cash off it.

Having said that, there is also the possibility of losing, because Dota 2 is such an unpredictable game sometimes. For example in the latest DAC Major – Mineski came out of nowhere and stomped the competition throughout the tournament, where as previously their performance was pretty mediocre. Thats why you need to be able to decide wether or not there is a possibility of an upset in the game that you think will be “easy”.

Last Minor

This tournament will be StarLadder’s third and last Minor of the year. The participating teams will fight for that $300,000 prize pool as well as the precious 300 Qualification points. StarLadder will start on the 11th of April and it will last until the 15th. It will be played in Kiev, Ukraine.

Format and Participating Teams

There will be eight teams from all over the world which will take part in this Minor. They will be divided in two groups consisting of four teams each. The matches in the group stage will be played in a Bo3 Double Elimination Format. The top two teams of each group will be advancing to the playoffs where they will be playing in a single elimination. The Grand Final will be a Bo5.

As we can see, unlike DAC for example, the format of this tournament is pretty simple and straightforward. However, the lack of a lower bracket is surely a huge downfall, especially for the teams that come from far away. This is an issue that many players have addressed before.

Participating teams

Like most of the Minors, there will be eight teams which will take part in the tournament. Two of them are directly invited while the other six had to go through qualifications in order to get there.

• Direct Invite – Na’Vi, VGJ.Thunder (first Newbee were invited for this Minor, but due to Faith’s passport expiring, VGJ.Thunder will take their place)

• SEA Qualifier – Fnatic

• China Qualifier – LGD Gaming

• EU Qualifier – Team Kinguin

• CIS Qualifier – FlyToMoon

• NA Qualifier – OpTic Gaming

• SA Qualifier – SG e-sports

We can see that many of the so called “best teams in the world right now” are missing. This is due to the packed schedule and the fact that this is indeed a Minor. There is one more Minor and four more Majors, which means that we will definitely see those teams back in action very soon.
Despite that, there are surely teams who are in top 5 here, so we will be watching some exciting games nevertheless.

Our Favorites

LGD Gaming

LGD are undoubtedly the biggest favorite going into this event. They are one of the best Chinese teams on the Pro Dota scene.

Sadly, like most of the other top Chinese teams, LGD Gaming have inconsistency issues. Let’s take last week’s DAC for example, they felt like one of the best teams in the world. They dominated everyone despite losing against Mineski twice, one of which was in the Grand Finals.

In other tournaments, LGD could feel like a tier two team and fail to achieve. However, having players such as Maybe and fy is definitely something worth considering when you play against this team. This also applies to betting – you have to think twice before placing your money against this team, because you may end up empty handed.

VGJ.Thunder

Despite the fact that this team is technically a “Standin” for Newbee, they are surely worth mentioning as one of the favorites. Much like LGD, VGJ.Thunder has proven countless times that they are a worthy contender.

What’s more, they have the real chance of getting that Top 8 in the official leaderboard, which will give them a direct invite for TI 8. They will try to minimize their mistakes in order to win. therefore, be sure to be on the look out for potential upsets against them.

It’s a rare nowadays where two Chinese teams are considered to be amongst the heavy favorites, but this tournament is definitely one of them 😀

OpTic Gaming

The NA team has slowly but steady becoming an opponent who is capable of upsetting even the best teams in the world. They did fairly well at DAC, failing shortly to the two SEA teams – Mineski and TNC.

OpTic are finally a contenders for the best NA team, which is occupied by EG since pretty much forever. Some might say, breath of fresh air for the scene is always good and it will “force” EG to step up their game.

Going into this Minor, OpTic have a legitimate chance of getting a top 3 finish and picking up precious qualification points. However, you have to be on the look out if you are planning to bet for them, especially in the matches against the Chinese powerhouses.

Conclusion

Being a Minor, there isn’t as much hype around this tournament compared to last week’s DAC.

However, there are only few tournaments left until the end of the pro circuit. This means that for some teams this is one of the last opportunities to get some sort of “easier” qualification points.

This especially applies to Na’Vi and Fnatic. Both in an awkward position right now and have to do everything possible in order to secure that top 8 finish.

Pro dota is always exciting to watch, thats why we recommend you to catch the live games. Treat yourself with some high quality gameplay. You can watch the action live at StarLadder’s offical twitch channel.

Do you think that LGD will win this or the CIS legends – Na’Vi – have something else in mind? Let us know in the comments.

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