With the recent conclusion of the Epicenter regional qualifiers, there were many surprises to look forward to with the Major next month.
The CIS regional qualifiers was a roller coaster of surprises. For instance, three tiebreaker games occurred before the playoffs even started. Most notably Gambit Esports faced off against the highly esteemed Virtus Pro.
In the group stage, Gambit Esports’ only loss was to VP in a demoralizing 18 minute slaughter. However, this was their only loss and they ended the group stage 6-1 along with Na’Vi and Virtus Pro. Surprisingly, Na’Vi took down Virtus Pro in the group stage and the first tie breaker game. A stellar performance from core players Vladislav “Crystallize” Krystanek and Idan “Magical” Vardanian.
The group stage ended with a weird triangle. Gambit was able to beat Na’Vi, who was able to beat VP, who then were able to beat Gambit. However, Gambit Esports was the team who eventually broke the wheel and beat both Na’Vi and Virtus Pro.
What makes Gambit’s performance in the qualifiers outstanding is that their roster. Albeit veterans of the game itself, they have no notable finishes to their names. The highest of which being Captain Artiom “fng” Barshack’s fifth place finish at The International 2015 (under the Virtus Pro roster ironically). On the opposing side, Virtus Pro has won the Kuala Lumpur Major as victors over rank No. 1 Team Secret. Furthermore having dominant performances at both The International 2017 and 2018 while keeping the same roster throughout.
Power of MYSG+AU
Now aside from trying to figure out what their team name means, MYSGAU (Maybe pronounced “Miss gaw?”) played their hearts out.
Underdogs for sure, they have a mostly unknown roster however captained by the lovable Dota analyst and former player Chan “WinteR” Litt Binn. WinteR has not posted a professional result as a player since 2015. However, he showed he still knows how to lead any team at the top level.
To our surprise, MYSGAU come out above Team Mineski in the group stage. In the playoff bracket they started in the lower bracket due to the 4-3 record in the group stage.
In the first round, MYSGAU was pitted against Geek Squad led by veteran player Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung. Mushi has been to six TI’s and was voted best solo mid player in 2013 according to GosuAwards above the one and only Gustav “s4” Magnusson. MYSGAU was on the ropes, staring down the barrel of elimination, down 0-1 against Mushi and his team. WinteR led his team to a victory of 2-1. In the finals of the qualifier, WinteR’s stack would need to beat team Fnatic in a best of five. Most people expected a quick 3-0 from Fnatic. With superstars like Daryl “iceiceice” Koh and Abed “Abed” Yusop, MYSGAU did not stand a chance.
To everyone’s surprise, MYSGAU stood face-to-face with Fnatic taking them all the way to a game five. For a stack of unproven players in pro scene this is phenomenal play.
Other Major Details
Forward Gaming dominated the North American qualifiers without dropping a game.
They recently added Johan “pieliedie” Åström as Forward Gaming’s captain and support player. FWD went through the group stage without dropping a game to secure the top spot in NA. This flawless run makes them the only team worldwide to not lose a single game.
Alliance has lain dormant from success for several years now. However, they began to climb the ranks of these qualifiers with shocking wins over Ninjas in Pajamas and nearly defeating previous TI winners OG in the playoffs.
Who Will Claim the Trophy?
The first place prize of this upcoming tournament is 350,000 dollars and 4,950 DPC points, which is enough to help your team qualify for The International 2019, the largest event of the year.
Will Forward Gaming easily win it all? Or will teams like Gambit Esports have more surprising results and strategies to earn themselves a title. Give your thoughts below on what you think will happen or what you want to see.
Check out this teaser trailer for the Epicenter Major right here.
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