Your guide to GEST April
Starting from 06:00 CET tomorrow, the Gigabyte eSports Tournament International DotA Cup will usher in the April edition of the online tournament. Twenty teams will feature this weekend to compete for a total prizepool of $2,500. Will the Philippines score a hat trick this month?
|Advance:|| Invasion Red, Mineski|
Mineski - Last month's defending champions Mineski were regrettably ruled out of the competition during the group stages following a decision to settle a tie using time rating. Recent rumors also point towards captain WootZ leaving the team, which would definitely hurt their chances of performing well tomorrow.
Tomorrow's matches will reveal whether the captain will be playing for the Philippine team or whether the team will use a stand-in. Nevertheless, Mineski are still the team to beat in Group A and show a strong possibility of emerging to the playoffs.
Update: Mineski's Director of Events Marlon has confirmed that Wootz will continue playing for Mineski. Rumors have been dispelled.
Invasion Red - Despite being the dark horse of last month's tournament, they went against all odds to take home a first runner's up at GEST March. They definitely stand as strong contenders to finish top two should they display consistent form after a one month break since the last edition.
Neolution, ECS.DotA - The only results we have of the two Thai teams in Group A were their recent placings at the Thai eSports League (see). Neolution have proven themselves as the best team in Thailand after edging out traditional powerhouse MitH.Trust to finish first in the league.
Not much is known about ECS.DotA outside of Thailand, but as winners of their own national qualifier, they are not to be doubted when the tournament kicks off tomorrow.
StarsBoba - The sleeping giant of competitive SEA DotA, the phrase 'ups and downs' could not be extrapolated any more perfectly to describe a team such as StarsBoba. Following the release of Soso, the Vietnamese team never really found the groove they had back in 2010 when the name SB echoed a similar resonance to powerhouses like Nirvana.MY.
'A lack of practice and support' was the call from Archie in an interview with SK Gaming following the team's disappointing performance at GEST March. This should not discredit the team however, given that they were first runner's up to Mineski during the debut edition in February.
|Advance:|| Orange, iZONE125|
G7 - Myanmar and G7 has always been the stranger in the SEA scene given the lack of any news and tournaments coming from the area. The team, however, was known for their interesting picks (even featuring Luna in one game) at SMM 2011 and performing surprisingly well, only crashing out to Chinese teams at the LAN event. Hopefully, the team can fight back the lag issues that plagued them at the past two editions of GEST to pull off some convincing wins this weekend.
Deperruku - March was not a good month for the Indonesia team Deperruku (then known as Velocy). Suffering three straight losses, the team were unable to enjoy the success that their compatriots, Ritter, had in Group B.
They have, however, shown the potential and capability to perform, forcing Mineski to a draw back in February as well as enjoying convincing 2-0 victories over Invasion Red (last month's first runner's up) and iDeal (the team which beat Mineski and subsequently caused their early exit last month).
iZONE125 - As one of the Filipino teams which gave SEA teams a masterclass on heroes such as Queen Of Pain and Templar Assassin, one should never count out the hyper-aggressive team from snagging the whole tournament as they have shown themselves capable of in the past.
A strong showing at the recent GMPGL 4.3 - finishing second only to Mineski and ahead of teams Pcfc and MSIEvoGT - can only spell trouble for the rest of their group should they wish to advance on to the quarter finals of the playoffs on Sunday.
Orange - Not much really needs to be said about Orange eSports. They have been everywhere and anywhere, participating in tournaments both offline and online, DotA and Dota 2, overseas and local. It would not be so much of a stretch to even label the Malaysian powerhouse as the SEA team with the most competitive experience (although Mineski fans may beg to disagree).
Their recent first placing at both India Gaming Carnival (which ran DotA) as well as the Razer Invitational Showcase (which ran Dota 2) clearly distinguishes them at the top of their league. This was later supported in an interview with Invasion Red's ShenGG, who admitted to seeing 'a couple of new drafts coming out from Orange in [their] trainings' and possibly a bigger and better Orange coming out after 'the experience they gained from IGC and Razer Showcase'.
TteSport.HOW - Unfortunately, little is known about the Thai team which qualified through the national qualifiers but unless they pull of something wild tomorrow, their odds of advancing to the playoffs are against their favor.
|Advance:|| eNcy, Pcfc|
eNcy - Another Indonesian team that have yet to prove themselves, eNcy stand a strong chance of advancing to the playoffs given that the brackets have been expanded to accommodate the top two teams from each group (see). The fight for top placing should eventually boil down to the team which manages to upset Pcfc at their own game.
Pcfc - The worst of all possible fates were dealt to Pcfc last month - being eliminated from the competition by your own country mates. During the group stages, iZONE125 claimed a draw over Pcfc in their head on clash, and after having already won their first two group stage matches, they ended up as victors in Group D and forced Pcfc out of GEST.
It seems that this month though, the Philippines' biggest enemy - themselves - will no longer be a threat as the brackets display evenly distributed teams with countries have little or no overlap in the groups. Pcfc are definitely the favorites to top their Group.
Err0R - India stood at the heart of a controversial discussion regarding eSports after the organisers of the India Gaming Carnival botched the event so hard that it was impossible to salvage any credible reputation they once had in the scene.
However, the heart of DotA should steer clear from politics, but even so, the Indian gaming community have never found a strong representative among the other SEA teams (and reasons abound). Err0R will be carrying India's hopes for a decent finish at this month's GEST, but they will definitely need to pull off the performance of a lifetime to accomplish such a feat.
iDeal - Known as the team that knocked out Mineski at GEST March, the dreams of a thousand Pinoy fans were simultaneously crushed after news of a convincing 2-0 win over Mineski was announced followed by a controversial (to say the least) decision to advance Ritter to the playoffs using a time rating rule.
The Thai team might just cause another upset this month taking a game or two off frontrunners Pcfc and the rest, but until Pcfc have conclusively shown themselves as the stronger of the two, nothing should be taken away from iDeal.
Fire - Much of Vietnamese DotA has been shadowed by a trio of StarsBoba, Skynet and WAG. Fire remains the stranger in the group (and possibly the scene) and this might just work to their advantage tomorrow, although it is quite uncertain that much can be achieved from this.
|Advance:|| Trust, MSIEvoGT|
Trust - From China to Malaysia and then to India, Trust is another team which embodies the phrase, 'seen it all, done it all'. Their knowledge and competitive LAN experience places them at an unfair edge in most situations, and even though they finished second in their national Thai eSports League (see), Trust is simply one of those teams who can beat and be beaten by anyone (the latter may be up for debate).
Like Orange, expect to see them fresh from their podium finishes at the India Gaming Carnival and perform at tomorrow's tournament. Even though they may be set up against the defending champions from GEST March, as the Thai motto (which was later repeated in an interview with Trust manager Toy) goes, teams from Thailand fight 'to the very end!'
MSIEvoGT, R-Gaming - What more can be said besides, bus yan!
Though, to take things in a more serious perspective, MSIEvoGt should be feeling confident about last month's victory and despite a poor finish at GMPGL 4.3, where they lost out in the group stages, they are the team to beat and they will certainly fight to defend their title as champions of GEST.
R-Gaming are new faces to the international scene and while not much can be said about them, the country they represent tell us something - and that is that they are here to win. It will be no surprise to see exotic picks coming out from both of these two Filipino teams tomorrow, and it will all boil down to how SEA teams react this month as compared to last month - where Templar Assassin and Naga Siren tore everyone who did not ban these heroes apart.
Ritter - The most successful Indonesian team out of the trio of eNcy, Deperruku and Ritter, the latter won a remarkable, albeit controversial ticket to the playoffs last month after time rating was used to decide the winner of a tied group. GEST April, however, will not be a walk in the park for Ritter as the other four teams can and will be fighting tooth and nail for that top two, with the competition even tighter among Trust and MSIEvoGT.
Skynet - Like StarsBoba, the Vietnamese team's performance has fluctuated ever since they entered the public eye in 2010 during a series of showmatches organized between the Chinese and Vietnamese teams. Skynet would need to come up with something special tomorrow to erase their record of 0 wins and 3 losses last month and hopefully salvage a win or two from Group D's other national powerhouses.
GosuBets for the first round of matches have already been added on the site - every bet you place adds to your chance of taking home exclusive Gigabyte Motherboards and Graphics Cards in the GEST GosuBet Championship.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow when the first round of matches go live at 06:00 CET. GosuGamers, with David 'GoDz' Parker, will be there all the way till the end so stick around as we bring you all the latest updates.