StarLadder finals #1
There would for example be ArtStyle. Once traded as irresistible mastermind that led Na`Vi to a triumph at the first International, the 23-year-old took an unexpected route and almost became an antihero after falling from grace at several of his former employers . Today he returns with a team whose other members seem eager to settle a scores with fellow competitors as well. Not only would a playoff-victory against arch rival Na`Vi leave a bittersweet buckle on the Ukrainians' shimmering armor, Darer surely added Moscow5 to their hitlist as well. After all it was Pgg and his entourage that denied NS, G, kyky, kliff and Santa (back then the Dota 2 squad of M5) an epic clash against Na`Vi in the grand final of the Dota 2 Star Championship, after beating them out of the winner bracket last December. A disappointing third place alongside other factors led to a termination of contracts and ultimately let The Retry - after a short intermezzo in DTS - take their places in Moscow5. Wether Darer will have their payback time this weekend is the most thrilling question to me.
Next to the entangled history that the three local contenders share, the showing of CLG almost falls into decline. Unjustifiably though, as the Swedes showed high quality Dota throughout the past months and may evolve to the big story this weekend, should the players maintain their composure, adapt to the local environment and suppress stage fright, from where v1lat will unleash his battlecries onto the viewing audience.
For Na`Vi it will be a challenge like any other. No team won more Dota 2 matches in 2012 than the Ukrainians who currently present themselves in exorbitant shape. A dangerous position to be in however, that can lead to boastfulness. Na`Vi must aim to remain concentrated and focus on their experience and team chemistry. Otherwise, losses against a pumped Darer or M5 - as experienced at D2SC - come fast enough.
Moscow5 have the least to lose going into the playoffs. Participating in a Kiev-event has become routine, nobody expects a triumph and any placing that beats Darer or Na`Vi is considered satisfying . A lot will depend on their shape at the particular match days and wether the team can get into the same berserk mode that allowed them to beat the ne plus ultra in Dota 2, Na`Vi at D2SC last year.
Due to the short-term planning of the trip, I didn't want to revoke the right to take my camera, which I borrowed to a friend some time ago. This means that there will be no photos today. I will get a camera tomorrow from the Arena however and will start shooting and recording from there. You will hear more from me soon, until then good night.