Major All Stars and why the teams really really want to win it

Dota 2 Ben “PineappleCake” Tan

All of the teams in this tournament have events in their past they rather not repeat, from performance issuse to bad life decisions in the past. What are their mistakes of the past and what it would mean for the teams to secure that sweet victory in the biggest SEA clash to date.

 

A longer Empire:

The CIS Empire is back up and running, Roman 'Resolut1on' Fominok and his buddies are back and dominating the European scene like last year except, this time around they will be looking to extend their reign. Having lost all momentum last year at around the May period, they finished 14th at The International 4, a horrble result for a team as strong as they looked in the first few months of 2014.

This year, the reign of the Empire looks shakier than last year boosting a weaker win rate of 50% last month; however the slump seems to be temporary, with Empire taking down multiple tier one teams with ease going 2-0 in most of their games against teams such as NiP and Virtus Pro.Polar.

Despite having their EU Empire back on track, Empire has yet to win a major event in the recent times with the exception of StarLadder which spanned from 2014 to 2015. Major Allstars could be their first major victory of the year; this victory will be something that means a lot to Empire as their lack of tournament wins might result in Valve giving the TI5 invite to a different team. By winning this closely watched tournament, Empire can announce to the world that they are back and will not fall apart during The International again.

With all this being said, Empire looks like one of the best teams in the tournament, having defeated many teams people consider strong in the global stage. However, a factor that might make or break the team is Ilya 'ALOHADANCE' Korobkin's performance as he has the least LAN experience on the team; it will be up to the other more experienced players to help him if he faces any problems during the event. The drafts and innovative offlane style by Maxim 'yoky' Kim might be the key to Empire's success.

 

IGnoring all odds:

The TI2 champions have fallen a long way from the top to the bottom, a team that once used to be legendary for their flawless aggressive play style is now legendary for anger between teammates and mistrust in the past. But in recent time, they seem to have finally stabilized with a roster everyone is happy with. All that remains is whether they will work well together. With the recent picking up of Xu 'BurNIng' Zhi Lei and Zheng 'Faith' Hong Da, on paper IG seems stronger than ever. They finally have the much sought-for 'back up plan' in the event the supports and/or Luo 'Ferrari_430' Fei Chi fails to get himself on a good start; this makes them a force to be reckoned with, being a relatively strong team before the pick up of BurNIng.

Sitting eigth in the global GosuRankings, Invictus Gaming will be ignoring all of their history of fighting and inconsistent performances and instead give themselves the extra push to reach top three of both rankings and the event in question. Perhaps even earning themselves an invite to TI5 for a shot at being the first team to win two Internationals.

A lot of factors are in IG's favor for this tournament, they have not been playing much tournament games and they are one of the earliest teams to have their roster set in the Chinese reshuffle giving them ample time for practice, their new roster also resulted in them having high amounts motivation as seen from ChuaN's statement regarding looking forwards to play with his team; expectations are high for this team and they look very well suited to make those expectations true.

 

It's not a party, it's a Rave:

The boys from the Philippines are back and will be thirsty for a top three finish following a DAC performance that not only blew away the expectations of their spectators but their own expectations; they finished 5th.

This time around, they will be going into the tournament with more training and confidence than ever before. Their LAN experience at the DAC gives them the x-factor needed to take the championship, and their recent games like those at The Summit 3 qualifiers show that their performance at the DAC is not just a one off thing and can be consistently replicated.

With the team gaining invaluable experience and becoming more disciplined by the day, it seems that all eyes will be on Jio 'Jeyo' Madayag to perform better than he's ever done as the pressure of leading and teaching the team reduces. Jeyo, having played in the Western scene with EG in the past, is a great strength for Rave as he will have a deeper understanding of the habits of western teams. Especially in combination with Rave's strategical position in Korea which gives them the ability to train with the Chinese, South East Asians and Americans thus providing them the best of the three regions.

Although going in as one of the heavy favorites of the tournament, Rave still has to keep themselves from underestimating any of the team as they would probably have been studied heavily going into the tournament meaning that Rave's journey to the top will probably not be smooth in this tournament. However, they should be strong enough to overcome the opponents who have studied them and represent the SEA region to take the trophy.

 

Na'Vigating our way to victory:

Oh how the great has fallen, Natus Vincere once champions, twice second, now nothing. Na'Vi has suffered a giant fall from grace following the departure of Clement 'Puppey' Ivanov and Kuro 'Kuroky' Salehi Takhasomi. They have been unable to play with a stable roster and has been achieving results that are the polar opposite of what it used to be. However, their performance at the DAC showed some hope for this desperate situation as the way they played made their fans think that there may still be a glimmer of hope.

After their recent roster change with the addition of Alexandr 'DKPhobos' Kucherya they seem to have lost all sort of momentum, losing to Hellraisers and going 1-1 against Alliance, and further seeing themselves eliminated from StarLadder which are discouraging signs for the team. However, given the fairly recent roster change, they might still be finding their team chemistry; every second is precious now as they cannot afford to perform badly at the Major All Stars as it may cost them a high finish in the tournament but also future tournament invites and a TI5 invite. Despite all this, motivation seems to be still strong as Daniel 'Dendi' Ishutin and Alexander 'Xboct' Dashkevich have not lost hope in the team, sticking with Na'Vi through this tough time. Hopefully their resilience pays off and they are rewarded with great results once again. A factor that needs to be mentioned is the Vanskor-one. Or lack of rather as he will not be participating this event due to health issues. Instead former Virtus Pro player Vladimir 'yol' Basov will be taking his place for the event.

Whether they will find their rhythm this tournament remains to be seen but they will probably be wanting to finish top four, although there are multiple strong teams in this tournament who have been together way longer than they have, Na'Vi should aim high due to three reasons; its high or nothing, they have a historically good track record on LAN and it is about time they should break their slump of bad performance.

 

An Invasion of talent:

An Invasion has been quietly planned in the background of the past year, starting off as a barely noticed tier two team in South East Asia, they have made their way to the very top of SEA Dota with the addition of their previous captain Johnny 'Johnny' Lee. Having lost their captain, Johnny and mid play, Fadil 'Kecikimba' bin Muhd Raziff, the team will need to regain their footing and prove once again that they are the best in SEA and retain their spot as a tier one team. At all cost, they would want to avoid ending up a tier two team again and instead retain their name as a hope for the SEA scene.

However it is less and less likely Invasion will find their footing again as the departure of two of their players seem to have hit Invasion hard, having dropped in results; being crushed by teams they used to dominate such as Mineski in The Summit 3 and Signature.Trust in the jD MLG Proleague. Now sitting at the high 50s on Gosurankings, hopefully the only way Invasion can go from here is up, a feat former mid KecikImba believes will happen, saying that "...dabeliuteef (former G-Guard player) to replace me and they have a real carry player now. They did not have a strong carry player when I was in the team." The statement displays the awareness of their flaws and how to fix them.

Time is running out for this Malaysian team of young up and coming players as day after day they struggle against the teams that they once crushed, but they have the talent to shape up and crush once again.

 

Its time for Redemption:

322. This is the one thing one would associate with Arrow Gaming when talking about them, these ex-Arrow players are out to disprove that they will stay as corrupt as they once were. Pushed to the limits trying to make a making in the past, these aspiring Malaysian Dota 2 players turned to match fixing last year; after being found out, they were released from Arrow Gaming and were excluded by many tournament organizers.

After some reflection, the team decided to stay together and rebranded under the banner Team Redemption in hopes that they will be able to clean their names; but they are are having a tough time doing it as many tournament organizers have decided to exclude them from their invite list. However, they successfully qualified through the open qualifiers of Major All Stars and the tournament will be the stage in which Team Redemption can prove that they are no longer the corrupt people they once were.

The implication of how well this team does is pretty wide as a good placing signifies their continued commitment to training (even if they are not allowed to play in majority of tournaments) and living a 'clean' life which could possibly cause more people to forgive them, reaching the ultimate goal of redemption. On the other end of the spectrum however, a bad placing here could place them further away from the goal of redemption as their participation in this tournament will bring them unwanted publicity in a time where people are starting to forget about their past.

The possibility of Redemption placing high in the tournament is unlikely but should not be ruled out, it needs to be kept in mind that these players have played with each other for years, have had LAN experience, are highly motivated and are some of the best players in the SEA region; these factors combine into a team that could potentially pull upsets.

Remember; those forgiven much, love much (Luke 7).

 

Can't Say Wips, Can't say lose:

After their flawless performance at the OK Dota2 Cup towards the end of 2014 where they netted themselvesroughly USD 24,000, they fell out of the spotlight and out of the results. Can't Say Wips are not looking as good as they did during the tournament, losing out early in the DAC qualifiers as well as the Summit qualifiers. However it must be kept in mind that their recent games are all on the SEA servers and that ping might have been an issue for their two Aussie players. Their goal of this tournament will be not to repeat their performance post OK Cup and instead repeat their performance during the OK Cup and possibly take the Major All Stars. They will also want to show that they are still a dominant force in the SEA scene in order to secure the SEA TI5 invite slot.

This tournament will be a hard fought battle for the team as they have picked up a new player with relatively insignificant lan experience, Adam '343-Flyy' Shah will be pressed to keep his performance up in an unfamiliar environment but luckily for him, he has the experience of his other four teammates, including former The International participant, Darcy 'Godot' Jose to help him out.

Another thing to note about the tournament's significance to the team is that Can't Say Wips are once again faced with the prospect of not getting an TI5 invite if they do not place well during this tournament as their lack of good performances online and a lack of LAN tournaments for them to take part in has impacted how fans and spectators view the team. No matter how good a team is, they cannot say they are good until their performance and results show it, and this is one of the best proving ground for this multinational team.

 

 A ninja in a pyjamas is still lethal:

Being true to their name, this team sneaked into the Major All Stars like ninjas having not been brought in as a last minute replacement for e-Hug as they pulled out of the tournament. With little time on their hands to train and to prepare, this team will be going in blind; but the same can be said about the other team's understanding towards this team.

Looking at the other teams in the tournament, iG, Empire and Rave seem to present the biggest threat to this team. Out of these three teams, they have not played with Rave and iG who are doing very well in their respective scenes recently. Although these teams might seem stronger, NiP has proven themselves before by pulling big upsets like their recent win against Empire in the MLG Pro League. NiP is a rising star of 2015 with lots of commitment and lots of potential.

Analyzing the stakes in this tournament for NiP, it seems the championship will have the least implications relative to the other teams as NiP has been playing extremely solid in the recent months and have been constantly improving. A loss here will also be shrugged off by everyone as the team had little to no time to prepare for this tournament at all. Either ways, the addition of NiP to this tournament has shaken up the balance of power in this tournament.

 

The impact of Major All Stars:

One should not underestimate the cause and effect of this particular tournament. Despite not having the sheer elite of Dota 2 Asia Championship (being Evil Geniuses, Vici Gaming and Team Secret), this is an important tournament, especially for these teams. Above mentioned DAC top three teams do most likely already have their International invite secured whereas the teams of Major All Stars are mostly wildcards in such predictions (except for Invictus Gaming perhaps, given they do not massively fail during the coming months). Winning Major All Stars could be that extra ounce that earns them the ever so important invite to the biggest and most important tournament of the year. It could be the reward for the hard work all these teams have been working for. Sure, it is not the only chance nor the only event that will matter, but one should never disregard the importance of achievements.

 

 

Image of Invasion from their Facebook page, headline photo from Major All Stars' Facebook


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Ben “PineappleCake” Tan
Inactive editor for Gosugamers Dota2 and an osu! Standard lover. Contact me via a message on Gosugamers or email to [email protected]