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A sneak-peak at Star Series: the clash of four titans


The time has dawned upon four of Europe's best teams who have wrestled through fifteen intensive rounds to emerge top at the first season of StarLadderTV's Star Series. This weekend, starting from 26th to 29th of April, GosuGamers will be bringing you all the action live on site from the event in Kiev, Ukraine.

The Caster: Purge

Kevin 'Purge' Godec
GosuGamers Broadcaster

A last minute replacement brought on Moscow Five to replace American team It's Gosu after the latter failed to secure their travel information in time for the finals in Kiev.

This week, GosuGamers will be responsible for all the exclusive coverage of the Star Series LAN finals in Kiev, Ukraine - expect juicy interviews with your favorite teams, live broadcasting of all the matches by inhouse caster Kevin 'Purge' Godec, and an inside look into the spirit and atmosphere of the grand event.

Ukraine Na`Vi Russia Darer Sweden CLG Russia M5

Europe's elite and possibly top four contenders for this year's The International title will pit themselves in a cataclysmic showdown for the top prize of $6,000 cash. The remaining will take home $3,000, $2,500 and $2,000 respectively. For Purge, the main question is, whether the other teams will be able to knock out Na'Vi: "I think it's possible that Na'Vi could lose to one of these teams, some of course more likely than others. Either way it should be a really exciting event to watch."

The Unbeatables
Ukraine Na`Vi

Natus Vincere
Ranking: #1
Win Rate: 86%
Star Series:

Estonia Clement "Puppey" Ivanov
Ukraine Danil "Dendi" Ishutin
Ukraine Alexander "XBOCT" Dashkevich
Russia Dmitriy "LoH" Kupriyanov
Russia Sergey "ARS-ART" Revin
Last Five Games: 5-0-0
Ukraine Na`Vi>Russia M5
Ukraine Na`Vi>Ukraine DTS
Ukraine Na`Vi>Sweden Infs
Ukraine Na`Vi>Romania Dignitas
Ukraine Na`Vi>Belarus PR

We say - Na`Vi has come a long way since their The International victory. Their name stands for excellence - and their players, in part, have come to embody the essence of what it meant to be born to win. It is seldom that we see the Ukrainian powerhouse lose out in a LAN event for Dota 2. The last time that happened, it took place in Kiev (D2SC '11) - but Na`Vi never makes the same mistake twice.

Kevin Godec emphasizes the astonishing performance of the Ukrainian team: "Na'Vi is obviously the favorite to win. The team went undefeated in the group stage and has proven to be the best in Dota 2 for many months now."

While their performances may have fluctuated over the months, their individual ability and phenomenal teamwork have distinguished them from the rest. Counting back to their past thirty games, they have lost two (to Absolute Legends and NEXT.kz). It is astounding that one team is able to hold such a monopolizing sphere of influence over the entire European region, but they have done it before, and are looking to do it again this year.

Verdict: They are our favorites for this tournament, although it is possible that we see Darer pull off a win against the Ukranian team.

The Rising Stars
Russia Darer

Ranking: #2
Win Rate: 68%
Star Series:

Ukraine Ivan "ArtStyle" Antonov
Russia Sergey "God" Bragin
Russia Yaroslav "NS" Kuznetsov
Russia Andrew "Dread" Golubev
Russia Alexander Sergeevich "Santa" Koltan
Last Five Games: 4-1-0
Russia Darer>Sweden Infs
Russia Darer>Czech Republic EPIDEMIC
Russia Darer>Sweden Infs
Russia Darer>Europe mTw
Russia Darer-Germany uebelst

We say - The other half of the puzzle that was DTS 2010, Artstyle and co have seen turbulent times since their early beginnings as Darer but they have since found their place and identity as a team. On the direction of one of the most ingenious minds in the scene, Darer is not only a team that can win, but also a team that will innovate and introduce new strategies to the metagame.

For Purge, Darer's increasing shape is outstanding: "I think Darer is the second strongest team. They won a very large percentage of their games for Star Series. Their team had a rough start when they were first formed, but that is completely to be expected, and they really impressed me in some of their later games."

In an early interview with v1lat by Western Wolves, the Russian commentator made the astute observation that Artstyle's Darer may well be the only thing standing in Na`Vi's way: "Yes, EG and CLG are good, but during The International 2, Na`Vi can lose to one team and one team only - Darer. Wait and see."

Verdict: Expect innovative play coming out from the team this weekend and should Na`Vi rest on their laurels, they will definitely get punished - and punished hard - by the Russian squad.

The Swedish Onset
Sweden CLG

Ranking: #4
Win Rate: 70%
Star Series:

Sweden Per Anders "Pajkatt" Olsson Lille
Sweden Jonathan "Loda" Berg
Sweden Joakim "Akke" Akterhall
Sweden Jesper "Mirakel" Nyhlen
Denmark Rasmus "MiSeRy" Filipsen
Last Five Games: 4-0-1
Sweden CLG>United States coL
Sweden CLG<Germany Mouz
Sweden CLG>United States EG
Sweden CLG>Romania Dignitas
Sweden CLG>United States EG

We say - With smulgullig, the Swedish powerhouse could not have asked for more in a replacement for Pinoy after the latter's inactivity. As it turned out, Johan was all they needed to force their way back into the upper echelon of competitive Dota 2.

Meanwhile, CLG experienced another turn for the better - its players started playing phenomenal DotA. Touted as one of the strongest carry players currently in the scene, Pajkatt has led his team to victory on many occassions, not forgetting the amazing performances of the rest of his teammates. For Purge hopes the only Swedish team will perform well: "Unfortunately, I watched way more of their earlier games than their later games. Nonetheless, they showed some very promising matches recently as well."

Verdict: It seems Loda's return to Dota 2 was apt, and despite a Heroes of Newerth background, the team is more than ready to claim their first title. Misery will be standing in for smulgullig at the event, and while this would affect the team's performance, they have proven themselves capable of taking wins after their convincing victory over coL yesterday.

The Russians
Russia M5

Moscow Five
Ranking: #9
Win Rate: 60%
Star Series:

Russia Vladimir "PGG" Anosov
Russia Vadim "bloodangel" Trushkin
Russia Airat "Silent" Gaziev
Russia Dmitrii "Inmate" Filinov
Russia Ivan "vigoss" Shinkarev
Russia 'McDeath'
Last Five Games: 1-0-4
Russia M5<Ukraine Na`Vi
Russia M5<France WW
Russia M5<Denmark Quantic
Russia M5<Belarus PR
Russia M5>United States SK

We say - Plagued by a series of four losses in their last few matches at Star Series, Moscow Five were fortunate enough to have received It's Gosu's spot at the qualifiers. While they have shown themselves more than capable of beating mid-tier European teams (they did so comfortably and successfully at GosuLeague Qualifier #6), they falter against the top teams, and sometimes display inconsistency against weaker ones as well.

Hopefully, the 2-0 trashing that they received from Na`Vi earlier this week at The Premier League is not indicate of what they are capable of putting up this weekend in Kiev. They looked weak and uncoordinated, possibly because of who they were facing, but inexcusable nonetheless. M5's play-style is the hope, which Purge does not want to give up yet: "M5 is another team which really has been impressing me with their play-style and individual strength."

Verdict: It will come down to one man this week - PGG. Will he be able to lead his team to a proper victory, or will we see the same M5 that fell so horribly to Na`Vi earlier this week? Our bet is the former.

The tournament
Winner Bracket Semifinal
Ukraine Na'Vivs.Russia M5
Russia Darervs.Sweden CLG
WB SemifinalThu17 CET /
20 CET
WB FinalFri20 CET
LB FinalFri15 CET
Consolation FinalSat20 CET
Grand FinalSun20 CET

First round matches - In the first round of the tournament, Na'Vi will face M5 while Darer has to play CLG. The Ukrainians' history against M5 in 2012 is as expected: Both teams met three times: In the Star Series main round, in a Showmatch and in the Premier League. All encounters have been won by Na'Vi. This amplifies the outsider position of team Moscow Five.

For Darer and CLG, the match history is not that predictable. Although Darer has shown a great performance in 2012, climbing up the rankings, CLG was a tough enemy for the Russian team. CLG and Darer faced in the It's Gosu Monthly Madness, the Star Series and in the joinDOTA Masters tournament. For all three matches, CLG was the winning team. On Thursday, Darer can show if the nemesis ends.

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