Alliance tests new lineup ahead of Dota Asia qualifiers
A once-great Swedish Dota house is officially finding its footing after a spectacular fall from grace.
This morning, Alliance player manager Kelly Ong "kellymilkies" Xiao Wei announced the new squad just ahead of European qualifiers for the Dota Asia Championships, a Chinese event with over $1 million in prize money. The announcement is bittersweet for Alliance fans, who will see the potent Per Anders "Pajkatt" Olsson Lille ply his trade, but without the help of Henrik "AdmiralBulldog" Ahnberg, still on hiatus since November of last year.
However, while esports taketh away, esports also giveth. Fans of the original Alliance will welcome Jerry "EGM" Lundkvist back to their ranks, a former support for the Swedes whose Shadow Demon, Visage, Rubick, and, most notably, Io, helped shepherd Alliance to an International championship in 2013.
DreamLeague stand-in Johan "Mynuts" Andersson will also join the team for the qualifier. The former Heroes of Newerth player originally began his Dota career with Lajons, now Ninjas in Pyjamas, in September of 2014. After his departure from the squad, he appeared with Alliance multiple times, filling multiple roles during the campaign. With Lundkvist and Joakim "Akke" Akterhall reunited, it's likely that Andersson will fill the off-lane role in Ahnberg's absence.
While Lundkvist's return is certain to capture the imagination of those who remember Alliance's dominating run in 2013, much of their success rests on the shoulders of Lille. With Jonathan "Loda" Berg in the safe lane and Andersson in the off-lane, the former Team Tinker carry will fill the critical role of mid-laner, helping dictate the game's tempo and providing critical assistance to fuel Berg's ire.
Even if Team Tinker failed to achieve any galvanizing success, Lille's résumé is notable, to be sure. As the spearhead of Team Dog (aka Mousesports) in early 2014, he amassed an average of eight kills, two deaths, and 10 assists across 90 games on Mirana, Razor, Weaver, Naga Siren, Legion Commander, and Slark. His ability to speak Swedish will also play well among players who have explicitly expressed their desire to communicate in their native tongue during major events.
At a time when virtually all major Western sides are retooling their rosters, the question remains whether this new lineup will stick around. Until the struggling Tinker officially releases Lille and Lundkvist, both sides sit in a state of roster purgatory. However, with The International cresting the horizon and all potential qualifiers looking to cement their chemistry ahead of the contest, it is unlikely that the question will remain unanswered for long.