With closed qualifiers for the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor underway, both China and the CIS have their representatives locked in.
EHOME bounced back from a terrible showing in the Major qualifiers to claim one of China’s two spots in the Minor alongside Team Sirius. Meanwhile, in the CIS, Winstrike made an impressive run and will be attending their first Dota Pro Circuit event of the year.
Only six teams made it into each closed qualifier, where the level of competition is always high. With teams like EHOME, Keen Gaming, and Team Aster competing, the rest of the teams in the China qualifier were underdogs.
In a massive upset early on, though, Aster and Newbee were eliminated in the group stage. The upsets continued in the playoffs as Sirius knocked Keen out of the upper bracket and later out of the tournament.
EHOME and Sirius battled, but the return of Zhang “faith_bian” Ruida to EHOME’s roster after months of dealing with an injury helped the team take care of business. The qualification gives themselves one last shot to improve their 12th ranked position heading into The International 2019.
Keen’s TI9 chances have all but been crushed after losing to Sirius for a second time. They sit in ninth place in the DPC at 1140 points, meaning they have to hope no team below them in the rankings moves above them during the Major.
Claiming the second spot, Sirius, the newly formed sub-team of Aster, will be attending their first LAN event since the team formed in mid-April.
In the CIS, it was a three-way battle between Natus Vincere, Team Empire, and Winstrike to see who would represent their region at the Minor.
Three other teams were also in attendance, all smaller stacks formed to compete in the DPC this season, but only one of them, Team Colizeum RU, made it to playoffs. Colizeum was quickly eliminated by Winstrike, who advanced to face Na’Vi in the finals.
Na’Vi had an outstanding showing in the closed qualifiers of the EPICENTER Major, placing second in the group stage and besting Virtus Pro in winners’ finals before eventually losing the rematch.
The series between Na’Vi and Winstrike went to three games, but Winstrike pulled off some impressive late-game plays to clinch the series. Led by veterans Airat “Silent” Gaziev and Alexander “Nofear” Churochkin, Winstrike is looking to win their first DPC of the season and make a return to TI after placing in a tie for ninth at TI8.
Closed qualifiers for the Minor will continue until May 24, when all eight teams will be locked in and ready to compete. The Minor begins on June 12.