The two regions with the most representation at the WePlay! Bukovel Minor already have their top seeds locked in after Gambit Esports and Ninjas in Pyjamas made quick work of the competition to qualify.
Both teams had a very rocky performance at the DreamLeague Season 13 Major qualifiers, but they bounced back quickly to ensure one more chance to make it to the big stage just a day after being eliminated.
Gambit has had trouble with HellRaisers in the past, but in the opening round of the Minor qualifiers, it looked like Artsiom “fng” Barshak finally figured out the matchup. Two sub-30-minute games saw Gambit lead the entire time in both matches, with HellRaisers left reeling after the first jab.
After cleaning up in the first round, fng had to gameplan against his former organization and some old teammates on Team Spirit.
Spirit actually built up a nearly 13k economic lead by the 20-minute mark and were getting a lot out of Andrey “Ghostik” Kadyk’s Timbersaw, but it didn’t last. Gpk came on late with his Templar Assassin and utterly destroyed the competition with fng turning a poor start into a decent endgame as his team squeaked by with a 27-26 advantage.
Game two was much more even throughout the match, but Spirit couldn’t get a solid lead to let their Monkey King thrive.
NiP also had a pretty easy time in their opening series against Team Xolotl, taking game one in 23 minutes on the back of Nico “Gunnar” Lopez’s Tiny. Jose “esk” Coronel gave them some trouble early in game two with his Huskar play, but Oliver “Skiter” Lepko shut him down late, going 15/0/5 on Anti-Mage to push his team to a clean late win.
The real challege for the former EU team came against J Storm in the upper bracket final as David “Moo” Hull continued to play some outstanding Dota and tore up the lanes. It took a combined effort from captain Peter “ppd” Dager and Saahil “Universe” Arora to take game one.
J Storm fought back in game two and easily won the second round in a 23-minute rout that had NiP just trying to find any sort of hold. That all led to a 50-minute battle between the two teams, with NiP just edging out Clinton “Fear” Loomis for the top seed.
Both the CIS and NA have one more spot left in the Minor, so J Storm and Spirit will be battling in the lower bracket on Dec. 6 to try and claim a spot at the WePlay! Bukovel Minor.