It’s been a long time coming, but OpTic Gaming is finally a championship team in Dota 2. Yesterday, they lifted the trophy in Kiev, Ukraine, as champions of the StarLadder ImbaTV Invitational.
After a stellar performance in the group stage and equally fantastic play in the playoffs, the North American squad led by Peter “ppd” Dager triumphed over Vici Gaming J Thunder in the grand finals—by winning three straight games after dropping the first.
The MVP of the tournament was no doubt Neta “33” Shapira, who flexed his muscle as an offlaner against all of OpTic’s opponents. His Sand King play in particular was a sight to behold, regularly dodging spells with Burrowstrike and being a huge nuisance to VGJ thanks to a rather unorthodox, yet very tanky no-Blink Dagger build.
The team’s decision to move 33 to the offlane position and place Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg in the utility support slot seems to have paid off big time, in the form of 450 Pro Circuit points and $135,000 in prize money.
OpTic had been improving steadily throughout the course of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit season, even if they didn’t win any titles. Now, after playing second fiddle to other teams in the region such as Evil Geniuses and CompLexity Gaming, they have tasted victory in a Pro Circuit event.
This result puts them in 14th place on the leaderboard. Though there is still plenty of work to do—considering the disparity between them and the cutoff point for direct invites to the International 8—their win at StarLadder is a huge step in the right direction.
Unfortunately, OpTic will not be present at three of the five upcoming events in the Pro Circuit calendar, as they have neither been given any direct slots nor have they qualified through each tournament’s respective regional qualifier.
Given their first place finish at StarLadder, though, it is possible that we might see them invited to the China Supermajor—the last event of the season. For now, they will set their sights on the NA qualifier for ESL One Birmingham, which starts this Thursday, April 19.