The West’s best are on notice after two of China’s finest found their form in a Starladder bracket loaded with surprises.
Vici Gaming bested an in-form Invictus Gaming today to steal the Starladder season 12 crown from streaking Western opposition. The second place finisher at the Dota 2 Asia Championships looked far-and-away the better side over the weekend, dropping only two games en route to yet another podium finish.
While Eastern Dota celebrated a remarkable resurgence after stumbling at the Chinese event in January, Western teams left Bucharest wondering what went wrong. Star-studded Team Secret, a fan favorite for its big-name players and incisive aggression, garnered only one map win as it was dispatched by Team Malaysia and Alliance in quick succession.
Alliance, which entered the tournament winning over 70 percent of its games in early April, prematurely exited the bracket to another Western team on the comeback trail. Cloud9‘s third place finish offers continued hope to teal-clad fans that last-minute additions Johan “BigDaddy” Sundstein and Rasmus “Misery” Berth Filipsen, arguably the scraps of a frenetic series of roster swaps in January, are precisely what the squad needs to return to the top.
Starladder’s surprising bracket has larger implications as well. With direct invites to the International due any day now, Team Malaysia’s upset of Secret could easily steel Rave‘s invite from the Southeast Asian region. Similarly, Cloud9’s form will likely steal an invite from either Ninjas in Pyjamas or Team Empire when Valve makes its selections.