Ninjas in Pyjamas emerged victorious from the clash of European titans in the Grand Finals of the StarLadder ImbaTV Kiev Minor.
Before their matchup, both Ninjas in Pyjamas and Alliance had already secured their slots at the EPICENTER Major 2019. But, that didn’t stop both teams from going all out.
After dominating their respective groups to start off the event, both Alliance and Ninjas in Pyjamas would meet for the first time in the Upper Bracket Finals. Unfortunately for Ninjas in Pyjamas, their European rivals would get the better of them. However, after dispatching of China’s Team Sirius in the lower brackets, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Alliance would square off once again, this time, in the Grand Finals.
By winning the StarLadder ImbaTV Kiev Minor, Ninjas in Pyjamas will take home $125,000 and 120 DPC points. Meanwhile, Alliance will go home $70,000 richer.
More importantly, both Ninjas in Pyjamas and Alliance will advance to the EPICENTER Major 2019.
StarLadder ImbaTV Kiev Minor Grand Finals Recap
Alliance opened up their Grand Final matchup against Ninjas in Pyjamas with a dominant 44-minute win that was pretty much already over way earlier. But, in Games 2 and 3, Ninjas in Pyjamas responded in earnest.
Behind a masterful draft by Peter ‘ppd’ Dager and back-to-back dominant performances by Adrian ‘Fata’ Trinks on Mirana and Templar Assassin, respectively, Ninjas in Pyjamas entered Game 4 with a 2-1 lead.
At this point, everything looked like it was going to be an easy win for Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Alliance had other plans, however.
What ensued in Game 4 was a back-and-forth game with neither team establishing firm control for what seemed like forever. But, in the end, it was Alliance’s clever use of buybacks and all-around teamplay that allowed them to live for another day and extend the series to a fifth and final game.
It was this time that ppd decided that enough was enough and pulled out Meepo for Marcus ‘Ace‘ Hoelgaard.
With the perfect draft setup and hard counters on the other team, Ace proceeded to dominate the game to the tune of 16-0 as Ninjas in Pyjamas took home the trophy and won their second Minor of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit.
Ninjas in Pyjamas Poised to Make Some Noise at EPICENTER Major
Ninjas in Pyjamas have spent the better part of the entire season looking like a legitimate powerhouse, only to fall short when up against the likes of Team Secret and Virtus.Pro.
Often, the knock on the team was that, they were good, but nobody was really good enough to take over.
Neta ‘33‘ Shapira was billed to be that player. However, he wasn’t really shown any capability of taking over games on his own consistently. Meanwhile, many thought that both Ace and Fata were more complementary players as opposed to centerpieces. But, if there’s anything that we can take away from the team’s performance at the StarLadder ImbaTV Kiev Minor, it’s that both can take over and dominate games when necessary.
With 33 also looking good, we can expect great things form ppd and his squad at the EPICENTER Major.
Alliance Show Strength In Complete Lineup’s Return
If there’s one thing that we can take away from Alliance over the past two years, it’s that patience pays off.
It’s not easy for a former TI-winning organization to stick to a roster that hasn’t seen much success and still believe in its players. However, that’s exactly what Alliance did. Save for bringing over Maximilian ‘qojqva‘ Bröcker prior to the start of the qualifiers for The International 2018 last year, Alliance’s roster roster been together for the better part of the past two years.
Now, things are finally starting to pay off.
Even if Alliance have zero LAN titles to show for themselves just yet, they’ve proven themselves capable of keeping up against the best Dota 2 teams in the world.
Now all they need to do is to start living up to their potential.
Following the conclusion of the StarLadder ImbaTV Kiev Minor, we’re now just one tournament away from the end of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit, followed by The International 2019 in August.
The EPICENTER Major 2019 will feature 16 of the best Dota 2 teams from around the globe battling it out at the CSKA Arena in Moscwo from June 22 to June 30, with $1 million and 4,950 DPC points on the line.
Which Dota 2 team’s performance were you surprised the most at the StarLadder ImbaTV Kiev Minor? Do you think both Alliance and Ninjas in Pyjamas will perform just as well against better Dota 2 teams at the EPICENTER Major? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.