Day 1 of the SL i-League Invitational Season 4 Minor ended nearly exactly as we predicted: with Team Liquid going undefeated en route to being the first Dota 2 team in the tournament to secure a spot in the playoffs. Though, while we successfully predicted the end results, we aren’t totally spot-on. LGD Gaming, for one, turned out to be a much better team than expected. They didn’t struggle against compLexity Gaming. In fact, they dominated against the North American squad. Even more surprising was that they gave Team Liquid a good run for their money, a fact belied by their 2-0 series score.
With the first day of the SL i-League Invitational Season 4 Minor now behind us, we can now focus on Group B and their matchups in Day 2. Opening the day will be a matchup between Team Kinguin and Mineski, followed by Newbee vs Team Empire.
Unlike Group A, Group B doesn’t have any clear run-away winners. Yes, Newbee are the favourites. But, as we’ve seen from them so far this season, they still suffer from the occasional inconsistency issues. That’s all the sliver of hope that the other Dota 2 teams need to try and take the top spot in Group B and avoid a dangerous matchup against Team Liquid in the opening rounds of the playoffs.
Having said that, let’s get right down to business and try to predict the outcome for tomorrow’s matchup.
Team Kinguin vs Mineski
Match Schedule: February 2 (0500H / 05:00 AM CET)
Mineski are the third best Dota 2 team in the tournament. Or at least, they’re right up there along with LGD Gaming. However, they are terribly inconsistent and are prone to deviating from what works best with their line up, and that’s letting Daryl Koh ‘iceiceice‘ Pei Xiang doing his thing while leaving the other team’s cores to make space for him. But even so, you’d pick them against just about every other team in the tournament, except for Team Liquid, Newbee and probably Team Kinguin.
Yes, Mineski should be the better team in this matchup, but Team Kinguin have only gone on to surprise so far from what we’ve seen from them this season. Meanwhile, Mineski are consistently inconsistent.
Tomorrow, we’ll see which of these two team’s tendencies will win out, but we’ll pencil this in as a close matchup ending in Mineski‘s favor.
Betting: Mineski to win 2-1 at 2.75 odds (GGbet)
Newbee vs Team Empire
— ESL Dota2 (@ESLDota2) January 28, 2018
We’d love for this to turn out to be another upset, especially since CIS teams have historically had a reputation for giving Chinese teams trouble. But Newbee play an atypical style of Dota 2 from their brethren wherein even if they still have a tendency to five-man a lot, they are much more disciplined and at the same time very malleable, capable of playing both fast and slow, depending on their lineup.
This doesn’t bode well for Team Empire’s chances tomorrow, and it certainly doesn’t help their case that they’re playing with a stand-in.
Betting: Newbee to win 2-0 at 1.4 odds (GGbet)
Can Anyone from Group B Beat Newbee?
Well Mineski and Team Kinguin, in theory, can. They have the talent to do so. However, they haven’t taken a series off of the recently-crowned Genting Minor champs yet, so Newbee are still clearly favoured regardless of who they’ll end up facing tomorrow in Day 2 of the SL i-League Invitational Season 4 Minor. But, don’t pencil in their matchup as a sweep yet, beacuse either one of Mineski and Team Kinguin are fairly capable of cheesing their way to a victory.