The StarLadder i-League Invitational Preview

The Starladder i-League Dota 2 Invitational Season 2 will be held in Shanghai, China from the 18th to 21st of May. In the offline finals 8 teams will battle for prize pool of $100,000. Six teams received direct invites while two earned their spot through regional qualifiers. Here is Esportsranks’ StarLadder I-League Invitational Preview.

StarLadder I-League Invitational Preview: Groups and Predictions

There are two groups of four teams that will play in a Bo3 matches, double-elimination format. The top two teams from each group will advance to the Playoffs. In the Playoffs, four teams play in a single-elimination bracket, semifinals are Bo3 and finals are Bo5.

Group A

  • Invictus Gaming
  • TNC Pro Team
  • Team VG.J
  • Alliance

At first glance you’d think that Invictus Gaming were invited directly, but they had to earn their spot through the Chinese qualifiers. And they had pretty hard time doing this. Vici Gaming knocked them out to the lower bracket with a 2-0 sweep in the semis. However, they fought their way through the loser’s rounds to set the stage for rematch with Vici Gaming. In an intense Bo5 they managed to overcome a 0-2 disadvantage and eventually came out on top with a 3-2 victory. They had good showing at The Kiev Major finishing 3/4th place. However, they failed to qualify for DOTA Summit 7, so we believe they will be fully focused on the upcoming StarLadder Invitational.

TNC Pro Team is one of the best teams in SEA region. At beginning of the year they won a massive $800,000 in World Electronic Sports Games tournament, but were unable to perform consistently after that event.

Another Chinese team, team VG.J, is also looking to find their rhythm in 2017. They are a relatively young team, and if they put in enough practice they may be in for a great future. A strong performance in an offline tournament will surely boost their confidence significantly.

Its been a long time since TI 2013, but ever since then Alliance has engraved their names in the Dota 2 professional scene. For this tournament, they replaced mousesports who could not make it to China because of a busy schedule. Alliance’s roster has suffered many changes, but Loda remains captain, and has done so since the team was founded in 2013. It will be very exciting to see if Alliance can still perform against some of today’s best teams.

StarLadder I-League Invitational Preview Prediction: Team VG.J and Invictus Gaming advance to the semifinals.

Group B

  • Team Liquid
  • Team Faceless
  • Newbee
  • Vega Squadron

Team Liquid claimed the StarLadder i-League Season 3 title back in February, and are one of the favourites to win yet another Starladder tournament, this time the invitational. Russian/Ukrainian team Vega Squadron secured their spot through a European Qualifier in dominant fashion. In the finals they crushed Team Spirit 3-0, finishing the qualifiers without dropping a single game. They are the underdog team to look out for.

Team Faceless successfully qualified for The Manilla Masters and played very well in The Kiev Major. We expect another strong performance by the SEA team. On the other hand, Newbee are struggling to compete on the highest level this year. You can’t really say they are playing poorly, but it seems that “golden age” of Newbee has passed.

StarLadder I-League Invitational Preview Prediction: Team Liquid and Team Faceless advance to the semifinals.

StarLadder i-League Invitational #2 group stage starts on 18th of May. Semifinals are schedueled for 21st of May.