With the non-DPC tournaments MDL Macau 2019 and ESL One Katowice 2019 now over, we can now focus on the third Dota 2 Minor of the season — the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor.
The StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor will serve as the first Dota 2 Minor of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit to feature a live audience. From March 7-10, audiences at the Cybersport Arena in Kiev will bare witness to 8 Dota 2 teams from all over the globe as they battle it out for a shot at making it to the Stockholm Major.
With multiple up-and-coming teams playing and a sizeable prize pool of $300,000, the tournament should provide us viewers at home and at the arena with some great action.
So, which teams are competing? Who are the favourites? Read on more to find out.
The Heavy Favourites to Win the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor
Life has not been easy for OG this season.
Although they made bank at The International 2018 by winning the entire tournament, they haven’t really looked anywhere near close to being defending champions. In fact, they look a lot more like a Tier 2 team than a Tier 1 team, which is a huge drop off considering that they only lost one player.
OG have yet to qualify for a Major this year, and they haven’t really come close to winning a Minor either. The closest they got to winning a tournament was a second-place finish at the WePlay! Dota 2 Winter Madness, where they lost to Gambit Esports. However, they were really close to winning it all at ESL One Katowice 2019, and looked like they were set to give Team Secret a good run for their money. At least, until they lost to Gambit Esports once again.
Considering that Gambit Esports are also playing at the Minor, OG will have to find a way to solve their issues against the CIS team, who currently boasts a 9-0 record over them, if they want to make it to the Major.
Gambit Esports (3.50)
Watch out Virtus.Pro, there’s a new CIS team in town.
Gambit Esports still have a lot to prove if they want to be a legitimate threat to Virtus.Pro’s throne, but they’re definitely helping their case with what they’ve been doing lately. So far, the only hiccup they’ve had was a third-place finish at the CIS qualifiers of DreamLeague Season 11. Outside of that, Gambit Esports have looked like a team on the cusp of a breakthrough, evidenced by their back-to-back wins at the WePlay! online tournaments and second-place finish at ESL One Katowice 2019, where the only time they looked outmatched was when up against Team Secret and even then, there were occasional flashes of brilliance from Gambit Esports.
While Gambit Esports may not be as famous as the other favourites, they have the white-hot hand right now.
Vici Gaming (5.00)
Vici Gaming are going through issues, to say the least.
While qualifying for the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor, Vici Gaming tried out Sun ‘Agressif‘ Zheng at the position 4 and even if that didn’t turn out quite well and Pan ‘Fade‘ Yi is back in the lineup, you can’t help but wonder what the team chemistry is like, especially after they also played with Leong ‘ddc‘ Fat-meng as a stand-in at MDL Macau 2019.
But, despite these hiccups, Vici Gaming should not be underestimated. Not as long as they have both Zhang ‘Paparazi‘ Chengjun and Zeng ‘Ori‘ Jiaoyang on the same roster.
Royal Never Give Up (7.00)
Adding Zhang ‘LaNm‘ Zhicheng was a good move for Royal Never Give Up as they desperately needed the presence of someone who’s experienced the multiple highs and lows playing Dota 2 professionally has to offer.
Unfortunately, LaNm’s presence alone probably isn’t enough to vault Royal Never Give Up above the other favourites. But, who knows? We know that the talent on this lineup can perform. The International 2017 served as the coming out party for both Tue ‘ah fu‘ Soon Chuan and Du ‘Monet‘ Peng as they helped guide a relatively unknown LFY squad to a near-flawless performance during the group stages en route to a Top 3 finish, and even if they’ve spent the past year with little to show after, the fact remains that these youngsters can and have played at the biggest stage of them all.
With the meta slowing down and favouring late-game carries, the time might just be ripe for Royal Never Give Up to finally have something tangible to show for their debut season.
Full StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Betting Odds
- OG at 3.00 odds.
- Gambit Esports at 3.50 odds.
- Vici Gaming 5.00 odds.
- Royal Never Give Up 7.00 odds.
- BOOM ID at 17.00 odds.
- Flying Penguins at 17.00 odds.
- Old but Gold at 17.00 odds.
- Team Odd at 34.00 odds.
The fact that not a single Dota 2 team is anywhere close to the top teams is only valid. After all, both Old But Gold and Flying Penguins are sponsorless stacks who took advantage of relatively weak competition to qualify for the Minor. The same goes for Team Odd, who are essentially shoo-ins with Chaos Esports basically assured of a Major spot via the South American regional qualifiers. Meanwhile, even if BOOM ID definitely deserves a lot of praise for making out of the bloodbath that is the SEA qualifiers, the team just hasn’t really shown any promise so far this season.
Of course, all of that could change come the Minor, but don’t bet on it.
When Will the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Start?
StarLadder have yet to release any information regarding the format for the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor. However, given that the two previous Dota 2 Minors followed a double-elimination GSL-style group stage and a double-elimination playoffs, we can probably expect the same format for the third Minor of the season.
In any case, the competition will get underway on March 7 and will run through March 10.
Feature image credits: Copyright ESL / Adela Sznajder
All odds courtesy of Arcanebet.
Which team do you think will win the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor? Will Gambit Esports continue their recent string of wins and impressive showings? Or will OG finally find a way to beat their CIS nemesis? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.