After nearly a full week of Dota 2 action, the Starladder China Qualifiers have finally come to an end, with Vici Gaming beating LGD.Forever Young to join Newbee at the main event in Kiev on October 12.
Starladder China Qualifiers Recap
With Newbee having already received a direct invite to the main event, many expected either one of the LGD Gaming squads to join the TI7 runner-ups in Kiev.
LFY was the first to secure their spot in the Grand Finals after sending their organisation’s mother squad to the lower brackets where they would get matched up against Vici Gaming, a team that they had already swept earlier in the opening round of the qualifiers.
Unfortunately for LGD Gaming, the rematch would turn out the exact opposite. Vici Gaming played the role of bullies this time around and eliminated the MDL 2017 champions 2-0.
In Game 1 of the Starladder China Qualifiers Grand Finals, LFY turned to Su ‘super’ Peng and his Pugna, who, despite a rather lackluster start, proved instrumental in their win.
Vici Gaming would even the series in Game 2 before closing it out in Game 3, taking a page out of Team Liquid’s book in both games and running the seldom-picked Keeper of the Light.
Ori looked really solid in Games 2 and 3 playing as Dragon Knight. Although Paparazi would end up stealing the show with his Weaver and Sven.
Vici Gaming – Revitalized and Ready
The progenitors of the death ball meta that prevailed at The International 4, Vici Gaming was a common fixture in LANs from early 2014 up until late 2015. However, they have barely made their presence felt in the competitive scene since 2016.
In fact, Vici Gaming has failed to qualify for a LAN event held outside of China since taking 3rd place at The Summit 4 back in December of 2015.
For this season, Vici Gaming decided to make huge changes to their roster, dropping everyone except for Zeng ‘Ori’ Jiaoyang.
Zhang ‘LaNm’ Zhicheng then stepped down as the team’s coach to move to a support role. The team also added LaNm’s former teammate from EHOME’s TI6 lineup, Ren ‘eLeVeN’ Yangwei and Lu ‘Fenrir’ Chao.
Finally, to round out their roster, Vici Gaming brought in the high MMR player, Zhang ‘Paparazi灬’ Chengjun.
While winning the Starladder China Qualifiers is huge, Vici Gaming’s latest lineup has a long way to go before fans will start to consider them as a legitimate powerhouse once again. However, they do check the right boxes as far as experience, youth and talent go.
LaNm, eLeVen and Fenrir all have many years of experience playing against international competition. Meanwhile, both Ori and Paparazi灬 are up-and-coming talents that could only grow under the right tutelage.
For now, you can look to Vici Gaming as dark horses that have a huge chance to pull off an upset in Kiev on October.
How well do you think Ori will perform in his first LAN ever outside of China? Do you think he will surprise everyone? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.