Steven R. April 29, 2019
Ninjas in Pyjamas are going to Disneyland.
The European squad fought their way through the OGA Dota PIT Minor to capture the last available spot in the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. The team took the victory with an impressive 3-2 win over EHOME in the grand finals.
The first game was a wild one. NiP held a considerable lead over EHOME, taking every team fight that came about. EHOME managed to keep things close by securing timely ganks on NiP’s cores, evening the lead in GPM despite a skewed kill total. Though EHOME did a great job of dragging the game out and keeping farm even, it didn’t do as good a job of staying alive. That led to a 51-minute win for NiP to start the series.
NiP looked positioned to move for a sweep in game two, with an even early game giving way to a strong mid game for Adrian "Fata" Trinks. The trouble for NiP came when it couldn’t bottle up Luo "Ferrari_430" Feichi’s Medusa.
Medusa has been a force at the OGA Dota PIT Minor and looks the part of being the best carry in Dota 2 right now. Though NiP made the moves to remain in control for the first 30 minutes, the team had no way to deal with Ferrari late as EHOME evened the series.
The power of Medusa cut both ways, however. After taking a loss from Ferrari’s Medusa, Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard returned the favor to bring the Ninjas to match point in a game that played out quite similarly to game two.
EHOME came out swinging in game four. Early kills for Zhao "XinQ" Zixing and Ferrari gave the team a considerable early lead. With no real fast farming option, NiP never had the chance to bridge the gap which allowed EHOME to slowly suck the life out of them and force a game five.
The deciding showdown started well for NiP, with the team doing strong work with a Drow Ranger and Huskar core combination. But with Yang "END" Pu playing as Spectre, EHOME was a ticking time bomb. NiP racked up a 13,000 gold lead but by the time the game cleared the 60-minute mark, EHOME looked ready to close things out. A misplay from XinQ led to a free kill for NiP and the team saw that as their chance to steal back the game. EHOME pushed back but NiP made the required plays to seal up the game and close out the series.
Ninjas in Pyjamas Head to MDL Disneyland Major
Peter “ppd” Dager and company were the favorites to win the tournament and lived up to that expectation. A mediocre group stage was followed by a strong run in the playoffs, with NiP cruising their way through the upper bracket with 2-0 wins over Majestic Esports, Forward Gaming, and Alliance.
By taking first place, NiP secures a spot in the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. Though the team hasn’t looked dominant at any point this season, it is still well positioned in the Dota Pro Circuit. A top-three showing at the major would guarantee them a spot at The International 2019, and depending on how things shake out, the team could sneak its way in with just a sixth-place finish.
As for EHOME, the Chinese squad had the deck stacked against them in this event but still managed to look strong. The team’s playoffs run started with a stunning loss to BOOM ID in the first round of the upper bracket, but EHOME carved its way through the lower bracket to make the grand finals and came just one misplay away from potentially winning the event.
Putting on this kind of performance with a substitute offlaner suggests they have a real chance of making noise at future events. The window to TI9 is starting to close on the Chinese side, but there is little doubt that they have the makings of a contender.
NiP will return at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major, which begins May 4. EHOME will have to wait for the qualifiers for the EPICENTER Major, which begin later on in May.