Steven R. June 17, 2019
The competitive field for the Epicenter Major was rounded out at the StarLadder Minor.
On paper, Ninjas in Pyjamas are the winners of the event after toppling Alliance in the grand finals. In reality, both teams are likely satisfied with the results as they each punch a ticket to Moscow for the final event of the Dota Pro Circuit season.
The win didn’t come easily for NiP. Monster performances from Max "qojqva" Bröcker and Michael "miCKe" Vu allowed Alliance to take the first game, but Adrian "Fata" Trinks returned the favor and carried NiP to back-to-back wins to advance to match point. Alliance evened the series off another strong showing from MiCKe to force game five.
The deciding showdown started with a shock as NiP put carry player Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard in the mid lane with a last-pick Meepo. With no real counter, Alliance needed to completely halt his momentum in order to stay in the game but Ace developed an early farm lead with very little trouble. By the 15-minute mark he was completely out of control and by 32 minutes, Alliance was tapping out.
This is NiP’s second first-place finish in a minor this season after the team came out on top of the OGA Dota PIT Minor in May. NiP will also now head to its fifth major of the season, which carries major implications for teams that are hoping to qualify for The International 2019.
Who is heading to TI9 after Epicenter?
The Epicenter Major will decide the final four direct invitees to TI9. Eight teams have already secured a berth in the event but there are eight more that could earn a spot in Shanghai depending on how things shake out at the event.
Among that lot are EHOME and Keen Gaming. The two Chinese teams are both lined up to earn a spot at TI9 based on their current tally of Dota Pro Circuit points, but they failed to qualify for the Epicenter Major. That has left them at home with their fingers crossed, hoping that current standings remain intact.
The other six teams in the hunt all have the opportunity to play their way into the event.
OG and TNC Predator are both positioned to head to TI9 in the current standings, but have the chance to seal the deal with a decent performance in Moscow. Alliance, Gambit Esports, Forward Gaming, Pain Gaming, Royal Never Give Up, and Infamous will need to climb their way up the ladder in order to contend.
Alliance and Gambit would likely secure a spot with a top-eight performance. The rest would need to secure a place in the top six in order to get into the hunt. That leaves teams on the brink cheering for the eight established invitees, who are all set to compete at the event.
Meanwhile, fans will be able to kick back and enjoy some high stakes Dota 2 starting June 22.