Steven R. December 2, 2018
The field is set for The Chongqing Major , and the European qualifier brought with it a few surprises.
Following three days of intense competition, Team Secret, Team Liquid, and Alliance are all booked to compete in China. OG and Ninjas In Pyjamas, however, weren’t so lucky.
The crowded EU field was halved in the group stage, with Swedish side The Final Tribe advancing to the playoffs alongside Secret, Liquid, and Alliance. Washing out first with a 0-2 record were NiP and open qualifier winner Hippomaniacs. Knocked out in the final eliminator series with 1-2 records were OG and Vega Squadron.
It was a tough result for OG, but an understandable one. Despite entering the event as the reigning TI champions, Johan "N0tail" Sundstein’s team was rocked by the departure of its expert carry player Anathan “ana” Pham. Though it managed to find an able replacement in Per Anders Olsson "Pajkatt" Lille, the team had little time to gel and struggled as a result. Despite this loss, OG’s long-term prospects may remain fine if Pajkatt can settle into his new role with the championship side.
NiP’s flop was more difficult to excuse. While OG entered the event with recent roster changes, NiP entered at full strength coming off a strong showing at the Kuala Lumpur Major. The team lost to a pair of second tier opponents in The Final Tribe and Vega, a real blow for a group with high aspirations and one of the highest early point totals in the Dota Pro Circuit.
Both teams will have the opportunity for redemption at the Bucharest Minor. There are two European slots up for grabs in that tournament, and the winner of the event will score the final spot in the Chongqing Major.
The qualifiers begin on December 3 and will feature six teams, with two open qualifier winners joining OG, NiP, The Final Tribe, and Vega.