Steven R. March 11, 2019
Vici Gaming is going to the Stockholm Major.
Competing in the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor, the Chinese team stormed its way through the field and captured first place at the event, last defeating Gambit Esports. That victory earns Vici Gaming the 16th spot in Stockholm, and 150 qualifying points towards The International 2019.
Vici’s run in Kiev started with a dominant showing in the group stages. Despite competing in the weaker of the two groups at the event, the Chinese team showed that it was operating at a high level with convincing victories over Demolition Boys and Gambit Esports.
Its momentum didn’t slow in the playoffs. Facing Old but Gold in the semifinals, it ran through the Russians with ease. It opened the series with a stomp that included a 19-0, 703 GPM romp from carry Zhang "Paparazi灬" Chengjun, and followed that up with a win in a 45-minute bloodbath that saw a combined 80 kills on the map.
That set up a rematch with Gambit in the grand finals, and while the group stage matchup was a competitive one, this second faceoff was never close.
The first two games wrapped up in a combined 50 minutes, with Vici Gaming bullying Gambit in the laning stage, keeping the pressure high, and taking objectives to force the early wins.
The final game in the series took longer to conclude, but the win was no less convincing for Vici as Gambit struggled to deal with constant lane pushing from Zhou "Yang" Haiyan’s Nature’s Prophet. That made for a 3-0 series win for Vici and sealed up the top spot.
Though Vici Gaming has flown under the radar in a scene that revolves around such elites as Team Secret and PSG.LGD, the team has quietly been a force in the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit season. With the exception of its upset loss at the hands of TNC Predator at the Kuala Lumpur Major, Vici has only been bested by the cream of the Dota 2 crop.
Even in defeat, the team has proven itself to be on equal footing with the likes of Virtus.pro and Evil Geniuses.
Vici Gaming won’t enter the Stockholm Major as a favorite to win, but the team is a legitimate contender. And with 1020 qualifying points already in its pocket, it is just one good week away from locking up a spot in The International 2019.