Steven R. April 8, 2019
The field for the OGA Dota PIT Minor is set and the tournament is looking to be an exciting one.
The regional qualifiers for the event have concluded and the eight teams set to compete in Kiev have been decided. The lineup consists of European representatives Alliance and Ninjas in Pyjamas, Chinese teams EHOME and Royal Never Give Up, and North America’s Forward Gaming. Rounding things out are Gambit Esports, BOOM ID, and Pacific Esports.
The qualifiers largely panned out precisely as fans were expecting. The European field was a tricky one that included a number of interesting stacks including Greek team SexyAsF and the Alaan "SexyBamboe" Faraj-led Kingdra. Still, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Alliance have both proven themselves as world class teams and looked the part here, taking the two available spots in the minor.
North America’s qualifiers were largely the same, with J.Storm and Forward Gaming sitting comfortably at the top of the pack. But while Europe had two spots for its top duo, North America only had one to contest. J.Storm and Forward Gaming had little trouble making their way to the finals of the qualifiers and faced off in a best-of-three series to decide who was heading to Kiev. Though J.Storm has generally been the better team throughout the season, Forward took the 2-0 win on the heels of a monster performance from carry player Yawar "YawaR" Hassan.
The CIS region saw Gambit Esports continue to look the part of a real contender. The Russian squad has carved out a spot as a legitimate high-level team, but had to navigate a formidable field. They did just that, sweeping their way past Natus Vincere and defeating Old but Gold in the finals to earn their spot and to arguably enter the minor as the favorites.
The most competitive qualifiers were in China, where a number of intriguing teams battled it out. The retooled Newbee and the newly formed Royal both had the look of real challengers. Royal Never Give Up has competed at all three minors this season and made it a perfect four by fighting through the upper bracket, last defeating EHOME. That set up EHOME in the lower bracket finals with Newbee, and while Newbee was game, Yang "END" Pu came through big for EHOME to set them up with a spot in the minor.
EHOME making it through with its fresh lineup was a bit of a surprise, but the Southeast Asia qualifiers delivered an absolute shock. TNC Predator were the clear frontrunners to make it to the minor following first-place performances at WESG 2018 and the Asia Pacific Predator League. Instead, TNC was eliminated in the semifinals by WG.Unity. Though that hinted WG.Unity might be a contender itself, they won’t get the chance to prove it in the minor as they were swept in the finals by BOOM ID.
Finally, Pacific Esports came out of nowhere and skated past South American staples like Infamous and SG E-sports to earn the final spot.
The lineup of teams is a strong one and should combine for an exciting event. The OGA Dota PIT Minor features a $300,000 prize pool that includes a $125,000 top prize coupled with a spot in the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. The event begins April 22.