Alliance made a bold move by signing up for the Dota Summit 10 just weeks before the start of The International 2019, but that move paid off.
The European squad took first place at the event, raking in $42,000 for their efforts. More importantly, Alliance looked the part of a legitimate TI9 contender as they skated to first place without much difficulty.
Alliance first asserted its dominance in the group stage. Playing in a round robin of two-game series, the team went 9-1 to finish in first. That started them off in the upper bracket of the playoffs with a series against PaiN Gaming.
Though things started off strong for Alliance with Max “qojqva” Bröcker leading the team to a quick 25-minute victory, the series went sideways from there. William “hFn” Medeiros almost single-handedly dragged PaiN to a 60-minute win to tie the series, which was followed by Alliance squandering a 17,000 gold advantage in game three to wind up in the lower bracket.
That resulted in a brief bit of concern over Alliance’s standing in the event, but it was quickly dispelled. Facing Team Serenity in the lower bracket finals, Alliance rebounded hard with a 2-0 victory. That set them up with a rematch with PaiN Gaming in the grand finals.
PaiN looked the part of Alliance’s equal in both the group stage and upper bracket, but when first place was on the line, the Brazilians just couldn’t keep up. All three games saw Alliance take a sizable kill lead, capitalize on that advantage, and seal up things up en route to a 3-0 win.
The Dota Summit isn’t quite a kingmaker, but teams that win the event ahead of The International tend to do quite well. The greatest example of this came in 2016 at The Summit 5 with Wings Gaming, but Evil Geniuses also won the first and ninth installments of the event en route to third-place finishes at the following The International. Virtus.pro also came in fifth at The International 2017 after winning The Summit 7.
As the best team at The Summit 10 on paper, Alliance needed to win in impressive fashion in order to fully justify making the trip to California. Giving away strategies is already a concern, but potentially rattling the team’s confidence by losing to teams that couldn’t qualify for TI9 could be more worrisome. It was a risky move, but the squad is looking better than ever following its first live event victory.
Alliance will head to Shanghai with an extra bit of wind at its back. TI9 kicks off on August 15.