The Dota 2 pro scene is in the middle of a major restructuring, with a shift away from frequent minors and majors towards a series of online regional leagues. The first big step in this is confirming the participants.
Each region has a series of qualifiers right now and the most stacked competition of all is China’s closed qualifiers. Though most regions have a number of unknown squads looking to break out, China has established teams ready to claim a spot in the upper division.
One of those teams is Invictus Gaming. The former The International champion is looking to claim a spot in the upper division, and the first step towards doing so is taking down Team MagMa. Though there’s a night and day difference between these two teams in terms of the prestige attached to their brands, this matchup might be more competitive than fans might expect.
Invictus Gaming had a generally strong 2020, but the team has been coming apart at the seams since the player break in August. The team has posted consistently poor performances since September, with its only decent showing being a fourth-place finish in CDA-FDC Professional Championship Season 2. That isn’t just because of stiff competition either, as Invictus Gaming has actually taken losses from a number of fringe teams such as Phoenix Gaming, LBZS, and Execration.
MagMa hasn’t necessarily been an X factor at the top of the Chinese scene in the way Sparking Arrow Gaming was in 2020, but the team has shown it’s capable of picking up wins over serious opponents. EHOME, Sparking Arrow Gaming, and Neon Esports have all taken losses from MagMa. In fact, MagMa has an even head-to-head record with Invictus Gaming at 1-1.
MagMa is basically a known commodity at this point, looking like a solid tier-two team in a competitive region. Invictus Gaming’s status is far more uncertain. Though IG is still held up by fans and tournament organizers as one of the best in the world, the team has been very weak since September, owning a 9-30 record heading into this matchup.
A lot of that can be chalked up to the fierce competition Invictus Gaming faces on a daily basis, with the majority of those series coming against top-10-ranked teams. Quite a bit of it can also be chalked up to just being in very poor form right now.
So how should this be looked at from a betting perspective? As stated, Invictus Gaming has played MagMa twice and split the games. IG won their more recent series, which took place in December. Invictus Gaming should be the favorite given their past form and their winning record against teams of MagMa’s caliber, but MagMa is capable of taking wins against their next foe.
The trouble is that while IG is the clear favorite, they’re not getting much love from the oddsmakers. Winners.bet has this one at 1.39 vs. 2.75. Those aren’t especially juicy odds, but a case can be made for a bet in either direction.