May 19, 2019
The EPICENTER Major qualifiers are winding down and the lineup is starting to be finalized. Five more teams - RNG, OG, Virtus pro, Evil Geniuses, and Infamous Gaming have earned their place at the last DPC 2018-2019 season LAN event. Only two more slots remain to be filled from the qualifiers - SEA and China.
RNG had an impressive run in the group stage, tying up for the first seed with PSG.LGD who had ultimately bested them in the tie-breaker. After taking the second place, they headed to the playoffs where they bested Team Aster 2:1 and then swept through ViCI Gaming 2:0 in two hard-fought games. Their patience and tenacity paid off with a spot at the Major event.
The TI8 championship team, OG, dominated the lower brackets after falling to Team Liquid 2:1 the other day. They first swept through NiP 2:0 and then took on Alliance which was a bit more of a struggle for them. They took the first match against the Swedish team in only 19 minutes but were trampled on by Alliance in the second game thanks in part to a heavily farmed and flawless performance on Broodmother by Max “qojqva” Bröcker. With a level playing field and everything on the line, the third match took almost a full hour for OG to close out. An OP Morphling 31:6:6 was not enough for Alliance to claim a victory, but give OG a hard enough time to close out their own. In the end, Alliance just couldn’t stop the constant barrage and dropped out of contention.
OG should be able to easily secure their TI9 invite at the event to defend their title and the Aegis of Champions.
Virtus pro were originally considered to be a shoo-in for the event to represent the home region as their last hurrah for the season. But it was Gambit that upset the odds and took the first slot and Na’Vi that seemed to give the CIS powerhouse a run for their money.
After defeating Winstrike 2:0 in the lower brackets that Na’Vi had sent them to, they came back to exact their revenge on the iconic Ukrainian team in the grand finals for the final spot. It took a grueling five-game series for VP to best Na’Vi as the matches went back and forth between the two. Na’Vi proved they were an even match for VP through the series, constantly keeping them on edge and capitalizing on any opportunity that came their way. Unfortunately, it seemed that they had run out of steam by the end as VP absolutely shellacked Na’Vi in game 5. The Ukrainian team was able to only seize three kills in the 25-minute game and were crushed at every turn.
For Na’Vi a win would have meant a chance to climb up the ladder and earn enough points to find themselves a TI9 invite. They will now have to take the long road via Starladder Minor qualifiers and event.
Evil Geniuses came to the NA qualifiers ready to take their spot in Moscow, and despite a very surprising performance by Forward Gaming who went undefeated in the group stage for the first slot at EPICENTER Major, they didn’t back down to anyone else.
They cruised through the playoffs undefeated until the grand finals, where they went up against longtime NA rival compLexity. compLexity had run through the lower brackets also undefeated and entered into the battle hyped and ready. They took the first game with an outstanding performance by Linus “Limmp” Blomdin on Clinkz but EG just wiped the dust off and picked themselves up to claim the next three matches, relatively easily.
If compLexity wants a TI9 invite, they will need to go for it through the Starladder Minor route and take a top place at EPICENTER.
The mostly European squad, Infamous, bested their SA counterparts in the upper brackets, taking down EgoBoys and then Gorillaz Pride to find themselves in the Grand Finals. There, they once again faced off against the Peruvian team of veterans. In another sweep, Infamous crushed EgoBoys once again and landed themselves the second slot for the EPICENTER Major.
Infamous as only 60 points and is sitting in 29th place of the DPC rankings, but if they could pull off a top finish at EPICENTER Major, they could find themselves a direct invitation to attend TI9.
EPICENTER Major teams
Europe Team Secret
Europe Team Liquid
Russia Virtus pro
South East Asia TNC Predator
South East Asia TBD
United States Forward Gaming
United States Evil Geniuses
Brazil paiN Gaming
Starladder Minor Championship team
Starladder Minor Runner up team
The last DPC event will take place in Moscow, Russia at the VTB Ice Palace June 22-30, with 16 teams competing for the lion’s share of the $1,000,000 prize pool. As with all DPC events, there will be no direct invites. All 16 participants will need to qualify, 14 through the closed regional events and two teams via the StarLadder Minor.