*Cover image source: @PWRD_DOTA2
The SEA powerhouse impressed everyone at DAC, becoming the first team from the region to win a Major but was their win just a one-off or can they continue their form and bring home a second title?
Mineski begin their journey in Group A, the easier of the two groups and expectations are high as most will expect them to take the top or at least the second seed. Team Liquid is their biggest threat in the group, followed by PSG.LGD who will be looking to avenge their DAC finals loss. Complexity, FlyToMoon and Team Empire finish up the group but Mineski are the better team on paper here.
Unfortunately for Mineski, or for that matter, everyone in Group A, Group B is incredibly stacked. Even finishing top of the group in Group A won’t guarantee a easy matchup. Only 4 teams advance from each group and in all likeliness it will be Secret, VP, Newbee and OG/Na’Vi who advance. Mineski didn’t have to face any of the EU or CIS teams in the DAC playoffs, which means that the match ups will definitely be harder.
The format too is different. Unlike DAC, the LB of EPICENTER XL will be bo3’s except for the first round. Now this can go both ways. It would mean, that if they do lose in the earlier rounds, they still can persevere and make it to the finals. However, what really helped Mineski at DAC was the fact that many of the big teams fell prey to the bo1 LB system, which may not be the case here.
A win at EPICENTER XL will not only cement Mineski’s spot at TI 8 but make them a team to fear. However, the task is tenfold harder. For one, being the latest major champions means that they have a huge bullseye on their backs. They also won’t have the element of surprise as teams will be studying them thoroughly before the event.
Also, let’s not forget Team Liquid’s winning streak at EPICENTER XL. The current TI Champions have won both editions of EPICENTER XL and will look to continue their winning streak. The tournament has always been good to TL and it’s certainly going to be playing on everyone’s minds.