Dota 2 StarLadder i-League Invitational Commences in Kiev
The StarLadder i-League Invitational Dota 2 tournament organized by ImbaTV began today in Kiev, Ukraine, bringing together 8 elite teams from Europe and China to see who would take home the $ 45k first place prize. While Na’Vi, Alliance, OG, LGD Gaming, Virtus.Pro, and MVP Phoenix received direct invites, Vega Squadron had to claim the top spot in a qualifier to attend, while Vici Gaming got their invite by winning the recent H-cup tournament, also run by ImbaTV.
And just like any good Dota 2 event, the tournament will bring its fair share of drama, as VG’s mid player Wang ‘NoNo’ Xin failed to get a passport and was unable to travel to Ukraine, forcing the team’s coach to play in his place.
The tournament will run for 3 days in a double-elimination format, similar to the Dota 2 Majors and the International. Day one began with 4 best-of-three matches: LGD vs Vega, Virtus vs Alliance, VG vs Phoenix, and Na’Vi vs OG. You can check out all the VODs at SL’s Twitch channel. Let’s recap how each series went down:
LGD vs Vega (2-0)
Game one was arguably the closest of the tournament so far, with a relatively passive game from both sides. Both teams tried to push the highground, with LGD in a slight lead. It wasn’t until 43 minutes that LGD took a clear lead by killing the bottom rax, and with Vega overextending at 58 minutes, LGD finally got the win at the 1 hour mark. Game two was even until Vega lost 4 players for 2 at 29 minutes, and LGD follow up with a complete team wipe at 34 minutes to win the game.
Virtus vs Alliance (0-2)
As expected, Swedish elites Alliance made easy work of Virtus. Pro, securing the first game in only 26 minutes with an early game, aggressive lineup. Virtus picked a more aggressive lineup for game two, while Alliance picked almost the same exact heroes. Although the match was relatively back and forth and Virtus took the lead several times, Alliance finally secured the win at 57 minutes.
VG vs Phoenix (2-0)
Despite lacking their mid player, VG took apart Phoenix in 2 quick games. Game one lasted only 25 minutes with hyper-aggressive play from VG, exactly the kind that Pheonix is typically known for. Although Pheonix fared better in game two, they once again got picked apart by 47 minutes.
Na’Vi vs OG (2-1)
With both teams struggling to reach the heights of their past success, and with Na’Vi having fan support on their home turf, this was one of the most interesting series to watch. Game one was relatively even with both teams using their aggressive lineups to trade kills. It wasn’t until Na’Vi get the perfect team fight at 22 minutes and completely wipe OG without losing anyone.
Although OG did a good job defending the highground, Na’Vi slowly chipped away at their base after picking up multiple Roshan kills until they finally break OG at 45 minutes. Game two began with OG taking the early lead in kills and map control, and following up that success with a 15 minute Roshan.
Although Na’Vi attempted to fight back with aggressive smoke play, OG kept their lead and easily win by 32 minutes. The deciding game 3 began similar to game 2, with OG taking the early lead and securing the aegis.
However, OG makes a crucial missstep when trying to push at 14 minutes, as they decide to teleport away to deal with Na’Vi’s split-pushing Lycan in top lane, and end up losing 3 players. Na’Vi gradually grab control of the game after this crucial win, securing Roshan and forcing OG into their base. They finally take down the rax at 35 minutes after the third Roshan kill.
The action continues tomorrow with semi-finals.