TI Qualifier Playoffs without Gambit, Vega Squadron hot favourite?

posted by SmittyW.,
What many fans thought impossible just happened last night: Gambit Esports, who were considered one of the best squads in the CIS region, failed to qualify for the playoffs of the The International 2019: CIS Qualifiers. Instead, another team reigned supreme in the group stage.
Gambit came into the Closed Qualifier as the undisputed favourite. They failed to book their direct ticket to The International 2019 only by the skin of their teeth after losing to Alliance at the EPICENTER Major. However, after a great start into the group stage the team lost game after game and finished fifth place.

Vega Squadron: from underdog to favourite?

Vega Squadron were surely a team that went under the radar before the regionals, as they had to go through the Open Qualifiers first. Yet they beat every single opponent that stood in their way and stood on top of the group stage with an impressive 7-0 score. To be fair, their victories over teams such as Gambit, Natus Vincere, and Team Empire have to be taken with a pinch of salt. After all, anything can happen in a one-game series and it does not really indicate which team's best. Yet, Vega Squadron displayed a level of consistency that wasn't matched by any other team during the group stage which is key if one wants to make it to TI9.

In their first playoffs match, they are going to face Na'Vi in a best-of-three, a series which is going to put their true skill to the test. If they are able to beat Evgeniy 'Blizzy' Ree and his team-mates, their favourite status gains much more substance. Winning the entire qualifier could even be the debut of a new Dota powerhouse in the CIS region.

Do you think we are seeing the debut of a rising star? Or is another team going to qualify for TI9?

Photo credit: EPICENTER Media