Puppey finally stops saving strats
For years we have seen Clement 'Puppey' Ivanov struggle at The International. He helped build Team Secret into a powerhouse of Dota, but has never reached the top four of TI since. A new meme was born: fans began rumours that Puppey was just saving strategies — and now he has finally revealed them.
At The Chongqing Major Puppey surprised us several times with unexpected drafts. In the Upper Bracket Finals against Virtus.pro, Secret picked five melee heroes — and still won the game. However, the highlight was in the second game of the Grand Finals — the support Luna pick caught VP completely off guard.
Secret didn't just win the Major, but finally revealed the potential they have. If Puppey and his team-mates can play like this in the coming months, the captain could finally lift his second Aegis.
EG is a synonym for 3
Sumail 'SumaiL' Syed Hassan taught us how to count in the future:
1 2 EG 4 5.— Sumail (@SumaaaaiL) 27. Januar 2019
Evil Geniuses did it again — they beat several top teams, but in the end they couldn't make it to the Grand Finals. TI 2014, 2016 and 2018 — all third place finishes for the NA stars. It hasn't changed recently, either, thanks to a third place in the Chongqing Major qualifier and a third place at The Kuala Lumpur Major.
We'll see if Artour 'Arteezy' Babaev and his side can break their own curse at some point, but right now EG fans can at least enjoy a lot of good games until the NA squad reaches the Lower Bracket Finals.
The gap is closing — SA grows closer and closer
On a more serious note, the South American teams proved that the gap between teams is actually closed. We already experienced dark horses beating favourites from other regions at The Bucharest Minor, and in Chongqing it was no different.
Both Chaos Esports Club and Thunder Predator started in the Lower Bracket after an unsteady performance in the Group Stage, but they won their first-round games and made it to the top 12. Chaos beat the European squad of Alliance, who had put in some decent performances in the group stage.
Omar 'w33haa' Aliwi and his side had to play against Vici Gaming in the second round and came even closer to beating them, but in the end VG were too strong.
The Peruvians of Thuder Predator won their match against NoPangolier quite convincingly, but had no chance against Evil Geniuses later on.
China is still not as good as the names say
PSG.LGD, Team Aster, Vici Gaming and EHOME — four world-class Chinese teams competed on home territory against the best teams from the West. It should have been a gala of Chinese Dota, but they all disappointed.
And another Chinese big dota event passes by without a Chinese winner. A curse? Well maybe not, but you shouldn't underestimate how tough it is on the Chinese players when they play in China, it's crazy out there in fandom, pressure, time and weight on their shoulders.— Redeye (@PaulChaloner) 26. Januar 2019
It became clear during The International 2018 — it should have been another great year for China, but in the end OG lifted the trophy.
In Chongqing only PSG.LGD made it to the top four, but they lost to Evil Geniuses — the same went for EHOME and Vici Gaming. Team Aster lost even in round one against TNC Predator. All four Chinese teams disappointed.
The Chongqing Major was not a catastrophe as predicted
People were expecting a repeat of The Shanghai Major, but in the end Chongqing was not as bad as people had thought. Sure, they had problems with broadcasts and the quality was not as high as we were used to from the likes of PGL and ESL, but the outcome was still acceptable.
The panel convinced us completely and the synergy between Richard Campbell and his analysts grew on a daily basis, despite the lack of many "big casters". Dominik 'Black^' Reitmeier, Nahaz and the rest did a great job — and even our own Malystryx proved that he can create great content without Slacks.
The only major shortcoming was that a few players got sick during the event, which reduced the quality of some games. However, the final games between the top four were proof of great Dota 2 at the event — and the teamfight-focussed meta was not that bad either.
Do you agree, or do you think The Chongqing Major was a disaster?
Photo credit: StarLadder