posted by Brasozial,
Ninjas in Pyjamas won the Dota PIT Minor in a thrilling series against the Chinese team surrounding director Zhang 'xiao8' Ning. Here are five takeaways from the Minor in Croatia.

xiao8 can lead every team to victory

When EHOME won The Bucharest Minor critics unanimously claimed that this was only possible due to Zhang 'Faith Bian' Ruida's exceptional leading skills. However, the star player has been injured for a couple of weeks now. On top of that, three talented players left the organization. Captain xiao8 had to form a new team with himself in an active role.

With Luo 'Ferrari_430' Feichi joining the team as well, they now have the combined power and knowledge of three different TI winners at their hands. The first games can't be called a success, but at the Minor xiao8 proved that he can lead any team into the Grand Finals of a tournament.

The Chinese squad finished third in the group stage and lost their first playoff game to BOOM Esports 2-0, but managed to fight through the Lower Bracket. Even Alliance wasn't able to stop them in the best-of-three-series.

Alliance is really back!

Alliance fans have had enough reasons to be happy this season: their team finally qualified for another Major Circuit. However, the results on LAN haven't been a success yet: Alliance didn't place in the top eight one single time. In Croatia, they eventually proved that they compete with top-level teams all around the globe.

Aydin 'INSaNIA' Sarkohi is a strong captain that led his team into a great run: Alliance didn't lose a series up until the Upper Bracket Finals against Ninjas in Pyjamas. The Swedish powerhouse displayed their skill by using a great variaty of heroes that gave their opponents a hard time.

Especially Max 'Qojqva' Broecker enjoyed that perfect environment. The German mid laner had one of his best performances at the Minor with the second best KDA and the most average kills per game. If Alliance can keep this level for the upcoming set of qualifiers, they'll be a threat to the top three in Europe again.

Europe is the king of the world! At least at the Minor

Europe is considered to be the strongest region next to China in the Dota 2 Pro Circuit. The results at the three previous Minors don't reflect that, though: Not one single Grand Final attendee was from Europe up until the Minor in Croatia.

At the Dota PIT Minor Alliance finished in third place and Ninjas in Pyjamas finally won a Minor for our region. The team led by North American captain Peter 'ppd' Dager beat Alliance and EHOME to climb the throne in Croatia.

It's the liberation strike Europe was waiting for over the last couple of months since the season has started. Finally four European teams will attend the upcoming MDL Disneyland Paris Major. It's the moment for Europe to shine and prove why they're considered to be one of the best regions right now.

Too many best-of-ones at a Minor

The groupstage itself was unimportant at this Minor - all teams start in the upper bracket playoffs anyways. It's just for the seeding. Not the best solution, but an option we can live with. The only real problem we had were the best-of-one series in the Lower Bracket. The teams were competing in four best-of-three series to end up in the Lower Bracket and fight in one game facing elimination.

Also, this wasn't the case for just the first round of the Lower Bracket, but also round two and three which means: ending up third or fourth was decided in one single game. EHOME, for example, started in the Lower Bracket and won every game down there. However, three of that victories were just in a best-of-one. This format is simply not the right way to evaluate the best teams competing.

Time to shine for the underdogs

OAt the same time, this tournament format was the perfect opportunity for underdogs to make an upset. The South American team surrounding Adrian 'Wisper' Cesperes even finished in the top four at this Minor.

To be fair: the underdogs had already proven their upset potential in the group stage. FreeStyle lost only to Alliance in the group stage and had to play against NiP in the playoffs. Also, the South-east Asian team BOOM Esports beat the later Minor champion NiP in the group stage to finish second in their group. Too bad both teams had to play against the later Grand Finalists in the first round of the playoffs.

The underdogs proved again that everything is possible at a DPC event - even the top-level teams are able to stumble over the allegedly weaker teams.

What was your highlight from the Minor in Croatia?

Photo credit: OGA Dota PIT - Twitter