StarLadder i-League Invitational #3 Tournament Part 2: Navi, Vici Gaming, Mineski, Complexity

by Mark Ryan
on October 12, 2017

In part 1 we looked at the StarLadder tournament and the top 3 teams: Team Liquid, Newbee, and Team Secret. In this article, we continue with our deep analysis of the rest of the teams participating in the StarLadder i-League tournament.

Navi +1600

Dendi and the boys are back! Navi is the most famous Dota team in history but fame doesn’t translate to success. Once the greatest Dota organization the world has ever seen, Navi is now struggling to remain relevant as a tier 2 team.

At +1600 Navi has the second-lowest odds of winning it all, next to SG e-sports the South American team. This is not a surprise. The real surprise was Navi qualifying for a tournament slot.

Navi had a rough 2017. According to wiki.teamliquid.net Navi has only won $14,500 USD in total prize pool earning this year. In the tournaments they took home winnings, the highest they placed was 5th-6th at the DOTA Summit 7. 2017 was also the first year that Navi did not make it to The International tournament.

That was before they retooled their roster with what they have currently. Since retooling, they’ve qualified for 3 tournaments: DreamLeague Season 8, PGL Open Bucharest 2017, and StarLadder i-League Invitational #3. Maybe Navi really is back with this new roster.

Navi’s current squad consists of: Crystalize the carry, Dendi the mid, General the offlane, Rodjer the support, Sonneiko the support and Xboct the captain.

Sonneiko, Dendi and General are all veteran Navi players. Dendi is the face of the organization and has won The International 2011. Sonneiko has been a part of Navi since 2015 but has switched teams a few times before returning to Navi. General has been with Navi since 2016 and has never switched teams.

Crystalize is a new player not only for Navi but Dota in general (at least professionally). Crystalize has won a total of $121 from his Dota career. He was previously on an unknown team called Double Dimension before joining Navi. Not much is known about this player but he is only 18 years old and Dota organizations love having teenage core players on their team.

Rodjer was previously on Team Empire and with his team he won over $600,000 at TI7 after placing 7th-8th. Since joining Navi, they won 3 straight qualifiers so perhaps Rodjer is a key piece to this team’s success.

At this point, Navi is more of a meme team than a team to be taken seriously. It is up to Navi to definitively prove that Navi is indeed back. Until Navi starts taking down top-tier teams like Virtus Pro, OG, or Team Liquid, don’t expect much from this squad. Navi is a good tier 2 team, but tier 2 teams don’t win tournaments.

Mineski +1200

Mineski
Mineski is not a new team but the players on this team are new to the team. 3 of the 5 players joined in August 2017, 1 player joined in March 2017 and the oldest member joined in July 2016.

Mineski is a South East Asian team and this iteration of the squad might be their strongest yet. Their carry/mid is NaNa, a 22-year-old Malaysian pro. His MMR is currently 8822 which is extremely high even for a pro.

The other carry/mid is Mushi a 26-year-old Malaysian veteran Dota player. Mushi’s MMR is 8138 and he has been playing at the highest levels of Dota since 2011.

Iceiceice is the offlane and he is a 27-year-old Singaporean Dota veteran. Iceiceice’s MMR is 8600 and like Mushi, he has been playing professional Dota since 2011.

Jabz is the position 4 (roaming support) and he is 19 years old from Thailand. His MMR is 8731.

Ninjaboogie is the support of the squad and he is 25 years old from Philippines/USA. His MMR is 8048.

Mineski combined 5 incredibly talented players from the same region and put them on the same team. This squad looks like a super team and at +1200, I think this team has the most value of all the teams participating.

Everyone on Mineski has over 8000 MMR. 8000 MMR is a symbolic status of skill in the Dota world. Many professional Dota players aren’t even 8000 MMR yet Mineski has everyone with at least 8000 MMR. This theoretically means Mineski has more skilled players than most teams in Dota.

The proof is in the team’s results against other top teams. There are 3 other notable South East Asian teams: Fnatic, TNC Pro Team, and Execration. Mineski beat all 3 teams and qualified for 4/5 tournaments while beating those teams in the process.

I think this is a team that is being underrated because they beat the top teams in a stacked region, and have great individual talents that seem to work well together. Can they beat Team Liquid and Newbee? Can any team? I wouldn’t be surprised if Mineski is the one to do it.

Vici Gaming +500

Vici Gaming is a Chinese Dota organization that was created in 2012. They have sponsorships with 8 massive companies and 5 different rosters of Dota teams. The squad that qualified is the main Vici Gaming team.

Vici Gaming is at +500 with better odds of winning than everyone except Team Liquid, Team Secret, and Newbee. Mineski is after them at +1200 so the difference between the 4th and 5th best team in this tournament is +700. The difference between the 3rd (Newbee) and 4th (Vici Gaming) teams is +150. This is quite a large divide.

This is because of Chinese Dota. China is regarded as the top region in the world. China has half of all TI champions. At TI7, 3 of the final 4 teams were Chinese. Vici Gaming was not one of those teams, they did not even qualify for the tournament. But that squad was not the same squad as the one today.

4 of the 5 current members of Vici Gaming joined in September 2017 after TI7.

Paparazi is the carry of Vici Gaming. He has 9292 MMR in China (arguably the hardest region) and won the DAC 2017 Solo Tournament beating the best mid players in the world like Sumail, Sccc, and Miracle. Paparazi is famous for his mid play but it seems like he transitioned to the carry role for Vici Gaming.

Ori is the mid player and the only member who wasn’t new to join in September 2017. He has 9152 MMR and has only earned less than $7000 in his Dota career so he is quite new.

Eleven is the offlane. He has 7965 MMR and started playing professional Dota in 2013.

Lanm is the position 4. He has 7104 MMR and has been playing professional Dota since 2011.

Fenrir is the position 5. He has 7078 MMR and has been playing professional Dota since 2012.

This new squad has already impressed the world by defeating LFY, LGD and Eclipse on their way to 3 tournament qualifications. LFY and LGD were 2 of the top 4 teams at TI7 and Eclipse features tier 1 talents such as Shadow, formerly of Wings Gaming the TI6 champions.

If Vici Gaming can beat tier 1 teams like LFY and LGD, then they have as good of a shot as anyone in beating Newbee or Team Liquid. At +500 the value of betting on this team seems low.

Complexity +1400

complexity
Complexity is apparently the top team from North America. During the StarLadder North American qualifiers, Complexity beat Evil Geniuses and The Dire (now known as Optic Gaming) to qualify for this tournament. Evil Geniuses is known as a top 3 team worldwide and Optic Gaming is a new team with 5 talented players.

It is a surprise that Complexity could qualify for any tournament with the type of competition from North American teams. Beating Evil Geniuses and Optic Gaming is no joke. Theoretically if one can beat Evil Geniuses, then one can beat Team Liquid?

Like many teams post TI, Complexity retooled their roster. After having a rough 2017 and not qualifying for TI7, they went back to a roster they were familiar with. Importing talent from Sweden, they brought back Chessie and Limmp for another round with Complexity. The rest of the talent in the 3-5 positions come from USA, making this a true North American team.

Cheesie is the position 1 of the team. He has 9021 MMR so he definitely has skills.

Limmp is the mid player for Complexity and has 9314 MMR.

Moo is the offlane and has 8574 MMR.

ZFreek is the position 4 and has 6000 MMR. This low MMR is misleading because ZFreek has a reputation of being a highly skilled player and a tier 1 position 4 player worldwide.

Melonzz also known as Kyle is the captain, drafter and position 5 of complexity. He has 7092 MMR.

Complexity is a mystery. Kyle’s ceiling as a captain, drafter and player is questioned. He has failed to take his team to major tournament victories. Of course he is competing against the best in the world but if his best isn’t good enough, then Complexity’s ceiling as a team will never be high.

For some reason, Complexity has a great time against Evil Geniuses. Complexity has beat Evil Geniuses in a series often enough to say they are rivals. They may not have beaten Evil Geniuses in games with high stakes like elimination matches at tournaments, but they have beaten them enough times during trivial games.

Unfortunately for Complexity, beating Evil Geniuses at random isn’t good enough to win tournaments. I think +1400 sounds right for this team, as them beating any of the top teams at this tournament would be a massive upset.

StarLadder Tournament Final Thoughts

This is the first tournament of the new Dota season. 8 teams will be competing for a piece of the $300,000 prize pool as well as points towards qualifying for The International 2018. It was a long wait since TI7 until the new season but it has finally come.

Get ready for nonstop Dota action because for the rest of the year, there will be tournaments happening all the time.

Team Liquid is the team to beat but don’t discount the rest of the teams.

Upsets happen all the time in Dota and Team Liquid has a huge target on their back. I am personally rooting for Mineski, because I am a fan of their players and am curious to see how far they can take their roster. I’ve also left out SG e-sports in this article on purpose because their odds of winning it all are +5000.

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