Close, But No Cigar – OG Fail to Qualify for DreamLeague Season 8

It looks like Christmas came early this year for, and Santa was wearing a Na’Vi T-shirt! And this wasn’t just a Na’Vi fanboy Santa either. It was Dendi himself, handing the DreamLeague Season 8 qualifier spot to Solo and VP. You can almost picture the two of them talking before the Na’Vi vs OG match:

Solo: “I’ll send you one bottle of the finest Russian Vodka for every Na’Vi kill and assist!”

Dendi: “Chill moy brat, I got you covered. We’re gonna do a 322 but in reverse. You can bet your ESL One Hamburg Mercedes on us taking at least one game off OG!”

Who would have thought that a team disregarded by many as nothing more than a relic would come back in such a spectacular fashion and qualify for a Major event?

Na’Vi clearly seem to be on the right path to becoming a top Dota 2 team again. After changing two of their players and bringing in Alexander “XBOCT” Dashkevich as their new coach, the squad has improved enormously. And this DreamLeague Season 8 qualifier clearly proved it.

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Na’Vi taketh, Na’Vi giveth

On their path to qualifying for DreamLeague Season 8, Na’Vi had to face the strongest teams in Europe as well as CIS. And with one exception (Team Secret, who defeated them), they either drew or won against every single opponent in their group: 1-1 against Team Liquid, 2-0 against MidOrFeed, 2-0 against Team Empire, 2-0 against Vega Squadron, 2-0 against and 1-1 against OG.

After Na’Vi defeated (the ESL One Hamburg champions), Alexei “Solo” Berezin and his squad were in danger of not qualifying for the next Dota 2 Major. Still, OG needed to win all of their final 4 games against MidOrFeed and Na’Vi in order to earn the qualifier spot themselves. They easily defeated MidOrFeed (score 2-0) and then proceeded to win their first game against Na’Vi. But, when it counted the most, they failed, due to an exceptional Na’Vi performance.

In spite of disappointing, OG show signs of improvement

OG have had a rough time at the start of the 2017-2018 competitive season, qualifying for just three LAN events out of nine and missing both Majors. Still, during the DreamLeague Season 8 qualifier, their performances showed clear signs of improvement.

It’s likely just a matter of time until we see this legendary team at the top of their game again, and then we’ll have a problem: with the new tournament formats, which include just eight participants, give two direct invites and reserve a single qualifier spot per region (with six regions in total), what will happen to the professional Dota 2 scene in highly contested regions such as Europe and China?

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The elephants in the room

It feels like there are too many giants fighting for too few tournament tickets in certain parts of the world. Event organizers don’t seem to care about this, but I think the new competitive format does a lot of harm and hinders the development of the entire professional scene.

Instead of thinking “maybe we should go pro” or “let’s continue to play the game professionally”, a lot of teams and players will say “what’s the point? We’ll never be the strongest team in this region, so we might as well give up”. And that simply can’t be good for an esport’s professional scene.