Weekend extravaganza at the Huya Dota2 Winter Invitational

The Huya Dota2 Winter Invitational takes place in the Chinese competitive scene, where several Chinese and SE Asia teams were invited for a showdown. While the European and CIS teams had the EPIC League, the Huya Dota2 Winter Invitational is the next best thing for the Asian teams, considering it’s nurturing the amateur scene.

Huya Dota 2 Invitational

Huya Dota2 Winter Invitational Tournament overview

Although advertised as a tier-B event, the event boots a full-course group stage, divided into two groups of six teams. Matches were best-of-three single round-robin matches, where the top four teams proceed to the playoffs, and the bottom two are eliminated. The playoffs will be best-of-three double-eliminated matches, except for the grand finals being a best-of-five.

Speaking of teams, there were ten invited participants, consisting of Chinese teams, such as Team Aster, Team Royal Never Give Up, Sparking Arrow Gaming, Invictus Gaming, Team MagMa, and IG.Vitality. SEA teams include Neon Esports, Team IO, Execration, and Army Geniuses. Two remaining slots were reserved for the closed qualifier winners, CDEC Gaming and Phoenix Gaming.

The tournament is a true check-up of how the amateur scene in SEA stacks up to China. Especially considering S-listers like Fnatic and TNC Predator, PSG.LGD and ViCi are all taking a holiday rest.

Mushi, the myth, the legend

One team that really caught viewers’ attention was team IO. Led by Malaysian veteran player Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung, the roster spots several notable players such as vtFaded, ah fu, and ninjaboogie. These players have participated in multiple Internationals throughout their careers, earning a reputation in both the Chinese and global Dota 2 communities.

That said, their run at the Huya Dota Winter Invitational has been rocky. They were able to secure the top four in the groups to proceed to the playoffs. However, they were no match against CDEC Gaming and IG thereafter. However, IO is now an up and coming force in the scene as they have shown some truly promising plays at this event.

You can watch their opening match versus CDEC here to get a grasp of what we mean.

Neon Esports on a roll

Neon Esports is definitely a rising star in the tournament, making their way into the upper bracket finals. Their opponents, Phoenix Gaming and team Royal Never Give Up (RNG), did not stand a chance against the aggressive players.

Neon Esports has much to thank for their latest addition to the team, Prieme Ejay “PlayHard” Banquil, who’s also assigned as team captain. Oddly, PlayHard is playing the offlane role, which is not conventional for many rosters. More often than not, the hard support player is responsible for game drafts and strategies. Nevertheless, if this is what floats the boat for Neon Esports, there’s no reason not to let PlayHard take charge.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Neon Esports making it into the grand finals. They have fared well in both their domestic events and this cross regional tourney.

For those seeking to place some bets, their next match versus Aster is a real doozy. At x4.31 and x4.50 at GG.bet and Unikrn respectively, you are poised to make a good buck placing a bet on Neon in the Upper Bracket finals.

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Playoffs and unexpected upsets

With the groups concluded, there were definitely unforeseen outcomes, such as Sparking Arrow Gaming and Team MagMa’s premature ejection. The two teams have recently garnered some fame for putting up a decent run against the Chinese powerhouses at BEYOND EPIC. Although, all this was prior to the great Chinese Roster Shuffle.

It’s still too early for these young lads to call it quits, especially since the Mistwoods Update went live amid the tournament. Many teams didn’t have time to even read the patch notes before their next game, so hopefully, the up and comers return to their winning path soon.

The rest of the Playoffs are likely going to see some more stable rosters take charge. RNG just eliminated CDEC today and now awaits the winner of IG vs Phoenix. The next matchup will likely determine who gets to play Aster for shot at the Finals.

There is still plenty of Dota 2 action this holiday weekend. You can catch all of the matches at the official Huya Dota2 Winter Invitational channel.

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