Starladder Season VIII Preview
There’s no more champagne left, the salads are rotten, and the cat has finally taken down the Christmas tree while you were reading this sentence. It’s time to raise your glasses to the beginning of the new cyber sports year along with Starladder. The prize pool grows with each day and to this moment it has grown to more than a hundred thousand dollars. Tournament format is as convenient as never before – no nonsense, more Dota, less delays. A pure Christmas miracle, isn’t it? But while I take off my snow maiden’s costume I’d suggest you to take off those rose-colored glasses of yours and figure out what you should actually expect from the upcoming LAN-finals.
The scandals surrounding season VIII of CIS’s most prominent league had started even before it was announced. Some were simply worried that there was still no announcement made, others from the bottom of the tournament table were outraged by how little money the finalists were going to get (how nice of them to be so concerned about their “loved ones”); for some the Cyber Arena became overly crowded, and some were feeling too “hot” at the after party. League representatives held their ground with dignity, understanding perfectly all the current system’s flaws and trying to fix them. The announcement became a sort of a triumph for organizers completely shattering all claims from the critics. At least, so it would seem to the general public.
The WOW-effect disappeared quite quickly and unpleasant questions were swift to follow. Where’s TobiWan in the commentators list? Interestingly enough, the answer to this question eluded Tobi himself. The jealous lady by the name of Starladder couldn’t forgive caster’s little foul play with the despicable D2CL. Or, maybe, it’s all about one principal jealous man?..
All in all, SLTV had no more trust in polygamous machos. So, this season Sheever was named one of the English speaking casters. Vilat’s misogynistic reputation gave way.
But, let’s go back to the regular season. Closer to its final an unpleasant situation surfaced involving RoX.KIS (karma?) and SSD. Playing with stand-ins the whole season the “dinosaurs” got a fundamental victory over RoX. The winner’s roster looked much more like Speed Gaming and nothing like the original SSD. Losing to a mixed team was already bad enough, but it couldn’t come at a worse moment than at the season’s end. RoXs went on the war path, righteously. The rules of one of the major European leagues are not only different in Russian and English versions of the website, but are also gladly ignored by all participants and organizers themselves. On one hand, Starladder shows humanity to players, and for that we are grateful: teams may change their roster, invite a substitution player, etc. without the unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape. On the other hand, such unpleasant situations arise – first you have currently active starseries players participating in qualifiers for a different team, and then you have anyone but the players mentioned in the roster playing for the majority of the season for a team.
Though, it was clearly not RoXs destiny to participate in this season’s finals. So, who are the lucky ones?
The reigning world champions have already forgotten the times when they brought back a trophy from the LAN-finals. What is the reason for their streak of bad luck? Dota is changing and they can’t keep pace with it? Millions in bank accounts lead to decreased motivation? Or is it the abundance of tournaments that literally leaves no time for practicing? In any case, there are no good excuses for losing. The squad’s manager mysteriously wrote in her Twitter that some changes were set to happen before Starladder. So, the Swedish team has an even more intriguing atmosphere around them.
The former HoN players went through a lot last year. From problems in high school to an unexpectedly bright start at The International. Currently, they are gaining their form once again showing some decent results in LAN events. Their last visit to Kiev led to a silver medal and this time around they don’t seem to be joking around either.
A sharp rise of the multinational team was a real surprise. They marched confidently to the finals all season without taking any considerable detours. Some time ago boys from Sigma already came to Starladder as part of Quantic Gaming, but at that time they were failed by either the language barrier (they played with Goblak and Silent) or by lack of team play with a stand-in Black. What they can show us this time – we will see in Kiev.
And, finally, the only team that every resident of the CIS can proudly call their own. Na’Vi feel at home at SLTV, and it’s known that even dogs are lions at home. Out of the four teams they look the most asserting, but this makes it only more interesting: sometimes power distribution changes very unexpectedly. So, cheer for our boys! Not a step aside!