With Saturday behind our backs already, the Starladder i-League Invitational Season 3 is almost over, as we have only 4 teams left that will batte for the grand prize. Before we enjoy the culmination of this first Minor, lets take a look at what happened during the last two days.

DAY 2

Friday the 13th was the second day of StarLadder, during which we had 3 matches scheduled. This meant that by the end of that day, one team would take its place in the final bracket and the other 3 would have to fight for their tournament life on Saturday. The opening game was between the TI 2017 runner ups Newbee and the NA hope – compLexity Gaming.

 

Much to everyone’s surprise this series did not end with a quick 2-0 in favor fo Newbee. In fact, it did not end in Newbee‘s favor at all. With perfect drafts, team play and individual hero executions col managed to snatch the victory out of Newbee‘s hand with 2-0 in their favor. The whole series felt completely in their control. On the other side, the Chinese powerhouse was not looking like the same team we watched during The International earlier this year. With lack of coordination, lots of misplays and poor decisions in game, it seemed like SCCC and his gang were not on the same level as compLexity. After this series the Chessie/Limmp fanboy inside of me was screaming 😀

 

 

 

Given the fact that the tournament is taking place in Kiev, NaVi‘s hometown, it is no surprise that this match was the most anticipated of the crowd, who cheered for their idols right from the moment that they entered the stage. This did not stop Team Secret to absolutely demolish NaVi in the first game of the series, leaving them on the verge of going to the loser bracket. With lots of pressure from the very beginning, it seemed that Team Secret simply outclassed NaVi in any way possible. At this point I was thinking that this will be quick and easy 2-0 for Secret… boy I was wrong. It is hard to say if the crowd chanting, their inner will to win or black magic was the source of energy that Dendi and his teammates had for the second and third game, but whatever it was, it was just what they needed to get back into the series and win 2-1 in the end. I had no more questions after this, I knew that NaVi are back PogChamp!

 

 

 

After the good performance of both compLexity and NaVi in their previous series, I was sure that is going to be a great Bo3 and I was not disappointed. All 3 games that we witnessed where relatively quick, fast paced and packed with action start to end just as we can expect from aggressive teams like NaVi and compLexity. I will be honest here, I have tons of respect for NaVi, you should be a fool or completely ignorant not to give them the respect they deserve, but I was never really a fan of them, mainly because I was cheering for their arch-enemies Alliance (BibleThump). They fought well but in the end it was compLexity who emerged victorious, turning the series around to 2-1 from 0-1 start, just like NaVi did in the previous one. With this win, col qualified for the main bracket were they will face the second place winner from Group A.

 

DAY 3

Even though it was no longer Friday the 13th, it turned out that Saturday the 14th was instead about to turn into the doomsday for 4 of the 8 teams at Starladder i-League Invitational Season 3.

 

 

The first battle of the day was between the teams of Mineski and ViCi Gaming. It was all or nothing, either you win and live to fight another Bo3 or you lose and go home. With this in mind I was expecting that VG will step up their game and roll over Mineski, but in reality it was quite the opposite. With a relatively passive game one, the Chinese failed to impress and in the end were rolled over by their SEA opponents. Game two was ever worse with questionable decisions starting from the draft were ViCi picked Phantom Lancer for their carry when Mineski had already drafted Anti-Mage. This marked the first team out for the tournament.

 

 

 

In a game for elimination, it was finally time for Newbee to show everyone why they are the TI runner ups, something that all of their fans wanted to see and something that we were expecting of them. Game one started slowly with both of the teams testing each other and trying not to over commit. Newbee were on the back foot after a well executed first blood kill out of Team Secret, but it was not looking like the end of the world for them as they were farming good and it seemed that if this continues they will be ahead of the laning phase. Things turned completely after two failed attempts at ganking the Necrophos, which only ended up feeding Team Secret who were able to capitalize on that and win the game in the end. In game two Puppey snatched Broodmother as last pick which kinda ended it for the Chinese. Not only because of the damage output and the solo kills that Ace managed to do, but because of the space he was creating with all of that. As usual with unreal plays, YapzOr can be crowned as MVP of the series in which Team Secret knocked out Newbee out of the tournament.

 

 

 

In the last series from Group A, Mineski had to go against the South American team of SG e-sports. SG looked really good on the firs day of the tournament but today they seemed like no match for Mineski. In game one MuShi– punished them with his Anti-Mage, while in game two it was iceiceice with his Broodmother that won the game for the team. Overall good performance from the Brazilian squad, but not enough to beat seasoned players like iceiceice and MuShi-. With that series going 2-0 in favor of Mineski, they secured at least 30 Pro Circuit points and the right to go against compLexity on Sunday, which promises to be exciting series!

 

 

 

The final Bo3 of the day was a rematch between Team Secret and the crowd favorite NaVi. With their tournament live on the line, both teams gave their best and made truly exciting games for everyone. Even though their previous battled ended in NaVi‘s favor, this time the situation was quite different. In two 40+ minutes games, YapzOr managed to carry his team to the victory. Not like he did it alone, but c’mon, this guy is amazing, I feel like he is the new 4 position god along Team Liquid‘s GH and OG‘s Jerax. NaVi played really good, but they just seemed out of focus and even thought they  managed to pull out some amaaaazing team fights, in the end of the day it was not enough to go through Ace, MidOne, FATA, YapzOr and Puppey, who will face Team Liquid in the first semifinal tomorrow.