The first large goal the team had set was accomplished, and not only that they had done it by placing top 6 at a tournament with every single one of the world’s best teams in attendance. Three mere matches stood between them and being crowned champions and while that is a tremendous mountain to climb, they proved they were capable of taking on that challenge only a few months before The International was set to begin.
The potential Loda had seen when he brought this roster together had started to come to fruition and it was in no small part due to the fact that the team had never given up. Through all the setbacks they continued to try to improve together and work through their problems instead of giving up and kicking players which is sometimes all too common in Dota. It’s commendable on its own that Alliance never called it quits but it’s even better that it paid off for them in the end.
The icing on the cake would come shortly after when Alliance took home 1st place at The Summit 10 only a few weeks ago which was the last official tournament before TI9 begins. This was their first major tournament win and they couldn’t have picked a better way to cruise into their bootcamp in Shanghai.
Qojqva has been playing Dota 2 competitively since 2012. It’s difficult to find players who have been around for as long as he has. While the rest of his team was relatively new to Dota, he was the grizzled veteran who could be there for them when they needed an experienced hand to show them the way. More importantly he is an adept Mid/Carry player who is known for his ‘German efficiency’. His large hero pool and ability to play both hard farmers and tempo-controlling team fighters makes it extremely difficult to target ban him which always leaves Alliance with a win condition available during the draft.
It’s safe to say that miCKe has evolved as a player tremendously during his time with Alliance. He can play both safelane and mid allowing some fluidity in the draft, although he is mostly playing from the safelane currently. He has gone up against the best offlaners the world has to offer and has come out ahead against nearly all of them at this point. During a meta where the safelaner is pressured heavily, he keeps a cool head even if he does suffer setbacks during the laning phase — something from his competitive pedigree that he brought with him during the transition from HoN. His Slark and Sven made short work on Pain Gaming in the finals of The Summit where he only died twice in the team’s dominant 3-0 win.
The offlane is constantly changing so you need a flexible offlaner who can adapt and play a wide array of heroes. Not only that, they need to have confidence in themselves as the game can hinge on their initiations going right. Boxi has been a constant source of game-winning decision making for Alliance. He isn’t afraid to sacrifice himself for a good fight, charging in on Centaur, jumping in on Axe, or even taking over a game himself on Timbersaw. Boxi is exactly the kind of player every successful team needs and as long as he can find the items he needs you know he’s going to have his presence felt in a game.
After TI7 Taiga began playing Dota 2 competitively. He was the last member of the team to switch from HoN to Dota 2 although he certainly doesn’t play like he’s new to the game. His Dark Willow, Tusk, Earth Spirit, and Enigma all look like they need to be first banned with the way he creates opening around the map and forces the enemy to spend a lot of their attention on him during team fights. This in turn opens up the game for his cores to take over while he is being focused on by his opponents. Taiga often ends up dying more than anybody else on his team due to the way he plays but it goes to show how good of a grasp he has on what his role is on the team. Should it help Alliance close out a game he has no qualms about dying if it can take down one or more of the high priority targets on the other side.
Recently at The Summit 10 iNSaNiA turned himself into a crowd favourite. His laidback attitude, sense of humor, and incredible in-game plays made him into the star of the tournament. His casting gave us some great insight into how he thinks about the game and what he’s thinking about when he’s making huge plays for his team. After listening to him talk about Dota, it’s no wonder he is the team’s captain and that they’ve been playing so well together. On top of having a great mind for Dota, he’s also pretty good at the game itself. We’ve seen his Grimstroke set up brutal one sided teamfights, his rubick steal Black Hole and win his team the game, and many more team fight or game winning plays on a multitude of heroes from his pool.