Alliance has been off people’s radars for a long time, but given how they’ve started this season it may be time that everyone starts paying attention to them again. Alliance has qualified for the Major, qualified for ESL One Hamburg, and have now won Reshuffle Madness, an online event featuring some very talented teams from the CIS and EU regions. While other teams shuffled after TI8, Alliance decided to keep their roster the same with Qoqjva, miCKe, Boxi, iNSaNiA, and Taiga. Alliance started the double elimination tournament off strong with a 2-0 victory against Team Spirit, helmed by FNG. They went on to 2-1 Odium, Lil’s new team where he joined up with CemaTheSlayer and other well-known CIS players.
In the upper bracket finals Alliance would receive their only loss against Ferzee but after quickly dispatching Team Empire 2-0 Alliance was back for their rematch in the grand finals. It wasn’t much of a rematch though as Alliance promptly 3-0’d Ferzee to claim the championship for themselves. Alliance is on a role and any team that gets in their way at the moment tends to be on the losing end of the matches. It’s a great sign that one of the oldest organizations in Dota 2 is on the rise once more.
The Major has wrapped up and the post-Major shuffle is nearly over. The weekends packed with events are now behind us, and with the dust settling and the scene slowing down a bit, it’s time of course for the online leagues to start up again. We’ll first look at the Esports Championship Series season 6, which now have completed their first two weeks in this new season.
Team Liquid have been busy in North America, with already twelve maps played in these first two weeks, the most of any teams in the league. Needless to say, they’ve taken care of business, as they flew to a fantastic 10-2 record. This already means that they are guaranteed to end the season with a positive score, as they only have to face three teams for the remainder of the season. They already faced some big contenders like MIBR and Cloud9, and need now to prepare for matches against coL, Renegades and NRG.
While favored against all three, especially Renegades and coL, NRG should prove a challenge as they remain a constant threat, looking to shake the established order in North America. Aside from them, Liquid should and already did live up to their status as the favourites in the league, showing that they are one of the best team in the world right now by dominating their region with ease. Their only map losses were to MIBR and Cloud9, the two other well established rosters in NA right now.
We’re only done with half the matches for the whole season, but Team Liquid already look like a lock for the ECS playoffs, something they were expected to do, and should achieve given how well they have played so far.
It was clear from game one that Hungrybox came to this year’s Big House 8 with his eye on the prize. Caster commentary on Hungrybox “running out of time to win a major” was a common theme throughout the day. But Hbox was on the case. Though the reigning champ entered the tournament without having won a single Supermajor this year, he left with a near perfect tournament record and his second consecutive Big House title.
The competition at BH8 was absolutely stacked this year. And first stock at 10am meant stamina and consistency were absolutely necessary for Hungrybox to make it through to the Grand Finals. Despite the early start, however, he swiftly floated past his competitors in undefeated fashion. Making it to the Winner’s Finals against Mango without dropping a single game.
In a post tournament interview Hungrybox said, “I honestly think that if Mango had played Falco against me he might have taken me to a game 5 or possibly even beaten me.” Luckily for Hbox Mango chose to face his Puff as Fox instead. Every stock was contended in the series. And every game came down to last stock duels. While the series was entertaining to watch the tension in the air was ultimately for naut. Hungrybox took both games against Mango and headed into the Grand Finals still undefeated.
His perfect record wouldn’t last however. The first game of the Grand Finals saw Hungrybox finally bleed. Dropping his first and only game of the tournament to Plup brought with it cheers from the crowd. And an even tighter focus from Hungrybox himself. Following his last stock blunder in game 1, Hbox went on to win the next game in an astounding 46 seconds. Three stocking Plup in a mere 43 seconds before having his skills acknowledged with a perfect game win 3 seconds later as Plup conceded the game. Though the crowd seemed to mostly be in favour of Plup, the match was in favour of Hbox. The third and fourth games went down to the last stock wire. But Hungrybox would be victorious in the end. Beating Plup 3-1 in the Grand Finals awarded Hungrybox both his first SuperMajor win of the year and his second consecutive Big House trophy.