While eSports in Sri Lanka keeps getting more attention, it has been a while since we saw a local qualifier of a bigger international tournament. That rare opportunity presented itself to all DOTA 2 & Counter Strike: GO players this year with Asus extending their ROG Masters tournament all the way to a Sri Lankan qualifier.
If you recall, we spoke about how ROG Masters is an international tournament organized by Asus exclusively to DOTA 2 & Counter-Strike: GO players. The tournament goes in four phases: firstly, online qualifiers along with country offline finals to select representatives from each eligible country, secondly a regional qualifier held offline in a selected country in every eligible region, thirdly the regional winners face off against invited teams from each region, and finally the remaining teams face it off in the grand finals in November. What do you win? USD $500,000 and a lot of glory to take home.
The Sri Lankan qualifier for ROG Masters for both games commenced online in June. The open qualifiers were free for all. Unlike usual online tournaments, all the matches were played and concluded within a week. From the qualifiers, it was Sara Kollo, nA.Infinity Gaming, x3|Puppy Fanbois, and Aththatu Gaming who made it to the DOTA 2 final round. Meanwhile from CSGO, it was ZeGg, PnX|Team Zaku, Team Legends, and Biscuit Kudu who earned their slots in the final.
The main even for ROG Masters qualifiers took place on the 29th & 30th of July at Crescat Boulevard lobby. A massive screen accompanied by powerful PCs provided by the local event organizer, Redline Technologies filled up the venue. The first day was dedicated entirely for CS: GO matches. While gamers came expecting a full day of just gaming, the area was also entertained by a literal mob of cosplayers who roamed around Colombo promoting the upcoming Lanka Comic Con powered by Asus.
Initiating a Global Offensive: Counter Strike style
CS matches were as lengthy and breathtaking as always. All the matches were played in a best of 3 (BO3) format. The first semifinal between ZeGg and Team Legends had ZeGg with their experience combined with well-trained skills going againt Team Legends to grab the first slot in the grand final. From the other end, Team Zaku faced against Biscuit Kudu for the remaining slot. In a close conclusion going on to the final game of the best of 3 series, Team Zaku got the better of Biscuit Kudu to grab the remaining seat in the final.
The Final face-off
At last, the final face-off between ZeGg and Team Zaku went on till late night. The rounds were not quick at all. With patience and aggressive plays, ZeGg took the first match. Defiance, the captain of ZeGg made situational calls every moment to make sure his team takes the most out of even a 1v3 opportunity without fearing a loss. Similarly, Defiance lead his team to gain an early advantage during the second game as well.
Coming very close to the winning mark, Team Zaku kicked in a last stand potential and started winning a few rounds. Even then, almost every round Zaku took away from ZeGg was in a 1v1 situation. The tension was at a climax at this stage. However, ZeGg managed to turn things back to their favor by picking two quick kills. The round proceeded and ZeGg managed to eliminate all of the opponents to win the 16th round they needed to become the ROG Masters of Sri Lanka defeating Team Zaku.
With that, ZeGg qualified from Sri Lanka to go to India for the regional qualifier as well as won Rs. 150,000 in cash. The runner up Team Zaku also received a cash prize of Rs. 25,000 to take home.
The second day of the qualifiers of ROG Masters called all the strategic fans to witness some fine moments of Lankan Doto. Similar to CSGO, all the matches were best of 3 (B03). Taking the rare opportunity to see the Lankan all-star DOTA team, Sara Kollo live, many DOTA enthusiasts were seen at the venue cheering. However, the cheers were not only for them. The remaining teams: Infinity Gaming, Puppy Fanbois, and Aththatu Gaming also had their fans and also managed to steal some of Sara Kollo’s fans as well at times.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to DOTA!
The first semifinal was between Sara Kollo and Aththatu Gaming. The all-stars, however, did not have the easiest time of their lives pwning the newly made team. Aththatu Gaming did not hesitate to go all out. Their first effort against Sara Kollo kept a solid defense for nearly half an hour before falling apart. The second game was similar. Kills were exchanged among both teams with Sara Kollo always having a lead. Some well-timed early mid rotation plays gave Sara Kollo a 1k gold lead they desperately wanted. Using the flow of gold and coins to their advantage, Sara Kollo showed their pure experienced skills to win the second game against Aththatu Gaming to proceed on to the final.
Infinity Gaming vs Puppy Fanbois turned out to be the most thrilling series of the evening. The first game was as we all expected. A decently long game with decent picks and whatnot. Fights were good, and Infinity Gaming managed to outdraft and outplay Puppy Fanbois to win the first game. However, Puppy Fanbois pulled out a surprise Meepo pick during the second game and the tables were turned.
It wasn’t over till the fat Pudge sang
Cheers from both sides, screams of epic ganks, and nail-biting tower defenses went on for over 90 minutes during the second game. 5 Meepos and a crazy unstoppable Invoker faced against a Rapier Ember Spirit and a dominating Outworld Devourer. All the racks of Infinity Gaming were gone and the throne was exposed. Was that the end? No, a teamwipe followed by a mid-push brought Infinity Gaming back into the game. They needed one more defense to make the counter attack. But at the end, Puppy Fanbois smoked and went straight for the throne. The multi-force of Meepos were too strong to be stopped. With a straight push, Puppy Fanbois scored the equalizer to enforce a third final game. Infinity Gaming managed to win the third game over Puppy Fanbois using a terrifying Shadow Fiend and Wraith King to make their way, finally, to the final.
Sara Kollo Met Infinity Gaming: Chaos ensued
At last, Infinity Gaming met the stars of Sri Lanka, Sara Kollo in the grand finale of DOTA 2. The first game had Sara Kollo’s captain Hawkie on his signature Winter Wyvern, mid-star Paradoxx on Puck, along with a Kunkka, Venomancer, and Arc Warden facing off against Infinity Gaming’s captain Terror as Phantom Assassin, NightBlade as Nyx Assassin, along with a Magnus, Ancient Apparition, and Queen of Pain. Picks were balanced and nothing out of the ordinary to be seen. Plays were solid and Sara Kollo had the expected lead they wanted.
In under 25 minutes, they secured the first game. However, their Sara Aduwuna during the second game. Infinity Gaming pulled off the craziest performance that shook the DOTA 2 community in Sri Lanka with a crazy Magnus, Sven, and Ancient Apparition combo. For the first time, Sri Lanka’s all-stars were defeated by a team in heart-stopping comeback match. While Sara Kollo tried to straight away go for the throne killing two of Infinity Gaming’s cores, the Magnus and Apparition managed to exploit a salty move by Sara Kollo’s star, Sathan who tried to fountain dive. With Sathan’s death, Magnus was able to get a 2 man kill followed by a beautiful Ice Blast by Apparition to defend the throne. Infinity’s core Bloodseeker respawned, killed Sara Kollo’s core Ursa, got a teamwipe, and made one full forced amazing push to destroy Sara Kollo’s base to ashes earning the equalizer they deserve.
The last game was tensed for both teams as well as everyone watching it. Infinity was one step closer towards doing to impossible. They faced Sara Kollo with way more confidence than before. This time it was Infinity’s Terror on Ursa, NightBlade on Slardar, followed by Darcrow as Earthshaker, Falcon as Disruptor, and Zu as Phantom Assassin. From the Sara side, it was Paradoxx as Juggernaut, Hawkie on his Wyvern again, Sathan as Arc Warden, Toadboss as Timbersaw, and Tensa Zangetsu as NightStalker. The picks were solid from both teams and so were the battles. Sara Kollo gained the advantage once again as expected but Infinity Gaming kept giving them the fight they deserve. With devastating fury swipes, chakram spins, and endless darkness, Sara Kollo secured the final game to their name to become the ROG Masters of Sri Lanka in DOTA 2!
Entertainment and gaming were at its finest! ZeGg and Sara Kollo qualified from Sri Lanka to face against the rest of the world at ROG Masters regional qualifier held in India. Congratulations to the winners and best of luck representing Sri Lanka among other names! Wishing them the best to bring glory back home, stay tuned with us for more updates from our Sara boys and their performance against the world.