Breaking the silence of game-related news came Redline’s RLG DOTA 2 Championship, with some interesting incentives on the table: Rs. 250,000 worth of prizes and cash sponsored by Gigabyte (known mostly for their motherboards), Logitech (gaming peripherals, anyone?), Prolink (mostly known for their network equipment) and Sennheiser (the audio gear company). The prizepool also made it one of the most lucrative tournaments to date. (Photos by Kaushalya Prabuddha)
The whole thing took place three main stages: online qualifiers where all the teams were invited to take part and compete against each other, a group stage where the top 4 teams of Sri Lanka were invited to face-off online against the 4 teams chosen from the open qualifiers, and a LAN semi-finals and final stage to conclude the battles. The last stage took place at Majestic City, Alongside all this, a 1v1 solo-mid championship also took place, matching 8 invited players from the top teams.
The online qualifiers attracted 33 teams from around the country. The draw consisted of names going from top names to underdogs followed by matches filled with team-wipes, game changing rotations, and many troll plays (pun intended). While new rosters were seen from top teams such as Death Sentence and Infinity Gaming, they stole very little attention: the spotlight went to a new team named “AB and Sons” took part under the n00b Alliance tag.
Under the leadership of Shenal “AB” Daniel (1v1 Solo Mid champion and former support player of reigning champions, Death Sentence), AB and Sons advanced easily into the group stage along with Infinity Gaming and two other (in)famous teams: PnX|For The Horde and Kehel Lella.
The above four qualifiers were divided into two groups of four with the other invited teams: TM | Death Sentence, PnX|The Kade, PnX| SyFy, and x3 | BOTS for a round-robin playoff. With The Kade back in the equation, they managed to be the only team to score a winning spree of 3-0 in Group B to advance doubtlessly to the main event. An “extremely crazy” Storm Spirit play by Paradoxx annihilated Kehel Lella. An Axe, a global Tinker, and a Juggernaut from SyFy managed to beat the undefeated Death Sentence in a 56 minute game; however, because of SyFy’s previous defeat, they were not qualified for the top 4 slots of the main event.
The stars of the qualifier, AB and Sons, had a rough time during the group stage against Death Sentence and Infinity Gaming. A victory followed by two defeats marked the end of their journey in RLG.
The main event happened on the 25th of April at Majestic City. eSports’ DOTA enthusiasts (with and without their clan colours) were seen under a single roof after 4 months, cheering for their favorites and calling out mistakes with the perfection of hindsight.
The semi-finals and final ran in a Best of 3 knock-out system. Infinity Gaming came to an end at the hands of The Kade, a 2-0 win which reserved Kade a slot in the final.
Death Sentence faced off against BOTS; Ember and Storm Spirit fell under Death Sentence’s Muksith “Tensa Zengetsu” Ajwath’s Meepo. And once again, Death Sentence met The Kade in the final, something we saw coming a mile away.
Meanwhile, before the grand final began, the solo mid boiled down to Tensa Zengetsu versus AB. Tensa Zengetsu called for Meepo (arguably the best pick of both Tensa and AB). AB called for an infamous Earth Spirit pick in the next round and proceeded to get the better. It all came down to a fast and furious Shadow Fiend finale that saw AB walking away as the unquestioned champ of the solo midlane.
Ironically, the 1v1 Champion had no slot in the match all were eagerly waiting for. The Kade picked the 6.83 maniac pick – Troll Warlord followed by an offlane Morphling. Death Sentence rolled an Abaddon to counter and outplayed The Kade in the first game.
Once again The Kade went for a Troll Warlord, while Death Sentence took both Sniper and Axe, two more popular picks. A Zeus and Spirit Breaker pick came from The Kade giving the audience mixed hopes for a victory.
The game started and Hawkie picked up a support Spirit Breaker. Charge, die, and repeat. That was The Kade’s game for nearly the first 15 minutes. The faces of PnX supporters fell as Spirit Breaker put up a show more disappointing than the recent Mayweather vs Pacquiao match.
However, no matter how many times Hawkie died, The Kade had a significant lead in gold and exp over Death Sentence throughout the early-game. Spirit Breaker’s suicidal support resulted in a very fat Troll Warlord and a fairly fed Zeus. The team fights came and The Kade outplayed Death Sentence to win the second game.
The last match of the final took place at GameEdge, Kohuwela. In very surprising role swap, The Kade switched their carry and support players. A Queen of Pain and Anti-Mage pick by Death Sentence made the spectators presume a lot of mobility in the game. From The Kade came a Phantom Lancer, a Lina and a Centaur Warrunner.
Death Sentence had a good early game. An off tri-lane by them was able to limit Phantom Lancer to a good extent while their carry, Anti-Mage, farmed well against Warrunner. Death Sentence picked off kills very efficiently towards the mid game, gaining a huge gold and exp lead over The Kade. Despite a valiant (and largely illusory) fight put up by Hawkie and innumerable Phantom Lancer illusions, Death Sentence steadily steamrolled The Kade to a solid victory.
Overall, it’s surprising how The Kade and Death Sentence, despite being the two teams that always end up at the finals, manage to keep entertaining the DOTA crowd. All in all, a stellar way to start this year’s batch of eSports events.