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[The general information]
The first matches of the group stage of StarLadder i-League Invitational 3 start very soon, where eight best teams of the modern professional Dota 2 scene will face each other. Two participants were invited directly and the rest six ones were determined with a help of qualifiers in six main regions: North and South America, Europe, CIS and also China and Southeast Asia. The computer center «Kiev CyberSport Arena» has been chosen as a venue that had become the legendary arena for the majority of professional players from CIS as there were hosted the largest championships of the 2000s. $300,000 and 300 Pro Circuit Points, that are required to get to The International 2018, will be up for grabs at this event.
All participants of the championship were divided into two groups with four teams in each one. Teams will struggle in bo3 matches by a GSL system. Two best teams in each group will go to the playoff stage, where they will see a single-elimination bracket with matches till two victories. Guys will fight in a bo5 format at the grand final.
The distribution of teams by groups:
[The prize pool]
The head of this competition had been able to meet the Valve’s requirements, so the championship received a status of Minor and this means that a prize pool of the event amounts $300,000. This year, the developers of the game made changes in the qualifiers to The International 2018 - from this gaming year, teams do not receive direct invitations to the event, they will earn points that are required to get to the main competition of the year. The special points have been established that will be up for grabs for the top 4 of each Minor tournament and StarLadder i-League Invitational 3 has not become an exception. At the competition, teams will fight for $300,000 and 300 Pro Circuit Points.
The distribution of a prize pool:
[The list of talents]
There will be no variety of professional players in the analytics at StarLadder i-League Invitational 3 as it was at The International 2017, however, organizers took care about the event to be observed by as famous and experienced casters as possible.
Casters of the English-speaking studio:
[The rosters of participants]
Team Liquid: MATUMBAMAN, Miracle~, MinD_ControL, KuroKy, GH
The reigning world champions have not played an official match in a new gaming season as all slots are given to them directly from organizers. It is really difficult to talk about a current shape of the players: on one hand, they might not lose their shape after The International 2017 but on another hand, Kuroky and the company have had a rest from the game for more than a month and are not ready for a new season. Such situation was in April this year when the team failed at Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 after an enough good start of the year and the captain of the team confessed that the team had taken a break and had not trained at all.
Newbee: Moogy, Sccc, KaKa, Faith, kpii
The finalists of The International 2017 come to StarLadder i-League Invitational 3 in an incredible shape, they proved that at the qualification to DreamLeague Season 8 in China, where they held the 1st place. The roster definitely looks like one of the favorites of the autumn tournament, only the question of the players’ motivation remains - do “the Chinese Gods” need these 150 points and a money reward or we will see absolutely another Newbee that will try new tactics and heroes.
Team Secret: Ace, FATA, YapzOr, Puppey, MidOne
Team Secret changed two players in an inter-season - Marcus «Ace» Hoelgaard and Adrian «FATA-» Trinks joined the main roster instead of Maurice «KheZu» Gutmann and Pyo «MP» No-a. The European mix started showing the whole Europe its power and in the last month, the team won the qualifiers to ESL One Hamburg 2017, PGL Open Bucharest 2017 and StarLadder i-League Invitational #3. Puppey and the company definitely are coming to the tournament for the first place and will have to show an amazing game, however, Team Secret often has problems at LANs.
Natus Vincere: Dendi, GeneRaL, RodjER, SoNNeikO, Crystallize
The only hope for the CIS region goes to the home tournament in a good shape. Since the announcement of the renewed roster, guys have won the qualifiers to StarLadder i-League Invitational #3 and PGL Open Bucharest 2017, however, they lost the match against “the Main boss” in the face of Virtus.Pro and didn’t get to the Major by ESL One Hamburg 2017. The roster looks enough dreadfully on paper and must make problems to even top teams, especially considering the fact that they have not played official matches against them yet and it is unlikely that they have “found the key” to the strategies of Natus Vincere. The familiar tribunes must add a confidence to Dendi and the company but it is not worth to forget about Crystallize, who will play in front of the public for the first time.
CompLexity Gaming: Chessie, Zfreek, Limmp, melonzz, Moo
The American organization decided to return its “golden roster” and again signed contracts with Chessie and Limmp instead of Feero and DeMoN. The roster started showing good results and qualified to StarLadder i-League Invitational #3 and The Perfect World Masters, having beaten Evil Geniuses during the qualification. Melonzz will obviously sensitize guys to the highest places and the struggle for points will be the main aim for the team.
SG e-Sports: FuckinEh, 4dr, Liposa, Bardo, Thiolicor
This is not a secret that South America is the weakest region in Dota 2 and SG e-Sports looks like an outsider of the championship again. During a transfer period, the team had made replacements on the main roster, and this benefited them - the guys became the unconditional leader of their region, having guaranteed themselves a participation in the final stage of StarLadder i-League Invitational #3, ESL One Hamburg 2017, The Perfect World Masters and AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League. Probably, the team will end its participation in the first Minor tournament at the group stage, however, it is not worth to write them off - we all remember what has happened at The Kiev Major 2017.
Vici Gaming: Paparazi灬, Ori, eLeVeN, LaNm, Fenrir
After the cardinal change of the roster, the organization could reach the top of the Chinese professional scene, having made a competition to LGD Gaming, LGD.FY and Newbee. The victories at the qualifiers to StarLadder i-League Invitational #3 and AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League and also the second place at The Perfect World Masters, that guarantees guys a slot at the LAN finals, may be referred as achievements of the new roster. This roster has already gained an enough amount of confidence and must come out from the group at least from the second place.
Mineski: NaNa, ninjaboogie, Mushi, iceiceice, Jabz
After the failed second half of the season 2016/2017, Mushi again could assemble more than a respectable team - the roster won absolutely all qualifiers to the Minor tournaments in Southeast Asia, where had taken part in. One month later, and this roster is the best in Asia, however, it is not worth to forget that guys have had no matches on the international scene. The team looks enough competitive and will probably try to fight for the coming out from a group but Vici Gaming and Team Liquid might have another view.