With eSports action having been dominated by the League of Legends spring Split over the past seven days, the upcoming week brings fans one of the biggest events in the calendar, as the Dota 2 Asia Championships come back around. The event provides a better understanding of the competitive landscape ahead of the much-anticipated Kiev major, with 12 teams battling it out for a share of the $564,261 prize fund. Four teams, Evil Geniuses, Wings Gaming, OG and Newbee, were invited to the tournament, while the rest of the field came through qualifying campaigns in China, Southeast Asia, Europe, CIS and Americas.
With the tournament having kicked off on Monday, as every participant played a pair of two game series to kick off proceedings, with OG the only team to end the day with a 4-0 record. The Quarter finals take place on Wednesday 29th, with the semi-finals and Grand final both set for Sunday 2nd April. Elsewhere, the League of Legends Spring Split continues, with the Counter Strike: Global Offense ESL Pro League also making up a jam-packed week of action.
Dota 2 Asia Championships
OG v Team VG.J
Having made a perfect start to the competition on Monday, Team OG will be the favourites to overcome Team VG.J at the quarter final stage, with Captain Tal ‘Fly’ Aizik set to once again lead his team into the latter stages of a major tournament. With Jesse ‘JerAx’ Vainikka also on their roster, perhaps no team possesses a better support duo, with OG’s lightning quick rotations and laning phase making them an incredibly difficult team to overcome. With VG.J having opened up with just one win and two defeats on the opening day, the Chinese team face a tough test against their European opponents, with Captain Bai ‘rOtK’ perhaps the man to inspire an unlikely victory.
OG to win against Team VG.J @ 2/9 (SkyBet)
Evil Geniuses v Invictus Gaming
In what is undoubtedly one of the ties of the round, Group B table toppers from the first day Invictus Gaming take on successful Americans Evil Geniuses for a place in the semi-finals. Sitting pretty in the so-called ‘Group of Death’ thanks to two wins and two draws from their opening encounter, Invictus are in a good run of form, having won last year’s 2016 Nest competition. Made up of both Chinese and Korean players, Invictus can severely damage their opponent’s chances of progression with another victory. Meanwhile, the likes of Ludwig Wåhlberg and Saahil Arora will be hoping to make a name for themselves, having joined the Evil Geniuses Dota 2 roster at the back end of last year, with head coach Clinton Loomis hoping his players will justify why they were installed as one of the pre-event favourites. While Artour Babaev and Sumail Hassan can be temperamental at times, this duo have the ability to steady the ship.
Evil Geniuses first to ten kills @ 8/11 (Bet365)
Invictus Gaming to destroy the first tower @ 10/11 (Bet365)
Vitality v Team Liquid
Team Liquid were one of the form teams coming into the Asia Championships after their StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 victory, however having failed to register a win on the opening day, Wednesdays encounter with IG. Vitality is now crucial. An opening loss to Invictus Gaming set the tone for the day for Netherlands based team, with Maroun Merhej looking to live up to the hype surrounding his potential. With their roster containing high individual skill levels, flawless team fighting execution and one of the best midgame transitions in Dota 2, if they return to their best form, IG. Vitality could well be in trouble.
Team Liquid to win against IG. Vitality @ 7/10 (Betway)
Elsewhere in eSports, the League of Legends Spring Split continues throughout the week, with EU LCS Group B leader’s Unicorns of Love taking on Splyce on Thursday as they look to cement their position in the play-offs, while their closest challengers H2K are the overwhelming favourites to overcome Origen on Friday. For CS:GO fans, the ESL Pro League continues this week, as the formidable SK Gaming look to continue their 100% winning start against Renegades, with the Germans having won their opening 12 matches.