photo by: ESL One
While the top contenders in the North American region are established by now, and it seems like the trio Evil Geniuses, Forward Gaming and J.Storm have found stability and a good groove going into each of the Major qualifiers, the lower tier teams are delivering all the interesting storylines.
The 20018-2019 competitive season started with Jacky “EternalEnVy” Mao joining compLexity Gaming at his own initiative. He’s been allowed to bring with him players he trusted and who he thought would be a good fit for his unique playstyle. The start of the season was disastrous. coL lost the Kuala Lumpur Major qualifiers and in the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor Lan event they got into a complex scandal involving the racist remarks of Rolen Gabriel “Skemberlu” Ong. Following that incident, Skem was released from the team and Envy along with Jingjun “Sneyking” Wu left the team of their own will, in what looked to be more of an act of solidarity with the young carry, who was extremely close to end his professional career before properly starting it.
With the next set of Major and Minor qualifiers, EE and Sneyking tried their luck via South America where they briefly joined Infamous, but with no real success. A few days before the end of 2018 Envy announced a new team, Flying Penguins. He and his new stack entered the DreamLeague S11 open qualifiers, made it to the closed potion of the competition, but were quickly pushed in the lower bracket by J storm and eliminated afterwards by compLexity Gaming. coL reached the lower bracket finals of the major qualifiers where they got defeated by Forward, and so they met Envy and his new team again, this time in the StarLadder Imba TV Minor qualifiers.
There’s also a kicker to this plot, as Flying Penguins decided to kick Nico “Gunnar” Lopez and take Eric “Ryoya” Dong form Team Team. Although the move looked like an amiable player trade between the two teams, Gunnar’s tweet from yesterday tells a different story. “I was kicked and replaced with Ryoya after the major quals finished,” he said.
If anyone was wondering what happened with me and flying penguins, I was kicked and replaced with Ryoya after the major quals finished. I'll be playing with TeamTeam for this minor qualifier.
— Gunnar (@Gunnardota) February 9, 2019
Ironically, Team Team were the first opponents for Flying Penguins in the SLI Minor qualifiers and they pushed EE’s team in the lower bracket. At the same time, coL took down Mason “mason” Venne’s stack, Wut the Frog and then defeated Team Team as well in the upper bracket finals, to get just one series away from the Minor ticket. Flying Penguins survived all the lower bracket rounds, eliminated Team Team from the contention and joined coL in the grand finals. The series started with compLexity going for the split push scenario. They had two of the best heroes for that, Lone Druid and Nature’s Prophet, while Envy’s team had two strong right click cores, Lifestealer, and Outworld Devourer. Penguins’ laning stage was disastrous and the game went from bad to worse as coL were sitting on an 8k gold advantage, were leading on the kills score chart with 18 to 4 and had also taken down the Tier 3 tower mid, while their own tier 1 was still standing at the 25-minute mark. By the 40-minute mark, Penguins were left without two lane of barracks, but their cores were only now starting to shine.
Eternal Envy is 2 rax down.
Queue the anime music.
— Charlie Yang (@CharlieYang) February 11, 2019
Watch UP NEXT: StarLadder ImbaTV Minor SEA Qualifiers from BeyondTheSummit on www.twitch.tv
Mistakes were made, Divine Rapier was bought and lost, Envy still wins
As in most of the Envy games, the very late stage is where he shines. Flying Penguins took down Roshan despite having to defend the Throne at the same time, as no Tier 4 towers were up to deal with the creep waves. At the 68 minute EE queued a Divine Rapier, however, he didn’t buy it before finishing Shadow Blade and taking the first Tier 3 tower from compLexity. The Rapier came in to play at the 76-minute mark, however, Envy lost it in the first team fight after purchasing it and even so, the game finished in a thrilling one brave push for the coL Throne, 80 minutes into the game.
Losing game one the way they did, coL didn’t find the strength to fight as hard in game two and lost the grand finals series 0-2, which means there will be no Minor and no Major for them in March. Flying Penguins will head to Kiev, Ukraine to fight for the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor championship title and the Major finals ticket. The Minor will take place March 7-10 at the Cybersport Arena with eight teams fighting. So far, four teams claimed their spot at the minor, with four more joining them when all the regional qualifiers are over.
StarLadder ImbaTV Minor participants:
- BOOM ID (SEA qualifiers)
- Gambit Esports (CIS qualifiers)
- Old But Gold (CIS qualifiers)
- Flying Penguins (NA qualifiers)
- TBD (China qualifiers)
- TBD (China qualifiers)
- TBD (EU qualifiers)
- TBD (SA qualifiers)