Once, in a time not so long ago, Mineski were one of the most feared teams in the Southeast Asia region, if not the world. However, this season of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit has not been the best for them as they struggled to hold down a roster or find any form – but as the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so do Mineski.
After a victory at the Dota 2 Asia Championships of 2018 and admirable fifth/sixth place finishes at a host of Majors throughout the previous DPC season, Mineski seemed to be ready to take on TI8 as the only SEA team to receive a direct invite via DPC points. Even with a poor group stage showing, they would still be the only SEA team left after the first round of eliminations – until Virtus.pro sent them packing. Following this, Mineski had a massive reshuffle which saw three players instantly depart, with a fourth later in the year. 2018 closed out with Mineski also losing their coach, Aaron ‘Clairvoyance’ Kim, as things went from bad to worse for the SEA squad. The early months of 2019 did not bring much more in the way of positivity to Mineski as the roster changes continued to ring in and without any victories coming their way, TI9 seemed a very distant dream. However, a glimmer of light now shines in the distance for the team.
Mineski roster for TI9:
- Nikolay ‘Nikobaby’ Nikolov
- Kam ‘Moon’ Boon Seng
- Damien ‘kpii’ Chok
- Ray Jay ‘Bimbo’ Qui
- Michael ‘ninjaboogie’ Ross Jr.
Countless roster changes litter the Mineski board over the course of the 2018/19 DPC season as new players joined, familiar faces returned and others departed. One of the most interesting returns was that of ninjaboogie, who had left the squad in the midst of their TI8 failures. As captain, he rejoined and almost instantly there was a spring in the step of the team as they managed to qualify for the MDL Disneyland® Paris Major, ahead of teams such as BOOM ID and TNC Predator. Alongside this, Mineski also saw themselves having a superb run at ESL One Mumbai 2019 – which ended with a second-place finish, which was amazing considering the problems that they had prior to the event. This triggered another positive in the Mineski camp as their world-famous coach, Tang ‘71’ Wenyi, returned – the same coach who had assisted the organisation in winning DAC 2018.
However, things begun to go south again for the SEA squad as the Paris Major would see them falling to VP again, something that happens more often than not, and even after qualifying for the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2, they were knocked out early on. And so, roster changes popped up again, losing their carry and their coach just before they would have to fight through SEA qualifiers for TI9 if they wanted any shot at the dream.
Ever since The International 2018, Mineski’s biggest rival in the Dota 2 scene has not been one singular team but rather every Southeast Asian squad in qualifiers, apart from themselves. Due to the numerous roster changes which have been seen throughout the season, the team have never looked stable or set to challenge anyone which has resulted in losses to the likes of; Team Admiral, BOOM ID, Clutch Gamers, EVOS Esports, Fnatic and TNC Predator, among other international teams too. A once feared squad in whatever event they attended, knocking down even the best of opposition, Mineski’s DPC season has been far from what we have come to know, love and expect of the team – but that all changed when The International 2019 was on the line.
Having been forced into the daunting prospect of regional qualifiers, where only a single team from each region would reach the hallowed grounds of TI and having a brand-new position one carry, nobody expected much from Mineski. The team had the upside of not having to fight through the open qualifier bracket – receiving one of only two direct invites into the closed bracket with BOOM ID, but the qualifier became a fierce battleground with the likes of Team Jinesbrus, Team Adroit and Team Amplfy all hungry for the victory. Straight from the group stages it seemed as though one team was already way out ahead and it was not Mineski – as they had average results but enough to keep them in the upper bracket – which would put them head-to-head with the favourites, Jinesbrus. Somehow, be it their new carry or a new mindset with TI9 on the cards, Mineski conquered all that stood in their path and in a breathtaking five-game grand final, they triumphantly claimed a spot at The International 2019.
The roster may feature some extremely well-known faces in the SEA region, such as Moon and Bimbo, but it also contains Nikobaby, the newest addition who will be attending his first ever TI event. The pressure in Shanghai, China will be immense and Mineski will have to bring even more than their “A” game.
With their qualification, Mineski join both Fnatic and TNC as the SEA contenders at The International 2019 but the long road to recovery has only just begun. Qualifiers are a mere pebble in the mountain that Mineski will need to rise above at TI as we’ve already seen the roster fall apart following a poor event, and TI can make or break even the strongest of teams – but as the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so could Mineski.