As you all probably have seen, the invites to this year’s TI were announced yesterday. I already wrote on Twitter that I was a bit disappointed and frustrated that we weren’t invited and I will elaborate on why here.
Knowing if you are gonna get invited or not is impossible unless you have performed really well right before an invitation is out for a Major or TI. You don’t know if there is gonna be 6, 8 or even 12 invites so unless you are top 6 (or even top 4 to be absolutely sure) you don’t really know. There are no indications or rules of how Valve think when they are deciding which teams they are going to invite so you can just make assumptions on your own of how they think. Personally I thought that the reason for having the Majors was to get more stability in the scene and that Valve would base their TI invites partly on the performances on the Majors. TI is bigger than all Majors combined so during the whole year you are playing to get invited to TI and I would probably rather play at TI and miss all the Majors than the other way around.
I though we were gonna get invited to TI assuming they would invite 10 teams. First of all, we have participated in all the Majors. We weren’t invited to the first one so we qualified there through the qualifier and showed that we deserved a spot there. After that we won two big tournaments, WCA and Starladder. Our performance hasn’t been the best the past months, I don’t deny that, but we have still shown that we are able to take a game of almost every team we face. Almost all losses have been 1-2. At the Manila Major we ended up at 9-12th place with a 6-6 score in games which were far more wins than other teams that ended up at the same placement.
Now I understand that I had a totally different view on which and how many teams that deserved to be invited to TI, that Valve only want to invite the current top teams and let the rest of the top tier teams fight for the remaining spots regardless of their performance throughout the year. I.e. if you have one really bad day and fail in the qualifiers you will miss the one tournament you have been fighting to enter for a whole year. In contrast, I thought they would look at the bigger picture of how the Majors went and how teams performed during a longer period of time.
Right now, going to a tournament and perform bad can have a negative effect on your invite if it’s close to when the invites are announced, but I don’t think going to a tournament should be able to hurt you in any way like ESL probably hurt Fnatic. As it is now, the system might encouraged teams to skip events because it can give Valve a reason to not invite you. You can say that Fnatic didn’t deserve an invite because they finished last at ESL but if they didn’t show up to this tournament you could say that they do deserve an invite because they finished top 6 in the last 2 Majors and no one could argue against that. The fact that Liquid probably got knocked down to the lower bracket because they played without Fata the first day and then later on eliminated Fnatic playing with Fata the day after disturbs me as well but that’s another story (I don’t blame Liquid though since they obviously rather played with their original lineup but rather how the bracket unintentionally could have been “manipulated” when players are swapped in the middle of a tournament).
Hopefully Valve can be more clear in the future on how the invites works. For now, let’s enjoy the upcoming bloodbath a.k.a. the European qualifier! #PJSalt 😀
After a couple of days at home it was time for us to go to our next event, ESL One Frankfurt! We’ve been here competing twice before and I’m looking forward to our third time! I like how they have changed the structure of the event that there is a GSL group stage in the beginning that actually matters in the playoffs (only top 2 from the group stage advance to the playoffs). I think they had a playoff straight away that was single elimination at their first event here so you could get eliminated after just playing one bo3 but now everyone gets to play at least 2 series which is a bit better for the teams that travel far to get here. We are lucky though that there is a direct flight from Gothenburg to Frankfurt so it’s quite easy for us to get here! 🙂
The tournament starts on Friday so tomorrow will be media day which means that we (as usual) will take some pictures and someone will probably do an interview as well. We have gotten quite used to how every tournament wants to take the pictures so it usually goes quite fast.
Just got back to my room after dinner with the team and gym with s4. The dinner took ages because the hotel is quite new (the reception isn’t even finished) so the crew that worked at the restaurant wasn’t the fastest one so to speak. It was okay though because the staff were very polite and apologized for the delay and apart from that the hotel is good (Loda just said he only got cold water when he took a shower though so I will have to check that out.. ^^). The hotels at the latest events has been super good so I feel a bit spoiled. Sometimes I think back when we went to compete at Dreamhack in 2006 and we slept on the concrete floor at the event and when we won we got 800 dollars to split with the team. It was barely enough to cover for the expenses for the trip but I was still super happy but I guess that comes with being 18 years old and not having any responsibilities when it comes to earn enough money to make a living. If I would be able to go back and ask myself how I thought eSports would look like in 10 years from then I would never guess that there would be prize pools as big as there is today and that events would be played in arenas.
Time to watch some anime before I go to sleep. I started to watch “Guilty Crown” lately which is decent, not a master piece but enough interesting to want me to keep on watching. I don’t watch so much anime but there are some I really like, my all time favorite is by far Steins;Gate but I also really liked Code Geass, Death Note and newer ones like Attack on Titans etc. I like when there isn’t more than like 20-30 episodes or it’s often quite slow paced.
Got back home earlier today after a very well handled event in Manila. It’s so great to see that everything got a lot more serious after the failure at the Shanghai Major so hopefully this will keep up for the future Majors as well. PGL, the Valve staff and everyone else involved did a really good job, props to you guys!
Our schedule is quite packed right now. We are having one day off now after we got back home but after that we are gonna continue to practice for ESL Frankfurt. It’s been a lot of practice and games the past weeks but with TI6 coming up it’s not that hard to be motivated to keep on practicing and playing.
This event was the first one in a long time where we had a coach with us (last one was during TI4 where Winter coached us) and even though we didn’t get so far in the tournament I’m very happy with what Synderen helped us with. He was very on-point with things that we needed to improve on and didn’t hesitate to speak up. We managed to get better with a lot of things during the bootcamp thanks to him but unfortunately it wasn’t enough for us this tournament. Only thing we can do from here is to look forward and do our best at ESL Frankfurt and then hopefully at TI6 as well.
Going back a bit to the games I was very happy with the win over Mineski. Their draft was quite good versus ours and at one point the game even looked a bit grim for us when they pushed our highground early. We came back though by taking good fights and defending our base until we were strong enough to pressure them. Was fun to play Keeper of The Light again, really like that hero!
Next series against Navi was very fun to play even though we lost. I read somewhere that the viewing numbers was insanely high even though the game were played on a weekday and it wasn’t even that far into the bracket. It’s fun to see that the Alliance/Navi hype is still there and I’m very grateful to be able to be a part of it. We could definitely have won game 2 against them. We had all the tools to be able to win it but in my opinion we didn’t play and take fights as we should have. We should have forced the fights a bit more when we were so much stronger than them but I think the problem was that we kept on playing as we have been doing a lot of other similar games (win it slowly) but the difference here was that since they had Huskar we either needed to win the game before he got all his items or we should have built items to counter him straight away. None of us really thought about this though (probably because as I wrote, we have been winning many games before by playing this way) and it’s probably very game-specific since they had Huskar and Oracle.
The photo session we had at the event was super fun. There were a lot of happy fans that wanted us to do poses with them so we had a couple of really good laughs. We did a ballerina pose in one of the pictures which probably looked quite fun ^^. It was all the people there who made it fun by being so happy and nice so a big thanks to everyone who was there and made our day! We heard there were many that requested a second photo session with us that we wanted to do but unfortunately there wasn’t any more time slots available so it wasn’t possible :(. Hopefully there will be more events in Manila!
Big congratulations to OG who just won their second major! It’s one of the teams that really deserves the win so I’m very happy for them!