Afoninje: “We knew that we were guaranteed to win if we took Meepo”

Afoninje: “We knew that we were guaranteed to win if we took Meepo”

After a very successful group stage for the Russian Gambit at the Bucharest Minor, Andrei “Afoninje” Afonin talked about their success there in detail.

He explained that the team lost one TEAM TEAM map because they didn’t know which characters the opponent would play. Afonin also admitted that it does not matter to him with whom Gambit Esports will have to play in the next stage of the tournament.

Gambit convincingly overcame Team Team in their opening game, followed by a 2:0 victory over the Chinese Keen Gaming. The Russian team have secured themselves a spot in the winner semi-finals, where they will face a second place team from Group B.

About the confrontation with TEAM TEAM

“We did not know that they were going to ban them, so we just decided to see what they would play in the first match. It turned out — they are playing Magnus, and for us this is an uncomfortable hero. But if we had put a triple with Visp and Gyrocopter against Phantom … <…> In general, it was necessary to choke the Phantom and leave the hero against Dark Sire one on one.

Then we would have a lot of farm on all lines, and we would have crushed them. And they have greed – Magnus and Phantom, OD. It turned out that we did not punish them for this greed, and it was clear that in the end we would lose. And so it happened. “

“After losing the first map there was no panic. The only thing that happened was insecurity in Wisp. Someone said that “we don’t need it” and all that. In the end, we came to the conclusion that you just need to ban Magnus, and everything will be fine. We looked at what they were playing with, and we had no more morale. ”

About choosing Meepo vs. Keen Gaming

“We wanted to close them [with the help of] Meepo, if they take Wisp and Gyrokopter or collect some heroes who do nothing. So it happened. We thought that in the end they would still ban Meepo, because before that they had banned all our heroes, but they somehow missed this moment. And we knew that we were guaranteed to win, if we took Meepo at the end. Regardless of what else we will have a bunch of heroes. The main thing is that we have that one hero to play around ”.

On opponents in the next round

“From Group B, I would like to play with everyone. I do not know who is the strongest there. OG and EHOME are probably at the same level, and the rest are weaker. But we don’t care who to play against.”

The Bucharest Minor takes place in Romania from January 9 to January 13, the prize fund of the competition is $ 300,000 USD and 500 Dota Pro Circuit points.

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Who are we betting on at the Bucharest Minor: Day 2

Who are we betting on at the Bucharest Minor: Day 2

With the conclusion of Group A at the Bucharest Minor, we look into the opening matches of Group B. Will the favorites prevail once again?

We saw Keen Gaming overcome Ninjas in Pyjamas and Gambit Gaming defeat Team Team in the first two matches of the event. The Russian Gambit continued their strong performance and overcame the Chinese underdogs KG, earning themselves a spot in the winner semi-final.

North America’s Team Team fell behind NiP and will finish the Group A dead last, whereas NiP moved on to battle Keen Gaming for the last spot in the winner bracket.

On Day 1 of the Bucharest Minor, all the favorites managed to secure wins when it mattered the most. Will we see the repeat of that in Group B?

We look at the match-ups of the opening games and see who esports fans at the bet exchange site see as the favorites in Group B.


The International 2018 champions in the offseason lost their carry and abandoned the first Dota Pro Circuit tournaments. Instead, they visited AMD Dota 2 Pro Series 2018, where they performed with the Australian player BOX HILL and took third place. After OG returned, they played qualifiers for a major with Anders “Pajkatt” Olsen Lille, but they did not even leave the group. In qualifying for the minor, the rivals couldn’t resist OG, and they took one of the two slots to the tournament easily.

After the New Year, the team decided not to continue cooperation with Pajkatt — they took Igor “iLTW” Filatov instead. The updated roster, having no time to train properly, checked their strength in the online tournament WePlay! Dota 2 Winter Madness. The organizers invited OG to the quarterfinal immediately, where the team of Johan “n0tail” Sundstein beat Vega Squadron with a score of 2:0, and then with the same score left out of business NoPangolier in the semi-finals. In the decider, OG failed to win a single map against Gambit Esports.

The performance of the TI8 champion in the Winter Madness final raises doubts that OG is the main favorite of the minor. But almost all players have a solid experience in performing at major LAN tournaments, iLTW has the motivation to show himself as a top-level player, and the rest have a desire to wipe their nose for those who consider the current TI champion to be a team of one tournament.

While the best teams in Southeast Asia are trying to fix the problems with the help of constant roster changes, BOOM ID has chosen a different tactic. In the offseason, they made only one substitution — the player that has been with the team since 2017.

As a result, it gave its fruits: for the first time since its formation in January 2017, BOOM ID reached the international LAN final. Previously, the team played only at local competitions. Although they won against Mineski (which is not in the best shape after TI8) and Clutch Gamers (where all third-tier players from Europe took, but they didn’t succeed) in the closed qualifiers, they had no experience in large LAN tournaments. And defeating OG, Gambit, or NiP is an almost impossible task for the SEA team.

EHOME vs Playmakers esports

The main mystery for non-Chinese teams is EHOME — the line-up that trains Zhang “Xiao8” Ning. Usually, teams from this region are gaining shape by spring, after the Chinese New Year. In December, EHOME won the qualifiers for ESL One Katowice 2019 and ranked second in two major Chinese leagues — Dota2 Professional League Season 6 and 2018 Sanya DOTA2 New-Stars Play.

The composition entered the training rhythm and is unlikely to slow it down. The organizers of the third major season — DreamLeague Season 11 — appointed Chinese qualifiers for the New Year holidays, and xiao8 himself said that there would be no time for rest. In addition, in Bucharest, there will be a slot at home major at stake, and the Chinese clearly want to play in front of their home audience.

South America is the least developed region in Dota 2. PaiN Gaming always wins the qualifiers for a major, and the battle for the slot on the major unfolding is serious. Local formulations change more often than in any other region. Playmakers Esports formed a roster at the end of November, and they won a ticket to Bucharest from Infamous, with Jackie “EternaLEnVy” Mao, Enzo “Timado” Hyanoli and Jingjun “Sneyking” Wu on board.

For them to get to the minor is already an achievement, and at least one victory in the playoffs will be the ultimate dream. The composition may repeat the history of paiN Gaming, if it continues to hold on and grow together. But winning the first LAN tournament, where much more experienced opponents will perform, as well as playing big money and a slot on a major, is almost an unattainable goal for them.

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Who are we betting on at the Bucharest Minor

Who are we betting on at the Bucharest Minor

On January 9th, the second major of the season and the first big tournament of the year — The Bucharest Minor — will take start. Eight teams will compete for $300,000 in prize money, 500 Dota Pro Circuit points and a slot for The Chongqing Major.

With the tournament set to start tomorrow, we take a closer at the opening matches. Who will come out victorious in the first tournament of the year? Will it be the TI8 champions? Or is it time for Gambit to shine? Or maybe the underdogs Keen Gaming will shock everyone?

For those not so used to esports betting the Bucharest Minor will be an excellent entry point. Teams are well balanced and that promises a week of entertainment for Dota 2 fans. If you’re looking to bet on Dota 2 matches we are here to help you.

New to betting on esports? Head over to and place your first bet up to 20 euros absolutely risk-free!

Curious which team to bet on? We take a closer look at the opening matches of the Bucharest Minor.

Group A: Ninjas in Pyjamas vs Keen Gaming

Ninjas in Pajamas — a composition of experienced players with one of the best captains in the world. At The Kuala Lumpur Major, the team reached fourth place, although they played with a substitute. Many believed that Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislav even strengthened the team, which was partly confirmed by the results of NiP with main player Neto “33” Shapira online — not leaving the group for the qualifiers for The Chongqing Major, 5-6th place at the LOOT.BET Winter Masters (loss agains Alliance in winners semi-finals and against Pavaga Gaming in the bottom of the grid) and 3-4th place at the WePlay! Dota 2 Winter Madness (defeated by Gambit Esports in the semi-final).

Despite the fact that Ninjas in Pajamas are now not in optimal shape, they can dial it during the tournament if everything goes well in the group stage and ppd finds the key to the opponents.

In the offseason, Keen Gaming stepped up, inviting three experienced players — Wang “old chicken” Zhiyong , Hu “Kaka” Lyanchzhi and Ren “ELeVeN” Yanveya. However, the results did not improve — the team did not qualify for the closed qualifiers for The Kuala Lumpur Major and the Major DreamLeague Season 10. But after a month of training, they gained good form — first winning the qualifiers for The Bucharest Minor, and then the championship titles of the online tournaments The China Hope Series # 2 and H-Cup Season 12 .

However, to win in Bucharest, the Chinese team will succeed only if the four favorites all struggle to perform. Within the region, Chinese second-tier teams often give battle to favorites, but on the international stage this happens extremely rarely. But still the Chinese remain the Chinese, and any team, especially with experienced players, is able to win tournaments of a minor level.

Group A: Gambit Gaming vs Team Team

Gambit Esports, like OG, changed the lineup a few weeks ago — instead of Rinat “KingR” Abdullin and Ivan “VANSKOR” Skorokhod, Artem “Fng” Barshak and Alexander “Immersion” Khmelevskaya joined the team. With the new captain, the game style of the collective from the CIS has changed — the first matches Gambit lost, but then issued a series of victories, including against Forward Gaming (albeit with a substitute), Ninjas in Pajamas and OG.

If we consider only the results of the New Year’s online tournaments, then Gambit is the main favorite to win the major. But collectives from the CIS usually do not differ in stability: after reaching a certain mark, they often begin a sharp decline. But if Gambit Esports continues in the same vein, then it will have every chance of a trophy and a third slot on the major for their region.

TEAM TEAM, despite the double mention of the “team” in the title, is not an actual team. This is an ordinary American mix, they won the qualifiers, where there were the same mixes and fully disassembled compLexity Gaming.

Everyone loves Michael “ixmike88” Gannam and miss his speeches on stage. But the reality is that it is unlikely that his team will oppose any of the favorites and challengers. TEAM TEAM can rise above the last place only if it meets in an elimination match against Playmakers Esports. And it’s not a fact that ixmike88’s team will be able to defeat the Peruvians.

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GH: “When it comes to competition, Mind_Control is fearless”

GH: “When it comes to competition, Mind_Control is fearless”

After lackluster results in the second half of 2018, Team Liquid are ready to reclaim their throne at the Chongqing Major, according to Maroun “GH” Merhej.

Liquid have been struggling ever since August, when they finished 4th in The International 2018. What followed was an underwhelming performance by previously one of the best teams in the world. It was time for a change.

But a roster change wasn’t what they needed. What they needed, was in fact as simple as a bit of rest.

Team Liquid gave up their spot in the Major and took a much-needed vacation and it paid off. Right after their return, Liquid took first place at the MegaFon Winter Clash, defeating Natus Vincere in the Grand Final.

According to Maroun “GH” Merhej, a good rest was long overdue for the team.

Team Liquid decided to take a little vacation after qualifying for a major. Were you about ready for one?

Everything has long gone to the fact that we will go on vacation because after TI7 we had almost no rest. We continued to play tournament after tournament. During the year we began to feel that we were tired, but there was no time for a break, there was TI8 ahead. So we decided not to step on the same rake. Immediately after the end of TI8, there was not so much time before qualifications for a major, so we decided to skip the first tournaments together to take a break and focus on the next goal.

Team Liquid has been playing together in this lineup for two years now, this is an amazing achievement. Don’t you get tired of one another?

Yes. Usually when we take a vacation, we rest both from the game and from each other, because we have to spend 2-3 months with the team. And these are seven people of different nationalities, with different histories and different cultures. There comes a time when you start to move away from each other, already something does not click. And then you may need a little time to reload your feelings and become friends again.

How did you spend your free time?

I didn’t do much, honestly. I just rested with my family, I often met with friends. Spent a lot of time in front of the computer, but did not play. Just watched movies and TV shows. I went to the gym, went in for sports, enjoyed a delicious meal. And here we are again.

While you were resting, Mind_Control played a major with Ninjas in Pyjamas. How did you respond when you heard about his plans?

This is a funny story because on the day when the team discussed this, I could not participate in the conversation. So I just did not know about it. I later read about it somewhere on the Internet. And such: “Oh, MC will play with NiP”. It’s funny, because I was far from the first to find out about this, simply because I wasn’t there during the discussion.

In those matches that I saw, as for me, he played very well. He showed himself on Earthshaker and on other heroes. They entered the top 4, which is by no means a bad result. I was happy for him, the whole tournament was rooting. He deserves to play the major.

He told you how to play against NiP now? Are they good?

In fact, he did not talk much about being in a team. He shared that they have a completely different approach to the game, it is different from ours. They look at the game differently. He said the team is being led by PPD. They are quite masterful guys, but sometimes, when the game is not going according to their plan, they can have problems.

PPD on Twitter wrote “Mind_Control had just left the training room and told us he would destroy us at the qualifiers.” Do you believe he could say that?

MC is a nice guy, I like him. But when it comes to competition, MC is fearless. He is able to say anything, because he strongly believes in himself and his teammates. I think he can confirm with his work any word.

Speaking of the latest tournament results. Kuroky set a record by playing each hero in an official match. Do you think there is a player who can achieve the same?

Perhaps you never know for sure. I think there are other players who have been on the stage for 5-10 years and continue to play. But this is a great achievement — to be the first player who played on all the characters.

Do you remember how it happened? Maybe someone said that there is an opportunity to pick TA for Kuroky?

We did not take part in this decision. It happened spontaneously. We just wanted to have fun and enjoy the game. Kuroky has a draft, so he can do whatever he wants. He simply said: “I want to play on TA” and pressed the button. We just answered this: “Okay. We trust you, play TA. Go!”. Of course, we were shocked for about 10 seconds, but then we looked at him, he looked at us and we decided: “This is Kuro, he can do what he wants.”

How do you manage to keep calm constantly?

In fact, I am not always calm. Sometimes I have to go through difficulties. Sometimes I need time to collect my thoughts. For all the time I realized that it is better to remain calm and deal with problems without emotions and aggression. So you will find a solution much faster than if you get angry and nervous. To solve the problem, you must first cope with anger.

What should a person do when he feels the approach of tilt? How to avoid it?

Getting into tilt is normal. Many people suffer from this, including me. In this case, I am trying to figure out what caused me to lose my temper, and deal specifically with this. Sometimes after the games, I feel tilted, so I just go out, take a deep breath and don’t play for 30 minutes or an hour. Just trying to relax. Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are playing a game that you love and are just trying to have some fun. You do not enter the game to shout at people.


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Buying victory: The cost of Artifact’s winning decks

Buying victory: The cost of Artifact’s winning decks

Valve’s collectible card game Artifact was released on November 28 and immediately sparked heated discussions among players. A few hours after the release, the Metacritic game scores dropped to 2 points and have not changed since.

Users criticized the economy system behind Artifact and already jokingly named the game the first of its genre — pay-2-pay. But despite the cold reception in the beginning of December Artifact hosted the first tournament. We take a look just how much its top players spent on their cards.

We reviewed the decks of the four semifinalists of WePlay! Artifact Mighty Triad: Strength tournament.

The most economical of the participants in the semifinal was the Dane Frederick “Hoej” Nielsen. At the beginning of the tournament, he knocked out player Olzhas “Naiman” Batyrbekov from the competition and then overcame Sean “MieGod” Yana in the semifinals. In the final match he lost the championship to the American George “Hyped” Maganzini.

For the tournament, Nielsen chose the most popular bunch of red heroes: Axe and the Legion Commander, and added Phantom Assassin to them, Sorlu Khan and the Mechanics from the black category. He became the only semifinalist who practically refused to get late-game cards: the most expensive in his arsenal were the Berserker Cry and the Blow of Mercy — their use costs 6 units of mana. The rest of the players in the decks had spells for 7, 8, and 9 units of mana.

The cost of the deck is $44 dollars.

The most valuable cards in the deck were Axe at $18 and Mechanic at $5 dollars USD.

Stanislav “StanCifka” Cifka, now acting under the nickname LuckBox, has assembled a slightly more expensive deck. Like Hoej, he chose a black and red composition of cards, but failed to reach the final. At the stage of the semifinal, he was beaten by a future champion — Hyped.

LuckBox used the same combination of Axe and the Legion Commander, but added another red card hero to the deck. From the black category, he took the Phantom Assassin and the Headhunter, who in most matches brings a lot of gold. LuckBox did not take a lot of items in the deck, preferring the three “Jump Daggers”. He also completely refused the upgrades, preferring to use spells and creeps.

The cost of the LuckBox deck was $51 dollars, and the most valuable cards were Axe at $18 and “The time of accomplishments” (x2) at $8 each.

Hyped chose other colors for his deck and played with blue-green cards. He eliminated DrHippy from, and then consistently dealt with Lifecoach, LuckBox and Hoej on his way to becoming the champion.

The Hyped deck turned out to be the most balanced — it contained both basic and late-game cards, among which were not only creeps with spells but also improvements in lanes.

Of the heroes, he chose Kann, Zeus, and the Ogre-Mage in the blue category, and the Drow Guard and Enta Protector from the green set.

You can build a similar deck for staggering $72. The most valuable cards in the deck were Guard drow – $ 13; Canna – $ 9; and “Extermination” – $ 7.3.

The most expensive deck belongs to the Chinese player MieGod. He played a red-green deck, with which he managed to reach the semi-finals. Like most of the participants in the tournament, MieGod preferred the duo of Axe and the Legion Commander, and also added the Sea Tyrant to the set. From the green category in his deck were Drow-guard and Ent-protector.

The Chinese player actively used the improvement lanes — eight of his 40 cards in the deck are of this type. He also took two copies of Klaszurum’s Hourglass, which give the wearer health points and also prevent the opponent from playing cards.

The MieGod deck costs about $89. The most valuable cards used by the Chinese player were Axe – $ 18, Guard drow – $ 13 and “The time of accomplishments” (x3) – $ 8 each.

Despite the fact that players criticize Artifact for the pay-2-win system, it wasn’t the owner of the most expensive deck that became the champion of the first tournament. MieGod, who spent almost $100 on the cards could not beat Hoej, although the Danes deck was half the price.

Of course, for ordinary players it hardly matters — the majority cannot yet compete for prizes. However, the developers have already noted that they will soon add to the game a certain system of progress, as well as the opportunity to organize competitions with awards.

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Best Artifact decks: Blue-Green

Best Artifact decks: Blue-Green

With Valve’s card game now fully released, it’s time to find out what is the best deck in Artifact. Taking a closer look at the best Blue Green cards in the game.

From November 29 to December 4, there was a real holiday for fans of Artifact — the WePlay tournament! Artifact Mighty Triad: Strength. The viewers turned up for a great opportunity to learn strategies and the right game of Artifact from such masters of the TCG genre as Lifecoach, SuperJJ, Xixo, Hoej, Hyped, Naiman and others.

The most popular deck in the tournament was the Red-Black deck. Nevertheless, experienced card players explored better meta and picked up decks that go beyond our usual assemblies. The Blue-Green deck was one of them, with a staggering 80% win rate in the group stage.

The deck is built around Kanna, Zeus, Ogre Magi, Treant Protector, and Drow Ranger.

It is noteworthy that all the players who took this deck (fr0zen, HotMEOWTH, Lumi, Hyped and StrifeCro) overcame the group stage — and they are all from the USA.

The basis of the blue-green deck are two blue heroes (Kanna and Ogre Magi) and two green heroes (Treant Protector and Drow Ranger). The third blue hero is traditionally Zeus. Only Team Liquid player Hyped added Luna to his deck. We will analyze the deck we like to call the StrifeCro version.

Heroes . Kanna is a classic agro hero. Firstly, one of the creeps will always go to the line with it, and secondly, it has a Prey on the Weak signature card calling a creature of 2/1 for each shot unit, and the opponent’s units are also taken into account.

Although Ogre Magi doesn’t have very strong stats 3/7, his Multicast ability allows you to put a copy of the blue spell in your hand with a 25% chance. This is perfectly combined with the addition of two cards in the form of Foresight, especially when the Incarnation of Selemene is on the table, allowing you to play spells endlessly.

Hero Zeus is added primarily because of his 7 mana Thundergod’s Wrath signature card. The spell is similar to the Flamestrike Mage in Hearthstone, it also deals 4 damage to each hero on all lines. With this card, it is easy to seize the initiative not only on your lane but also on the whole playing field. But this is not what makes this the best deck in Artifact.

Treant Protector has strong stats 4/10, and he gives 2 armor to nearby creatures. Trent also has a good signature Roseleaf Druid, which gives an extra mana per line. To be the first to play a powerful card in this deck is very important.

Drow Ranger is among the strongest green heroes in the game. Her stats are 4/7, she gives all other units +1 to attack, and the worst thing is Gust’s signature for 4 mana, which imposes silence on all heroes. This means that the opponent can not play cards at all. Very imposing indeed.

Cards.  There is a lot of finishing in this deck.

  • Improved Uneathed Secrets: you can get a card if your tower has taken damage;
  • the addition of two cards for 4 mana Foresight;
  • Diabolic Revelation, which deals 2 damage to its creatures, but you draw two cards;
  • Arcane Assault, which allows you to inflict 2 points of damage to the enemy tower and take a card;
  • Compel, which allows you to redirect the attack and take the card and Cunning Plan, which swaps the allies and fires the map.

This deck plays well with mana. Stars Align for 1 mana gives 3 mana this turn, improving Aghanim’s Sanctum allows you to restore all mana on the line. But the strongest card – Incarnation of Selemene – completely restores mana after playing any card. It is with her that the Emissary of the Quorum looks so strong. Because of the possibility of an almost infinite buff, this deck often breaks the Tron, seizing the initiative on the same lane.

A lot of sweeps are played in the deck. In addition to the Zeus signature, there is Annihilation, to completely pick up the table, and At Any Cost, which deals 6 points of damage to all units.

From the items added Traveler’s Cloack (+4 health), Leather Armor (+1 armor) and Blink Dagger, which you can use to swap characters between lanes.

Overall. The Blue-Green is currently one of the best decks in Artifact.  This variation by Cong “StrifeCro” Shu wields some of the best cards in Artifact, and the 80% winrate in the first big, official tournament speaks volumes.

For anyone looking to get into Valve’s new card game, this is a great starter deck, offering amazing firepower and win potential for a very affordable deck.

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