OG's Kiev Minor threatened by visa issues

As the dust from one (CSGO) Major settles, the preparations for another begin, with the Kiev Dota 2 Minor kicking off on Thursday. With many of the world’s best already locked in for the upcoming major in Stockholm, there are a few smaller sides hoping to make their name at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor, as well as the reigning TI Champions and some other legendary names. Unfortunately, this being Dota 2, there has to be some semi-political drama around the event for some reason, and this Minor is no different.

According to sources, the issues surrounding Old But Good and OG Esports player Igor ‘iLTW’ Filatov have been resolved to a satisfactory degree, but until yesterday evening there was a very real chance that political tension between Russia and Ukraine would ruin the event outright, with the Ukrainian government making it near-impossible for Russian citizens to access the tournament held in Kiev. This apparently relates to the political issues surrounding the two nations at present, and is of course far from the first time Dota has suffered this way.

…OG’s Ceb confirmed it was also affecting their team.

As mentioned, this is just the latest in a long line of Dota events that have been significantly affected by political tension entirely unrelated to the Radiant or the Dire. A recent event in Malaysia saw Ninjas in Pyjamas forced to use a stand-in after their Israeli star Neta ‘33’ Shapira was forced to miss the event due to his nationality, and the story of the Chongqing Major was entirely overshadowed by the Chinese government’s heavy handed attempt to dole out ‘justice’ to two players guilty of using ‘racist’ language.

Part of the problem is about the massive variety of nationalities in Dota, and in particular the popularity of the game in parts of Asia when compared with CSGO, for example, but the continual stream of problems has to reflect badly on Valve, the owners of the game. It’s been said before, but long-term it has to be on them to do a better job of selecting the venues and TOs that work on their big events, and therefore protecting the players that are a massive part of the profitability of the game.

StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor predictions

Aside from all of that, there is obviously a tournament to be discussed, and as with most Minors the talk is mainly of who will make it out. The two favourites pre-event would probably have to be OG themselves, and the Gambit team that has impressed so much of late, but picking a Minor champion is never easy, as OG themselves proved in failing to qualify for the Chongqing Major. Instead then, we had a quick chat with Esports Director and Dota 2 fanatic Sujoy Roy, about how he sees the event going for the TI8 winners.

I have high hopes for OG at this Minor

Initially at least, it seems as though OG are looking better than in their last attempt to qualify, and Sujoy feels like this could be their time. “I have high hopes for OG at this Minor. They’ve been steadily improving since Ana’s departure and starting to show flashes of their TI8 brilliance. If they can show a bit more consistency in their play I think they’ll go on to win in Kiev.”

Some have picked out Gambit as a potential threat to OG’s spot in Sweden, but Sujoy believes that OG have finally found themselves again, and should be able to reverse recent results. “Gambit have had the best of their recent games against OG, but I feel that OG turned a corner in Katowice and are ready to show what they’re made of.” The tie between the two should be interesting, if it comes to it, but there are plenty of other threats to that dream final.

Alongside those two we will see Vici Gaming, Royal Never Give Up and the aforementioned Old But Gold, a collection of Russia veterans looking to make their mark at this event. The teams lined up don’t seem that strong on paper, but this is a game where anything can happen, and that makes it one of the more interesting events in recent weeks. It would be great to see the TI champions back at a Major, but it’s equally cool to think Dota is so strong that they are no longer good enough, despite that recent success. Bring on Kiev!