The StarLadder iLeague StarSeries LAN playoffs will soon be in the spotlight. With the first major LAN championship title of the new year and $300,000 prize pool on the line, twelve teams will clash in Minsk, Belarus, between January 13-17.
Four teams that will be attending the StarLadder iLeague StarSeries LAN – Evil Geniuses, Alliance, Virtus.Pro and Team Secret – have received a direct invite to the upcoming Shanghai Major. The other eight teams – compLexity, LGD Gaming, Wings Gaming, Vega Squadron, Team Spirit, Team Liquid, Na’Vi and Fnatic – have received regional qualifier invites to the winter Dota 2 Major.
Set in the culture rich city of Minsk in Belarus, the StarLadder iLeague StarSeries LAN playoffs will pit twelve teams against each other, between January 13-17, for a $300,000 prize fund. Evil Geniuses, compLexity, LGD Gaming, Wings Gaming, Alliance, Vega Squadron, Virtus.Pro, Team Spirit, Team Liquid, Team Secret, Na’Vi and Fnatic will heat things up in the infamous CIS winter temperatures.
The StarLadder iLeague StarSeries LAN playoffs will be the first LAN performance for these twelve Shanghai Major champion hopefuls. Seizing a championship title in the new patch among the other candidates and staking a claim as a forerunner will be the coveted goal for each team to achieve.
StarLadder iLeague StarSeries LAN teams
Evil Geniuses: The North American pride
Evil Geniuses are, without a doubt, the biggest pride of the North American region.
In August, Evil Geniuses managed to turn the odds to their favor and claim the coveted TI5 Aegis of Champions and $6.6 million in prize money, thus becoming the first American team to win The International.
Despite the fact that they started off the fall season on the wrong foot, being eliminated in the very first round of the ESL One New York, they went on to take second place at the MLG World Finals and third at the Frankfurt Major.
Ending the year, Evil Geniuses defeated Virtus.Pro in a decisive game five of the Summit 4 Grand Finals, 3:2, walking away with almost $50,000 in prize money. The Summit 4 was EG’s fourth championship title this year, bringing their 2015 tournament winnings close to 8.7 million dollars.
Biggest strength: Under the guidance of Peter “ppd” Dager, EG are able to adapt quickly and prepare for their opponents effectively.
Biggest takeaway: If Evil Geniuses could clinch the championship title at StarLadder iLeague StarSeries, they would start the new year off already setting the stage and sending the message clear: Their goal is to dominate and they can achieve it.
Evil Geniuses roster:
Clinton “Fear” Loomis
Syed Sumail “Suma1L” Hassan
Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora
Peter “ppd” Dager
Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
Team Secret: Formidable opponents
After a disappointing eighth place finish at TI5, Team Secret announced a completely revamped roster on August 22nd. Clement “Puppey” Ivanov is the only original member remaining on the roster.
The revamped roster made its LAN debut in the fall season at ESL One New York, where they placed second, after being overpowered by Vega Squadron, 1:2, in the Grand Finals.
Team Secret went on to take a surprising 9th place at the WCA 2015 LAN.
Biggest strength: Captain Clement “Puppey” Ivanov has the leadership and the strategic sense to lead his team to glory. Couple that with individual talent and versatility, the team is a formidable opponent on any given day.
Biggest takeaway: For Team Secret, winning the StarLadder iLeague StarSeries LAN would show that the team has not lost any foothold on being a top contender and restore some shaken confidence based on recent performances.
Team Secret roster:
Clement “Puppey” Ivanov
Omar “w33haa” Aliwi
Rasmus “MiSeRy” Filipsen
Jacky “Eternal Envy” Mao
Johan “pieliedie” Åström
Team Liquid: Chomping at the bit
In the post-TI5 shuffle, a new team appeared on the horizon demanding attention. Then known as 5Jungz, the team walked away with their first victory only two weeks after their formation, when they defeated Golden Boys, 2:0, in the Alienware Summer’s End Cup Grand Finals. Their performance and results left viewers with a positive impression for the future of the squad.
Early October, Team Liquid grabbed the new squad, only weeks before they took a commendable 4th place at the Nanyang Championships LAN.
Charging forward, they then seized the championship titles in D2CL Season 6 and in The Defense 5, back to back.
Although they only took fifth place at The Summit 4, they most recently grabbed third place at the WCA 2015 LAN, demonstrating their incredibly strong will and talent to thrive in the international scene.
Biggest strength: Each player on this team has a few specific heroes that they are incredibly talented and strong with. They are able to create unique strategies around their hero pool and find ways to incorporate at least one or two of their signature heroes into matches to grab the victory.
Biggest takeaway: The team is eagerly awaiting their chance to make the biggest splash of them all, securing a championship title at a premier LAN event. A championship title at the StarLadder iLeague StarSeries LAN could give Team Liquid the acknowledgement they were denied when they didn’t receive a direct invite for the Shanghai Major.
Team Liquid roster:
Kuro “Kuroky” Salehi Takhasomi
Adrian “FATA-“ Trinks
Jesse “JerAX” Vainikka
Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen
Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov
Na’Vi: Fresh meat
Na’Vi has had a difficult year in 2015, with many significant changes. On October 16, the organization announced the dissolution of their Dota 2 team after less than adequate performances as of late. The dissolution of the team signified the end of an era between the organization and Danil “Dendi” Ishutin and Alexander “XBOCT” Dashkevich, an unprecedented professional relationship in the Dota 2 scene, that lasted for five years.
Four days later, it was revealed that Danil “Dendi” Ishutin and Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev would remain with the organization. The new Na’Vi team has been built around Dendi and Sonneiko, who recruited the other players themselves.
The team has since worked on formalizing a final lineup and has been recently demonstrating a vast improvement in their performances and play-style. The new composition appears to have brought back a good team synergy and balance of talent and skill.
Biggest strength: This mix of experienced and fresh players seems to be the right recipe for success. Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev has been proving to be a fresh cut with a strong bite. With incredible clutch plays and game changing plays, he has been one of the key points to this new composition.
Biggest takeaway: Landing a championship title at StarLadder iLeague StarSeries would put this El Clasico team back on track and start the new year sizzling with a fresh start.
Danil “Dendi” Ishutin
Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev
Dmitry “Ditya Ra” Minenkov
Dmitry “Ax.Mo” Morozov
Ivan “Artstyle” Antonov
Vega Squadron: Swimming with the sharks
For the second time since TI5, Vega Squadron announced that they will not be making any roster changes for the current roster-lock period. The CIS team had already made the commitment to stay together following their early exit from TI5.
They then went on to claim the championship title at ESL One New York, after besting Team Secret, 2:1.
Vega Squadron went on to take 12th place at the Frankfurt Major. They took fifth at DreamLeague Season 4 and third at Game Show Global Esports Cup.
Biggest strength: The CIS team continues to tread among the top teams in the world, competing at the same level and fighting for their place. Consistency, stability and no fear seem to be the characteristics that push them forward. The team has a certain synergy that is evident in their team fights, rotations and strategies.
Biggest takeaway: For Vega, a championship title at the StarLadder iLeague StarSeries would prove that ESL One New York wasn’t just a fluke. It will give the team the momentum they need to propel into the new year with confidence, and solidify their decisions to stick together through murky waters.
Vega Squadron roster:
Semen “Cema” Krivulya
Pavel “9pashaebashu” Khvastunov
Vladimir “no[o]ne” Minenko
Andrey “Mag” Chipenko
Aleksey “Solo” Berezin
Alliance: They’re back
Alliance only recently recreated the lineup which brought them the Aegis of Champions at The International 3, by bidding welcome to former teammate and longtime friend, Jerry “EGM” Lundkvist.
The Swedish team qualified for the Frankfurt Major, where they placed 9th overall. They then seized 4th place at DreamLeague Season 4, went undefeated in their StarLadder iLeague StarSeries group stage, and topped their group in The Defense 5, leading to a third place at the LAN finals.
Then, Alliance proved they were back indeed. When the WCA 2015 Grand Finals concluded, Alliance took their first championship title in one year and a half. The Swedes bested LGD Gaming in the best-of-five Grand Finals to place their mark on the international scene once again.
Biggest strength: The team is looking for their former glory days of International fame and domination with the new roster. The TI3 championship roster is filled with history, synergy and talent. If that wasn’t enough, their most favored hero selection fits the new meta perfectly and gives them an advantage in devising strategies and execution.
Biggest takeaway: A follow-up championship title at the StarLadder iLeague StarSeries would secure their status of being back and support their direct invite to the Shanghai Majors. It would prove beyond a doubt that the team has been able to reignite their old form and would even have the potential to seize a second International victory.
Gustav “s4” Magnusson
Jonathan “Loda” Berg
Joakim “Akke” Akterhall
Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg
Jerry “EGM” Lundkvist
Virtus.Pro: Powerful polar bears
A team that has historically had struggles with consistent achievements due to frequent roster and structural changes, Virtus.Pro has broken free of the ill fated-pattern and has soared to great heights with their stable roster.
Since they found stability in the spring of 2015, their results have been undeniable: top three finishes in numerous premium tournaments in the months leading up to The International 5.
They came in a commendable 5th-6th place at this year’s International championship and walked away with close to 1.2 million dollars.
Virtus.Pro was one of the few teams to keep their rosters intact at the height of the post-TI5 reshuffle period and they have continued to show strength in their recent official matches, but have appeared to struggle obtaining top placements.
On December 2nd, Virtus.Pro replaced Ilya “Illidan” Pivcaev with Airat “Silent” Gaziev, most recently of Team Empire. The change was made in the hopes to give VP the push they need to take a few more steps forward.
The strategy and the new chemistry seem to have worked for the team. Since then, the CIS squad has taken hold of the second place finish at The Summit 4 and the championship title at the D2CL Christmas Charity Magic tournament.
Biggest strength: Artsiom “fng” Barshack’s strong drafting and aggressive tendencies were decisive for the CIS team during the fall season. The new addition of Airat “Silent” Gaziev seems to have pushed the team past their 5-6th place curse.
Biggest takeaway: Virtus.Pro’s direct invite to the Shanghai Major was expected by most between their stable performances and their improvement in the last month. If they were to gain a championship title now, at the StarLadder iLeague StarSeries, the team would mark their territory and place as a powerful foe in China.
Airat “Silent” Gaziev
Sergey “God” Bragin
Alexander “DkPhobos” Kucheria
Artem “fng” Barshak
Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk
Team Spirit: Spirit of adaptability
Early November, the team formerly known as CIS Rejects, announced their new roster to include Roman “Ramzes” Kushnarev, Artur “Goblak” Kostenko and Vasily “AfterLife” Shishkin as the newest additions to the lineup, after trying out various members.
On December 6th, they were picked up by the organization Team Spirit.
Team Spirit just recently added to their list of achievements their qualification to travel to China for the Mars Dota 2 League (MDL), at the end of January 2016.
Biggest strength: Being able to play offensively well, they can also play defensively with equal skill. The ability to balance and juggle both styles makes them impressive in any situation they encounter. A few strong heroes and veteran experience make this team a potential top contender.
Biggest takeaway: If the CIS squad can land themselves the championship title at StarLadder iLeague StarSeries, it will give credibility to their lineup and potential.
Team Spirit roster:
Roman “Ramzes” Kushnarev
Bogdan “Iceberg” Vasilenko
Andrey “ALWAYSWANNAFLY” Bondarenko
Artur “Goblak” Kostenko
Vasily “AfterLife” Shishkin
LGD Gaming: Rising to the occasion
The team came in third at The International 5, but was still subject to significant roster changes following the event. EHOME’s captain, Fan “rOtk” Bai and player Liang “DDC” Faming have both joined LGD Gaming, while Zhang “xiao8” Ning and Yao “Yao” Zhengzheng have stepped back from the active roster.
They have had lackluster performances since, taking seventh place at the MLG World Finals and eighth at the Frankfurt Major. However, most recently, they went on take second place at the WCA 2015 and demonstrated very well executed performances during their matches.
Biggest strength: A team stocked with raw talent and experience, this newly reformed roster has potential to reach a peak with barely any difficulties. This team always seems to rise up to the occasion when it is needed, pushing their way to the peak when it matters most. Armed with Lu “Maybe” Yao on mid and Bai “rOtk” Fan as the leader and captain, LGD are not ones to be looked down upon.
Biggest takeaway: If they were to take the StarLadder iLeague StarSeries championship title, LGD would indicate they were on the rise once again. A crowning achievement will put this team back on top and prove to everyone they know when things matter most.
Liu “Sylar” Jiajun
Lu “Maybe” Yao
Liang “DDC” Faming
Bai “rOtk” Fan
Lei “MMY!” Zengrong
Wings Gaming: Soaring high
They did however, show much promise when they participated in the Frankfurt Major Chinese Qualifiers.
The team continued to create much ado during the WCA 2015, as they displayed incredible talent and skill. The team soared to a commendable fourth place, after topping their group which featured Team Secret and Team Empire.
Biggest strength: Wings Gaming’s biggest strength is hunger and thirst to win and prove themselves. Having minimal competitive time against their opponents in the StarLadder iLeague StarSeries LAN playoffs could work to their advantage.
Biggest takeaway: A championship title in a premier event such as StarLadder iLeague StarSeries would raise their status and elevate them in the international scene. The win would secure them more opportunities and give them a bigger boost to their journey.
Chu “Shadow” Zeyu
Zhou “bLink” Yang
Zhang “bian” Ruida
Zhang “Innocence” Yiping
Li “iceice” Peng
compLexity Gaming: Bonds of brotherhood
After coming in a commendable 11th place at The International 5, compLexity Gaming suffered roster changes. The team had a series of stand-ins and try-outs to replace both Tal “Fly” Aizik and David “MoonMeander” Tan, both whom parted ways with the team following The International to form the team and organization, OG.
Following a rather lackluster start to the fall season and their failure to qualify for the Frankfurt Major, the team underwent further roster changes as they bid farewell to the two players in October and welcomed Swedish brothers, Rasmus “Chessie” Blomdin and Linus “Limmp” Blomdin for the new season, reviving most of the HoN StayGreen roster from 2013-2014. Simon “Handsken” Haag also joined the mix.
The roster has already swept through Digital Chaos, 2:0, in the StarLadder iLeague StarSeries Americas playoffs. They were expected to make their LAN debut at the Game Show Global Esports Cup studio playoffs portion in Vilnius, but needed a stand-in at the last moments.
Biggest strength: The bonds of brotherhood and the past experience and history of playing together in StayGreen give this team the advantage in cohesion and synergy. Kyle “swindlemelonzz” Freedman’s energy and motivational leadership are enough for him to serve as a patriarch of this family affair.
Biggest takeaway: A much needed championship win at the StarLadder iLeague StarSeries will give this roster the momentum and foundation they need to move forward to claim more victories and titles in the near future. A team full of championship players, they are seeking their moment to shine and begin their journey in the footsteps of their previous glory together.
Kyle “swindlemelonzz” Freedman
Zakari “freek” Freedman
Rasmus “Chessie” Blomdin
Linus “Limmp” Blomdin
Simon “Handsken” Haag
Fnatic: Malaysian hope
Fnatic still have a lot to prove, after replacing German carry player Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier with coach Ahmad Syazwan “ADTR” bin Anuar.
Struggling to find their groove in LANS, the Malaysian based squad has had disappointing results lately.
Biggest strength: The biggest strength of this squad lies in the commitment and dedication of the players. When faced with challenges and obstacles, the team makes the necessary adjustments that they hope will benefit the team’s results. Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung is versatile not only in hero pool but in role, as well. Djardel “Chrissy” Mampusti is one of the most impressive players to emerge on the scene recently and shows much promise to help lead the squad to victory.
Biggest takeaway: A championship title at the StarLadder iLeague StarSeries is exactly what this team needs to mark the new year with a clean slate. Being able to clinch a premier victory would give promise to the Malaysian community and restore the team’s previous acclaims from earlier in 2015.
Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung
Chong “Ohaiyo” Xin Khoo
Djardel “Chrissy” Mampusti
Wai Pern “Net” Lim
Ahmad Syazwan “ADTR” bin Anuar
StarLadder iLeague StarSeries LAN
The StarLadder iLeague StarSeries tournament kicked off at the end of October, with regional qualifiers.
At least 100 matches were played by the best teams in the four regions – Europe, America, Southeast Asia and China. StarLadder iLeague StarSeries also received a boost in the prize pool to $300,000 – double last season’s prize fund of $150,000.
StarLadder iLeague StarSeries LAN participating teams
- compLexity Gaming (Winner NA Qualifier)
- LGD Gaming (Winner Chinese Qualifier)
- Wings Gaming (Winner Chinese Qualifier)
- Vega Squadron (Winner EU/CIS Qualifier)
- Alliance (Winner EU/CIS Qualifier)
- Virtus.Pro (Winner EU/CIS Qualifier)
- Team Spirit (Winner EU/CIS Qualifier)
- Fnatic (Winner SEA Qualifier)
- Evil Geniuses (Direct Invite)
- Team Secret (Direct Invite)
- Team Liquid (Direct Invite)
- Na’Vi(Direct Invite)
StarLadder iLeague StarSeries LAN format
- Teams will be divided into groups of four.
- Top two teams from each group will advance to the regional playoffs.
- Top team from each group will advance to the second group stage, joined by Team Empire and Virtus.Pro.
- The runners-up from the first group stages will play relegation games to decide two teams to advance to second group stage.
- Top two teams from second group stages advance to the LAN finals.
StarLadder iLeague StarSeries LAN prize-pool
- 1st place – $120,000
- 2nd place – $60,000
- 3rd-4th places – $30,000
- 5th-6th places – $15,000
- 7th-12th places – $5,000
The StarLadder iLeague StarSeries LAN playoffs and finals will take place at the Minsk Arena, which is designed for holding international sports, cultural and entertainment events. The seating capacity of the arena is 18,000.