2018 AMD Dota 2 Pro Series by Convictus eSports Group

It’s not every day we get a huge Dota 2 tournament in Melbourne, so of course it was something I had to mark in my calendar: the AMD Dota 2 Pro series, run by Convictus eSports Group. The total prize pool was $50,000 (AUD), which isn’t TI levels of money that you can retire on, but it’s by far the largest prize pool in the Australian Dota 2 scene. Despite being held all the way over here, the team list was nothing to sneeze at, featuring both this year’s TI winners, OG, and Kpii’s new team, Mineski.

I’ll admit, I was really excited to see Kpii live!

The Production

The quality of the production at this tournament was more better than I expected. Full disclosure, this is the first time I’ve spectated a Dota 2 tournament live, so I don’t have much to compare to. I’m more of a player than a spectator, and generally only watch TI and occasionally a major. So to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much – maybe something like the Mara Cup (YouTube video) they showcased this year at TI where it’s just some fans sitting and watching the players play.

There were booths for the players, they had high-profile casters, and even SirActionSlacks as one of the hosts! Prior to the tournament, Danog, Rangers and DareDevilDota showed Slacks around Melbourne, and they filmed some segments of them doing various things, including going to a water park which I really want to go to now! I think Slacks was a really good sport about everything they had him do – including a shoey. I’d never heard of a shoey before, and I learned something about Australian culture that I didn’t really want to know… I won’t describe it, in case you also lived in blissful ignorance like I did, but if you want to see it, here’s a clip from Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/convictus_esports/clip/FitPoisedLapwingANELE

There was also a tech booth outside the conference room, where you could check out and / or buy stuff between games.

They also organised player signing sessions and Q&As, but I didn’t get a chance to check them out as I was watching games.

People who bought VIP tickets also got a showbag.

 

There was also a water bottle, but I must have lost mine. In case you can’t see from the tiny picture, there was a mousepad, two T-shirts (one from Convictus esports Group (size M) and one from AMD (size XL)), a flashlight keyring, pen and phone ring stand thing. VIP ticket holders also got the chance to meet OG backstage!

The Games

The games themselves were really great to watch. I didn’t expect to be able to spend most of a day watching Dota 2, but other than a break for lunch and one for dinner, I was riveted. The quality of the games was really high and all of the teams played their hearts out. There were a lot of aggressive plays, and all of the games were quite action-packed. I’m sure most people were surprised to see OG drop to the lower bracket, but they managed to hold out through the elimination rounds until the semi-finals against Newbee.MGB. They won the first game, but Newbee.MGB seemed to find their stride, and dominated the final two games, taking them to the grand final (Dotabuff link for the series: https://www.dotabuff.com/esports/series/1499502-unknown-vs-mineski). They continued that streak, confidently winning the first two games of the best-of-5 grand final against Mineski, and I was pretty crushed going in to watch game 3.

It didn’t help that Mineski then gave up Grimstroke, which Newbee.MGB had shown themselves to be really strong with all tournament. But Mineski seemed to have woken up, and did really well in game 3. Watching that game made me so happy, because it’s so nice to see Shadow Shaman have such a strong impact. Kpii also did so well on Brewmaster, getting so many good stuns and cyclones with his pandas. Checkout this fight: https://www.dotabuff.com/clips/mineski-trades-4-for-2-4262233447-726435df0edf

Unfortunately, about 32 minutes into the game, another DDoS attack seemed to hit, and the casters’ connection cut out. From the spectator point of view, it seemed to go to a black screen, and then suddenly, “MINESKI VICTORY” appeared. I went back to watch the replay, and Mineski took a really good fight near the Dire secret shop, with some great Wyvern cold embraces protecting the team against Troll Warlord. Cat you ended up calling GG.

It wouldn’t be a grand final without a divine rapier or two! Phew, I nearly cried when JiaJia’s Luna managed to wipe Mineski while defending her base. You can see it pretty clearly on the gold graph.

Fortunately, JT’s amazing Morphling plays keep them in the game, they manage to grab one of the rapiers, and even though Luna manages to farm up a second one, it’s not enough to stop the Mineski train, and we fortunately get a game 5.

When Mineski last picked Tinker, I groaned a little inside. You have to understand, that it was around 11pm by this point, and the tournament started at 9am, so it was a long day – and I wasn’t even the one playing. Fortunately, the game wasn’t your typical Tinker snorefest, and ended up being the most exciting. There was a lot of back and forth, as you can see from the networth graph.

Despite the late hour, I wasn’t feeling sleepy at all, it was an edge-of-your-seat game. I really thought Newbee.MGB were going to take it, but Tinker’s buyback to save the base made it too hard for them to push in. It was a grand finish at the end: https://www.dotabuff.com/clips/mineski-teamwipes-newbee-mgb-4262448841-0e572d6d6808

The Memes

And what kind of Dota 2 tournament would it be without its memes?

Shoey

I think I covered that earlier. I still think it’s gross, but it became a meme.

Glen (Glenn?)

As I mentioned earlier, the tournament suffered from some DDoS attacks, causing either the casters’ connection to drop out, or the game to lag out completely (https://www.twitch.tv/convictus_esports/clip/AgileBlindingCobblerImGlitch). It seemed better by the second day, with the players being able to play on most of the time, but there were quite a few pauses throughout the day. Mish and Slacks did a great job keeping the audience entertained, but Glen became an unofficial hero, as the Internet connection seemed to get fixed whenever he got up on stage. MLP ended up giving him a tie signed by OG as thanks.

Slacks (left), Glen and Mish

The anime mousepads

There were a few AMD giveaways throughout the tournament, including I think CPUs and graphics cards, but nothing was more coveted than what Slacks was alternatively calling the “anime mousepads” or the “weeb mousepads”.

The famous AMD anime mousepad

There were a few competitions to win one, including: singing, answering questions about Sailor Moon, acting out iconic Australian movie scenes. One guy one a graphics card, but decided he wanted to swap it for the “second place” prize: the anime mousepad. That shows you the true value!

Box Hill

OG.Jerax’s flight didn’t land until after the first day of the tournament was due to finish, so one of OG.Ana’s friends stepped in to save the day. A previously unknown player, who for some reason chose the somewhat sketchy Melbournian suburb of Box Hill as his gamer name got to play with some of the biggest names in Dota 2, and he really held his own. It’s true that OG did drop down to the lower bracket, but he played amazingly well to keep them in the tournament. Unfortunately, as Jerax was back for the second day, he had to get benched, but he will always be in our memories.

I really hope he does manage to get on a team after this.

I’m fat

Being in front of a mic when you signed up for it is hard enough, so I can’t imagine the pressure you’re under when you have a mic shoved in front of you. Kinda rough to answer the question, “Tell us something about yourself” with “I’m fat”, but it can happen: https://www.twitch.tv/convictus_esports/clip/KindSmallShingleNerfRedBlaster

I thought it was endearing.

Conclusion

Personally, I had a great time. Sure, the DDoS pauses were annoying, but I think Slacks in particular kept things going. Oh, how could I miss mentioning the AMD rep (whose name was Adam, I think… or Matt or Mark…), he was funny. Celebrity Heads Dota was fun.

With the audience response to “Am I an agility hero?” about SirActionSlacks a resounding, “No!” Poor guy. I think he did well at the water park obstacle course, he deserves to be an AGI hero! In my brief sojourn as a caster, we had a situation where the game was paused for a long time, and it’s really hard to fill in that void with chatter. I have a lot of respect for Mish and Slacks doing such a great job keeping people’s spirits up.

It was also fortunate that they had the Slacks in Melbourne videos to play.

Overall, the games were fun to watch, and I’m glad there was a chance for some up-and-coming teams to show off their skills. It’d be nice to see more Australian Dota 2 players around, and even though I’m well past even considering a professional Dota 2 career, I want to see eSports in Australia grow in general.

Maybe so I don’t have to sheepishly admit to my co-workers that I’ve logged 4500 hours in the game.

 

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