Results and conclusions of Starladder Major Closed Qualifiers
The 22nd of May kicked-off with closed qualifiers for the minors. This second stage of qualification spanned throughout the world. From South Africa to Europe and from Latin America to Oceania. The closed qualifiers encompassed the most prominent regions of Counter-Strike. With qualifiers concluded, it’s a good opportunity as any to look back at the competition and dissect the results.
Asia Minor Closed Qualifier
The first week of qualifiers began in Asia. In comparison to the other regions, the slots for the Asian minor were distributed among 6 separate territories: Oceania, China, East Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the new region on the block – Africa.
East Asia was yet again dominated by MVP PK. The South Koreans dominated the competition without breaking a sweat. They didn’t lose a single map and secured a slot for the minor.
TYLOO qualified for the LAN-finals of
the Asian Minor
However, things weren’t so predictable in the Southeast Asia qualifier. It had the promising Lucid Dream roster, the Indonesians of BOOT and Alpha Red. Whilst Lucid Dream and BOOT would only meet in the Upper Bracket-Final, Alpha Red was dealt an early lose against Maple. The team would battle their way through the Lower Bracket and even win the rematch against Maple. After losing to BOOT, Lucid Dream still had a chance to qualify, but they couldn’t defeat Alpha Red. Their countrymen wouldn’t stop there, as the victory against BOOT, secured them a slot in the Asia minor.
CIS Minor Closed Qualifier
The early top 16 matches were a straight-forward affair, as notable teams of the CIS region secured victories. The only exception being the underperforming roster of PRO100 who lost their opening match to Syman. All the teams who secured their wins went on to the Upper Bracket Quarter-Final. In this stage, Vega Squadron would fall to Spirit 2-0 and Winstrike would go down to Syman. On the other side of the bracket, forZe and Nemiga would secure wins and acquire their slots to the minor.
In the Lower Bracket matches, upsets would continue. Pro100 would be dealt a critical blow by Se7en, who’d go on to face Gambit Youngsters. The match was a close affair but the youngsters were able to prevail 2-1. As for Winstrike and Vega Squadron, their journey was stopped short by Warthox and DreamEaters respectively. The last team to secure a slot for the minor would be Unique.
Spirit made it through the closed qualifier in CIS
The biggest surprise in the closed qualifier wasn’t an unexpected team qualifying, but the shortcomings of two well-known CIS rosters: Vega Squadron and Winstrike. The former underwent some substantial roster changes after a failed run at the IEM Katowice Major’s New Challenger Stage. It was just jR and crush remaining to rebuild the team with pieces from the CIS region. Whilst having well over two months, the roster failed to deliver at their most crucial hour. Another team to fail under similar circumstances was Winstrike. They too had roster changes. The notable trade of Boombl4 to Edward happened just 10 days prior. Time would have been a valuable asset for these teams.
Europe Closed Qualifier
Another year in a row and the European Closed qualifier has brought some of the most prominent teams from the Top 30. With the list of teams here, you could produce a fine tier 2 tournament. And yet, the start of the European closed qualifier didn’t have a lot of surprises in Round 16. Of note, there were two prominent victories. The match between Sprout and BIG was straight forward, as both teams traded maps to put the bo3 in a 1-1. However, Big pulled-off a comeback on Dust2 to deny Sprout a victory. The other match of Windigo vs Ancient concluded in a 2-0 Swedish victory, with them being pushed to their limits on Overpass.
The Upper Bracket Quarter-Finals would go on to deliver some close matches. Up until the very last map of cr4zy versus Heroic, it was hard to say who’d come out of the top. In the end, the Inferno ct side of cr4zy prevailed and they qualified for the minor. The other teams to follow suit were Fnatic, karrigan’s mousesports and the Danes of North.
Fnatic will attend their first EU Minor to try
to qualify for StarLadder Major
The Lower Bracket had many storylines in store. For once, the Virtus.Pro bo3 win over GamerLegion had 74 rounds of CS, with Train having a 31-29 scoreline in favor of the Poles. As for upsets, the biggest surprise was the NoChance team. Contrary to their name, it was possible for this team to do damage in this qualifier. On their way to the minor, the bo3 wins over Windigo and Heroic secured a slot. The teams to join them: Sprout, Big and Ancient.
Americas Minor Closed Qualifier
Top 16 stage in the Americas minor was meant to separate the wheat from the shaft. With mix units participating all the cohesive teams were able to secure their wins. Except for one – Cloud9. They took an early bo3 to lose to New Identity, which consisted of North American PUG (pick up game) players of the highest calibre. In the upper Bracket quarters, New Identity couldn’t secure even a map against Eunited. As for Lazarus, they’d secure the win against the lackluster Brazilian squad of Luminosity. Furia would go on to win their countrymen derby and NRG with Stanislaw won against Singularity.
In the Lower Bracket, Cloud9 would go on to lose against another MDL team, this time around to Quest by 2-0. At the latter stages of the Lower Bracket Finals, upsets wouldn’t stop there. Team One would win against their fellow Brazilians of Luminosity in a hard and longsome bo3 series, to secure their 2nd minor appearance. As for Singularity, the win against Envy booked them a ticket straight to the minor.
NRG advanced to the Americas Minor's LAN-finals
as they defeated Mythic and Singularity
Cloud9’s inability continues on to plague them all the way from Blast Pro Series Madrid. The newest additions of Vice and CajunB aren’t working in this roster and it may not be the only pieces that need changing. As for another underwhelming team, Luminosity, they are also stuck in the crossroads of destiny. Will they drop the long-standing veterans for some fresh Brazilian talent. It’s another dysfunctional roster who might want to reflect after their performance.
With the closed qualifier matches concluded, the next stage for these teams will be the minors in Berlin, Germany. The top 2 teams of each minor will go on to play in the New Challenger Stage where they’ll be joined by the attendees of the IEM Katowice Major.
The article was written by Dainius Daukša