In what can be regarded as a total upset, Vega Squadron went 7-0 in the TI9 CIS qualifiers group stage while one of the region favorites, Gambit Esports are already out of the contention for the one ticket to Shanghai, China.
Day one in the CIS qualifiers started all well for the team that only one week ago was one series away from qualifying to The International 2019 via Dota Pro Circuit points. Gambit Esports fought against Alliance at EPICENTER for the last spot in the DPC rankings. The series went 2-0 in the European team favor, forcing Gambit to regional qualifiers for the most important tournament of the year. On the first day of the qualifiers, they finished with a 3-1 overall result, the only loss being at the hands of Team Empire.
However, heading into day two, Gambit started with a rage quit from their mid-laner Andrey “Afoninje” Afonin. He was playing Morphling against Winstrike and the game was not going in Gambit’s favour, but it wasn’t all over either. Afoninje was trying to split push top lane while the entire Winstrike were preparing to take Gambit’s tier three tower in the bottom lane. Everything worked as what seemed to be according to a plan. Four Empire players teleported back to their base to catch Morphling, but following his death, Afonije typed “Good Game” in all chat and disconnected instantly, despite having buyback and despite stopping Winstrike’s push.
Unfortunately, the incident happened in the very first series of the day and from there on, Gambit didn’t win any other game to keep their TI9 hope alive. In the aftermath of all that happened, the organization released an official statement on Twitter in which they admit that Afoninje’s behaviour was “unacceptable” and “unsportsmanlike.”
CIS qualifiers have also delivered a pure underdog story. Vega Squadron who completed their line-up only on the 1st of July and joined the closed regional qualifiers from open brackets pulled the biggest upset. They went undefeated through both days of the group stages and are now heading to the playoffs where their first adversaries will be Natus Vincere, the fourth placed team in the group.
Vega Squadron, Wisntrike, Team Empire and Na’Vi are the four teams advancing into the playoffs and will resume their matches tomorrow, July 9, at 13:00 EEST in a double elimination bracket, best-of-three series.