With just eight teams at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2, the group stages are being played in a best-of-three format, and has already made for crazy competitive games.

Alliance is back with their trademark “rat doto” strategy with Lone Druid last popularized by former offlaner Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg, though this time it’s Max “Qojqva” Broecker making the game-winning back-door plays.

With Alliance behind on heroes against Winstrike, Qojqva snuck in the enemy base using his Shadowblade and took down the exposed Dire Ancient throne, thanks to the help of Michael “Micke” Vu’s Sven.

The first two games were highly competitive as the teams proved to be equally matched, but there is no doubt the third match between these two teams are one for the history books.

During the early phase of game three, it looked certain that Alliance was going to end things quickly, as they took a decisive 11,000 gold lead against Winstrike. But thanks to some questionable decision making from the European squad, they allowed their CIS counterparts to get back into the game.

Alliance continued to make mistakes by taking team fights without their core heroes, which had commentator Kyle Freedman in disbelief, to the point of swearing on stream.

With Winstrike exponentially building more and more momentum each time they took a team fight, they were able to blow up Alliance’s heroes, specially with the use of their key area-of-effect spells.

With three Winstrike heroes down, because of a long drawn-out team fight prior, Zaur “Cooman” Shakhmurzaev Cooman and Alexander “Nofear” Churochkin took it upon themselves to even out the game. They threw multiple spells in the Rosh pit, causing the Alliance heroes to fall.

The longer the game stretched, the more difficult it would be for Alliance to win, so they decided to dive in the Dire base and take out the last two remaining barracks, but it cost them dearly as Micke’s Sven failed to teleport out to a lucky bash stun by Airat “Silent” Gaziev’s Spectre.

While the late game team fights worked in Winstrike’s favor, their lineup couldn’t quite keep up against Alliance’s mega creeps, and had to pull back their pushes to defend the base. In the end, it was a clever sneaky play that allowed Alliance to take the game, and the series.

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