MANILA - Chinese team VGJ Thunder took home the crown at the "Galaxy Battles II: Emerging Worlds" DOTA 2 tournament held at the Philippine Arena after sweeping Evil Geniuses in a best-of-5 grand finals match on Sunday.
Game 1 of the grand finals was fairly easy for VGJ Thunder but their North America-based rivals gave them a strong fight in an intense, back and forth, and very close Game 2 battle which lasted over an hour.
One of the second game's highlights was when Evil Genius' Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan, playing Faceless Void, delivered a Chronosphere in a massive buyback. VGJ Thunder, however, kept on pushing as they proved to be the better team in that round.
With perfect timing and team work, VGJ Thunder kept it short in Game 3, calling it a "GG" against Evil Geniuses in a breeze-through.
The team composed of Pan "Fade" Yi, Fan "Ayo" Tianyou, Liu "Freeze" Chang, Liu "Sylar" Jiajun, and Zhou "Yang" Haiyang will take home a major portion of the tournament's prize pool amounting to $500,000.
The grand finals was a rematch of the best-of-3 upper finals battle where Evil Geniuses swept the VGJ Thunder, 2-0. The Chinese team made got their revenge against Evil Geniuses after beating Team Spirit in a do-or-die lower finals match.
Other teams who participated in the tournament were OG, Pain Gaming, wild card winner PG Barracx, and the Philippines' own TNC Pro Team.
The Filipino team lost early in the upper bracket against Team Spirit before winning in the first round of the lower bracket against Infamous. TNC eventually bowed to OG in lower bracket semis.
"Galaxy Battles II: Emerging Worlds" is organized by Fallout Gaming and Purpose Win. The first Galaxy Battles major was held in Shenzhen, China.
Valve controversy: Losing 'Major' status
The second edition in Manila this year was originally designated as a major tournament before developer Valve rescinded its status, citing new government regulations. Losing the "Major" status means the matches in the tournament does not have any bearing in the official rankings.
"This is based on what we feel are unreasonable infringements on the privacy of the players, as a condition to enter the country. The tournament itself may still proceed, but without any involvement of Valve or the Dota Pro Circuit," Valve said in its official blog last January 4.
In a report by gaming news publisher Kotaku, a Valve spokesperson confirmed that the government regulation they were talking about was the mandatory drug testing and the "local climate."
Meanwhile, the Games and Amusements Board, which recently recognized e-sports players as professional athletes, insisted that the drug test requirement is in line with their regulation in other legitimate sports.
"Even some amateur regional and international amateur events, such as the Olympic Games which e-sports seeks to take part of in the future, also involve some form of drug testing," it added.
"Galaxy" organizer Fallout Gaming, meanwhile, said they have secured requirements by the GAB and encouraged teams to abide by laws in every country their competing at.
"Our company feels that this regulation is a step towards the right direction to legitimize esports. We are currently working hard to promote a stronger and healthier gaming community," Fallout Gaming said in a statement.
"The Galaxy Battles Management believes that following regulations will help shape the future of E-sports. We feel that regulations would lead towards the right direction to legitimize esports," it added.
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