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What went wrong for Eastern Europe’s 9Pandas at TI12? Esports.net

The journey of Eastern Europe’s 9Pandas at The International 2023 (TI12) for offers a compelling story of ambition, internal struggles, and the harsh realities of competitive Dota 2. Gleb “Kiyotaka” Zyryanov, the team’s midlaner, provided a candid assessment of their performance in an insightful interview with Cybersport, highlighting key factors that led to their disappointing showing.

9Pandas entered TI12 backed by a strong fan base, having secured the fourth spot in the Dota Pro Circuit 2023. Their performance in the tournament’s group stage was promising, earning them a place in the upper bracket after a victory over BetBoom Team. This initial success, however, was not sustained in the playoffs. The team faced formidable opponents in LGD Gaming and Gaimin Gladiators, leading to successive defeats and a final standing of 9th-12th place.

This outcome was a stark contrast to the expectations set by their earlier achievements in the season.

Ti12

Image Credits: Valve

Kiyotaka reflects on his Team Dynamics and Strategic Setbacks

Kiyotaka opened up about the less-than-ideal conditions the team faced leading up to TI12. The pre-tournament bootcamp, a critical period for training and strategy refinement, was marred by conflicts and misunderstandings among team members. This discord hindered their ability to collaborate effectively, a crucial element in a team-based game like Dota 2.

Additionally, Kiyotaka pointed out that the game’s patch at the time did not favor their preferred heroes, limiting their strategic options and ability to adapt to the evolving meta-game.

Dota 2 Player for 9Pandas Solo

Alexey “Solo” Berezin at the International 2023 after losing to Gaimin Gladiators

Despite these challenges, the team held high aspirations, aiming to secure a top-six finish consistent with their performance throughout the season. However, Kiyotaka realistically acknowledged that the combination of a challenging team atmosphere and an unfavorable game patch significantly hampered their potential at TI12.

Roster Changes and Future Outlook for 9Pandas

In response to their performance at TI12, 9Pandas underwent significant roster changes. The team parted ways with Matvey “MieRo” Vasyunin, a key player, signaling a new direction for the squad. For the ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 qualifiers, they introduced a temporary lineup, featuring stand-ins V-Tune, RodjER, and Afoninje. This shake-up proved beneficial as the team secured a spot at the Malaysian LAN event. In a further change, the team announced that Solo would replace RodjER for the upcoming matches.

9Pandas’ roster at ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023

These roster adjustments reflect 9Pandas’ strategy to adapt and improve their standings in the competitive scene. The inclusion of experienced players like V-Tune, RodjER, and Afoninje, and the strategic replacement of Solo for RodjER, demonstrate the team’s commitment to finding a winning formula.

However, such significant changes also bring a level of uncertainty. The new lineup will need time to develop chemistry and a cohesive playstyle, factors crucial for success in high-level Dota 2 competitions.

Managing Expectations and the Road Ahead

As 9Pandas prepares for the ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 and beyond, fans and analysts alike will be watching closely to see how the team adapts to these changes. The primary objective for 9Pandas in the upcoming season, however, will likely be accumulating points for the ESL Pro Tour (EPT) Season 2 rankings. This goal, while important, should be balanced with the need to solidify team dynamics and refine their in-game strategies.

Given the recent roster overhaul and the challenges faced at TI12, fans of the team shouldn’t keep their expectations too high.

Marcus Wong

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