In a major filled with 2-0 sweeps in the Round of 16, Greek squad Ad Finem delivered a rare delicacy: a riveting 2-1 series that saw them prevail over Chinese counterparts, Newbee.
Boasting one of the highest team assists scores in the entire tournament, Ad Finem rallied from a lost game 1 that saw their lanes fall apart thanks to Newbee’s aggression. But by the 2nd and 3rd games, Ad Finem shored up their early game and laning phase deficits. They ended the series 60+ kills and assists in game 2 and 3 to put away the TI-pedigree team.
That Ad Finem were underdogs coming into Boston couldn’t be overstated. In the Round of 16, Newbee were regarded by on-air talent, analysts and reporters as one of the Chinese favorites, as the team placed favorably in several LAN events in the lead up to the Fall Major.
Meanwhile, Ad Finem (and in a lot of respects Warrior’s Gaming Unity) were the perennial team with a chip on their shoulder. Hailing from the European scene, the Greeks made up of a group of friends have been together for more than a year, battling in qualifier after qualifier to make it onto the big stage. Prior to this Major, the team’s list of achievements included a lot of near-misses in premium-level tournament qualifiers, with some minor victories in the EU/CIS region.
Beating Newbee then became the first affirmation that the Greeks were the real deal. They came to Boston to prove something and once they did, boy did they make believers out of all of us.
Ad Finem literally means “To the end”. Established in 2015, their Dota 2 division is the core of their gaming organization. The line-up that includes Omar “Madara” Dabachach, Dimitris “ThuG” Plivouris, Haris “SkyLark” Zafiriou, Verros “MNT/Maybe Next Time” Apostolos and Giorgos “SsaSpartan” Giannakopoulos has been unchanged since the team’s inception.
While defeating a TI winning organization and top-tournament contender in Newbee is an achievement in itself, the team is on route to face yet another big name: Xiao8 and LGD.Forever Young.
I caught up with Verros “MNT/Maybe Next Time” Apostolos, Ad Finem’s position 4/5 support player for a short chat about the team, their expectations, and facing a legendary captain in their quarterfinals match.
Paolo “Sandata” Bago (PSB): Congratulations on winning against Newbee. You’ll be facing LFY next. Can you tell me what’s going through your mind having to face up against someone like Xiao8 and his team?
MNT: Well, it’s really exciting for me especially because xiao8 has been my favorite player for a really long time and now I get to face him and his team on a big stage! Overall, LFY are not an easy team to go against so once again we have to bring our A-game in order to win.
PSB: Ad Finem is one of the hungriest teams out there and after you won against Newbee, your members kept saying that they haven’t proven anything yet. Can you expand on this?
MNT: I believe it’s only natural to aim for the top. Our goal is to eventually become the best team there is and not just attend Major tournaments. Winning is all that matters in the end.
PSB: You guys have been competing together for a year now. What kept you guys together when so many other teams disband and join up with other squads after one or two qualifier losses?
MNT: I believe one of our biggest attributes is that we are all really good friends in real life and we get along really well outside of the game.
We believe that in order to succeed you have to learn from your failures and improve, not just quit the first time you fail.
PSB: Thanks for that MNT. Last question, as I know you have to prepare for your match: Is Madara the biggest anime fan in the team? What happens when you guys go up against Team NP? 😛
MNT: Yeah he’s the biggest anime fan in the team for sure, his name says it all i believe! When we go up against NP the match becomes an anime series, Madara against whatever anime characters NP are xD
With a passion to prove that they deserve to be among the big leagues, Ad Finem will be sure to face their next matches with the same fire they had fighting through a tough EU qualifier, a trying group-stage and a deadly Round of 16 at Boston.
After all, when you want to become champion, all you need to do is fight To the end.