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Team Onyx pulls off stunning comeback at Kiev qualifier

The crowd at the Mercedez Benz Arena reacts. Tim Franco for ESPN

Team Onyx pulled off one of the biggest upset runs in the history of North American Dota 2 on Monday, besting a heavily favored compLexity squad to win the North American Regional Qualifier. With the unexpected victory, the team has punched its ticket to Valve's Kiev Major in Kiev, Ukraine.

In the true spirit of North American Dota, the drama began long before the round-robin matches Friday. Team Red and Team WanteD both had their regional invitations rescinded due to roster changes, leaving the North American qualifier in need of talent. compLexity was one of the primary beneficiaries of the talent shortage, finishing the round-robin stage with a 5-1 record, second only to Team NP's 6-0 finish. compLexity, who had to earn its regional spot through open qualifiers, also due to roster issues, easily handled its business in the playoffs. Starting its run by knocking off Team Onyx 2-0 in the semifinals and culminating in a 2-1 comeback victory over Team NP in the Winner's Finals, compLexity reasserted themselves as the team to beat in the NA qualifiers.

Thanks to its loss to Grand Final-bound compLexity, Team Onyx was forced to navigate the lower bracket in order to earn its rematch. With the constant threat of elimination looming, Team Onyx played with a renewed vigor. Team Freedom, unwilling to go quietly into the night, took one game off of Onyx before losing 2-1 in in a pair of the lowest scoring games of the tournament. Team Onyx then went on to sweep heavily favored Team NP, with Abed "Abed" Yusop playing a perfect Meepo in Game 2, to put the final nail in NP's coffin and secure Onyx's place in the Grand Finals opposite compLexity.

Riding its momentum into the Grand Finals, Team Onyx took Game 1 in convincing fashion. Besting compLexity in a brief 26 minutes, Onyx showed the heavy favorites that it would not be another easy victory. compLexity collected themselves, hoping to avoid the same fate as Team NP and drafted far more conservatively for Game 2. Unable to close the distance on compLexity's ranged carry, Team Onyx threw up the white flag to set up a decisive Game 3. It became apparent compLexity had not done its homework when it allowed Team Onyx to draft Meepo for the second time during the playoff stage. Punishing compLexity for its arrogance, Abed "Abed" Yusop absolutely dominated Game 3 as Meepo.

After a recent series of high placements, compLexity had hoped the Kiev Major would be the platform for a breakthrough performance, but instead it will be watching from the couch. Team Onyx, on the other hand, secured its first appearance at a Valve event and only its second appearance ever at a non-qualifier event, having participated in Moonduck's Elimination Mode 3.0 where they placed 3rd-4th.