DreamLeague EU and SEA qualifiers
Our teams continued to do well this week in the DreamLeague qualifiers as Team Liquid and Fnatic both advanced from their regions to join EG at the LAN event in Jönköping, Sweden. While Fnatic and Team Liquid have both made it to the event, the way they had to get there was very different. Fnatic had to go through a four team double elimination bracket with all matches being a best of three. Team Liquid on the other hand was placed into an online league which featured four teams from Europe and four teams from CIS. Team Liquid then had to play a best of two against each of the other teams in the league and had to secure a top four finish in order to qualify.
The implications that can be made from Fnatic’s recent performances in SEA is that they are emerging as the team to beat in that region. Their 2-1 win over Mineski in the upper bracket finals makes it the second time in a row Fnatic has triumphed over the team who were considered to be nearly unstoppable in SEA. Abed has fit seamlessly under the Fnatic banner, and two top tier Storm Spirit performances in the qualifier final helped book their trip to Sweden.
As long as the rest of Fnatic maintain a high level of play — which looks like the trend for now — the team could easily outperform their previous iterations. What this means for Fnatic is more opportunities to claim Dota Pro-Circuit (DPC) points and get themselves in the running for a direct invite to TI8. A good placement at this Major would be the perfect start!
Team Liquid on the other hand are currently sitting in 3rd place in DPC points with 450. Their qualification through league play went smoothly even up against the likes of VP, Team Secret, OG, and Na`Vi as they secured enough points to qualify before playing their last match. While the tales of the TI Curse haunting the winning teams and lulling them into a false sense of security have been true in the past, Team Liquid show no signs of slowing down in the new season. Liquid dominated the bottom half of the table and split their series against their fellow qualified teams. Liquid showed a wide range of heroes to display their versatility, and their exploits randoming through entire drafts during Midas Mode certainly suggest that the team is in top form.
A win at the DreamLeague Major would be their first Major win of the season and put them back on top of the rankings. They’ve already won two minors so far, and they enter Jönköping as strong favorites once again, but it’s anyone’s game with the new patch shaking things up in the metagame!
IEM Oakland was the big tournament of the weekend with CS:GO the main highlight. 12 top teams made the trip to California to compete for the big prize of an IEM trophy and $129,000.
Day 1 of the group stage was a tight affair, with no teams really separating themselves after the first round of play. Group A included EnVyUs, and the French squad narrowly missed out on an opening win after a narrow 20-22 overtime loss to SK Gaming. Neither team managed to gain a foothold on they traded 8-7 halves to tie the game at 15 apiece, with RpK leading the way for nV. His incredible 40-kill map would not be enough, however, as SK secured the win in the 2nd OT.
EnVy regained some momentum against MongolZ, but their 16-12 win looked closer than it should have been. A 12-3 T-side on Cache suggested an easy sweep, but the MongolZ earned nine rounds on their T-side to make things close. nV closed the first day 1-2 by falling to Astralis on Inferno, 11-16, to end the day with four points.
In Group B, arguably the closer group on paper, Team Liquid squeezed out two overtime wins to earn four points in the table. Both games involved unlikely comebacks down 5-10 in the first half. Their first victim was Renegades, a team that had looked very dangerous over the past few weeks. EliGE led the way with 32 kills and a 3-kill to force OT on Cache. Liquid lined up against Gambit next on Mirage, and the first half once again looked dire. Things seemed even worse when Liquid lost the second pistol round, but a big anti-eco set the tone for 6 straight rounds and a tied game. Gambit managed to claim match point, but Liquid sealed OT with an almost impossible force buy. A clever boost for Twistzzz spotted a gap in Gambit’s A execute, and he cleaned house to grab a hold of the game, which translated to a comfortable overtime session.
Unfortunately, neither team would survive day two and make it to the bracket stage of the competition. Despite beating Cloud 9 16-8 on Cobble, EnVyUs needed a win against NiP to leapfrog SK Gaming for a spot in the playoffs. The defending champions could not be denied, however, and EnVyUs dropped out of the tournament with their loss on Nuke.
Team Liquid did not fair much better as they dropped all three maps on Day Two. Despite having a record of 2-3 — a similar record to three other teams in the group — Liquid lost out due to points. With OT wins only awarding two points, and OT losses granting one, Liquid ended the group stage with four points as opposed to Gambit’s eight. Liquid rued missed chances against both OpTic and G2, who they had played to tight first halves. Liquid possessed 8-7 leads in both games, but squandered their advantage after the intermission.
Ninjas in Pyjamas went on to defend their title against FaZe Clan in an epic 3-2 series to close out the tournament.
The PUBG train shows no signs of stopping, and the latest invitational occurred at IEM Oakland. Ten of the world’s best teams received direct invitations while ten further teams had to fight through qualifiers. The unpredictable nature of PUBG — which is both a source of excitement and frustration — was in full display as qualifier team against All authority upset everyone to win the event. In addition, several invited teams could be found at the bottom of the final ranking, including Evil Geniuses and Alliance.
While all of the teams performed valiantly, the only Monster team to win a chicken dinner was Team Liquid. The squad composed of Hayz, Molnman, Ollywood and Scoom reached the upper half of the table by placing a middle-of-the-pack tenth place. A battle royale victory during a 10-kill Round Five was not enough to earn a higher seed as the team only managed one other Top-10 finish. A crucial 2 vs 3 against Tempo Storm in the final circle looked favorable for TS, but blinding headshots from behind cover managed to turn things around. Scoom tallied 8 kills in the winning round to earn Liquid 300 points.
The entire upper half of the pool looked close, with only aAa separating themselves. Second through tenth was a tight affair, as those teams were all only separated by only 200 points. One small decision could have changed a big round and the standings of any one of our squads, but such is the thrill of PUBG.