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General photos taken at the Chongqing Major in Chongqing, China
NEWS

The Chongqing Major Recap

Jan 292019

The Chongqing Major was an incredible event for a multitude of reasons — the “return” of Wings, support Luna, and a multitude of outstanding performances. At the same time, it was also one of the strangest tournaments we’ve seen because of how many stand-ins were needed for various teams. Five of the sixteen teams had replacements for key players before the tournament had begun. Sadly, the worst-off of those teams was Team Liquid, who found out that Miracle- couldn’t attend less than an hour before flying to China. Nevertheless, the made the trek to Chongqing alongside Alliance, PSG.LGD, Evil Geniuses, and Fnatic with everyone aiming to earn ever important DPC points to make the trek to The International.

Group Stage

 

With another Major comes another group stage, and a relatively well-balanced group stage at that. There was one exception though, impacting the Monster family. Sadly, Group D ended up with three of our teams, guaranteeing that one of them would have to begin the playoffs in the lower bracket. Most of the matches were exciting with 2-1 score lines everywhere. Though there were a fair share of stomps across the board.

 

Group B was one of the stronger groups, with two very scary teams in PSG.LGD and Team Secret. PSG.LGD came out on top in their group after taking down Forward Gaming and Team Secret. Thanks to excellent performances on Terrorblade and Juggernaut, Ame was able to easily take over both games against Secret — not exactly surprising from the best carry player in China!

 

 

 

 

Group C had one team that was clearly a cut above the rest and three teams that were middling in comparison. At least that’s how it should have been, if Liquid had their full roster. In reality it was hard to know how Liquid would perform with their last-minute sub, Shadow of Wings Gaming fame. There were too many unknowns for anyone outside of Liquid to be able to predict their performance. We would see Liquid coming out on top. Surprisingly, they took a game loss to The Pango but defeated the more prominent Vici Gaming in just two games. There seemed to be some issues in-game with Liquid and their sub (as to be expected seeing as Shadow does not know English), meaning that while their games were concerning, they were still able to finish first in the group.

 

Lastly, we’ve got Group D, our tripled-up Monster group with Fnatic, EG, and Alliance all winding up together. While EG and Fnatic were the traditional favorites for the group, coming out in the top two would mean far more for Alliance than those two. EG is known for their lower bracket runs and Fnatic, who are hoping that this will be Jabz’s breakout tournament as their captain, is filled with the best players from SEA. 

So how did it turn out? In the opening matches EG easily beat Team Aster in two very quick games while Fnatic took out Alliance 2-0 as well, though in much more contested games. In the winner’s match Fnatic took down EG 2-0 while Alliance then knocked Aster out in two incredibly quick games, before losing out to EG in a 2-1 group-deciding series. While Fnatic and EG would move on to the upper bracket, Alliance would be put in a difficult position, forced to start the playoff bracket in the nerve testing best of 1 matches.

Playoffs

 

After a one day break the double-elimination bracket began at the Chongqing Major. And it began with the scariest games of all, the best of 1 elimination matches. Alliance would find themselves matched up against Chaos Esports. While we had high hopes for Alliance, they would ultimately fall to Chaos here. Unfortunately, best of 1 matches can be very volatile and are probably one of the worst places for a team to find themselves in any bracket. Alliance went for a very atypical draft, relying on a super-core Anti-Mage to win them the late game. On the other side Chaos Esports essentially picked a draft that was as meta as possible, drafting a fast-paced lineup with Sven, Lich, and even Beastmaster. Unfortunately for Alliance their creativity did not lead to success as Chaos rolled over them before miCKe’s Anti-Mage could come online. It’s worth looking forward to Alliance’s next performance as their style has been volatile and while sometimes it hurts them as it did here, it also sometimes leads to incredible results. 

 

In the first round of the upper bracket we had great matchups in each slot. Team Liquid matched up with Team Secret, setting up for another clash of titans between Puppey and Kuroky. Unfortunately, the cracks in Liquid that showed in the group stage were fully abused by Secret here, leading Secret to a 2-0 victory over Liquid. Next we saw Fnatic matched up with the Minor winners, Ehome. This match was the only 3-game series of this round, with Ehome eventually coming out on top. The game that Fnatic was able to take was extremely one-sided, ending the game in almost 18 minutes, one of the fastest games of the tournament. Fnatic still looked good coming out of this loss, setting them up for a strong lower bracket run. 

Third would be Evil Geniuses versus Virtus.Pro, a classic rivalry running back for years. While EG originally held the upper hand in this matchup, Virtus.Pro have taken over and this match was sadly no exception. Finally, we saw PSG.LGD take on Vici Gaming, a revenge match from the Chinese Qualifier where Vici Gaming won 2-0. Well this is no qualifier, and PSG.LGD came to remind Vici just who exactly the best team in China is. It didn’t take long to jog Vici’s memory. PSG.LGD took a quick 2-0 and moved on to the upper bracket semifinals.

 

Back in the lower bracket we would see Team Liquid and Fnatic easily dispatch their first opponents. Unfortunately, that meant that those same two teams would meet in the next round. Not only that but as fate would have it for the Monster family, the winner of that match would go up against PSG.LGD after they dropped to the lower bracket after losing to Virtus Pro.

 

 

PSG.LGD would find themselves in a match against Fnatic after they swept away Liquid. This took a familiar turn as we once again got to tune into the Maybe show. Dominating performances on Razor and his classic Queen of Pain showed him doing what he does best, styling on the entire enemy team. This win would push PSG.LGD into the semifinals of the lower bracket. This would set them up against EG to decide who would make it into the top 3 at the event. 

 

There’s something to be said about lower bracket teams. At the Kuala Lumpur Major EG lost in the first round of the upper bracket, then ran through the lower bracket to an eventual third place finish. At TI7, Liquid did the same thing, extending it to winning the entire event. It takes a great amount of mental fortitude to make these runs through the lower bracket without cracking to the pressure. EG has that mental fortitude, and it would only be a matter of time until they broke their third-place curse. In two of the most back and forth matches of the tournament, EG managed to knock out PSG.LGD and secure themselves a top 3 finish once again at a Valve Major, looking strong heading into the final day of play in Chongqing. That momentum wouldn’t last, however, as they would go on to fall against Team Secret who would in turn win the event in a 3-1 finals against Virtus Pro, securing both VP’s and Team Secret’s qualification to TI9.

 

 

 

 

While none of our teams have solidified their spots yet, given the performances from the first two Majors its looking good for all of our teams. Team Liquid have yet to play in a Major event at full strength, having missed Kuala Lumpur entirely, and playing in Chongqing with a standin who required intense micromanagement from captain Kuroky — Stockholm should be their first appearance playing at 100%. Alliance, while they have proven they are capable of making strong runs into the tournament, are only one breakout performance away from cashing in on much needed DPC points and a hometown tournament in Stockholm, Sweden is a great place to start looking for them!

 

On the other hand, Fnatic are consistently showing that they have what it takes to place in the top 8 and it is a matter of time before they show us their full potential, making deeper runs. PSG.LGD, runners-up to last year’s International Championships have begun tournament play with their coach once more and a Top-4 finish is only the beginning for the best team in China.  Finally, Evil Geniuses are bound to break their string of third-place finishes — while they continue to earn points, third place is not the ceiling for these players. They clearly have the individual skill and chemistry to consistently make it to Championship Sunday, it is only a matter of time before Bulba and his boys bring home a trophy.

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