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.
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.