All our Monster teams fared better; in fact, we pretty much dominated proceedings in Group A. Despite being drawn in the same pool, 3 of our 4 teams made it through to the upper bracket. EG and Team Liquid both secured their upper bracket start with 11-3 records each by the end of just the third day. EG was the first to reach the safe zone with 2-0 wins over Winstrike, OG, Mineski, and VGJ.Thunder. Their practice at The Summit clearly paid off as they came into the tournament looking like they had a stronger understanding of the meta than their competitors. The defending champions, Team Liquid, also secured their start in the upper bracket, doing so with the incredibly rare sight of Kuro playing carry in one of their games against OG. Kuro took Clinkz and showed that even if he’s a world renown support now, he hasn’t forgotten the time nearly a decade ago when he was one of the most feared carries in western DotA.
EG and Liquid ended up tied at 13-3 at the end of pools, but Liquid took the head-to-head matchup to earn first in Group A with EG placing 2nd. 3rd place in Group A was PSG.LGD, who rebounded from a rough start to the tournament. Despite playing from behind in many of their games, the Chinese champions finished with an 11-5 record — with 3 of their 5 losses coming from EG and Liquid. The three top teams in Group A set themselves apart in what was arguably the tougher group on paper, and they will deserve the advantage earned after the first 4 days of battle.
We nearly had every Monster team making it to the upper bracket, but unfortunately Fnatic narrowly missed out due to too many 1-1 series. Fnatic showed some brilliant group stage matches, almost taking down Team Liquid 2-0 before conceding the second game and tieing 1-1. They did the same against Mineski, IG, and Winstrike as well, nearly always bringing their games into the later stages. A 2-0 win over OG would have tied the two teams for fourth and forced tie-breakers, but instead, after another 1-1 series, Fnatic had to settle for 5th and the terror of a Bo1 first round match.
As the bracket were drawn, the EU vs NA storyline captured most of the Dota world’s attention. 3 teams from each region made it to the first round of the upper bracket, and as luck would have it, we received EU-NA derbies in 3 of the 4 matches. Team Liquid will face OpTiC Gaming, Evil Geniuses match up against Team Secret, and VG.J Storm square off against OG. The match of the first round, however, goes to a titanic clash that could have been a final: PSG.LGD vs Virtus.Pro.
The teams, the casters, and most importantly the games have been great so far, but the tournament is just beginning. The final bracket begins tomorrow at the Rogers Arena.
Series of the Group Stages
Team Liquid 2 - 0 Evil Geniuses
We knew we were in for a treat when Grant, Kyle and BSJ appeared on screen to tri-cast this clash of titans, and the two teams delivered the best series of the tournament so far. Despite the 2-0, the two teams were neck-and-neck for a majority of the series, and the level of play left BSJ speechless. Radiance Phoenix, Miracle Invoker, and almost 150 kills; this series had it all.
Team Liquid vs VG.J Thunder, Game 2 - Matu Broodmother and Miracle pocket Riki. Hopefully, we don’t see this in our pubs.
Evil Geniuses vs Fnatic, Game 2 - Cr1t gets to play Pudge.
PSG.LGD vs iG, Game 2 - Ame is having his worst game of the year, and then unleashes a TRIPLE RAMPAGE.
PSG.LGD vs VG.J Thunder, Game 2 - LGD are losing, until they’re winning. One of the most unlikely comebacks of the group stages.
Fnatic vs Team Liquid, Game 1 - Beating Team Liquid is rare enough; stomping them into the ground 39-1 is an even rarer feat.
Fnatic vs OG, Game 2 - Abed Meepo.