Going into the playoffs we saw three of our five teams reach the upper bracket. These three teams were PSG.LGD, Evil Geniuses, and Fnatic — something they’ve managed to do in every single Major this DPC season! Unfortunately for the Evil Geniuses, they lost their first series in the Upper Bracket, this time to Keen Gaming. On the other hand PSG.LGD had little trouble dispatching Mineski 2-0 and moving on to the next round while Fnatic shocked viewers and analysts alike in this round, taking down the Virtus.Pro in only two games! This was the first time this season that VP was sent to the lower bracket before they reached the Upper Bracket Finals.
Meanwhile in the lower bracket we met an unfortunate turn of events. Despite finishing third in the groups, Liquid and Na’Vi fell to Chaos Esports and J.Storm respectively. This is a tragedy of best of 1’s. You might be one of the best teams in the world, you might have a squad that has won a TI together, you might have even won the most recent tournament, but you can still lose a single game. Liquid and Na’Vi are surely disappointed with their finishes, but with strong performances outside of this Major this seems like a small bump in the road rather than something to be really concerned about. In the next round of the lower bracket, we saw EG start their traditional lower-bracket run with an easy 2-0 over NiP, a match that took only an hour of game time total.
In the next round of the upper bracket, we saw PSG.LGD take a surprise loss to Vici Gaming. While PSG.LGD has long been the strongest Chinese team, Vici Gaming turned this popular belief on its head after they took down both Team Secret and PSG.LGD back-to-back. On the other side of the Upper Bracket, we saw Fnatic continue their fanatical play, taking down Keen Gaming 2-0. In previous tournaments Fnatic proved that they were clearly a step above the middle tier teams but continually struggled against top tier teams, but no longer. Fnatic just made it to the Upper Bracket Finals of a Major for the first time in their history. Teams always had reason to be concerned about Fnatic before, now they have reason to fear Fnatic. Down in the lower bracket we would find out the VP was not happy about their loss to Fnatic. The Russian squad likely felt that they didn’t belong there and came out ready to prove it. The highest rank DPC team (for both seasons) went on a rampage in the lower bracket, taking down Chaos Esports, Team Secret, and our very own Evil Geniuses and PSG.LGD, all by 2-1 scorelines. We were sad to see Evil Geniuses and PSG.LGD fall sooner than usual, but there is no more respectable of a loss than to a VP that is this on fire.
Sadly, in the Upper Bracket Finals, Fnatic’s amazing run would finally be sent to the lower bracket by Vici Gaming in an incredible three-game series. Once there, Fnatic would find themselves facing off against Virtus.Pro, the very same team that they knocked out of the upper bracket 2-0 only a few days earlier. This time, though, the tides had turned. VP had a fire burning in their heart, probably the most motivated they’ve been in a Major in a long time. Virtus.Pro were able to take the series 2-1, with both teams taking at least one convincing game. Virtus.Pro’s lower bracket run brought them to the finals where they faced off against Vici Gaming, where their fire was finally put out, allowing us to congratulate Vici Gaming on their first-ever Major victory and the first-ever Minor to Major victory in the Dota Pro Circuit!
The main takeaway from this event is Fnatic’s steady rise to the top of the competition. We’ve said before to keep an eye on them because of their consistent improvement this season, and it’s really beginning to show. In Sweden, they’ve shown that they’ve finally graduated from Kings of SEA to one of the best teams in the world. If Fnatic can keep this improvement going even longer, don’t be surprised if they end up winning the next Major.