Condolences to the four teams (Fnatic, TNC.Predator, Newbee, and VGJ.Thunder) that lost today, as they are out of the tournament after just one game on the main stage. The remaining two Upper Bracket games will play their matchups today, while two teams in the Lower Bracket will have to go home after playing a BO3 (Best of 3).
VGJ.Storm (12-4) v.s. OG (9-7)
VGJ.Storm is the surprise winner of Group B, beating out top four DPC teams like Virtus.pro and Team Secret, dominating games with an eclectic mix of skill and simple, effect strategies. The addition of Ukrainian hotshot Resolut1on has turned this ragtag bunch into legitimate contenders. Of special note is Resolut1on’s signature hero, Drow Ranger – currently 11-0 through the qualifiers and at the event itself. VGJ.Storm’s blitzkreig playstyle is both entertaining and effective, and could see them blast away their competition at the event.
OG is a team that suffered from the roster shuffle, losing their esteemed captain Fly and distinguised offlaner, s4. However, reinforcements arrived from unlikely sources both old and new, as they recruited an old member, ana, and a fresh-faced pubstar, Topson. Although obviously individually skilled, the team did not seem to click until the last two days of the event, where they managed to battle to an upper bracket slot, proving doubters wrong. OG has been one of the most successful teams in DOTA, winning four Valve majors, but their highest placing at TI was only 7th-8th. Could this be the year where they take it all?
Although both squads had a recent roster reshuffle, VGJ.Storm looks to have shaken off the rust much earlier, playing extremely well together, and looking like dark horse contenders to take the whole event. Likely to overpower OG, the series will go 2-0 to VGJ.Storm. However, whichever of these two teams drop to the lower bracket, expect them to slay the competition below.
Evil Geniuses (13-3) v.s. Team Secret (8-8)
Evil Geniuses is a team of TI pedigree, and it looks like they’ve regained their fleeting form. Always brilliant, but plagued with inconsistency, the new additions to the EG squad have helped them regain their mojo. Of special mention is Cr1t-, who is playing like a man reborn. Reunited with his old captain Fly, he has been allowed to flourish once again on the playmaking support, instead of being bogged down by ward buying duties. Individual skill overflows from each player, and the addition of veteran captain Fly has kept that from drowning themselves. EG looks to be one of the favourites, and I feel sorry for whoever has to stand in their way.
If you have ever been a Team Secret player, you were likely regarded as one of the best players in the world. In fact, three opponents were once in this very squad, led by captain Puppey. Such is the prestigious history of this team, that a season where they only won one major and two minors can be considered mediocre. Luckily, Secret managed to win the tiebreaker to secure an upper bracket slot, leaving them some breathing room for the tough challenges to come.
Although both teams can be argued to be highly individually skilled, EG seems to be the much more cohesive team overall. Secret’s unconventional drafts can always be called into question, and bites them in the ass as much as they succeed spectacularly. Against a team as stable as EG, it seems destined to be more the former. 2-0 to EG.