The competition is heating up at the Major, with Round 1 of the Playoffs is in the bag.
Our first day of Playoffs at the Singapore Major gave us plenty of treats as we watched the best of the best duke it out in round 1 of our Upper Bracket.
Let’s take a look at how things played out.
Evil Geniuses vs Fnatic
It was the first series for both EG and Fnatic at the Major, but the teams had obviously been paying attention to the Wild Cards and Groups. Game 1 saw both Puck and Io banned out.
Death Prophet however, snuck through in the form of a flex pick for EG. She’s been the fourth most picked hero at this Major, with a total of 37 games and a win ration of 49%.
Tal “Fly” Aizik ended up taking her to the safe lane to support Artour “Arteezy” Babaev’s Juggernaut.
EG came in aggressive, taking out first blood. Still Fnatic were looking strong through the lanes with Marc “Raven” Polo Luis Fausto’s Phantom Assassin drawing even in Dire’s top lane.
The game’s opening wasn’t as brutal as some of the previous series we’ve seen. Just 10 kills total on the board at 15-minutes. Fnatic had a slight lead in the gold at this stage. But EG pulled the game back their way at 20-minutes. They had a 9k net worth lead as they pushed the mid T3’s.
At 26-minutes, they had wiped Fnatic off the map.
Fnatic banned DP out in the second game. Taking an Enigma for Natthaphon “Masaros” Ouanphakdee first pick. There was also a last pick techies for Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong which promised to make things interesting. EG on the other hand, had Arteezy on a comfortable Naga Siren and a Pango pick for Daryl “iceiceice” Koh Pei Xiang that gave them a lot of opportunity to shut down Fnatic’s ultis.
Still at 18-minutes, EG was starting to take control of the game and the gold lead, and they took a nice team fight at 24-minutes which bumped their kill count up to 18 and pushed their net worth advantage out to 8k.
Fnatic did their best to hold off, but EG’s draft provided them a lot more mobility across the map, and soon Fnatic were pinned into their base as EG took T3 after T3, eventually gaining megas by 45-min.
Still, Fnatic kept holding out. Giving it their everything to hold the base to the bitter end. GG was finally called at 50-minutes. Fnatic were going to the lower bracket and EG had a 2-0 victory to start their tournament run.
Invictus Gaming vs Vici Gaming
Our next series saw regional rivals Invictus Gaming face off against Wild Card winners, Vici.
It was a strong line up for IG, Thiay “JT-”Jun Wen took Venomancer, while Jin “FlyFly” Zhiyi was on Phantom Lancer – a hero we haven’t seen so much of this Major. In fact, he’s only been picked four times in the tournament.
Invictus took first blood just past the 1-minute mark, but the laning phase was fairly even. But IG came out of the lanes strong, taking down Ren “old eLeVen” Yangwei’s Legion Commander and putting Vici into a bit of a spin.
Vici seemed to find their footing again as the game neared its mid. They managed a kill on Zhou “Emo” Yi’s Void Spirit which helped them pull ahead in the net worth. Their lead was short lived, however. Invictus managed another good skirmish at 21-minutes which swung the advantage back their way.
For the next 15-minutes, they put Vici through their paces, taking the first game of the series at just shy of 35-minutes, 28-16.
Our second map started with a fair amount of aggression, the kills were 5-3 at 7-minutes in, and Invictus had secured themselves a solid 1k gold advantage. However, Vici had a much stronger draft this time around, with Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang’s DP in mid, and Yang “Poyoyo” Shaohan on Juggernaut.
As the game moved out of it’s laning phase, Vici only started to look stronger. They had a 10k advantage in the gold at 29-minutes and were 9-kills up on Invictus. Poyoyo’s Jug pick was especially doing work this game. He had his Aghanim’s Scepter by 23-minutes, going 14/3/11 across the whole game. IG held out for 44-minutes, but there was nothing they could do to claw their way back.
Vici were taking this series to a third game.
If Invictus had looked strong in the first game, however. They looked indomitable in Game 3. It wasn’t quite a quick stomp. But IG never looked like a team in troubled waters for a second. Emo’s Templar Assassin was too much for Vici to handle. By contrast, Poyoyo’s Monkey King fell completely flat, 5k behind in the farm against Emo.
IG took the game at 37-minutes with a 28k lead, sending Vici packing to the Lower Bracket to face off against Team Liquid tomorrow. While Invictus were moving on to face off against Evil Geniuses in round 2 of the Upper Bracket.
Thunder Predator vs Team Secret
There were plenty of fans excited to see this match-up after Thunder Predators amazing run through the Group Stage. How would they fare against what is arguably the strongest team in the DPC right now? This was the moment we’d find out.
Secret came in to Game 1 with a lot of speed and mobility. Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen looked right at home on a Monkey King pick. And team captain Clement “Puppey” Ivanov was on one of his signature heroes, Enchantress.
The kills were coming in fast too, 4-2 at the 4-minute mark, with Secret establishing a 1k gold advantage for themselves very early.
As the laning phase drew to an end, Secret looked in complete command. 14-5 on the score board and a 10k lead in the net worth.
Thunder Predator did their best to hit back. Leonardo “Leostyle-” Sifuentes managed to burn through Matu’s aegis at 20-minutes. And TP actually pushed for T3’s challenging Secret’s high ground. But a beautiful Arena from Ludwig “Zai” Wåhlberg on Mars sent the SA team packing back to base.
But despite the noble defense put up by Thunder Predator. This game belonged to Team Secret, who closed it out at 42-minutes with a 38k net worth lead. It was a very dominant showing from the EU side, MATUMBAMAN didn’t even bother to pick up his BKB in this game until the 37-minute mark.
Our second map of the series had some serious lane frogging on the side of Secret. But the switches worked out for them, and they took first blood and managed to snatch the gold advantage early again.
This time it was Nisha on Mars, and we saw a beautiful Arena play from him at 19-minutes as Secret made a move for Rosh which shut down 4 of TP’s heroes. There was plenty of big plays from Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat on Tusk too. Assisting his team in securing 22 of the 33-kills they put on the board.
Alonso “MNZ” León did manage to keep up in the farm on his Lifestealer pick. But Naix was just not as effective as the Abaddon core that Secret were running this game.
TP held out for 38-minutes before Secret knocked them down into the Lower Bracket.
Virtus.pro vs PSG.LGD
Our final series of the day saw China and CIS face off in the match-up between Virtus.pro and PSG.LGD.
It was a slow start to the first map. LGD took first blood just past the 4-min mark and established a strong gold lead by the end of the laning phase.
The lanes were especially kind to Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida’s Pango, he took out a superb kill on Danil “gpk” Skutin’s Doom in bottom lane just before the game’s 11-minute mark (10:43:50 on the vod).
LGD had a 2k net worth lead at 15-minutes, and were 2-kills up in the count; with Wang “Ame” Chunyu’s Troll Warlord leading the charge and Cheng “NothingToSay” Jin Xiang not far behind him on Magnus. At 25-minutes, that net worth lead was an 8k advantage for LGD.
VP were trying to keep up. They moved in for a Rosh attempt at 38-minutes, but LGD swept in and cleaned them up, taking the Rosh for themselves and pushing their advantage hard. They took Game 1 at 47-minutes.
Game 2 saw VP sticking with their Enchantress/Mars strat. Dmitry “DM” Dorokhin took the Mars pick, but he struggled to find ground in the off lane. Illias “Kingslayer” Ganeev had a better time on his Enchantress pick in the Radiant safe lane.
There was a cautious start to this game, with only 3-kills total on the board by the 10-minute mark. Virtus.pro did manage to successfully scare LGD off of an early Rosh, bringing the kills to 4-2. But LGD still held the gold lead out of the laning phase. Pushing VP to try focus on objectives, they took the bottom T1 at 11-minutes.
But the real tipping point for VP was at the 24-minute mark. After smoking to wrap around through LGD’s jungle, their Arena team fight didn’t go quite as planned. However, they did manage to force some buy backs out of both Ame and Zhao “XinQ” Zixing.
The kills were 12-11 at 27-minutes, with an 8k gold lead for LGD. They pushed for the Rosh while VP had no chance of contesting, with an aegis pick up for Ame of course. Then as soon as Egor “Nightfall” Grigorenko’s Wraith King fell at 30-minutes, LGD pushed straight for the mid rax.
Still, it wasn’t all over yet. With Virtus.pro throwing out buybacks to try and hold out. But LGD were 30k up in the net worth, and VP knew they couldn’t hold out against another aegis. As LGD pushed back in for another attempt at the Rosh, VP called it.
PSG.LGD were headed to round 2 to face Team Secret, with VP forced to slug it out in the Lower Bracket for another shot at the finals.
There’s plenty riding on the line for teams now in tomorrow’s Lower Bracket matches, don’t forget to catch all the action live on the ONE Esports Twitch channel!
Feature Image: ONE Esports