We take you through some of the most interesting series in the Lower Bracket.
The Lower Bracket is always exciting to watch because the teams there can’t afford to make a mistake. The WePlay AniMajor is the second top-tier event of the year, which makes it really important. After all, The International 10 is just around the corner.
With that being said, let’s go through some of the biggest highlights in our LB.
LB Round One
Usually, the first round of the LB is not as intense as the next one, but this wasn’t the case. We got to see four incredible series, each of which had three full games. This just proves that every top-tier Dota 2 team has the chance to win pretty much any event.
Perhaps the most thrilling series of the day was between the two powerhouses - Vici Gaming and Viruts.Pro. Despite their good performance, the Chinese team failed to secure the first two spots in the group. Consequently, it had to survive against one of Dota 2’s deadliest teams.
The first match between the two was completely dominated by Vici Gaming. Yang "poyoyo" Shaohan and his trema-mates outplayed their opponents and didn’t give them any glimmers of hope. The CIS-based team tried to bounce back several times, but their efforts were futile.
Even though people expected Vici to continue its domination in game two, it actually went the other way around. Virtus.Pro managed to rip through their opponents after an excellent laning stage.
Sadly, the third game didn’t go well for VP. Despite putting a lot of effort into shutting down the Timbersaw, Vici Gaming found a way to take advantage of their other heroes. Even though their Terrorblade had a few problems early on, he was able to accumulate enough farm which didn’t allow VP to have any chances. After securing a rampage, the Chinese powerhouse was able to deliver their knock-out punch and secured themselves a TI10 invite.
Alliance vs Team Spirit
The second series worth the watch was between Alliance and Team Spirit. Needless to say, everyone thought that Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov and his teammates would be victorious. Sadly, they weren’t able to live up to the expectations and got eliminated by their CIS opponents.
Despite being the underdogs, Team Spirit’s young roster managed to show its prowess. Game one was pretty intense but llya "yatoro" Mulyarchuk and the rest of his team were able to take the lead after securing several team fights in their favor.
Of course, Alliance wouldn’t go down without a fight, so we weren’t surprised that game two went in their favor. After picking the infamous Winter Wyvern-Magnus combo, the European squad dominated the second game f the series. Sure, TS had some chances, but Linus “Limpp” Blomdin and his Leshrac didn’t allow the CIS squad to take advantage of them.
Even though the EU team played really well in game two, their coordination was nowhere to be found in the decider game. Interestingly, Alliance picked an Ursa in order to stand a chance against Troll Warlord. This means that both teams counted heavily on Roshan.
Sadly for Nikobaby and the rest of his team, Team Spirit played better and absolutely demolished their opponents.
LB Round Two
After eliminating their opponents, Vici Gaming and Team Spirit had to decide which team is worth continuing further in the event.
As expected, Vici had a solid start to the match after picking Faceless Void and Dragon Knight. Since these two are not the fastest-farming heroes in the game, it took them some time to get online. On the other hand, Team Spirit decided to get Spectre and prepare themselves for the late game. Despite having one of the strongest agility heroes in the game, the CIS team was unable to utilize its potential. As a result, game one went in favor of Vici.
After securing the victory in game one, Vici had an easy time in the second game of the series. In fact, the Chinese needed just 27-minutes to beat their opponents and eliminate them from the tournament.
TNC vs EG
The second series of Round Two was between one of SEA’s best teams and the NA powerhouse EG. Despite their excellent performance, TNC was unable to live up to the expectations and have to go through the TI 10 qualifiers in order to attend Dota 2’s biggest event.
Game one was an absolute massacre as EG completely outplayed their opponents. Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and his teammates didn’t give TNC any chances and took a very dominant victory.
Despite the stomp, TNC didn’t give up and showed everyone why they deserve to be at TI 10. The game lasted nearly an hour and even though both teams were doing OK, TNC’s late-game setup was better.
The final clash between the two turned out to be one of the most intriguing games in the tournament so far. RTZ picked NP yet again and was one of the key players for his team. TNC also had a very solid draft because they’ve picked Batrider in order to counter EG’s Furion. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to stop the mighty NA squad.
LB Round Three
Vici Gaming and Quincy Crew turned out to be more interesting than we thought. Despite losing the first game of the series, Vici Gaming managed to make a comeback after taking games two and three.
The second map was probably more interesting to watch because both teams had a lot of chances to succeed. QC’s draft looked really scary on paper, but Ren "eLeVeN" Yangwei and the others from his team managed to secure the victory.
EG vs Nigma
Nigma turned out to be Europe’s last team at the AniMajor, but sadly, Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov and his teammates were unable to defeat the mighty EG. This loss will have a negative impact on Nigma because they had to reach the Grand Finals in order to get enough DPC points for a direct invite for TI10.
We expected to see a three-game thriller, but EG managed to deal with their opponents in around an hour. The first game was more even because Nigma decided to pick a draft that focused on pushing. Sadly, they couldn’t achieve their goal because EG went for a Medusa pick. Needless to say, Arteezy managed to gain a lot of farm and didn’t allow Nigma’s draft to work.
We got the chance to see Artour’s amazing Nature’s Prophet in game three, which is why EG needed just 30-minutes to win. Nigma decided to get Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi’s signature Morphling, which usually does wonders. Sadly, he was unable to shine because EG didn’t allow him to get enough farm.
LB Round Four
Two of the best teams in the world right now had to go against each other in order to decide which one will continue to the Lower Bracket Final.
The first game looked like it would go in favor of EG, but the Chinese powerhouse managed to turn things around. Vici Gaming decided to bet on a Spectre and Storm Spirit, two heroes that allowed them to be mobile and deadly.
After securing several critical kills, Vici’s core heroes started to snowball. Needless to say, Storm Spirit is one of the best heroes in those types of situations, so it probably doesn’t come as a surprise he was able to rip through EG’s lineups.
After the loss, EG changed their draft from the ground up and didn’t give their opponents any chances. Arteezy and Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang needed just 24-minutes to equalize the series, so we got the chance to watch the third game.
After the two one-sided matches, the third game had everything we wanted to see. We witnessed loads of back-and-forth action, which was exactly what we needed to seal off this incredible day.
Vici Gaming decided to take advantage of the deadly Faceless Void and Winter Wyvern combo. Even though it's really successful in this patch, it didn’t work against EG because the NA squad had Terrorblade and Phoenix.
After a series of amazing team fights and loads of clutch moments, Evil Geniuses delivered their knockout punch. Consequently, they advanced to the LB Final to face T1.
Game One seemed to be really even during the first couple of minutes, but Evil Geniuses managed to take full control of the game. The NA squad had a very interesting draft that relied on physical and magical damage at the same time.
Arteezy got the chance to use his signature Naga Siren which turned out to be really good against T1’s Terrorblade. The SEA team tried to provide their carry with as much space as possible, but EG’s incredible playstyle didn’t allow them to do anything.
Abed Azel L. Yusop and his Puck showed once again why every team usually bans the hero against EG. He managed to completely annihilate the enemy’s support heroes during every team fight and helped his team get a lead in the series.
The second game of the series was more than one hour long, so it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that we got to see loads of amazing team fights. Both teams prepared themselves for the late game, but it seems like T1 had the better draft.
Despite utilizing TB’s full potential, Evil Geniuses was unable to take the victory. T1’s determination and in-game decisions allowed them to equalize the series.
The final game wasn’t as close as we wanted it to be because EG got to play their favorite heroes. Abed’s Puck and Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang made T1’s life extremely difficult. After securing kills left and right, EG had more than 21K net worth advantage by the 35-minute mark. Needless to say, this was enough to send EG to the Grand Final.
Feature Images: WePlay Holding