MDL Macau kicked off today, with teams facing off in a Bo1 round-robin event to determine the brackets for the playoffs. It proved to be the start of an exciting competition, with a total of 14 games across the event today, that’s a lot of Dota 2 to keep up with. So, if you need to catch up, here are our highlights from MDL Macau Day 1.
day 1’s best performances
The clear winners at the end of day 1 were Vici Gaming and Evil Geniuses.
EG had a good day, taking out wins against Virtus.pro, Newbee, and RNG.
They lost out on a perfect winning streak during their third series, losing to Vici Gaming in one of the most exciting games of the day. It was a stomp for Vici, who controlled the games fast pace and dominated. They ended the game at almost 34 minutes, with 41 kills to EG’s 17.
The series against EG was the second part of Vici Gaming’s glorious comeback. They lost their first game of the day to Virtus.pro, before sweeping the rest of their series with wins against Invictus, and then Evil Geniuses.
Both teams ended the day with the same score; 3-1.
There’s been a bit of speculation about how CCnC would fill SumaiL’s shoes on EG’s roster, but if today’s series are anything to go by, CCnC is fitting in just fine, and the team is proving that they can still hold their own without their trademark mid laner.
Vici Gaming also seemed to have settled into their new line-up. Yang, Fade, and Dy joined the team at the start of the 2018-2019 season, and despite some shaky performances at the Chongqing Major earlier this year, Vici seem to have found their feet as a team going into this tournament.
Liquid vs. EHOME and the long fight
The longest series of today’s round-robin event goes to Liquid vs. EHOME. The 54-minute game bounced back and forth, with both teams evenly matched in both kills and net worth right up until the final moments.
The game’s turning point came when EHOME pushed Liquid’s high-ground just before the 45-minute mark. Liquid delivered a punishing defence, saved their tier 3 successfully and granted themselves the advantage of a net worth lead.
The last ten minutes of this game saw some of the day’s best team fights, as both EHOME and Liquid made plays for the third Roshan spawn. But it was MinD_ContRoL who brought home the win, taking out EHOME’s coach xiao8’s Ursa, solo in top lane. It was the game-winning play that destroyed EHOME’s last line of defence against the rest of Liquid.
This was Liquid’s second win of the day, they also took out their first match against Invictus Gaming, losing their final series of the day against RNG and ending up with a score of 2-1.
Liquid have had a rough start to 2019, but their performance today against EHOME showed us once more how cool the team can remain under pressure. It was a glimmer of the signature teamwork and strategy which took them all the way to aegis in TI7.
EHOME played a total of 4 series today; they finished up day 1 at 2-2. The Chinese team delivered an exceptional performance today, especially considering they’re forced to play with two stand-ins on short notice. EHOME are missing both ASD and Faith_bian from their line-up for Macau.
ASD was unable to attend due to a passport issue and was replaced by coach, Zhang “xiao8” Ning. But Faith_bian’s absence was unexpected. He was hospitalized with a possible fractured arm, less than 24 hours before the tournament’s scheduled start. Zhao “XinQ” Zixing, currently an inactive member of Team Serenity’s roster, provided EHOME with their last minute stand-in.
The rise of Royal Never Give Up
It was China’s Royal Never Give Up who gave us some of today’s biggest surprises. The 2018-2019 season is RNG’s first time playing in the professional circuit, but their games today showed they mean business.
After losing to Newbee in their first series, RNG pulled out all the stops for their next two match-ups. Their surprise win over Liquid, saw them turn the tables in the late phase of the game.
But the real surprise was their staggering victory against Virtus.pro.
RNG racked-up an impressive 31 kills in the 33-minute game, in comparison to 10 on the side of VP.
This was definitely one of the days most unexpected results, and at times VP’s performance seemed a little underwhelming.
RNG’s second loss came in the final series of the day, where they faced Evil Geniuses.
Despite some strong picks in draft, they couldn’t survive against EG’s late game. Evil Geniuses controlled the map thanks to plenty of clever rotations, by the twenty-minute mark, Arteezy’s Lifestealer was impossible for RNG to shut down.
They ended their series for day 1 at 2-2, placing them squarely in the middle of the competition.
Both Virtus.pro and Invictus gaming are bringing up the rear at the end of day 1. Virtus.pro have already qualified for this year’s TI, so they might not be bringing their game faces to Macau for this tournament. But Invictus may have been saving their energy for tomorrow’s games.
So, what can we expect to see from day 2? There are still seven more Bo1’s to play before the brackets are announced for the playoffs, and then the eliminations will begin.
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