We breakdown the biggest moments from the first day of The International 11's main event.
After we had the chance to watch four days full of action, the Group Stage of The International 11 is finally over. Soniqs, BetBoom Team, TSM, and Talon Esports are no longer a part of the vent after they finished last and second last in their groups. However, everyone else advanced to the Upper Bracket and the Lower Bracket.
While the teams in the UB have one last chance if they lose, this is not the case in the LB. What’s even more impressive is that Round 1 of the Lower Bracket is played in a Bo1 format. Hence, teams only have one chance to win, or they will be eliminated.
Aside from playing for fame and glory, every loss means that a given team will get a lot less money than those who get eliminated later on. With that said, let’s take a look at what happened in each series, starting with the matches from the UB.
We had the chance to watch two series from the Upper Bracket, and it is safe to say that both results were surprising. Despite defeating almost everyone in the Group Stage, Evil Geniuses failed to live up to the expectations. The team lost the series against Thunder Awaken, which means it has to play in the LB.
The result in the second series was also not expected because PSG.LGD was one of the big favorites to win the event. However, the Chinese were no match for Team Secret, who ripped through them and advanced to R2 of the UB.
Evil Geniuses vs Thunder Awaken
Unsurprisingly, EG was the heavy favorite in the match against Thunder Awaken because the team only had one loss in the Group. Sadly, things didn’t go according to plan because TA was way better than EG expected.
The series' first game was the more interesting one and lasted for 47 minutes. Everyone expected the NA squad to win because it had some of their most comfortable heroes. The draft focused on team fights had a good start, but Thunder Awaken’s Zeus and BS combo came on top.
This combo is so popular because it is easy to play and offers a lot of potential. Thunder Awaken needed one good fight to take control of the game and it was enough to win the first map.
The loss in game one had an effect on EG’s motivation, but not in a good way. Despite having Shadow Fiend and Razor in their team, Arteezy and the rest could not defeat Thunder Awaken, who were on another level.
DarkMago and his crew picked their signature Morphling, a hero that carried them in many series. Albeit the slow start, the hard carry took complete control of the game and slowly became the strongest hero.
EG tried to take as many fights as possible so that their mid-game draft gained an advantage. The bad news for the North American squad is that this never happened, and they kept losing fight after fight. As expected, Morphling eventually became too strong and he carried his team to victory.
Team Secret vs PSG.LGD
Although most people expected the Chinese to have no problems against their WEU counterparts, this was not the case. Team Secret destroyed their opponents in the first map after picking some of their favorite aggressive heroes.
Secret took the lead very early on and accumulated more than 8k net worth lead just 18 minutes after the start. In the end, Secret gave their opponents only 3 kills in the entire game, which gave them a quick victory.
After the dominant performance in the first game of the series, Team Secret won the second map, but it wasn’t that easy. PSG.LGD were prepared and didn’t allow their opponents to crush them in the laning stage. What’s more, Ame and the rest even secured a comfortable lead just 24 minutes after the start.
That said, the most important fight of the game took place one minute later near the Rosh pit. Although Secret were behind, the WEU squad got several crucial kills, which allowed them to gain the lead.
Puppey and the rest kept getting stronger, which forced PSG to attempt a 5-man smoke gank around 30 minutes after the start. Although the gank was successful, it was not enough to punish Secret. The WEU squad slowly but steadily became too strong and sent its opponent to the Lower Bracket.
Following the two epic Upper Bracket series, it was time to see which will be the 4 teams will be eliminated from the event. Unsurprisingly, every series was incredibly intense.
Hokori vs beastcoast
It is safe to say that Hokori was one of the biggest surprises in the Group Stage. The team played incredibly well against its opponents and almost made it to the Upper Bracket. Sadly, it finished outside of the top 4, so it had to play against BC. The latter is one of the most popular South American teams.
Everything is possible in a Bo1 series, which is why both teams decided to get some of their best heroes. Hokori picked SF and Ember, whereas BC relied on their signature Phantom Lancer.
Although Hokori’s draft looked way better on paper, the team couldn’t defeat its opponent from the same region. Beastcoast had more experience in such matches and knew exactly what to do to win. Slowly but steadily, the team got the needed lead that allowed them to eliminate their opponents.
Team Spirit vs BOOM Esports
Following a miracle in the group stage, BOOM Esports managed to secure a slot in the Lower Bracket. However, the SEA team had a mountain to climb because it had to go up against the current TI champion.
Everyone expected Yatoro and the rest to have no problems in this match, but following their strange draft, BOOM was victorious. This Bo1 game wasted for 40 minutes, but Team Spirit’s decision to put an OD offlane definitely surprised everyone. Although it looked strange on paper, it seems like the CIS powerhouse has tried this tactic before and knew what they were doing.
After the end of the laning stage, Team Spirit used their Lifestealer and slowly gained a lead. However, BOOM decided to smoke and kill Roshan 20 minutes after the start, which turned the game around. Suddenly, their Shadow Fiend became the strongest hero in the game, allowing BOOM to secure a massive lead.
Team Spirit did everything they could to bounce back in the match, but they were no match for the right-clicking monster. 40 minutes after the start, BOOM Esports delivered its knock-out punch and sent Team Spirit home.
Against all odds, BOOM eliminated the current TI champion, meaning we will have a new TI winner. Spirit’s loss also means that OG will remain the only team to win 2 consecutive TIs, at least for now.
Fnatic vs Gaimin Gladiators
Fnatic was one of the teams that people expected to do well. Aside from having good players, The International 11 takes place in Singapore, which means the team has an advantage. Sadly, the SEA powerhouse was no match for their Western European counterpart, who eliminated them from the competition.
Fnatic’s draft was better for the early and mid-game, but it also secured the team’s late-game tanks to Sniper. As expected, the team got a solid advantage and even got their hands on the Aegis for their TA. Things looked good for the SEA team, but a horrible 5-man fight 41 minutes after the start put an end to their ambitions.
Fnatic lost 5 heroes, which allowed their opponents to bounce back and win the game. Sadly, the team threw the victory and is no longer a part of the event.
Royal Never Give Up vs Entity
The final series in the lower bracket for the day was between Royal Never Give Up and Entity. To be fair, this series was not as interesting to watch as the rest because the two teams played very defensively. RNGU had Terrorblade, whereas Entity had a very strong draft for the mid-game, thanks to Visage and Lycan.
Although the WEU squad controlled the match, several mistakes in the late game allowed the Chinese to make a comeback. That said, their support Tiny managed to get a Divine Rapier, an item that was enough to prevent RNGU from pushing.
The match lasted for 107 minutes, making it the longest map played at any TI. As you can expect, there were several Rapiers, tons of kills, and a net worth advantage for Entity that was over 130k. After countless attempts, the WEU team finally killed Terrorblade, who did not have buyback, and destroyed the throne.
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