Day 1 of The International is always the hardest – we see 4 Lower Bracket teams eliminated in unceremonious BO1s. And in this TI, it feels like it was worse as everyone seemed to be competitive in their own right.
Yesterday, I put some predictions down. The seeding made sense to me, and the teams that chose their matchups ideally would’ve been prepared. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
If you’re just looking for quick highlights and games to watch, I highly recommend the following:
- [Comeback] Virtus Pro vs PSG.LGD | Dotabuff | Summary VOD
- [Comeback] [SEA Matchup] TNC Predator vs Mineski | Dotabuff | Summary VOD
Here’s a rundown of the matches:
Team Liquid vs Optic Gaming (UB1A)
Result: Team Liquid 2-0 Optic Gaming
I figured this one was an easy one, but that Liquid will try something experimental. I was mistaken – Liquid made quick work of Optic, which I speculate was to start this year off strong (remember last year they fell to the Lower Bracket after their first match against IG).
Team Liquid was confident enough to even pick Broodmother for Matumbaman even in the first phase of Game 2. Optic aren’t exactly pushovers, but it feels like CCnC is their biggest weakness currently, with a limited hero pool and inability to win his midlane matchups against stronger teams.
- Team Liquid vs PSG.LGD (UB2A)
- Optic Gaming vs Team Serenity (LB2A)
Virtus Pro vs PSG.LGD (UB1B)
Result: VP 0-2 PSG.LGD
Virtus Pro has been known to shy away from the biggest stage. With two very young players in Ramzes and No[o]ne, this was chalked up as inexperience. This DPC, Virtus Pro has done more than their fair share of damage, winning 4 out of the 8 majors they attended. LGD had two Major wins – the only other team with more than one Major victory. Virtus Pro already did not look like their dominant selves in the group stages, and this series showed that.
Virtus Pro just looked uncoordinated and tilted the whole series. There was a moment in Game 2 where Ramzes lost a streak trying to dive against 4 enemies to kill a Silencer (which they failed to do, too).
- Virtus Pro vs Mineski (LB2B)
- PSG.LGD vs Team Liquid (UB2A)
Fnatic vs Team Serenity (LB1A)
Results: Fnatic 0-1 Team Serenity
Fnatic performed well in the early group stage, but slowly seem to have lost the magic towards the latter days. They still were able to choose their LB matchup – Team Serenity, a surging, but unproven rookie team that people expected Fnatic to be able to deal with easily.
That was not the case though – Fnatic had a really tough early game, even if Aui2000 mentioned that they got what they wanted in the draft. EternalEnvy never was able to catch up, and Team Serenity closed the game.
Next Matchup: Team Serenity vs Optic Gaming (LB2A)
TnC vs Mineski (LB1B)
Results: TnC 0-1 Mineski
It was a double double that ended the game.
One SEA team had to unfortunately go home in this matchup. TNC looked really good out of the gates, having Tiny and Clinkz to control the tempo and pace of the game, while Mineski drafted Spectre and Shadow Fiend, who needed more time to get online. Mineski could not buy a kill on the enemy Tiny due to his item timings, and the Pugna supporting every step of the way. It also did not help that Mineski’s only stuns were the Earth Brewmaster split, and Dark Willow’s Cursed Crown. Not really the most on-demand stuns you could have.
It was looking bleak for Mineski, 8-28 and down 20k gold at 45 minutes.
However, things turned around when Moon popped a DD rune and flanked TNC’s siege from the Radiant top shrine. The fight resulted in a 7k gold swing for Mineski, and the ensuing waves allowed them to cut the gold deficit down to 6k.
The game ended when Moon engaged on TNC with another DD rune, finishing off the Tiny that did not have enough gold for buyback at that point.
Next Matchup: Mineski vs Virtus Pro (LB2B)
Newbee vs Winstrike (LB1C)
Results: Newbee 0-1 Winstrike
Newbee came in TI8 with very underwhelming performances. Being last year’s semifinalists, they retained their strong roster and went into this year’s DPC with the exact same team. However, not everything went as well as they did in TI7, with Newbee dropping straight into the Lower Bracket.
Their lanes did not go well, and Winstrike just took the opportunity to strike… and win. Behind Silent’s Phantom Lancer, it was already too late for Newbee’s cores to deal with all the PL illusions as he had already farmed enough to take control of the game.
Next Matchup: Winstrike vs Loser of VGJ.Storm vs OG (LB2C)
VGJ.Thunder vs Vici Gaming (LB1D)
Results: VGJ.T 0-1 VG
One China team has to eliminate another in this matchup – however in this case, they’re also sister teams. I gave the edge to Vici Gaming as they have LaNm, and more high level competitive experience under their belt. And it showed – while the early game was a back-and-forth kill fest, Vici made the better macro plays that eventually won them team fights. VGJ.Thunder was close to making a comeback after picking off Ori and Eleven, but LaNm ended up playing gatekeeper to VGJ.Thunder
Next Matchup: Vici Gaming vs Loser of EG vs Team Secret (LB2D)
Main Stage Day 2 Schedule
Day 2 will have a rolling schedule, with the first series starting at 1am GMT+8. Expect every series to be within about 3 hour intervals, give or take. Below are tomorrow’s matchups: