Eight teams faced off in the first round of The Chongqing Major’s lower bracket, meaning only four of them would be moving on in the event.
Unlike pretty much every other series, the lower bracket’s first round featured single-elimination matches. Instead of the typical best-of-three style, this change would raise the stakes by forcing the teams playing to fight for their tournament lives with no three-game safety net.
The first of these matches pit Alliance against Chaos Esports Club.
Heading in, Alliance looked to be the stronger team after winning three games in their group compared to Chaos’ single victory. But that pre-game ranking quickly broke down as Chaos took control of a game in which the Alliance squad looked rattled.
The game lasted 26 minutes, but only because Alliance was playing extremely defensive while trying to farm resources. Chaos held their lead through the end and secured a spot in the next round.
With Alliance as the first team eliminated from the event, the next round featured another favored team getting upset by an underdog.
The Pango performed well in a rather stacked group that featured Team Liquid and Vici Gaming, but that didn’t matter to a Thunder Predator team that looked hungry for their first series win.
Not only did they end up beating Pango, but they also beat them handily. Pango held out for a good while by defending their structures in the mid-game and slowly fighting back.
That strategy could only last for so long against the offensive might that TP showed. Eventually, Pango’s defense crumbled as TP marched on their base, wiped their team, and forced GGs.
The next match was a battle between two North American teams—Forward Gaming and J Storm.
J Storm struggled to find their footing early on as they looked miserable in comparison to Forward in combat. The match escalated from a one-sided run into an intense battle once J Storm got comfortable with their opposition.
The match lasted 70 minutes, the longest match of the event thus far and neither team was willing to give up. Despite being down a majority of the game, J Storm battled back into the competition and slowly flipped the script.
By the end of the game, J Storm took complete control of the game in both resources and K/D. Forward kept fighting, but they lost several key confrontations that led to their eventual elimination.
The final game in the elimination round had TNC Predator taking on Team Aster.
It wasn’t really much of a fight, seeing as Aster were only able to defend and never pulled off a proper offensive counter attack. TNC looked polished and knew what they wanted as they forced Aster into an early corner.
There were a few moments where it looked like TNC made a brief lapse in judgement while executing some movements, leaving an opening for Aster to step things up and maybe swing the fight around. But those holes were filled quickly and Aster’s hesitance to risk their sturdy defense ended up being too costly in the end.
With Chaos, TP, J Storm, and TNC moving on, every match will now be a best of three until we reach Grand Finals. Matches resume Jan. 22 at 8pm CT when Vici takes on Chaos.