After several upsets in the group stage, the playoffs of the Dota 2 Asia Championship are heating up.
Considered favorites to win the entire event, North America’s Evil Geniuses stumbled in their run through Group B. Coming in at fifth place in their group, the team is currently one of the worst performing rosters at the entire event. And to make matters worse, the squad will now have to fight through the first round of the tournament’s lower bracket, which is played in a best-of-one format.
Analysts present at the event, as well as fans of Evil Geniuses, have been quick to point to the North American team’s drafts as a potential reason for their problems. Considered to be their major strength throughout the past three years, it now appears that Evil Geniuses’ drafting is lacking. But given the fact that the roster has played the least amount of games in 2017, it’s not all too hard to see why the team doesn’t look as sharp as fans have grown accustomed to.
Even if the team needs more time to get used to the patch, however, Evil Geniuses will now be facing off against the International 6 champions, Wings Gaming, in the first round of the lower bracket. This will certainly be a major challenge for the North American team, and Evil Geniuses could very well be exiting the Dota 2 Asia Championship in last place.
The poor performance of Evil Geniuses wasn’t the only surprise to take place in the group stage: Xu “BurNIng” Zhilei’s Invictus Gaming squad took Group B by storm in a series of impressive victories against teams such as Newbee, Team Liquid, and Evil Geniuses. While 2016 was far from a good year for the legendary Chinese carry player, BurNIng’s own performances are looking like a step up from the previous year. A positive sign, as the team heads to the upper bracket.
Perhaps the biggest surprise out of any team in the group stage was Team Empire. The CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) team had few, if any, expectations heading into the event. But against all odds, the team has now made their way through LGD.Forever Young, VG.J, and also tied their two series’ against Wings Gaming and Team Faceless.
The Dota 2 Asia Championship playoffs will begin on April 1, with OG facing Newbee, and Invictus Gaming taking on Team Empire in the upper bracket of the playoffs. The games will be broadcast on PGL Dota, and will begin at 11:00am ET (8:00am PT).