Secret and NiP top Kuala Lumpur Major’s Group A

The first group of the event is set for playoffs.

Photo via Valve

The first Major of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit is officially underway as Group Stages began today.

Group A opened up play with Team Secret facing off against J Storm. Secret were heavily favored in their group heading into the tournament, and their first appearance looked promising.

Game one lasted only 27 minutes, and Secret came out ready to make a statement against the less experienced Storm squad. They dominated team fights and ran through any defense Storm tried to put up—tallying 33 kills in their win.

Storm battled back in game two, making Secret really work to end the series. It took nearly double the time for Secret to finally pull away and take their place in the Winner’s Match to decide the top position in the main event.

The second series was a highly anticipated showdown between Ninjas in Pyjamas and paiN Gaming, though it never lived up to the expectations.

NiP was in control from the start in game one while paiN really tried to fight their way back in. The entire match looked like paiN just prolonging the inevitable by sliding through brawls without getting wiped out.

Both games lasted just over 41 minutes, but if paiN looked off in game one then game two saw them teetering at the edge. NiP went for 55 kills and while they still couldn’t dominate the team battles, their area control managed to keep them in a comfortable lead.

That set the stage for NiP to meet Secret in the Winner’s Match for their group.

Secret continued to look unstoppable early on in this event as they dismantled NiP in another 2-0 series. Game one was a 47-minute slog that should not have lasted that long.

NiP somehow managed to stay alive for nearly 50 minutes despite a staggering 42-17 disadvantage in kills and losing 11 towers along the way. Secret finished them off and rolled into game two, focused on cleaning things up.

Thirty-six minutes later, Secret was locked into the Upper Bracket for the main event and NiP dropped to the Decider Match.

The Loser’s Match was the final chance for paiN and Storm to redeem themselves and fight for the final Upper Bracket spot in their group.

Storm opened up with an impressive win that came down to the wire. It was an impressive fight that showed both teams were evenly matched, but Storm held onto a small lead they had from a big brawl and were able to win.

Game two swung in paiN’s direction as the pace picked up. It was a 28 minute lightning round that paiN ran away with, not giving an opening for a Storm comeback like before.

In the deciding match paiN put things away despite Storm’s best efforts. It was competitive, had a lot of intense fights, and ended with Storm being the first member of the Lower Bracket.

The final bought of Group A had NiP and paiN fighting to see who would end up in what bracket for the main event.

NiP came out with a pretty quick lead in game one and were able to string it out until paiN’s defense collapsed. It didn’t get better in game two for paiN either.

In 43 minutes paiN didn’t manage to get any further than destroying a few towers as NiP broke their ranks and picked off what was left. That positioned NiP in the second seed of the Upper Bracket alongside Secret and paiN joined Storm in the Lower Bracket.