As the third Major of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit season finished its opening day, almost every top-seeded team moved on after dominating performances.
16 teams walked into the arena, but as expected, some familiar faces from Majors past looked in fine shape and poised to claim their playoff spots on day two.
The top-ranked team in the world, Team Secret, was the favorite to win the whole thing going into the event. Their opening round against Keen Gaming cemented that position as they took a 2-0 over the Chinese team behind Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg’s stellar play.
Keen showed some flashes late in game one and throughout game two, so going forward they might be a team to keep an eye on.
Likewise, Team Liquid took the second spot in the Group A winner’s match for day two after besting J Storm 2-0. The battle between the two tournament favorites might just dictate the remainder of the Major depending on how things shake up.
Group B had a little more drama thrown into the mix as Ninjas in Pyjamas and Fnatic’s series went the distance.
Fnatic took game one after nearly 80 minutes of competition. Neither side held much of an advantage, but Fnatic eventually won out with a superior strategy around their own mega creeps.
NiP battled back in game two and then sealed their comeback with a game three win. Their win continued the trend of expected victories and set up a good situation for LGD Gaming in the next match.
Infamous Gaming was the biggest underdog in the tournament, so it wasn’t a surprise to see LGD take care of their business. It was a quick 2-0 with little issue on the part of The Invitational 2018 runners-up.
Things really got interesting when Group C took the stage. Virtus Pro, one of the top teams in the world and currently the second-ranked team in the DPC standings, has looked pretty shaky lately.
At MDL Macau 2019, the Russian powerhouse was knocked into loser’s very early on. They managed to bring it back for a top-three finish late, but it was still the first time the team had looked vulnerable to someone who wasn’t a top team like Secret or Evil Geniuses.
Forward Gaming, one of the North American teams that has appeared in several DPC events this season, put up an amazing fight through the opening match. They managed to take the first game from one Virtus in an aggressive showing.
Virtus flipped things back their way at the end of game two, evening things up before ultimately sealing the deal 2-1. The completely-countered Yawar Hassan in the final two matches, nullifying the edge he gave Forward in game one.
The only upset of the day wasn’t really much of an upset. EHOME has been struggling with roster issues and overall hasn’t looked like the team that set the DPC on fire earlier in the season. Mineski’s new roster took them to task, earning a 2-1 victory and a chance to play Virtus next.
In the last group, Vici Gaming continued to play well beyond what people expected of them before they won the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor. Chaos Esports Club played well against them, but the Chinese club won out in the end with a 2-0 victory.
The final series of the day pit the top NA team, Evil Geniuses, against Natus Vincere in their DPC season debut.
The pair split games one and two, with both games lasting just over 40 minutes. But things got out of hand for Na’Vi , and EG blew it open in the deciding game to avoid the upset.
Groups will wrap up Match 15, starting with the battle between Secret and Liquid at 7:30am CT to decide who will claim the first playoff spot of the event.