The First Round at the Boston Major
As soon as production team in Boston wrapped up at the end of Sunday, the seeding of the groups were drawn into the First Stage. With a number of upsets in the group stage, no top team has a clear and easy route to the final, and at least one team within the top five in the world will walk away in dead last at the Major. Let's take a look at the matches of the First Round, and what can come out of them.
Virtus.Pro vs. IG.Vitality
Carno's Pick: Virtus.Pro
This game is the most clear cut out of any in the Round of 16. On one hand, Virtus.Pro have certainly risen to the occasion, cruising through their group. On the other hand, iG.V do not look good. The fact that they were forced to use two stand-ins because of visa issues does not excuse them from a first stage exit.
Evil Geniuses vs. Wings Gaming
Carno's Pick: Evil Geniuses
In a match that looks like it should be the semifinal, it's a real tossup. What even led to these two meeting so early in the tournament, anyways? On Wings's end, it's hard to say; the first match against Warriors Gaming.Unity was an unusual defeat to unusual opponents. If the Chinese team had dropped both series against WG.U, the story being told today would be different. If anything, it'd mean that Wings had been exposed; their time at the top was up. But, they took the second series against WG.U, taking the second seed in Group A. Was it complacency, or sleeping on the opponent? We can't be sure until this series gets underway. As for Evil Geniuses, it's a similar story, or perhaps a more concerning one. EG played against a similarly ranked team (compLexity) and were upset in their first match. They would get the runback like Wings, but they would lose again to their regional rivals, being handed the third seed. Now, it's all just a matter of who can actually pull ahead. Going into the match, EG have proven that they have what it takes to take down the Chinese titans. Can EG beat Wings like they did at The Summit 6? Or can Wings assert their dominance over the Dota scene once again?
compLexity vs. WG.U
Carno's Pick: compLexity
This will be a brawl between two underdogs that shouldn't have won the games they did. However, they made it, and that's all that matters now. I'm giving this one to compLexity. While both teams had standout performances in the group stage, coL's performance was consistenlty good, while WG.U's performance was more of a one off. We also don't know how WG.U will handle being on the main stage, something that CompLexity has done plenty of times before.
OG vs. MVP.Phoenix
Carno's Pick: OG
Europe's finest have really hit their stride in the past three weeks, and they followed up their performance at The Summit 6 with a solid performance in Group D. Over time, it's very likely that this team is only going to get better. To their credit, MVP have also made improvements since adding Forev back to the roster. However, I don't think they will succeed against a hot team like OG, especially after the poor showing they gave against Newbee and Team NP.
Digital Chaos vs. Team Faceless
Carno's Pick: Digital Chaos
Picking DC is a pretty safe bet here. While they didn't have the hardest route to the top seed position in Group A, they still showed they are still as capable of winning tournaments as shown at The International 6.
Team Faceless is a different story entirely. Group C was one of the harder fought groups in Boston, but that was only becuase of an overperformance by both LGD and compLexity. When it was time for Faceless to step up and deliver, they simply couldn't compete against either LGD or EG. This series against DC will likely bring disappointment to this pride of SEA, but if they can rectify the issues troubling the team now, perhaps they'll be ready to do some damage in time for the next premier LAN.
Ehome vs. Team NP
Carno's Pick: Team NP
This matchup is too even to call. Frankly, either team could take it. On one hand, you have Team NP, placed in the group of death, where they were smashed by VP and Newbee. Handed a third seed placement, they play the second seeded Ehome. In terms of group stage results, the teams are nearly identical in performance. I give the nod to NP after taking a look at the head to head matchup. In the past month, the two teams have played against each other in best of threes, and NP has won both series.
Ad Finem vs. Newbee
Carno's Pick: Newbee
This matchup is difficult to predict becase there's absoloutely no history between the two teams, so I'm basing my choice off of group stage performance. Newbee had a great showing in the hardest group of the tournament. While they were stomped by Virtus.Pro, they still showed that they were a cut above MVP and Team NP. In Group D, Ad Finem did not have such a performance, specifcally in a second series against Ehome. It's still an even matchup, and it's possible for either team to take it.
LGD Gaming vs. LGD Forever Young
Carno's Pick: LGD
This is the last matchup of the group stages, and it should be a clean victory to LGD. Historically, the flagship team of the LGD has held its own against the junior team of LFY. This, coupled with group stage performance, leads to my call in favor to LGD.
Who are you rooting for at Boston? Let us know in the comments or tweet at us at @GAMURScom.
Questions, comments, or criticism for Carno? He'd love to hear it. Find him on Twitter at @Carno_.
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