Team Liquid, PSG.LGD lock in Top 6 finishes in Vancouver, upsets abound in Lower Bracket as Day 1 of the TI8 Main Event sends 4 teams home.
With the Group Stage over and the bracket fully set, it was time to get the Main Event of TI8 started in Vancouver as the 16 remaining teams began the next step on their quest to lay claim to the Aegis of Champions. On the schedule was a pair of Bo3 series in the Upper Bracket, while the entire first round of the Lower Bracket was set to be played with 4 Bo1 match ups. At the end of the day, 4 teams would end up making their exit from the TI stage, as the field of participants was set to be cut down from 16 to just 12 with 4 elimination matches. On the other side of the bracket, 2 squads have advanced to Round 2 of the Upper Bracket, as both Team Liquid and PSG.LGD have guaranteed themselves finishes inside of the Top 6 in Vancouver with their series wins today. With that, we’ll begin our look into what went down on Day 1 of the TI8 Main Event, beginning with a list of the squads that were eliminated from Championship contention on the first day on the main stage.
Final Position: 13th-16th
Eliminated by: Team Serenity (1-0, Lower Bracket Round 1)
Total TI8 Record: 7 Wins, 10 Losses
Final Position: 13th-16th
Eliminated by: Mineski (1-0, Lower Bracket Round 1)
Total TI8 Record: 7 Wins, 10 Losses
Final Position: 13th-16th
Eliminated by: Winstrike Team (1-0, Lower Bracket Round 1)
Total TI8 Record: 8 Wins, 11 Losses
Final Position: 13th-16th
Eliminated by: Vici Gaming (1-0, Lower Bracket Round 1)
Total TI8 Record: 6 Wins, 11 Losses
Day 1 Matches
Team Liquid vs OpTic Gaming
Bo3 (2-0 Team Liquid Win)
The first series of the Main Event at TI8 started in style in Game 1 of Team Liquid vs OpTic Gaming, as the European squad pulled out a last pick Alchemist for Miracle-. The plan worked to perfection, as Team Liquid’s Midlaner almost immediately set to work out pacing OpTic Gaming’s lineup in terms of farm and gold income. A support duo of Abaddon and Io proved largely ineffective for the North American squad, as neither hero was able to stave off Team Liquid’s more active and aggressive maneuvers. Down by nearly 20k net worth at the 28 minute mark, OpTic Gaming launched one final, unsuccessful, team fight attempt before conceding defeat to fall behind 0-1.
With its place in the Upper Bracket on the line, OpTic Gaming rolled the dice in Game 2 with a Phantom Lancer pick. In response, Team Liquid put together a core duo of Ursa and Broodmother, along with a signature Earth Spirit selection for GH. Team Liquid’s lineup allowed it to play fast early, and the squad’s aggressive style proved too much for OpTic Gaming to handle. Although the North American squad was able to slightly extend that match and buy some time for its cores, it simply couldn’t match the pace established by its opponent. The team made one final attempt to force a successful team fight, but Team Liquid was able to shut that fight down and march down the middle lane to secure a 2-0 series victory. With that win, Team Liquid advances to Round 2 of the Upper Bracket to face PSG.LGD and are guaranteed a Top 6 finish at TI8, while OpTic falls into the Lower Bracket where it will face Team Serenity in Round 2 with elimination on the line.
Virtus.pro vs PSG.LGD
Bo3 (2-0 PSG.LGD Win)
The final Bo3 series of Day 1 began with a clash between CIS squad Virtus.pro and Chinese team PSG.LGD in a clash between the 1st and 2nd ranked team during the Pro Circuit season. PSG.LGD started things off in Game 1 with a core trio of Drow Ranger, Storm Spirit, and Necrophos, while VP pinned its hopes on a trio of Visage, Enigma, and Tiny. PSG.LGD began the game with a strong laning phase and a small advantage in terms of net worth, but that lead quickly dissipated in the mid-game stage. VP’s lineup began to dominate team fights, shutting down PSG.LGD’s heroes and finding a multitude of pick offs to turn the net worth lead in its favor in the late-game stage. However, a single play helped turn the tides, as Somnus丶M’s Storm Spirit baited out a failed Black Hole from VP’s Enigma that allowed the Chinese squad to win the fight and catch VP’s lineup without buybacks. With no way back into the match, VP could do nothing to stop PSG.LGD as it marched down the middle lane to close out an incredible comeback victory for a 1-0 lead.
Game 2 saw a match up between high volume farming heroes, as PSG.LGD picked up a Terrorblade for Ame while Virtus.pro selected Alchemist for No[o]ne. Early on in the match, the 2 heroes and the 2 teams as a whole remained fairly close, with very little separation in terms of net worth through the early and mid-game stages. However, as the game progressed, VP began to lag behind as the CIS squad were losing fights and getting picked off frequently by PSG.LGD’s aggressive lineup. With team fight power and a Terrorblade that was out pacing VP’s Alchemist in terms of net worth, the Chinese squad was able to establish near full control over the late-game stage. Virtus.pro was forced back inside of its own base and trailed by over 23k net worth before throwing in the towel to suffer a 0-2 defeat. The victory for PSG.LGD puts the Chinese squad into Round 2 of the Upper Bracket against Team Liquid and guarantees the team at least a Top 6 finish in Vancouver. As for Virtus.pro, its time in the Upper Bracket is now over, as the team will fall into the Lower Bracket to face off against Mineski on Day 2.
Fnatic vs Team Serenity
Bo1 (1-0 Team Serenity Win)
The elimination matches in Vancouver kicked off with a Bo1 between Southeast Asian squad Fnatic and Chinese challenger Team Serenity. Team Serenity’s draft centered around a quad core lineup with Gyrocopter, Lina, Tiny, and Necrophos, while Fnatic focused on a trio of Ursa, Visage, Mirana. The Chinese squad got off to a solid start early and never looked back, establishing more and more control as the match progressed. Fnatic’s lineup was never able to find the team fight execution that it was hoping for, and a series of losses in fights pushed the squad further and further back into its own base. The Southeast Asian squad did its best to delay and prolong the game in the hopes of pulling out a miraculous comeback, but no such miracle was forthcoming as the team eventually conceded defeat. The their victory on Day 1, Team Serenity has advanced out of Round 1 and will move on to Bo3 series in the rest of the Lower Bracket, beginning with a match up against OpTic Gaming tomorrow. As for Fnatic, its run at The International 2018 has come to a disappointing end, as the team has earned itself a finish in the 13th-16th place position overall.
TNC Predator vs Mineski
Bo1 (1-0 Mineski Win)
It was an all-Southeast Asian match up in the second Lower Bracket game, as TNC Predator took on Mineski to see which squad would survive and advance to Round 2. Mineski picked up a main core duo of Spectre and Shadow Fiend in their draft, while TNC Predator opted for a core trio of Tiny, Clinkz, and Pugna. From the very start of the match, TNC Predator appeared to be the squad in control as it dominated early fights and skirmishes. As the match progressed into the mid and late-game stages, the Southeast Asian squad was able to expand on its net worth lead, but all the while Mineski’s cores continued to farm in an attempt to work their way back into a position to swing momentum in its favor. That opportunity finally arrived around 45 minutes in to the match, as Mineski won an absolutely incredible team fight that burned through all of TNC Predator’s buybacks. With no heroes left to defend its base, the team were unable to prevent Mineski from charging straight down the middle lane to lock down a stunning comeback victory. With that incredible victory, Mineski advances to Round 2 of the Lower Bracket, where it will face off against Virtus.pro in a Bo3 series on Day 2 of the Main Event. As for TNC Predator, its run at TI8 comes to a shocking and somewhat unexpected end, as the team is knocked out of the field of participants with a 13th-16th place finish overall.
Newbee vs Winstrike Team
Bo1 (1-0 Winstrike Team)
Out of all of the Lower Bracket matches on Day 1 of the Main Event, this one certainly appeared to be the most one sided coming in. On the one hand, Newbee stood as a former TI Champion and one of the top ranked teams on the Pro Circuit, while Winstrike Team had formed just 6 months ago and had a bit less experience on the TI stage. The CIS squad looked to a duo of Phantom Lancer and Tiny to carry it victory in this match, while Newbee picked up Gyrocopter, Dragon Knight, and Mirana. While those cores for Newbee did manage to put up respectable stats by the end of the game, the match was almost entirely controlled by Winstrike Team. The team’s early aggression succeeded in putting Newbee on the back foot, and the resulting net worth lead and momentum fueled it to an even bigger lead in the late-game stage. While Newbee continued to fight against Winstrike Team’s repeated base attacks, it was unable to hold out for long, eventually falling just past the 55 minute mark to suffer a defeat. With its impressive win against Newbee, Winstrike Team advances to Round 2 of the Lower Bracket, where it will face the loser of Day 2’s VGJ.Storm vs OG series in a Bo3 series on Day 3 of the Main Event. On the other side of today’s match up, Newbee is now eliminated from contention at TI8, with a 13th-16th place finish for the Chinese squad.
VGJ.Thunder vs Vici Gaming
Bo1 (1-0 Vici Gaming Win)
The final match of Day 1 saw 2 Chinese squads go head to head as VGJ.Thunder faced a Bo1 Elimination Match against regional rival Vici Gaming. Both teams attempted to combine pushing and farming power with team fight strength in their drafts, with VGJ.Thunder picking up Terrorblade, Magnus, and Necrophos alongside Lion and Windrange supports, while Vici Gaming put together a core trio of Arc Warden, Lina, and Nature’s Prophet with Earthshaker and Silencer supports. Early in the match, the 2 squads appeared to be fairly even, as the Terrorblade and Arc Warden were managing to keep pace with each other in terms of their farm and item progression. However, the mid and late-game stages saw Vici Gaming begin to take the upper hand, as its lineup was able to push out and establish control over the map. With limited room to farm and less vision over the map compared to its opponent, VGJ.Thunder was unable to find the team fight set up and execution that it needed to swing things in its favor. The squad’s team fight attempts were also largely countered by Vici Gaming’s Silencer pick, which left VGJ.Thunder with few options left as it fell behind by a significant net worth margin. Down by over 25k net worth near the end of the match, VGJ.Thunder conceded defeat to end its run at TI8. The Chinese squad finishes in the 13th-16th place position overall in Vancouver, and becomes the second directly invited to to be eliminated from the event. For Vici Gaming, Round 2 of the Lower Bracket awaits on Day 3 of the Main Event, where the team will play the loser of the Evil Geniuses vs Team Secret match up in a Bo3 series.
Day 2 Upcoming Matches
VGJ.Storm vs OG
The action will kick off on Day 2 of the Main Event with another Bo3 series in the Upper Bracket, this time between North American squad VGJ.Storm and European team OG. VGJ.Storm was the belle of the ball in Group B during the Group Stage, putting together the top record in a group that was expected to be largely controlled by squads like Virtus.pro, Team Secret, and Newbee. With its impressive and somewhat unexpected Group Stage run still fresh in the minds of fans and analysts, the North American squad will likely enter this match up as the favored team against OG. However, the European squad had put together an impressive performance of its own so far at TI8, with a 9-7 record in Group A. There were quite a few doubts about the squad coming into the event, as OG had only recently finalized its current lineup and have yet to play together in a LAN environment. That will change on Day 2 of the Main Event, as OG’s new lineup will be thrown into the fire on the biggest stage in the Dota 2 world against a team on a hot streak to this point in the event. We will see if the squad is able to pull of an upset win and potentially knock VGJ.Storm into the Lower Bracket in Vancouver.
Evil Geniuses vs Team Secret
There’s a rather interesting difference in terms of expectations for these 2 squads as they prepares to face off in the second Upper Bracket series of Day 2. Team Secret entered the event as the 4th ranked team on the Pro Circuit and a Major Champion, while Evil Geniuses had under performed on the Pro Circuit stage and was coming into the event still looking to fully acclimate to its recently changed lineup. The North American squad has shown itself to be fully adjusted to its new look though, as EG put up an impressive 13-3 record in Group A and looked dominant in its Group Stage matches. On the other hand, Team Secret put together a respectable, but slightly less successful run in Group B with a 8-8 record (9-8 including tiebreaker matches). That record and the team’s tiebreaker victory was still enough to put it in the Upper Bracket, but the European squad will still likely enter this match up as a slight underdog against Evil Geniuses. The good news for Team Secret is that we’ve seen this squad bounce back from adversity before on the Pro Circuit, and the squad is no less formidable in terms of its skill and ability to win on the big stage. Evil Geniuses has been impressive to this point in Vancouver, but it is going to need to display its consistency once again as it looks to keep itself alive in the Upper Bracket and guarantee a Top 6 finish at TI8.
OpTic Gaming vs Team Serenity
OpTic Gaming and Team Serenity are set to take to the TI stage for the second time so far at TI8, as the 2 squads will begin the Lower Bracket portion of the Day 2 with a Bo3 series. OpTic Gaming comes into this series after a rather brutal 0-2 loss at the hands of Team Liquid in Round 1 of the Upper Bracket, and will be hoping to bounce back from that defeat to keep itself alive in Vancouver. Meanwhile, Team Serenity enters this match up as no stranger to the pressure of the Lower Bracket, with the Chinese team having taken down Southeast Asian squad Fnatic in Round 1 of the Lower Bracket. After its impressive 5 win run on Day 4 of the Group Stage, there will assuredly be a number of fans hoping to see a return to form for OpTic Gaming in this series. However, Team Serenity has shown a strong level of resiliency as well in Vancouver, and its victory against Fnatic should put other squads on alert that the Chinese team cannot be underestimated. Based on the team’s seasons and Group Stage performances, OpTic Gaming will likely come into this series as a small favorite to win, but this series appears to be the most tightly contested out of the 4 match ups on Day 2 of the Main Event.
Virtus.pro vs Mineski
The Day 2 schedule will conclude with a clash between 2 squads that were ranked in the Top 8 on the Pro Circuit, as Virtus.pro will take on Mineski in an elimination series. The 2 squads have walked significantly different paths so far at TI8, with VP finished near the top of the Group B standings with a 10-6 record while Mineski finished just 5-11 in Group A. Virtus.pro will come into this series off of a rough and somewhat surprising 0-2 loss to PSG.LGD in Round 1 of the Upper Bracket, as the Chinese squad dominated the match up to hand VP back to back lopsided defeats. Meanwhile, Mineski is coming off of a tense victory in a Bo1 match up against fellow Southeast Asian squad TNC Predator in which it pulled of a unbelievable comeback to stay alive in the Lower Bracket. On papter, VP enters this series as a clear favorite to win and advance to Round 3 of the Lower Bracket, but things on the TI stage are never quite as simple as they appear on paper. There is the possibility that VP’s tough loss in the Upper Bracket could linger in the minds of its players, and there’s no telling just how much confidence and momentum Mineski’s come from behind win may have instilled in it’s lineup. Expect to see both sides pull out their very best as they fight with their TI lives on the line in what should be an explosive and entertaining end to the Day 2 schedule.