Secret, Vici Gaming post perfect records to lead groups, while EG, Team Liquid get off to rocky starts on Day 1 of the TI9 Group Stage
TI9 is officially underway in Shanghai, as Day 1 of the event’s Group Stage gave us our first taste of action on the Dota 2 world’s biggest stage. Each of the 18 teams in the field for this event got their feet wet in Shanghai with at least 1 series on the opening day of play, but some squads were able to put together much stronger starts than their rivals. In Group A, the duo of Team Secret and PSG.LGD put together dominant showings, posting a combined 11-1 record as they emerged as early leaders. While that duo was matching the incredibly high expectations set for them, another squad in Group A got off to a decidedly less impressive start, as Team Liquid went 2-4 across its first 3 series to find itself sitting near the bottom of the group standings.
Over in Group B, the usual suspects were putting together strong performances to begin their TI9 runs, with Vici Gaming, OG, and Virtus.pro posting 4, 3, and 3 wins respectively to claim places at the top of the group standings. Right behind those leading squads though was a somewhat unexpected contender, as Na’Vi put together a solid 2-2 record on Day 1 to find itself in the top half of the standings. Perhaps the most surprising development in Group A on Day 1 though was the struggles of North American leader Evil Geniuses, as EG got off to a slow start in Shanghai with a 1-3 record.
Records by region
Total Record: 3-5 (3-5 on Day 1)
vs. other regions: 3-5 (3-5 on Day 1)
Total Record: 0-2 (0-2 on Day 1)
vs. other regions: 0-2 (0-2 on Day 1)
Total Record: 13-15 (13-15 on Day 1)
vs. other regions: 5-7 (5-7 on Day 1)
Total Record: 5-3 (5-3 on Day 1)
vs. other regions: 5-3 (5-3 on Day 1)
Total Record: 7-7 (7-7 on Day 1)
vs. other regions: 5-5 (5-5 on Day 1)
Total Record: 12-8 (12-8 on Day 1)
vs. other regions: 8-4 (8-4 on Day 1)
Standout individual Performances on Day 1
Highest Kill Count (in a single match): SumaiL – 27
Highest Kill Count (total): MidOne & Maybe – 56
Highest Assist Count (in a single match): s4 – 37
Highest Assist Count (total): YapzOr – 113
Fewest Deaths (in a single match): GH, Armel, Boxi, Miracle, Ame, old chicken, Maybe, & w33 – 0
Fewest Deaths (total): Paparazi – 4
Highest Last Hit Count (in a single match): MagicaL – 1,130
Highest Last Hit Count (total): Gabbi – 2,730
Highest GPM (in a single match): Crystallize – 998
Best Averages of TI9
Kills per game: SumaiL – 12.50
Deaths per game: Paparazi – 1
Assists per game: Sneyking – 22.50
GPM: Paparazi – 802
Last Hits: MagicaL – 538
KDA Ratio: Abed – 14.06
Most picked hero of Day 1: Shadow Demon – 17
Most picked hero of TI9: Shadow Demon – 17
Most banned hero of Day 1: Alchemist – 29
Most banned hero of TI9: Alchemist – 29
Highest combined pick/ban rate of Day 1: Alchemist – 36 (90% of all matches)
Highest combined pick/ban rate of TI9: Alchemist – 36 (90% of all matches)
|9th||Chaos Esports Club||1-5|
|T-6th||Royal Never Give Up||1-3|
|T-8th||Ninjas in Pyjamas||0-2|
With Day 1 in the books, we can take a brief look at how each of the team’s performed in their first matches of the TI9 Group Stage. This section will outline each of the team’s match ups for the day, along with the results of said match ups and the team’s overall record both for the day in question, and across TI9 as a whole.
Format: Team Name (Record Overall) (Record for Day) : [Matches for Day]
Win = 2-0 Draw = 1-1 Loss = 0-2
Alliance (1-3) (1-3): [Loss vs. Team Secret, Draw vs. Chaos Esports Club]:
Alliance came into TI9 as a team with a bit of a reputation for failing to close out matches and take advantage of its strong starts, and unfortunately for the team that reputation followed it all the way to Shanghai. The squad allowed a massive comeback effort from Team Secret in its first match of the event to kick start a rough 0-2 loss to the European juggernaut, then suffered yet another comeback loss in its opening match against Chaos Esports Club in its second series of the day. It was only a one sided stomp in Game 2 of that latter series that prevented Alliance from posting a 0-4 record on Day 1, but the squad’s continued inability to close out those opportunities late in matches is already a big concern heading into the rest of the event.
Chaos Esports Club (1-5) (1-5): [Loss vs PSG.LGD, Loss vs. Team Liquid, Draw vs. Alliance]:
Chaos Esports Club didn’t exactly make its way to Shanghai with the greatest of expectations as a squad, but the team’s first day at TI9 was still something of a disappointment. The team played 3 series on Day 1 of the Group Stage, and the first 2 of those series proved to be largely one sided affairs, as Chaos Esports Club dropped its first 4 matches of the event to PSG.LGD and Team Liquid. The team was out killed 37-110 across those 4 games, and it took an incredible, 63 minute long comeback effort from the squad in Game 1 against Alliance for it to finally claim its first win of the event. Of course, the squad followed up that win with decisively one sided loss in the next match to close out Day 1 with a 1-5 record overall. The remaining schedule is not likely to be much more kind to this Chaos Esports Club roster, which means that the team is going to have to step things up in a major way if it wants to have any chance of turning around this poor start to its TI9 campaign.
Keen Gaming (2-4) (2-4): [Loss vs. TNC Predator, Loss vs. PSG.LGD, Win vs Mineski]:
Things did not begin particularly well for Keen Gaming in Shanghai, as the Chinese squad lost its first 2 series with back to back 0-2 defeats at the hands of TNC Predator and PSG.LGD. While the squad had managed to extend most of those initial matches to a respectable amount of game time, the team was almost exclusively playing from behind in those first 2 series. A final match up against Mineski finally gave Keen Gaming the opportunity it needed to break out, with the squad out killing its opponent 61-29 in a 2-0 series win. However, Mineski was considered to be one of the weaker teams in the field coming into this event, and Keen Gaming is likely going to have to make some improvements moving forward if it wants to do more than just survive the Group Stage and emerge as a real power in its group standings.
Mineski (2-2) (2-2): [Win vs. TNC Predator, Loss vs. Keen Gaming]:
With just 2 series on its schedule for Day 1, Mineski was in a position where it could realistically neither drastically hurt or help its cause in the Group A standings. That being said, the team was still looking to get itself off to a good start in Shanghai, and it appears to have done just that with a 2-2 split of its Day 1 matches. The team started things off with an impressive victory over regional rival TNC Predator, before falling flat in a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Keen Gaming. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Mineski’s Day 1 performance was the play of its most recent roster addition, Nikobaby. The team’s new Carry averaged 8 kills and 9 assists on just 2.25 deaths per game across the team’s first 4 matches, serving as a consistent and reliable source of production for the team. At 2-2, Mineski sits in a solid position heading into Day 2 of the event, and should Nikobaby and the rest of the roster continue to put together consistent performances, the Southeast Asian squad has the potential to maintain a favorable position throughout this Group Stage.
Newbee (2-2) (2-2): [Win vs. Team Liquid, Loss vs. Team Secret]:
Newbee didn’t exactly come into the first day of the Group Stage with the highest of expectations in the eyes of many Dota 2 fans, but the North American squad managed to put together a rather impressive performance to kick off its TI9 run. The team was faced with a tough challenge with series against elite European squads in the form of Team Liquid and Team Secret, but Newbee managed to hold its own to claim a 2-2 record on Day 1. After out killing Team LIquid 78-28 in back to back victories, Newbee pushed Team Secret to its limits with a pair of closely contested matches that saw the team give up a pair of late-game comebacks to miss out on what could have reasonably been a clean 4-0 sweep of its Day 1 matches. The team’s solid start has it sitting in a decent position at the end of Day 1, but Newbee will have to prove that it can maintain this level of play if it wants to be a major player in its group.
PSG.LGD (5-1) (5-1): [Win vs. Chaos Esports Club, Win vs. Keen Gaming, Draw vs. TNC Predator]:
A 1-1 draw against TNC Predator kept PSG.LGD from posting a perfect record on Day 1 of the Group Stage, but other than that single loss, the Chinese squad’s TI9 campaign got off to about as strong a start as it possibly could have. To be fair, the team’s Day 1 schedule had it matching up against some of the weaker teams in the field, but PSG.LGD was able to take advantage of its favorable match ups to plant itself in a fantastic position near the top of the Group A standings. With the Carry/Mid duo of Ame and Maybe averaging 17.66 kills and 16.67 assists on just 3.67 deaths through the team’s first 6 matches, the Chinese powerhouse appears to be firing on all cylinders as it looks to keep building upon its early momentum in Shanghai.
Team Liquid (2-4) (2-4): [Loss vs. Newbee, Win vs. Chaos Esports Club, Loss vs. Team Secret]:
Things got off to a somewhat rocky start for Team Liquid in Shanghai, as the team took a shocking 0-2 loss to Newbee in its first series of the event. A win against Chaos Esports Club righted the ship for a time, but a follow up defeat against regional rival Team Secret had the squad finishing Day 1 with a somewhat disappointing 2-4 overall record. That record has the team sitting near the bottom of the group standings, and while there is certainly more than enough time to turn this poor start around, the team’s early struggles come as something of a concern for Team Liquid. The team has already played 2 series against teams that were considered to be some of the weaker squads in this group, and it came away from those series with a 2-2 split. The schedule isn’t expected to get any easier for Team Liquid over the next few days, which means that the TI7 Champions will have to make some adjustments if the team wants to fight its way to the top of the group standings.
Team Secret (4-0) (4-0): [Win vs. Alliance, Win vs. Newbee, Win vs. Team Liquid]:
The unstoppable juggernaut that is Team Secret continued its run of success on Day 1 in Shanghai, as the Pro Circuit leader marched its way to 3 straight series wins and a clean 6-0 record to begin its TI9 campaign. The team’s matches shifted between either one sided stomps for the European squad or long and drawn out comeback efforts, with the squad winning 3 of its matches in less than 30 minutes while wining the other 3 after trailing by at least 10k net worth. Leading the way for the squad was MidOne, as the team’s Midlaner averaged an impressive 9.33 kills and 11 assists on just 2.5 deaths per game to help the team win all 3 of its series on Day 1 and claim a place at the top of the Group A standings. So long as the team continues to play at this level, it is hard to imagine many teams knocking the squad down from its place of power over the next few days of the Group Stage.
TNC Predator (3-3) (3-3): [Win vs. Keen Gaming, Loss vs. Mineski, Draw vs. PSG.LGD]:
TNC Predator came into this event with quite bit of confidence in itself, and that confidence was immediately tested on Day 1 in Shanghai as the squad put together a somewhat strange start to its TI9 campaign. The squad began the day with an impressive 2-0 win over Keen Gaming, but stumbled in a regional match up with Mineski that saw it surrender a comeback win in Game 1 before being rolled over in Game 2. Despite looking completely out of sorts in its series against Mineski, TNC Predator managed to bounce back to take a 1-1 series split against PSG.LGD in its final match up of the day to salvage a 3-3 overall record. The good news for the squad is that its even record keeps it in a favorable position in the group standings, but the squad’s somewhat fluctuating level of play across its first few series is something that may be cause for some concern moving forward.
Evil Geniuses (1-3) (1-3): [Loss vs. Fnatic, Draw vs. Natus Vincere]:
Throughout the regular season, Evil Geniuses was the lone shining hope for North America on the international level, but the regional leader found itself struggling in its first match ups in Shanghai. With a loss to Fnatic and a 1-1 split against Na’Vi, EG began its run at TI9 with a disappointing 1-3 overall record. Of course, the fact that the team played just 2 series on Day 1 means that EG will have ample opportunities to turn things around, but its slow start to this event is certainly concerning. Given the squad’s veteran experience and skill, there is a high probability that it bounces back, but it will need to make adjustments quickly if it wants to avoid slipping even further down the group standings. The team’s Day 2 schedule will see it play 3 series, with those series likely to dictate the tone for the North American squad throughout the latter half of its Group Stage run.
Fnatic (2-2) (2-2): [Win vs. Evil Geniuses, Loss vs. Vici Gaming]:
Fnatic got its TI9 run off to a fantastic start as the squad took a somewhat surprising 2-0 victory over EG in its first series of the event. The team completely dominated its North American opponent, out killing EG 63-31 in an impressive showing. Unfortunately, that stomp of EG did little to help the team in its final series of the day, as Fnatic was subsequently defeated by Vici Gaming in a shockingly one sided 0-2 defeat of its own. Considering the fact that Vici Gaming is considered to be one of the strongest teams in the field, the defeat is not overly shocking in and of itself. However, the team’s incredible showing against EG had built up a fair bit of momentum for the Southeast Asian squad, and to see that momentum immediately shattered was certainly a surprising development for Fnatic. Even so, the team starts its TI9 run with a solid 2-2 record, and has put 2 series against some of the perceived leaders of its group behind it as the squad looks to maintain its favorable position in the Group B standings.
Infamous (0-2) (0-2): [Loss vs. OG]:
Considering the fact that Infamous had just a single series scheduled on Day 1 of the Group Stage, there wasn’t a whole lot that the South American squad could do to either hurt of help itself in the standings. Going up against the defending TI Champion, the team wasn’t expected to accomplish much, and it’s 0-2 defeat at the hands of OG certainly didn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. That being said, the squad’s performance against the European squad was severely lacking, with Infamous being out killed 28-64 while trailing in terms of net worth for all but a handful of minutes in this lone series. Considering the fact that most of its opponents in Group B are considered to be at or above the level of OG, Infamous is going to have to step up massively if it wants to have a chance of surviving the Group Stage and making its way to the Main Event.
Natus Vincere (2-2) (2-2): [Draw vs. OG, Draw vs. Evil Geniuses]:
Na’Vi was not looked at a potential powerhouse coming into TI9, but the CIS squad manged to hold its own across its first 2 series of the Group Stage, claiming 1-1 splits against both OG and EG to begin its run in Shanghai. At 2-2, the squad sits in a decent position in the group standings, but what was truly impressive for the squad on Day 1 was the play of its Carry/Mid duo of Crystallize and MagicaL. The duo combined to average 21.50 kills and 29.25 assists on 11 deaths across the team’s 4 total matches to serve as the driving force behind the team’s relatively strong performances. The squad is still far from a favorite within its group, but with continued performances like what we saw on Day 1, Na’Vi stands a strong chance of surviving the Group Stage and advancing to the Main Event itself.
Ninjas in Pyjamas (0-2) (0-2): [Loss vs. Virtus.pro]:
With just 1 series on its schedule on the opening day of the Group Stage, NiP began its TI9 run with somewhat tempered expectations, especially going up against one of the favorites in the field in the form of VP. The lone series did not go overly well for the squad, with NiP being out killed 28-55 en route to back to back losses. The team struggled to establish itself in the late-game stage of both matches, and the squad has to hope that those issues don’t continue to plague it moving forward. The good news for NiP though is that its short Day 1 schedule mitigated the potential damage that it could suffer, giving the European team ample opportunities to improve upon this tepid start in Shanghai.
OG (2-2) (2-2): [Draw vs. Natus Vincere, Win vs. Infamous]:
OG began its TI9 run with a pair of fairly favorable match ups on Day 1, as the squad faced off against the duo of Na’Vi and Infamous on the opening day of the Group Stage. With a 1-1 split against Na’Vi and a 2-0 victory over Infamous, the defending TI Champion set itself up in a fairly favorable position with a spot near the top of the Group B standings. With the team’s Carry/Mid duo of ana and Topson combining for 19.50 kills and 24.75 assists on 7.75 deaths per game over its first 4 matches, the squad appears to be playing at an impressive level to start this event. However, the coming days will see the squad matched up against some of the stronger teams in the field, and time will tell if the squad is able to maintain and build upon the momentum it generated with this solid Day 1 performance.
Royal Never Give Up (1-3) (1-3): [Loss vs. Vici Gaming, Draw vs. Virtus.pro]:
RNG certainly had its work cut out for it on Day 1 of the Group Stage, as the Chinese squad was matched up against two of the favorites in the field in the form of Vici Gaming and Virtus.pro. Given the strength of those two squads, RNG’s odds of finding success on Day 1 were certainly considered to be poor, but the team managed to salvage 1 victory in the form of a 1-1 split against Virtus.pro. At 1-3, RNG doesn’t exactly present the most imposing figure heading into the rest of the Group Stage, but it should probably be considered a positive that the squad was able to come away with any wins at all playing against 2 of the top squads in the field at this event.
Vici Gaming (4-0) (4-0): [Win vs. Royal Never Give Up, Win vs. Fnatic]:
Vici Gaming got off to the start that many were expecting from it on Day 1 of the Group Stage, as the squad claimed wins over both Royal Never Give Up and Fnatic to earn a place at the top of the Group B standings. The squad was in impressive form to begin its TI9 run, with the duo of Paparazi and Ori combining to average 18.50 kills and 24.75 assists on just 3.75 deaths per game, while the trio of Yang, Fade, and Dy combined to average 52 assists per game across the team’s first 4 matches. Vici Gaming certainly came into this event with high expectations, and if the Chinese powerhouse continues to put together performances like what we saw on Day 1, then it should be more than capable of living up to those lofty expectations in Shanghai.
Virtus.pro (3-1) (3-1): [Win vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas, Draw vs. Royal Never Give Up]:
As the leading team in the CIS region, VP came into TI9 with some high expectations, and the squad certainly appeared to live up to those expectations on Day 1 of the Group Stage. The squad claimed a 2-0 victory over NiP in its first series of the day, and followed up that performance with a 1-1 split against RNG to close out its schedule. For many, that 1-1 split against RNG will likely be viewed as a stumble or a disappointment for the squad, and in most respects that assessment would probably be correct considering the perceived disparity between the 2 squads. However, VP’s 3-1 record still has it sitting near the top of the Group B standings, and the squad has proven that it has the skill and experience needed to find success on the international level as the team looks to keep its momentum going heading into the rest of the Group Stage.
Day 2 Notable Matches
Series B3 : Virtus.pro (3-1) vs. Vici Gaming (4-0)
This one is a fairly obvious pick, as the two squads in question came into TI9 as 2 of the top ranked teams on the Pro Circuit. However, the match up plays an even more important role considering the strong starts that the teams put together on Day 1. Barring some sort of strange meltdown from one or both of these squads in the coming days, this match up could very well determine which squad claims control of the Group B standings, and once either of these teams manages to establish that control, it seems unlikely for them to relinquish it.
Series B3 : Evil Geniuses (1-3) vs. OG (2-2)
Neither of these squads put together fantastic performances on Day 1 of the Group Stage, although EG’s situation is certainly a bit weaker than their opponent in this series. With both squads scheduled to play 3 series on Day 2 though, this initial match up has the potential to set the tone for the rest of the day’s matches for both teams. A draw or win to start off a long day of matches would appear to be a vital asset that neither squad can afford to pass up on at the moment if they want to move their way up in the Group B standings.
Series A4: Team Liquid (2-4) vs. Mineski (2-2)
Team Liquid did not get off to a strong start on Day 1, and with 2 series to play on Day 2, the European squad will have to find at least 1 win or a pair of 1-1 draws to move its way out of the lower half of the Group A standings. Considering its second match up of the day is against a 5-1 PSG.LGD squad, this first series against Mineski will almost certainly be the team’s best shot at finding success on Day 2. For Mineski’s part, the team managed to put together a solid showing on Day 1, and a strong performance against a Team Liquid squad that hasn’t quite hit its stride yet would be a significant boon to the Southeast Asian squad’s own efforts in Shanghai.
Series A4: Team Secret (4-0) vs. Keen Gaming (2-4)
This match up features a pair of team on opposite ends of the spectrum with regards to their current position in the Group A standings. On the one hand, Team Secret posted a 6-0 record on Day 1, and will be looking to close out Day 2 with that perfect record intact as it plays just this single series against Keen Gaming. On the other hand, Keen Gaming’s Group Stage run got off to a less impressive start, with the Chinese squad posting a 2-4 record in its first 3 series. Though the task will be a daunting one, handing Team Secret its first defeat of the event and claiming either a win or a draw in this match up would go a long way towards improving Keen Gaming’s somewhat poor position in the group standings.
Series B4: Virtus.pro (3-1) vs. Natus Vincere (2-2)
This match up is less about its effects on the standings and more about the fact that it will be the sole CIS-only match up of the entire group stage. However, it should still be noted that this particular match up could play an important role in both squads’ Group Stage run. By the time VP and Na’Vi face off in this series, the former will hold a record of 5-1, 4-2, or 3-3, while Na’Vi could be sitting at 4-2, 3-3, or 2-4. With so many different ranges of outcomes before the series even begins, it is impossible to tell for sure just what the stakes may be when these regional rivals face off. However, the fact that the all-CIS match up could potentially end up cementing either squad as a group leader or pushing one squad into a position in the lower half of the standings means that the series will certainly be an interesting one to watch on Day 2.
Series A5: Chaos Esports Club (1-5) vs. Mineski (2-2)
Chaos Esports Club did not perform well on Day 1, with the European squad posting a 1-5 record in its first 3 series. On Day 2, the team will play just 1 series in the form of those match up against Mineski. Even at this early junction of the Group Stage, we are beginning to see trends forming in the group standings, and the trend for Chaos Esports Club is a decidedly negative one at the moment. If the squad wants to keep itself within striking distance of the other teams in its group and avoid falling into an even bigger hole at the bottom of the Group A standings, then it will have to pull out at least a 1-1 split in this series. As for Mineski, the squad will enter this match up with a record sitting at 4-2, 3-3, or 2-4. Regardless of where its record stands, a match up against a squad that struggled significantly in its first day of play is an opportunity that the Southeast Asian squad cannot afford to waste.