PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming secure guaranteed Top 6 finishes while Alliance, Fnatic, Keen Gaming, and Na’Vi are eliminated from TI9 on Day 1 of the Main Event
After a day off for the teams and a shift to the Mercedes-Benz Arena, the action in Shanghai got back underway as Day 1 of the TI9 Main Event began. The first day of the Main Event certainly presented a fair number of high pressure scenarios, with 2 Upper Bracket series and 4 Lower Bracket Bo1s to be played. By the end of the day, 2 squads would be guaranteed Top 6 finishes at TI9, while 4 teams would be eliminated from the event outright with finishes in the 13th-16th place position.
In the Upper Bracket, China reigned supreme, as PSG.LGD overcame Virtus.pro with a convincing 2-0 victory while Vici Gaming just squeaked by TNC Predator with a hard fought 2-1 win to set up an all-Chinese match up in Round 2 of the Upper Bracket. Meanwhile, the Lower Bracket saw 4 Bo1 elimination matches played on day 1, with Royal Never Give Up defeating Alliance, Team Liquid taking down Fnatic, Infamous pushing its way past Keen Gaming, and Mineski outlasting Natus Vincere. With those victories, all 4 winning teams advanced out of the dreaded Bo1 matches, though the teams will still have to deal with the ever-present threat of elimination as they continue their runs through the Lower Bracket of the Main Event.
Final Position: 13th-16th
Eliminated by: Royal Never Give Up (0-1 , Lower Bracket Round 1)
Total TI9 Record: 8 Wins, 9 Losses
Final Position: 13th-16th
Eliminated by: Team Liquid (0-1, Lower Bracket Round 1)
Total TI9 Record: 7 Wins, 10 Losses
Final Position: 13th-16th
Eliminated by: Infamous (0-1, Lower Bracket Round 1)
Total TI9 Record: 5 Wins, 12 Losses
Final Position: 13th-16th
Eliminated by: Mineski (0-1, Lower Bracket Round 1)
Total TI9 Record: 7 Wins, 10 Losses
Day 1 Matches
PSG.LGD vs. Virtus.pro
Bo3 (PSG.LGD 2-0 Win)
Game 1 of the series saw PSG.LGD stock up on damage and team fight power, combining cores of Sven, Gyrocopter, and Tidehunter with a support duo of Rubick and Ogre Magi. On the other side of the draft, VP opted for a less conventional strategy with picks like Mid Dazzle and Brewmaster alongside the more familiar picks of Morphling, Earthshaker, and Silencer. While the 2 squads remained fairly even early in the match PSG.LGD was able to hit a big mid-game power spike, shifting control of the match into its favor with a series of team fight wins. With the squad surrendering just 3 kills over the final 27 minutes of play, PSG.LGD seized control and never looked back to lock down an impressive victory to open the series.
Game 2 ended up playing out pretty much exactly like its predecessor, as the 2 squads remained even early in the match only for PSG.LGD to jump ahead in the mid-game stage. With the Chinese squad’s core trio of Phantom Assassin, Kunkka, and Tidehunter combining for a 17-5-32 stat line in the match, PSG.LGD simply barreled its way past the meager defenses of its opponent to lock down a surprisingly one sided 2-0 sweep of the series.
Vici Gaming vs. TNC Predator
Bo3 (2-1 Vici Gaming Win)
The opening match of the series began with TNC Predator looking to play a somewhat fast and aggressive style, picking up cores of Lifestealer, Queen of Pain, and Sand King with Tiny and Ancient Apparition supports. Unfortunately, that fast pace did not materialize for the Southeast Asian squad, as it was Vici Gaming that got out to a sizable lead in the early and mid-game stages. The Chinese squad appeared to be in control, but a crucial late-game team fight loss provided TNC Predator with the opportunity it needed to turn things around, massively shifting the momentum of the game into its own favor. Despite holding a huge net worth advantage, TNC Predator could not deliver a timely death blow, with the match extending past the 70 minute mark thanks to some stubborn resistance and incredible team fight execution on the part of Vici Gaming. Eventually though, TNC Predator was able to break through, taking back to back fights to wipe out Vici Gaming and leave the squad without buy backs to claim a hard fought victory and take a 1-0 lead in the series
Game 2 would see the 2 squads remain incredibly close throughout the majority of the match, as neither squad led by more than 3k net worth over the first 30 minutes of play. As the match shifted into the late-game stage, Vici Gaming appeared to take the upper hand, fighting its way through a couple of surges from TNC Predator to build up a net worth advantage of over 30k. While the match continued on for over an hour of game-time, Vici Gaming was eventually able to break through the defenses of its opponent. With its core trio of Lifestealer, Kunkka, and Tidehunter putting together a combined 24-12-56 stat line in the match, the Chinese squad shut down the TNC Predator lineup with a series of dominant team fights and pick offs to claim a victory and even up the series at 1-1.
TNC Predator looked to set the pace of Game 3 with a last pick Broodmother, but very early on in the match it was clear that the pick wouldn’t have quite as strong an effect as the team had hoped for. Vici Gaming ended up being the team to push out to an early lead, with the squad building up a surprisingly large advantage that forced TNC Predator into a defensive posture as the Southeast Asian squad found itself playing catch up in the early and mid-game stages. Vici Gaming didn’t allow its opponent any opportunities to mount a comeback effort though, keeping up the pressure and pushing its way through its opponent’s base to claim an unexpectedly one sided victory that earned its a 2-1 series win and a guaranteed Top 6 finish in Shanghai.
Alliance vs. Royal Never Give Up
Bo1 (1-0 Royal Never Give Up Win)
The first elimination match of the Main Event began with Alliance making some aggressive moves in the early stages of the game. That aggression afforded the European squad a small net worth lead to open the match, though RNG continued to keep things relatively close with sizable amounts of farm on its core trio of Anti-Mage, Ember Spirit, and Abaddon. As the match moved into the late-game stage, RNG was able to seize momentum with a series of solid fights, pick offs, and high ground pushes that seemed to put Alliance on the back foot. Despite briefly retaking the lead with a solid late-game fight, Alliance could not maintain its advantage, as RNG broke through its defenses to take the Bo1 match up and advance to Round 2 of the Lower Bracket.
Fnatic vs. Team Liquid
Bo1 (1-0 Team Liquid Win)
With its TI9 life on the line, Team Liquid opted for a tried and true draft for this Bo1 elimination match, picking up an Io-Gyrocopter duo along with Necrophos, Tidehunter, and Shadow Shaman. On the Fnatic side of the match up, the Southeast Asian squad went with heavy levels of AoE damage and team fight control, pairing a core trio of Leshrac, Kunkka, and Timbersaw with supports of Enigma and Elder Titan. After trailing by a modest margin throughout the early and mid-game stages, Team Liquid was able to shift the momentum in its favor at the start of the late-game stage thanks to its high levels of damage and team fight power. With its initial momentum shattered, Fnatic couldn’t recover in time to slow the advance of its opponent, putting up one last valiant but unsuccessful defense of its base before suffering a defeat to knock the Southeast Asian squad out of TI9.
Infamous vs. Keen Gaming
Bo1 (1-0 Infamous Win)
The third elimination match of the saw began with Keen Gaming looking to set the pace early, as the Chines squad opted for an aggressive strategy over the first 20 minutes of play. While the team was able to secure a decent number of pick offs and early kills, those efforts didn’t afford the squad much of a net worth advantage, as the cores of Infamous managed to maintain strong farm levels in spite of that early pressure. That early farm led to a big power spike in the mid-game stage, as Infamous was able to establish control of the map with a series of pushes and team fight wins. As the match moved into the late-game stage, Infamous continued to press its advantage, bulldozing its way through Keen Gaming’s defenses as the Chinese squad scrambled to find some answer to its opponent’s aggression. Unfortunately for Keen Gaming, no answer would appear, as the team’s final defenses proved insufficient to hold Infamous back as the South American squad claimed a victory to advance to Round 2 of the Lower Bracket.
Mineski vs. Natus Vincere
Bo1 (1-0 Mineski Win)
The final match of Day 1 began in relatively one-sided fashion, as Mineski was able to jump out to a sizable net worth lead in the early stages of the game. The Southeast Asian squad would maintain and build upon that lead as the match progressed into the mid-game stage, slowly establishing more control over the map while finding further farm for its cores. Unfortunately, the team’s attempt to shift momentum even more decisively in its favor went disastrously, with Na’Vi turning a big team fight win that shattered Mineski’s carefully built advantage. Despite losing its lead and suffering severe damage to its base, Mineski managed to hang on and stave off defeat, pushing the match into the late-game stage. With the match significantly extended, Mineski was able to bounce back from its earlier struggles, retaking the net worth lead behind an impressive showing from Nikobaby’s Wraith King (11-2-14) and forcing Na’Vi into a defensive strategy. Na’Vi’s defensive efforts were not nearly enough to hold back Mineski though, as the Southeast Asian squad took complete control of the game and built up a net worth lead of over 40k before finally finishing the match and claiming a win to knock Na’Vi out of TI9.
Day 2 Upcoming Matches
OG vs. Newbee
The matches on Day 2 of the Main Event will begin with a match up that few were likely anticipating coming into this event, with defending TI Champion OG set to face off against Newbee. Newbee (formerly known as Forward Gaming) had struggled rather significantly on the international level over the course of the 2018-2019 season, and was seen as one of the weaker squads in the field coming into TI9. Despite those low expectations, the North American squad turned in an impressive Group Stage performance, earning itself a place in the Upper Bracket of the Main Event while holding its own against some of the stronger squads in its group. As for OG, the squad got off to a somewhat slow start to the season, with things only picking up for the team once it returned ana to its active roster in March. While Newbee’s success in the Group Stage of TI9 came as something of a surprise, OG’s dominance in its own group was a bit more expected, with the squad posting an incredible 13-3 record to claim the top spot in Group B. Coming into this series, OG appear to be the clear favorite to advance to Round 2 of the Upper Bracket. and claim a guaranteed Top 6 finish in Shanghai. However, this Newbee roster has proven itself to be no pushover so far, and the team certainly has the potential to challenge the TI8 winners in this series.
Team Secret vs. Evil Geniuses
Nearly 1 year to the day since these 2 squads faced off in Vancouver in Round 1 of the Upper Bracket at TI8, Team Secret and Evil Geniuses find themselves in the exact same position here in Shanghai. Last time around, EG was the squad to claim victory and remain in the Upper Bracket, but the dynamic between the 2 teams has shifted somewhat in the last year. While both EG and Team Secret stand among the elite teams in the Dota 2 world, Team Secret has proven itself to be just a step above many of its rivals, with the European powerhouse having claimed 2 of the season’s 5 Major Championship titles. While EG didn’t manage to bring home any hardware on the Pro Circuit this season, the team did retain its position at the top of the North American region and the Pro Circuit Rankings with 3 Top 4 finishes in Majors. Prior to the start of the series itself, Team Secret appears to have a decent advantage over its North American opponent. However, EG is no stranger to playing against elite opposition at the highest level of competitive play, and while the North American leader has not always been able to find consistent success, its extensive skill and experience makes it a formidable threat as these 2 squads face off once again on the TI stage.
Virtus.pro vs. Royal Never Give Up
The first Lower Bracket series of Day 2 will feature a match up between a pair of teams that have seen their fair share of struggles so far in Shanghai. VP came into this event as one of the favorites in the field, but put together a weaker than expected Group Stage run that saw the squad just barely fight its way into the Upper Bracket of the Main Event with an 8-8 record. As for RNG, the expectations were not quite as high, but the Chinese squad was still not quite as strong as it could have been with a 6-10 Group Stage run that only looked better thanks to an even more disastrous 3-13 showing from NiP. That being said, the 2 squads have begun their Main Event runs with decidedly different performances that add a bit of intrigue to this elimination series. VP suffered a rather harsh 0-2 defeat at the hands of PSG.LGD that saw the CIS squad struggle to keep pace with its opponent. Meanwhile, RNG put together a rather impressive showing in its Bo1 match against Alliance, weathering a storm of early aggression from its opponent before having its patience pay off with an incredibly comeback in the late-game stage. Even with VP’s defeat at the hands of PSG.LGD though, the CIS squad will come into this series as a clear favorite. That being said, RNG has likely grown used to be considered an underdog at this stage, and the chance to knock out one of the tournaments favorites and keep its own TI9 run alive should certainly be enough motivation to spark a determined effort from the Chinese squad.
TNC Predator vs. Team Liquid
Unlike most of the other match ups that we will see on Day 2 of the Main Event, this final series of the day will be one that doesn’t appear to have an obvious favorite at the moment. Prior to the start of TI9, Team Liquid would have most likely been seen as stronger than its Southeast Asian opponent, but the play that we’ve seen from both squads so far in Shanghai has served to largely close any perceived gap that may have existed at the start of this event. TNC Predator comes into this match up off the back of an impressive 9-7 run in the Group Stage, which it followed up with a respectable 1-2 defeat at the hands of Vici Gaming in Round 1 of the Upper Bracket. Meanwhile, Team Liquid put together a much less impressive Group Stage performance, finishing at 6-10 while losing its series against TNC Predator 0-2. Despite that rough start, Team Liquid did manage to pull itself together in time to take down Fnatic in Round 1 of the Lower Bracket, showing us the strength and consistency that it had appeared to be lacking to this point in its TI9 run. If one team absolutely had to be favored in this match up, it would likely be TNC Predator by a small margin, as the squad’s recent performances have been significantly stronger than its opponent. However, Team Liquid has a roster of skilled and experienced veterans who are certainly no strangers to the pressures of the TI stage, and the TI7 winner still looks to be a formidable threat heading into this match up.