With the group-stage complete, we have a much better idea of how these twelve world-class teams are performing in the new 7.22 patch for Dota 2.
Vici Gaming finished top of Group A by virtue of winning convincingly against the lower-ranked teams. The rest of the group were tip-toeing through their initial 7.22 games and as a result ended up with 1-1 tied matches. They play LGD, who started badly in their group but saw a resurgence earlier today when they took down an in-form EG. Vici are favourites in this matchup, but I wouldn’t be surprised if LGD find another gear in their attempt to reach the upper bracket final.
Regardless of who is victorious in this match, I see these two Chinese teams as favourites to win the whole tournament now.
Update: LGD won the first game handily, but had to work hard to come back in Game 2. However their class shone through in the end to take a 2-0 sweep.
The second Upper Bracket match is Evil Geniuses vs TNC. Despite their reputation for always finishing third, EG have demonstrated that they’re ready to play in this new patch and already gearing up for TI9. Their superstar mid player, Sumail, said it best to the haters.
Shortly after this tweet, though, they did manage to lose 2-0 to LGD, but that didn’t stop them topping the group. EG face a team not many would have expected to see in the upper bracket, TNC Predator, who quietly tied every game up until their very last against NIP earlier today. There we saw explosive Dota from the SEA team, where they seem to have found their form and knocked out a team that was considered on the rise.
EG are the clear favourites here, although TNC may yet surprise us. At odds of around 3.2 that would be a tasty turnaround. Either way, EG must be grouped with Vici and LGD as favourites, but regardless of the outcome I expect TNC to have renewed confidence in their ability and it wouldn’t surprise me to see an heroic lower bracket run from the SEA team.
Update: EG dropped the first game to a confident-looking TNC Predator team. However they updated their strategy accordingly and made a strong comeback so that by the end seemed like the much stronger team despite the 2-1 scoreline. They now face LGD in the upper bracket final.
Liquid face Gambit in the first lower bracket stage game tomorrow. Gambit were a late replacement for last year’s champion VP, but despite this have battled valiantly through their group to make it this far. Having said that, I’d be wary of backing them any further as Liquid will have shaken off their early patch rust, and I expect Kuroky’s team to be quicker off the starting blocks now they’re in the bracket.
The second lower bracket game is Team Secret vs OG. Secret have been widely considered the best team in the world in 2019, so their poor run in Group B must have been sobering for Puppey and his squad. Having said that, I don’t see any teamplay or communication problems in their play, so they should remain favourites in every match they play.
OG seem to be the eternal underdogs ever since their win at TI8. The return of Ana has certainly given them momentum but we still see unforced mistakes lose them games from time to time. I always fancy them to beat the odds, but they’ll have to be on best form to win vs Secret. However, I’ve learnt to never count out OG until the GG, as they have a way of battling until the late game and turning it to their favour.