posted by Matthew Elmas,
The first day of the 2014 MPGL Grand Finals has concluded, with ph Arcanys and ph Rave coming out on top in group 2. Whilst both vn Nvidia Aces and ph Execration.tnc dominated group 1. Only two teams from each group will advance to the first stage of the winners bracket, so competition is heating up heading into day 2 with many teams facing the prospect of playing in the daunting bubble bracket.

Group 2 Begins! Rave and Arcanys come out ahead on Day 1

Rave had a fantastic start to the day with a convincing win over Team Malaysia, defeating them in thirty five minutes with a Medusa, Brewmaster, Viper tri-core; they managed to stay ahead for most of the game, utilizing smart lanes and effective rotations to stop Malaysia’s plans in their tracks. In the end all Team Malaysia could do to counter the strategy was attempt to employ a split push style with Morphiling; however he proved to be too under farmed as he was solo killed by Rave’s Brewmaster on the top lane whilst ca Jio "Jeyo" Madayag’s Medusa cleaned up the remainder of the TM line up in their base.

Meanwhile th MiTH.Trust were having more luck with their Morphling pick, finding themselves at a commanding advantage over kr MVP.Hot6 in their first game of the tournament, the match, which went on for nearly an hour, boasted some brilliant base defences from MVP after they found themselves defending high ground from as early as the 30 minute mark. In fact despite MiTH’s decisive advantage MVP was able to take two fights that resulted in swings of over seven thousand gold. However with their base gradually giving way to the continual MiTH onslaught they eventually were forced to concede the match to MiTH who took an early lead in the group.

MVP put up a valiant fight, but MiTH were simply too strong.

The next round of games in Group 2 saw first round losers, Team Malaysia, take on first round winners MiTH.Trust. The game turned into an exciting back and forth from the start, as MiTH once again opted for the Morphling pick whilst TM cut their losses, opting instead for a core viper and an offensive tri-lane. It was not long into the game before lengthy pauses began to plague the tournament as everything from computer blue screens to network connectivity issues were reported by the players. Every round two match from both groups was affected by the technical difficulties which went on for over an hour. After the technical issues subsided Team Malaysia came out swinging taking a decisive team fight that led them to a 17 minute rax, all but sealing MiTH’s fate in the second round clash.

In addition to their earlier success versus MVP, Rave has also managed to overcome MiTH.Trust to cement their position in the upper half of their group. The key to their success was an aggressive split-push style with Morphling, Puck and Broodmother. Despite their early game domination it did seem that MiTH were coming back for quiet some time, finding multiple pick offs on Rave’s cores to give their Anti-mage the space he needed to catch up. However the pressure that Rave had built up until that point was simply too much for MiTH to contend with, being unable to push out their lanes they ultimately lost a team fight inside their base and conceded the game at the 49 minute mark.

The Rise of Arcanys! Group 2 heats up!
Not to be outdone by Team Malaysia and Rave, Arcanys were determined to prove themselves as a formidable force in group 2. Their chance came with a match versus Rave who had shown promising results earlier in the day; however despite Rave’s earlier victories Arcanys were quick to surprise the crowd, taking a decisive advantage with a surprise Omniknight pick, proving that the technical difficulties plaguing the event didn’t phase them in the slightest. In the end Rave were forced to GG out, paving the way for Arcanys to top the group on day 1.

Arcanys continued their successful day as the group neared its conclusion with their game versus MVP.Hot6, who had already been having a tough time grabbing their first win for the day. Arcanys opted for the same type of split-push heavy strategy that themselves and Rave had earlier success with. They proceeded to utilize their strong lanes to maintain an advantage throughout the game. However MVP were determined to finish day 1 with at least one win on the board, buckling down and winning a few key fights that had the casters questioning whether Arcanys would be able to finish the game. Despite this Arcanys were able to take a decisive fight in the MVP base at the 45 minute mark, effectively sealing MVP’s fate with multiple raxes.

Base Defence was the story of MVP's first day

Group 1! Aces out ahead with Execration just behind them!

Group 1 also had its share of excitement, as Execration and Nvidia Aces proved formidable. Execration managed to overcome th Awake despite the technical difficulties which hindered the entire second stage. Aces then beat out phPowerPlay in a 54 minute clash, utilizing a farmed Naga to ultimately stall out a struggling spectre. The decisive match of the group’s day 1 schedule was a clash between sg Insidious Idol and Execration, the winner would cement their place in the upper half of the group, and the loser would remain in the middle section, with the coveted top two positions out of reach.

Execration ultimately came out ahead in the clash, distinguishing themselves from the majority of the group; however Aces weren’t far behind and the final group 1 match of the day between both of these teams set the stage for the second day of play. It was in this match that Aces showcased the depth of their strength in the group, overcoming execration to secure their place atop the group.

As the group neared its conclusion it appeared as if Idol had one last shot at the second position with their match versus Awake being pivotal, a win for the Singaporean squad would leave their group stage fate in the hands of sg JoeNet Elite Team; who would play Execration following their game. The match started well for awake, with the team garnering an early gold advantage, however a pivotal team fight from Idol made the graphs plummet in their favour, allowing them to snowball across the map, giving their Naga Siren even more time to farm her core items. By the time Awake had mustered the ability to fight the Idol Naga had come online, pressuring multiple lanes to stunt any chances Awake had at coming back into the match. Awake defended well for a considerable period, however in the end the Naga Siren proved too powerful and the GG was called. With their win Idol placed some considerable pressure on execration, who now had the Singaporean squad on their heels for the second position in the group.

Idols chances at the top two looked promising after they successfully overcame Awake. However they had one final game verse the thus far undefeated Aces squad that would determine their future in the tournament. Once the match got underway Aces shot out ahead, securing early map control and towers with their aggressive line-up. They managed to utilize Storm spirit and Brewmaster to effectively stagnate Naga Siren’s item progression, continuing to pressure their base until Idol finally broke and conceded the game, securing their place in the bubble bracket.

Aces spent most of the match on Idol's side of the map

As day 1 concludes only the top two teams from each group has their eyes set on the first winners bracket clashes, with everyone else facing the prospect of a bubble bracket which will determine who moves on to face the losers of the first winner’s bracket games.

Day 1 Standings

This article was written by au Matthew Elmas, joinDOTA's Writer. Matthew has been an e-sports fan since 2008 and is currently undertaking the second year of his university studies; majoring in journalism. He also manages the Southeast asian team Can't Say Wips. Location: Melbourne, AustraliaFollow him on @Moxjoo.