posted by Malystryx.GDS,
SEA's biggest Dota 2 event to-date is this weekend. The $250,000 ESL One Manila could be a potential title for Liquid and Complexity who both find themselves in group A. Find out more after the jump.
Group A

The format of the groupstage
The groupstage of the $250,000 ESL One Manila will be GSL style, meaning that after the first group match the winners will play the winners and the losers will play the losers. The first team to win two matches takes first seed, and the second team to win two matches takes second seed. The groupstages will take from Friday 22nd to Saturday 23rd.

The playoffs, which feature the top 2 teams from each group, will be on Sunday and they are single elimination. By the end of the groupstages half of the teams will have been eliminated. All matches are bo3 aside from the final which is bo5.

First group A matches:
eu Team Liquid vs my Mineski
us compLexity Gaming vs cn Team Random*

Complexity have everything to play for in Group A
Team Liquid's second place at the Shanghai Major should all but secure a direct invite to the Manila Major in two months time, but for us compLexity Gaming the ESL One Manila this weekend is crucial for removing any shadows of doubt about extending them a direct invite.

Complexity finished 5th-6th at the Shanghai Major, and with both se Alliance and eu OG finishing outside of the top 3 at Starladder last weekend, a top 3 finish at ESL Ona Manila must be their goal for the event.

Since the Shanghai Major Complexity have played 8 and won 7, their only defeat came to kr MVP Phoenix* in the semi-finals of Dota Pit Season 4 in Croatia. They qualified for ESL One Frankfurt via the NA Regional Qualifiers but have yet to win a LAN title together. Along with Int Fnatic, they are right behind Liquid and Secret.

Team Liquid: Hungry for success or just peckish?
eu Team Liquid were the runners-up in Shanghai, and in their online matches since have played 6 and won 6. They were the winners of the short online BTS EU #3 Cup, and they have a good grasp of the hero pool that appeared at Starladder and which could influence what we see at the ESL One Manila.

bg Ivan 'MinD_ContRoL' Borislavov plays a good Beastmaster, de Kuro S. 'KuroKy' Takhasomi is experienced on Enchantress/Chen and de Adrian 'Fata' Trinks's Invoker and Outworld Devourer are solid. Liquid in terms of the patch are well versed, but whether or not they will be hungry for the title only time will tell.

Liquid should finish first in this group or at least reach the Grand Finals. Finishing second in group A would most probably mean an encounter with eu Team Secret.

Wings played as much as VG-R online but not as successful
Much like the winners of the Starladder Invitational cn Vici Gaming Reborn*, cn Team Random* have been extremely busy with online matches. They've played fifteen matches over the course of the last three weeks but were not as successful as VG-R was when facing the big guns. With 6 wins out of their last 15 - which includes draws against cn Newbee and cn Vici Gaming Reborn*.

Wings are unlikely to make the impact they did at WCA 2015 where they ultimately finished fourth after opening with a 2-0 win over eu Team Secret. They could however, catch Complexity off-guard in the opening match.

Mineski will have the home crowd behind them but it will be an uphill struggle
As the only Filipino participant in the largest SEA event to date hosted in the capital city of the Philippines, my Mineski will be expected to at least do some damage. Their record over the course of the last month is 5 wins out of 13 matches, and they have lost all three of their last games.

Mineski might ring a bell for those who followed the Frankfurt Major as the Filipino team placed 9-12th, and three of that roster remain; ph Ryan Jay 'raging-potato' Qui, ph Julius 'Julz' De Leon and ph Jessie Cristy 'JessieVash' Cuyco. We saw how a home crowd can empower a team at Starladder, with ua Natus Vincere reaching the Grand Finals, but Mineski will do well to even make it out of the groupstage. Only two teams will progress to the playoffs and on paper Mineski are the weakest of the four in group A.

Fnatic have been bootcamping at Mineski HQ in the Philippines since Monday (Image: Mushi's Facebook)

Could crossing swords with Fnatic give Mineski an edge?
However, two additional factor should be taken into consideration when trying to gauge how well Mineski could do. The first is that they have a home crowd advantage and the second - and possibly more important - is that Mushi posted on Facebook that Fnatic have been playing at Mineski's Headquarters and this does give rise to the possibility of playing against the Filipino team.

Fnatic have been taking the SEA scene by storm over the past few weeks, and having that support could give Mineski a boost after their recent slump in online matches. Mineski beating Liquid seems unfathomable but causing an upset against Wings or Complexity is feasible.

1. Team Liquid (through to playoffs)
2. Complexity (through to playoffs)
3. Wings
4. Mineski

eu Team Liquid should top group A with ease. A win over Mineski would secure an encounter with either
Complexity or Wings. Liquid have won all 3 matches they played against Complexity - the most recent in the Shanghai Major playoffs - and Wings were relatively harmless in the third place decider between them and Liquid at WCA 2015 in December. Furthermore, the Chinese team has not been in good form recently. us compLexity Gaming usually hit the ground running so second place for them in group A is my prediction.

What do you think? Could Complexity win group A?

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