Evil Geniuses versus Team Spirit
There's no denying that Evil Geniuses haven't been at the top of their game lately, but they weren't in a position where they looked like they'd be knocked out of ESL One Birmingham without winning a single game. Of course, that's exactly what happened.
After tanking the opening loss in a base-race against Fnatic, EG were faced with the underdog of their group. Team Spirit hadn't even been invited to or qualified for the event - they were brought in as the only team in the Top 4 of the CIS qualifier who were able to get their visa quickly enough.
It didn't feel like EG were unprepared for Team Spirit - more like Team Spirit played incredibly well against EG. Artem 'fng' Barshack's performance on Shadow Demon in both games was a standout one. Even as a squishy support with very little net worth, he became a huge threat to any enemy hero thanks to the skillful way he used his spells.
After two dominant games, Team Spirit had successfully eliminated Evil Geniuses and secured themselves a spot in the next round of the group stage.
.@IllidanSTRdoto found the secret to defeating @EvilGeniuses and @Team__Spirit executed it to perfection! #ESLOne pic.twitter.com/wkImCW5VXI— ESL Dota2 (@ESLDota2) May 23, 2018
Vici Gaming versus Team Liquid
Vici Gaming are the 6th place team on the DPC ranking. OG are playing with their former coach and haven't seemed to find their footing much this season. Yet somehow, OG came out on top in their single-game series and Vici Gaming were put in hot water.
Their elimination match was against none other than probably the toughest team in their group - Team Liquid. The defending TI champs had been taken down a peg by paiN Gaming* in their own opener, forcing these two titans to meet so early on.
Despite their earlier baffling loss, Liquid proved more than capable of taking Vici gaming down. Their opening game was a one-sided affair, with every Liquid hero save Maroun 'Gh' Merhej's Sand King sharing huge parts of the glory (read: kills) in the 30-minute stomp.
Vici had a much stronger start in the second game, and managed to keep Kuro S. 'KuroKy' Takhasomi's Keeper of the Light almost completely shut down, but were run over again by a very difficult to kill lineup featuring Amer 'Miracle-' Al-Barkawi's Doom, Lasse 'Matumbaman' Urpalainen's Phantom Lancer and Ivan 'MinD_ContRoL' Borislavov's Razor.
In the second lower bracket 2-0 of the day, Vici Gaming was eliminated from ESL One Birmingham.
GG! @ViCi_Gaming is the 2nd team to be eliminated from #ESLOne Birmingham. @TeamLiquid moves on to play tomorrow after a 2-0 victory. pic.twitter.com/9AIdoBojGa— ESL Dota2 (@ESLDota2) May 23, 2018
Newbee versus LGD.Forever Young
Newbee was sent to this elimination match by NA Dota's true hope in this Major - OpTic Gaming. When faced with what had looked like a struggling LFY, it seemed like Newbee had a chance at staying alive - but it wasn't to be.
If you've ever felt like there's not enough excitement in your life, why not try watching Game 2 of this incredibly intense series? Game 1 was simply the Newbee show, another 30-minute stomp the likes of which we've seen plenty of times before. Game 2 was a real treat, a back-and-forth battle featuring massive net worth swings, Rapiers and a Mega-Creeps comeback. As Gareth said after casting this one, "blood pressure tablets required for everyone watching, everyone playing, the bloody admins!"
THAT WAS ONE HELL OF A GAME!!! 😱😱😱@newbeecn & @LGDgaming are going to a deciding game 3!#ESLOne https://t.co/RUTJQiyOsP pic.twitter.com/mhJgKtQ1HI— ESL Dota2 (@ESLDota2) May 23, 2018
It was nigh impossible to top that one. Newbee seemed drained for Game 3, unable to force any kind of meaningful comeback after LFY took an early lead and ran away with the game. After another nearly 60-minute game, Newbee had been eliminated from ESL One Birmingham.
Today, we've got the decider match from each group to look forward to, followed by the single-game-series round robin between the three top teams in each group. Two of the three will be seeded directly into the playoff semifinal.
Header Photo Copyright: ESL | Bart Oerbekke