Clash of the Titans
The most anticipated matchup of the day was always going to be OG versus Team Secret—reigning The International 2018 champions against The Chongqing Major winners.
Game one saw both teams stay relatively close through thirty minutes, with Team Secret holding an almost 6k net worth advantage by the midpoint of the game. But after a blown team fight resulting in OG teamwiping Secret, the momentum shifted strongly in OG's favour. They were able to build a stronger and stronger lead until Team Secret could no longer cleanly fight them without losing heroes, which ultimately led Secret's demise.
OG’s new player Igor 'ILTW' Filatov was particularly impressive on his 16-1-16 Lifestealer. He only died once in the early stages of the game and was a constant threat throughought the match.
Game two was more straightforward, as even though the two teams stayed close in the early game, Team Secret began to build a lead by the ten minute mark which they would never let go of. OG’s standout from the previous game, ILTW, was unable to get any real traction on his Anti-Mage, while OG had no answer for Yeik Nai 'MidOne' Zheng and his Pangolier which consistently dominated the map finishing with a score of 14-1-16.
In the end both teams split the difference of two game series, taking one game each.
Group A is wide open
Both OG and Team Secret played well and finished the day atop their group with a 3-1 record; it was AS Monaco Gambit, however, that also enjoyed a strong showing in Group A. They took a 2-0 victory over For The Dream and finished tied for first place alongside OG and Secret.
Mineski split their four games placing them solidly in the middle of the group with a 2-2 record, while Forward Gaming had a difficult day, unable to get any real footing and only beating Gambit once, finishing with a 1-4 record.
Group A’s real loser however is For The Dream. The Chinese side were consistently outplayed during their matches and were unable to win even a single game. While any of these teams can reverse their fortune with a strong showign on Day Two, FTD's 0-4 record makes them the primary team in the group facing elimination.
There were many strong showings in Group B, but it was Rasmus 'rASmus' Fillipsen's Chaos Esports Club that looked as though they had something to prove. As the day went on they seemed to only get better, and in their final series against Team Aster they put an exclamation mark on Day One.
Game One saw Chaos Esports bringing out one of their secret weapons, the Omar 'w33haa' Aliwi Meepo. Despite holding a lead for the better part of the game, Aster was unable to hold back the w33po when it finally came online. This combined that with an equally as ruthless performance by William 'hFnk3' Medeiros saw the two Chaos cores going 11-1-4 and 11-1-9 respectively, making quick work of Aster once they started to fight in unison.
Game Two saw a similar trend as with the previous game, it only played out faster. Team Aster held a lead through twenty minutes of the game, even going so far as pushing highground against Chaos; however, they could not break the base and quickly lost momentum. Chaos' dual core set up again showed dominance as w33haa's Timbersaw finished with a 6-0-11 record while hFn's Slark ended the game 9-0-5.
Despite great play all day from Chai 'Mushi' Yee Fung, Aster as unable to convert a single win.
Group B is a group of extremes
Chaos Esports and Fnatic finished top of their group with perfect 4-0 records, making them strong candidates for the playoff round. Similarly Peter 'ppd' Dager's Ninjas in Pyjamas only dropped one game all day, keeping them in a comfortable place at 3-1.
On the other hand, compLexity Gaming were only able to win one game, leaving them at 1-3. In even worse shape are Alliance and Team Aster, both of whom failed to scrape together even a single win. Day Two will be important for these bottom three teams, as they must play near flawlessly to have any hope of making it to the knockout stages.
Do you think any of the teams that went 0-4 can make it out of the group stage?
Photo credit: Valve