posted by SmittyW.,
Four teams overall are going to leave The International 2019 today. Two of them have already been determined. The first day of the TI9 playoffs is always a nerve-wrecking affair for the teams in the Lower Bracket: while they made it into the main part of the tournament, a single one-game series decides on their fate. One crucial mistake and they can take the next flight home. Two teams have tasted this bitter pill and lost their opening matches in the playoffs.

Their opponents, however, couldn't be happier – until tomorrow that is, when they take on Upper Bracket losers and TNC Predator.

Alliance give game out of hand

Alliance went confidently into their match with Royal Never Give Up. In a short pre-match interview, Alliance coach Jonathan 'Loda' Berg gave us some insights into the drafts which he estimated as a favourable draft for his team with heroes such as Storm Spirit, Gyro, and Faceless Void being picked.

The Swedes did indeed dominate the game early on, mostly also because RNG's pick with heroes such as Anti-Mage was more catered to a late game playstyle. In the first minutes, evertything pointed towards a rather quick match however, but the home team didn't give up and staged a comeback.

After a while RNG was able to push Alliance back into their base over the midlane, but the TI3 winner defended the high ground valiantly. As they made their counter-push, things looked more in their favour again, but Aydin 'INSaNIA' Sarkohi and his team-mates did cause critical damage to RNG'S infrastructure, allowing for yet another comeback of the Chinese.

As the game went on, it became clear that RNG's composition was better suited for this game situation. Alliance could find some pick-ups occasionally but their damage output was often to little when teamfights occured. Even a smart trap at Roshan's pit didn't turn out as planned and led to a crucial skirmish that would eventually to RNG taking the one-game series in their favour – Alliance were out.

The match could have definitely gone the other way, especially considering the Gyro pick was just by accident: iNSaNiA confirmed in the post-match interview that he chose the hero by accident because he thought he would be banning the hero. Meanwhile, RNG can now prepare for their next match tomorrow when they'll take on

Liquid overcome Fnatic

Liquid Staff, who went as co-favourites into TI9, found themselves in the Lower Bracket after a disappointing group stage. Their oppoents were Fnatic , one of the most dangerous stacks in the Lower Bracket of the tournament. Liquid fans hoped for another miracle by star carry Amer 'Miracle-' Al-Barkawi. He played Gyro and with him a solid game, but the real MVP was Liquid's effort as a team.

Heroes such as Tidehunter and Necrophos would give Miracle- the initiations needed to take on Fnatic. However, the match wasn't a one-sided affair. It turned out to be a rollercoaster for both teams. If one team had a good fight, it wouldn't take long for the other team to counter and turn the game around once more. It was not before a crucial teamfight in the Radiant jungle, when Liquid were able to make a decisive play, that would give them access to Roshan and allow them to initiate the final push.

With their victory over Fnatic, Team Liquid keep their dreams of another Aegis alive. Although they have to take a much more difficult route through the Lower Bracket. In their next match tomorrow, they are going to face TNC Predator.

Are you happy with the first results in the Lower Bracket?

Photo credit: Valve