OG confirm favourite status
Defending world champions OG took on Newbee in their first Upper Bracket match. After finish first in Group B, the team surrounding Johan 'BigDaddyN0tail' Sundstein are among the favourites at The International 2019 again. The American line-up of Newbee might not have been the scariest opponent in the Upper Bracket but beating them was crucial.
In game one, Newbee put a hard fight, being ahead both in hero kills and networth. After 15 minutes, the team led by Johan 'pieliedie' Åström only lost one of their heroes, but OG didn't give up and edged out an advantage. Somehow, one got the impression that OG were merely playing with their opponents, as they started to style one them by diving deep into Newbee's base.
After this Newbee didn't know how to handle OG. Especially Topias 'Topson' Taavitsainen's Bristleback, whom he played for the first time in an official match, became too much of an obstacle. The Finn kept on dominating his enemies and ended the game by diving into the Radiant safe area for a second time.
In game two, OG built up an advantage early on. This time there was no questions about them being the favourite in this match-up. While Topson was again the kill leader on Monkey King (17/2/13), Anathan 'ana' Pham played a perfect game on Juggernaut (12/0/10). Newbee couldn't challenge OG's might and had to concede another loss after 35 minutes.
Secret and EG deliver best series yet
The EG and Secret's rematch of The International 2018 promised to be one of the most exciting series of the tournament yet, and it surely did not disappoint. Game one started clearly in favour of the geniuses. The whole team played a magnificent game, working as one unit.
Gustav 's4' Magnusson knew exactly when to enage on his Centaur, Artour 'Arteezy' Babaev's Sven slashed through their enemies and Sumail 'SumaiL' Syed Hassan's Leshrac was a blast to watch.
Team Secret just couldn't find the kills for a comeback. From minute 34 they tried to fight EG five minutes straight, but they were outplayed time and again and their buybacks didn't bring them any value – Evil Geniuses almost made it look easy. After 48 minutes Secret had to call 'GG'.
In game two, Evil Geniuses looked extremely dominant again. They accumulated more networth for almost the entire game, picked off heroes here and there and gave their opponents a hard time. After 47 minutes, it looked like EG was taking the series 2-0 when Michał 'Nisha' Jankowski pulled off a miraculous Chronosphere with his Faceless Void which was followed up by a great Black Hole from Ludwig 'zai' Wåhlberg:
This slaughter brought Team Secret back on track and allowed them to break EG's dominance. The game still wasn't over though. EG posed a threat to Secret's tournament life that was to be respected. But then, zai made the play that probably won Secret the game: in the final fight he cancelled his Black Hole, refreshed his BKB to dodge Tidehunter's Ravage, only to land the game-ending Black Hole thereafter.
Team Secret maintained their great shape in game three as well. Altough both teams scored five kills each after around ten minutes, the best team of the season had a considerable networth lead. Evil Geniuses did a good job dodging fatal teamfights though and tried to claw their way back into the game. Scenes such as these were therefore a rare occurence in the first half of the game:
Team Secret had problems to play out their advantage because Evil Geniuses committed to an very elusive playstyle. That way, the American squad could pick their own fights and slowly but surely stage a comeback. Clement 'Puppey' Ivanov didn't have an answer to stop EG and began losing fight after fight.
Eventually, Team Secret lost patience when their opponents were knocking on their door and tried to break out. This turned out to be a mistake, the geniuses obliterated Nisha and co. and charged for the killing blow to close out the series 2-1.
With these results, we are going to see another rematch of TI8: OG and Evil Geniuses met in the Upper Bracket semi-finals last year. Will we see another victory of OG or will EG have the upper hand this time?
What was your highlight in the Upper Bracket today?
Photo credit: Valve