Our review of the weekend’s esports action begins at the Esports Championship Series Season 5 Finals. They took place at the SSE Arena in London. Eight teams, four apiece from European and North American qualifying sections, competed for the right to be ECS Season 5 Champions and claim the $250,000 top prize.
New formats in the ECS
The tournament was the first to feature a new “group draw” format, which saw the teams themselves allocate each other into groups. The top seeds, Astralis from European qualifying and NRG Esports from North American qualifying, were the two group heads. They then selected another squad to go into the other team’s group.
This saw Astralis place FaZe Clan in Group B, with NRG Esports placing Fnatic into Group A. Then, the picks moved onto the two teams just allocated. In turn, FaZe Clan placed Team Liquid in Group A, while Fnatic placed G2 Esports in Group B. Finally, G2 Esports placed Cloud9 into Group A, leaving Luminosity Gaming to head into Group B.
Group phase games
In Group A, Astralis once again dominated, continuing the team’s excellent performance from the qualifying rounds. They were pushed in the opening match against Cloud9, which they won 16-13. Then, in the Winner’s Match against Team Liquid, (who defeated Fnatic 16-14 in their first game), the Danish team came out comfortable 16-6 winners.
That left Cloud9 and Fnatic facing each other in a best-of-three Elimination Match. This proved to be the best encounter in Group A with Cloud9 taking the opening game before Fnatic bounced back to win the last two games to win in dramatic fashion.
Fnatic’s joy at making the Decider Match in Group A was short-lived. In that matchup, Team Liquid ran out comfortable 2-0 winners (16-5, 16-13) to claim the second spot in the playoffs from Group A.
Things were a little more clear-cut in Group B. The opening two games resulted in thumping wins for NRG Esports and FaZe Clan, following the form book. NRG defeated G2 Esports 16-4, with FaZe Clan running out 16-1 winners over Luminosity Gaming.
In the Winner’s Match, NRG Esports claimed the win with a 16-8 win, sending FaZe Clan into the Decider. There they would meet G2 Esports, who defeated Luminosity Gaming 2-0 in the Elimination Match to progress.
The Decider was a one-sided affair: FaZe Clan won 2-0 (16-9, 16-10) to earn a playoff spot, where they would renew their rivalry with fellow European team Astralis.
NRG Esports began the playoffs as one of the favourites. But there was a huge shock in the first semifinal as Team Liquid, the third-seed American team, defeated the top seeded NRG 2-0 in relatively comfortable fashion (16-6, 16-8) to earn a surprise spot in the final.
The second semi was arguably the most eagerly awaited contest of the tournament. After a superb first game, Astralis cruised to a 2-0 sweep. A fabulous comeback victory on Train (16-14) was the catalyst for the victory.
Now, some feared the final would be a mismatch with Team Liquid expected to be heavily outgunned by Astralis. However, while Astralis took the title 2-0, Team Liquid acquitted themselves well, only going down 16-14 in a tight opening game on Mirage, before losing 16-11 on Dust.
Astralis’ Nicolai “device” Reedtz was the HLTV.org and Betway MVP of the tournament, the second time he has won the title after landing it in Series 2 as well.
Astralis are missing the ESL One: Belo Horizonte 2018 event later this week to take time between tournaments to recover, but the team will be back in action at the next ESL One event after Belo Horizonte, starting in Cologne on July 3.
Team Liquid slickly claim the China Dota 2 Supermajor
The final tournament of the Dota Pro Circuit schedule is now in the bag. Team Liquid are celebrating a bumper payday after conquering the China Dota 2 Supermajor.
The final tournament offered up the most DPC points of any tournament of the season (2,250), as well as a massive $1,500,000 prize pool. Going into the tournament, there was essentially still one place in the top eight still up for grabs, although it would have taken an unusual set of results to see the rankings shift.
The opening rounds
After battling through the first group stage, eight teams made it into the Main Event Upper Bracket. The remaining eight teams had one final chance of glory in the win-or-you’re-out Lower Bracket.
In terms of the top eight places, the crucial games in the Main Event saw both VGJ Storm and VGJ Thunder eliminated in the Lower Bracket Round 2, ending the former’s hopes of qualification to The International via the DPC.
Then, Optic Gaming put up a strong fight to reach the Lower Bracket Round 4, but they too fell at that hurdle, going down 2-0 to Virtus.pro. Those results ensured that VGJ.Thunder held onto eighth place in the table.
The Grand Final pitted Upper Bracket winners Team Liquid (who surprisingly defeated PSG.LGD in the Upper Bracket Final) against Virtus.pro.
In terms of the DPC, it was top seed Virtus.pro against the third seed Team Liquid. Yet at this tournament, Team Liquid were in the better form, and they produced a strong performance in the final. Liquid took the lead 1-0 and then 2-1, but each time Virtus.pro clawed back.
In the third and final game, Team Liquid claimed the win to earn the top prize of $555,000 and a total of 1,125 Dota Pro Circuit points — enough points for them to leapfrog PSG.LGD to finish second in the DPC behind Virtus.pro.
The eight DPC qualifiers for The International 2018
The eight teams that have earned DPC qualification to The International 2018 are confirmed:
- Team Liquid
- Team Secret
- Vici Gaming
These qualifying teams will play against 10 others, who will come from a series of qualifiers around the globe during the coming months. They will then play for the biggest prize in esports at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver starting Aug. 15.