It’s been a big week in esports. Let’s begin with the big news from the OWL.
Vancouver Titans confirm top-seed status in OWL Stage 1 Playoffs
Expectations soared that OWL expansion team Vancouver Titans would go deep in their first venture into the playoffs. After going 7-0 in the regular season and earning the top seed, Vancouver began their quest for the $200,000 top prize against Boston Uprising. They demolished their New England opponents in the quarterfinals with a comprehensive 3-0 victory.
In the semifinals, the Seoul Dynasty lay in wait. They had stunned everybody by defeating New York Excelsior in the quarterfinals 3-1. Despite that win, Vancouver started as the clear favorites to reach the final. Spoiler: they did just that, winning the best-of-seven contest 4-0.
In the final, the Titans met another in-form team in the San Francisco Shock. They had come through their quarter and semifinals in equally dominant style. What a final it proved to be, too, with the game ebbing and flowing. Each map was won by no more than a single point. The final began with the Shock defeating the Titans on Nepal 2-1, before the Titans bounced back to earn a 1-0 win on Numbani.
Temple of Anubis was next up on the maps. There, the Shock retook the lead with a dramatic 4-3 win. But on the next map, Dorado, the Titans once again answered with a 2-1 victory. Then, a 2-1 win on Ilios put the Shock just one win away from lifting the title, but Vancouver then seemed to move into another gear. And after a 3-2 win on King’s Row to level matters, the Titans claimed the win with a superb 4-3 victory on Rialto.
The win ensures the Titans move into the second stage of the season still unbeaten and $200,000 better off. San Francisco Shock pocketed $100,000 with the No. 3 and 4 teams, Seoul and Philadelphia, both earning $50,000.
There’s not too long to wait before Stage 2 of the OWL begins. The first games in the new stage start April 4.
Veni Vidi Vici Gaming land DreamLeague Season 11 crown
The third major of the Dota Pro Circuit season is now in the bag. It proved a memorable one for Chinese team Vici Gaming. They came, saw, and conquered the opposition in Sweden over 11 days of action, culminating in them pocketing the $350,000 top prize and, perhaps of more importance, 4,950 Dota Pro Circuit points.
With all the top Dota 2 teams in action, the DreamLeague Season 11 promised to be a real test. Vici Gaming could only qualify as the No. 2 seed in Group D, but that was enough for them to avoid dropping into the lower bracket. Instead, they faced Team Secret in their opening game and surprised many by earning a 2-1 victory. They then moved on and repeated that trick in the semifinals against PSG.LGD. Then, in the Upper Bracket Final, they defeated Fnatic by the same scoreline.
In the final, they came upon Virtus.pro, who started the final as the favourites after having bounced back from a shock defeat to Fnatic in the Upper Bracket Round 1 to make their way through several lower bracket games to reach the Grand Final. The final proved to be a classic encounter and twice saw Vici Gaming take the lead only for Virtus.pro to strike back and level the game. A fifth and final map was required to decide the winner. At that point, Vici Gaming made no mistake, winning in just under 22 minutes to claim the title.
Despite losing the final, Virtus.pro cemented their top place in the DPC rankings thanks to their third top-two finish in the first three Majors of the season. Team Secret remain in second despite a poor showing in Stockholm. Vici Gaming’s victory moved them up to third in the table ahead of Evil Geniuses. Fnatic’s solid performance also saw them jump up the table into fifth.
The next two events on the DPC are the Dota PIT Minor on April 22-28 and the MDL Disneyland Major in Paris beginning May 4.
Astralis prove unbeatable again in Blast Pro Series
Last weekend, the BLAST Pro Series continued in Sao Paolo with six of the top CS:GO teams invited to participate. Ultimately, there were no surprises at this event. Danish superstars Astralis continued their dominance of the esport with yet another crushing victory.
That meant disappointment for MiBR. On home soil, they let down their fans by losing all five of their group games to finish bottom of the table.
Astralis who won all five of their matches to finish atop the group stage. That earned them a Grand Final spot against Team Liquid, who had finished second in the group stage.
Team Liquid did take the opening map, Dust II, 16-13 but that simply saw Astralis move into another gear with the Danish team winning the next two maps, Inferno and Overpass, 16-8 and 16-2 to claim another big tournament win.
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