Shanghai Dragons finally breathe fire
Regarded by many as the joke of the inaugural Overwatch World League, the Shanghai Dragons finally claimed that first ever OWL victory. In doing so, they lifted themselves from the bottom of both the Pacific Division and the league standings.
After losing to both Hangzhou Spark and Vancouver Titans in the opening week, Shanghai faced Boston Uprising in the second week of matches. Despite their underdog status, the Chinese team dominated the game. They won the first match 2-0 on Ilios before securing narrow 4-3 and 5-4 victories on King’s Row and Horizon Lunar Colony maps.
The 43rd time is the charm as they say. It should be pointed out that the roster for the Dragons changed a great deal from their 0-40 start in the OWL. Only three players from that original roster remain. It now boasts a number of talented South Korean players, including Gamsu, a former Boston player.
It remains to be seen whether this is the rebirth of the Shanghai Dragons as a genuine OWL contender or simply a freak result. We’ll be watching closely.
Team Liquid Claim Top Prize at MDL Macau 2019
The MDL Macau 2019 may no longer be part of the Dota Pro Circuit this year, but it is still a top competition. Now part of the Mars Dota 2 League series, the tournament boasted a strong field of eight teams, including two Chinese qualifiers and the winner of the Dota Pro League Season 6.
- Directly Invited Teams – Newbee, Virtus.pro, Vici Gaming, Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses
- DPL Season 6 Winner – EHOME
- China Qualifiers – Royal Never Give Up, Invictus Gaming
The opening group phase was a round-robin. It proved a hugely exciting and evenly matched contest with just three wins separating the top team from the bottom. Team Liquid finished as the top seeds with the only 5-2 record in this stage.
Four teams had 4-3 records, with Newbee being the unfortunate entry not to land one of the three remaining seeded spots. Vici Gaming, Evil Geniuses, and Royal Never Give Up claimed those. Invictus Gaming finished sixth at 3-4, with Virtus.pro and EHOME 7th and 8th at 2-5.
The playoffs weren’t quite as exciting. In the Upper Bracket, Team Liquid dominated. They won their first-round match 2-0 against Royal Never Give Up and followed that up with another 2-0 victory over Evil Geniuses to steamroll their way into the Grand Final.
There, they would once again lock horns with the Evil Geniuses, taking the opening two maps in style before Evil Geniuses landed the third. However, a strong showing on the fourth ensured a 3-1 victory for Team Liquid. They took home the $135,000 top prize, with Evil Geniuses pocketing $60,000 for their runner-up finish.
The next MDL event is the Changsha Major in May. It is part of the Dota Pro Circuit and will feature 12 of the best Dota 2 teams in the world, including the winners of The International 2018, OG.
Team Secret land ESL One 2019 win in Katowice
The second ESL One in Katowice proved to be a highlight in a busy esports week.
The group stage saw the teams split into two groups of six. Clear winners emerged in each: Team Secret (9-1) in Group A and Fnatic (8-2) in B. Gambit Esports (7-3) and Ninjas in Pyjamas (6-4) narrowly claimed the No. 2 seeds.
The playoffs were the story of two teams. In the Upper Bracket, Team Secret produced two superb 2-0 victories against Ninjas in Pyjamas and Gambit Esports to clinch a spot in the Grand Final.
In the Lower Bracket, The International 2018 Champions OG showed their class. They beat Team Aster, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and then Fnatic to clinch a spot in the Lower Bracket Final. Then, however, their good luck ran out. Gambit Esports landed a 2-0 win to earn a second shot at Team Liquid.
That contest proved one-sided, however: Team Secret won the opening three maps to decide the best-of-five match up in under two hours. They pocketed the top prize of $125,000 too.
The next ESL One event will take place on April 19-21 in Mumbai.
Image credit: PressFocus/MB Media / Contributor / Getty Images