With the group stage of the Arlington Major concluded, fans can see how teams are faring. The major started off with a stumble, with many teams denied multiple visas. With numerous substitutes filling the gaps, teams found themselves in uncertain territory. While the major is far from over, fans can now tell how well the substitutes fit.
Fnatic was one of the teams most affected by visa issues. With three of their five players missing, they entered the major with more substitutes than main players. This may have actually worked partially in their favor though. With three TSM substitutes, they had a group of substitutes who already knew how to work together. Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong, the team captain, and Djardel “DJ” Mampusti played in the same lane, meaning they could still coordinate. Although they had most of their team replaced, their ability to coordinate wasn’t impacted as much as some. When the group stage concluded, Fnatic found themselves in fourth place, meaning they will go to the upper bracket.
Thunder Awaken also managed to handle the issues well. Despite their delayed visas, they were able to play the first day with only one substitute. Gonzalo “Darkmago” Herrera was the one player denied a visa, and thus was unable to play in the major. However, despite bouncing back, they didn’t fare well in the group stage. In eighth place, they were unfortunately eliminated at the end of the group stage. While needing a substitute clearly messed with their plans, there are likely many other factors at play.
The group stage of the Arlington Major was the make-or-break point for many teams. Even though most teams weren’t hit as hard as Fnatic or Thunder Awaken, they still had issues. Talon Esports only lost one player, Worawit “Q” Mekchai, but they still tanked in the group stage. In fact, they had the same score as Thunder Awaken, 5-11, putting them in seventh place. Like Thunder Awaken, they were also eliminated at the end of the group stage.
While Royal Never Give Up was also down a player, they were expected to perform well. That’s because their substitute was Anathan “ana” Pham, a player with two International wins under his belt. However, they wound up in fifth place with eight wins and eight losses. While they weren’t eliminated like Thunder Awaken and Talon, they went to the lower bracket.
Entity was also expected to perform well, and unlike RNG they pulled it off. Their carry Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko ended up being benched, and his substitute was Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek. This replacement didn’t seem to hamper Entity too much, and they ended the group stage 9-5. Unlike the other teams with substitutes, they were in Group B rather than Group A.
With the group stage now concluded, teams in the upper bracket are playing their quarterfinals. Group B’s number one team was Team Aster, with ten wins to only four losses. However, Group A’s number one team was PSG.LGD, with an incredible fifteen wins and only one loss. They had a strong performance throughout the DPC this year, and are the team to beat in this major.
Fnatic is also an interesting team to watch. Though most of their current lineup is substitutes, their performance has been strong. It’s safe to assume that their coordination will only improve as the major carries on. If things go right, they likely have a shot at winning the major.
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