Being a China year this year at The International 8, it is wise to focus more heavily on their performance in the group stage. And although there was only one Chinese team that secured an upper bracket spot, anything can happen on the main stage. And despite the fact that PSG.LGD was the only upper bracket Chinese team, China’s overall performance at the tournament was not horrible. In fact, Group B, which hosted three Chinese teams, was highly contested. Two Chinese teams were tied at 7-9 and one at 8-8, and if the latter team, Newbee, won their tie breaker, they would have secured an upper bracket spot.
PSG.LGD earned a winners bracket spot by securing third place in their group. On day one they seemed to be testing different drafts and gauging how effective they were. They also tied each of their series showing their strength despite using experimental drafts. The only series they lost 2-0 in the group stage was on day 2 to EG. This is not surprising considering EG command the first spot in the group. On days 3 and 4 they demonstrated they are a top tier team by winning all of their series 2-0. Ultimately this performance was expected of PSG.LGD. It will be exciting to see if their final days of group stage matches will bring momentum going into the main event.
Unlike PSG.LGD, Vici Gaming came into the group stage with very poor matches. They ended day 1 losing both of their series 2-0 and having an overall score of 0-4. On day 2 they showed that they deserved to be at the tournament by winning their series against Newbee 2-0. They also managed to win one game from each of their other series for much needed points. Unfortunately inconsistency got the best of them going into days 3 and 4. Although they managed to 2-0 VP, Vici lost or tied the rest of their series against much weaker teams. This goes to show that teams have specific strengths and weaknesses. Even though Vici was able to take games off of VP, arguably the strongest team at the tournament, they lose to weaker teams like TNC.
Newbee has a very unfortunate scenario following the group stage. They lost their tiebreaker to OpTiC Gaming, so despite being 8-8 for the entire stage, they ended up in the lower bracket. Two other teams in their group, Secret and OpTiC, managed to secure an upper bracket spot with the same overall score. They appeared dominant on day 1, finishing tied for second to VP. But that dominance was clearly a fluke going into subsequent days. Although they did not play horribly, they were barely scraping by. However, they produced some fun games and strategies throughout the group stage, even succeeding in a level one Roshan attempt. Hopefully they will prove that they were deserving of an upper bracket spot at the main event, but only time will tell.
VGJ.Thunder was a promising team coming into the group stage, but had a reality check on day one. They did play some of the best teams in their group on that day though. Day two looked a little better but again the wins they earned were off of Winstrike, which following day 4 was tied for the elimination spot. Day three was more of the same beating the eliminated Invictus Gaming but losing to the stronger OG. And finally, they spent their last day losing to Team Liquid, TI7 champions. Although they had a very weak performance in the group stage they are still in the tournament, so they still have a chance to impress.
Team Serenity are the biggest underdogs in the tournament. They secured their ticket to The International by playing through the qualifiers. But they secured their ticket to the qualifiers through the open qualifiers. And despite being written off as a team of pubstars, Team Serenity has shown that they are a threat. Not only are they performing above expectations, they are also entertaining to watch. Unconventional drafts and builds coupled with wild plays made some of the most exciting series in the group stages. Although they are in the lower bracket they can definitely threaten strong teams placed against them in the first round best of one series.
Invictus Gaming came into the tournament through the regional qualifiers just like Team Serenity. However, they have a much more somber story, one of the two teams already sent home from The International. Although they stormed out of the gates taking a game off of the power house EG, they did not see their success continue. Until day three they had hope with a score of 4-6, but it all fell apart. They lost all three of their series 2-0 and ended the day 4-12. This put them in a position where they did not play any games on day 4 and needed to rely on other teams’ performances to determine their fate. IG was given a chance in a tiebreaker against Winstrike, who had the same score as them, but were unfortunately sent home. This marks a very important moment in the history of IG as an organization because it shows how weak they have become.
Featured image courtesy of Valve
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