Alliance, the TI3 winners, are perhaps the best known team in this group and the biggest contestant for the throne coming from the EU region. After winning The Nanyang Championship, they won the Starladder i-League and proved to themselves and others that their mojo was back.
Team Spirit comes into this major as underdogs on paper, being the relatively new team. Despite all odds however, they recently came 2nd in the EU major qualifiers. Eliminating some high profile targets such as Vega Squadron and Team Empire on their way to defeating Team Liquid in the finals, they seem to be the perfect mix of balance between young and old. RAMZES666 is one of the best young carries out there, Iceberg had an amazing run in the qualifiers and was crowned MVP. Combined with Goblak, ALWAYSWANNAFLY, and AfterLife, they pose a huge threat to the top dogs.
Fnatic is a team that has undergone so many roster changes since they moved to the SEA region, with Mushi and Ohaiyo the only constant in their forming. They have sought their team spirit during that time, and they may have found it. Fnatic has been inconsistent in terms of results, so it’s hard to say how they will do here in Shanghai.
Vici Gaming consists of the classic carry BurNing, mid Super, offlaner iceiceice and support duo fy and Fenrir. They always find themselves finishing 4th-6th place in so many of their tournaments, unable to make the top 3. Vici Gaming’s captain fy, may need to find some pocket strategies for them that will see them go to the podium this time, especially in front of their home crowd.
GROUP B RECAP
Alliance 2:0 Team Spirit
Alliance once again proved themselves to be the kings of this patch by quickly dismembering Team Spirit. Their team play, drafting to have the constant pressure and the upper hand against the enemy team has paid dividends. Having their support players, Akke and EGM constantly rotate around and help find kills in both of the games, Team Spirit had simply no way to respond to that. They weren’t such easy games for the Swedes, but by having the complete map advantage, there was no other way but victory for Alliance as they advanced to the Winner’s match.
Fnatic 2:1 Vici Gaming
As like in day one, we see a Chinese team playing uncharacteristically bad compared to their usual level of play. Fnatic took Vici Gaming’s scalp in a three game battle. DJ had three very good Chen games, constantly moving around the map and setting up kills for their core players. Especially in the last game, Fnatic showed us what they can do, giving away only three kills to the side of Vici gaming, who dropped to the Loser’s Match.
Team Spirit 2:0 Vici Gaming
Team Spirit’s team spirit didn’t falter after the 2:0 loss to Alliance. On the contrary, they thrashed Vici Gaming in two very one-sided matches, where Vici Gaming was again unable to find any kills to their side. Game two was especially painful, as they brought out the Alchemist on Super, hoping that he would give them the advantage they needed to beat the CIS team. ALWAYSWANNAFLY had two amazing games on Io, keeping their heroes alive just enough to have the whole team come and join the fight and relocating all over the place and securing easy kills for Iceberg or RAMZES666. This resulted in all three Chinese teams immediately going to the lower bracket, where they will have a hard time going all the way.
Alliance 2:0 Fnatic
As all of us expected, the Alliance took this one 2:0. What we didn’t expect was that Alliance would broaden their hero pool in a way that none of us expected it. In the four games that they played today, they picked a whopping 19 different heroes for themselves, with Beastmaster being the only reoccurring pick. They have responded brilliantly to all those that said that their playstyle is stale, and that they choose the same heroes through all of their games.
Although Fnatic had tried to replicate MVP’s Leshrac plays in game one, it was clear why the hero is out of meta, with Mushi being 0-10 at the end of the game. The second game also went to the Swedish side, with AdmiralBulldog netting 16 kills as Weaver offlane, destroying Fnatic and making them drop down to the decider match against Team Spirit.
Team Spirit 1:1 Fnatic
This was a matchup that had to go three games. The first game went to Team Spirit, where Iceberg’s Outworld Devourer stomped Fnatic with 24 kills and 13 assists, possibly already setting up a record in kills for the tournament. Team Spirit didn’t do so well in the second game however, where MidOne’s Outworld Devourer netted 8 kills for himself. That wasn’t as impressive as the Ohaiyo’s Phoenix play in game two however, that would leave Team Spirit without any chance to get back into the game and leave us waiting for a 3rd match.
Fnatic took Team Spirit’s lanes in 20 minutes, punishing slower and more mid to late game oriented heroes that were picked up by Goblak. Again, Fnatic picked Outworld Devourer, this time for MuShi as a safelane carry. The severity of Team Spirit’s situation was clearly depicted in AfterLife picking a Ghost Scepter, a very defensive item, for his Faceless Void. Making it only the 3rd time in competitive Dota 2 that the item had ever been chosen. Numerically, everything was going well for Fnatic but RAMZES666’s Ember Spirit didn’t let Team Spirit fall down so easily. In the end, Fnatic won and this was their first upper bracket seed as an organisation since 2012 .
The second day has brought the Chinese teams down into the lower bracket, while Fnatic and Team Spirit both showed extreme fighting spirit in their matches and were really similar in skill to each other. Tomorrow will give us Group C, consisting of the last two Chinese teams (LGD Gaming and Newbee), OG (The Frankfurt Major winners), and Team Archon from the United States.