Gfreak's Peek: Predictions for Day 1 of the ESL One: Birmingham Major

Vignesh Raghuram

23rd, May, 2018
Image Courtesy: ESL

The next event on the DPC ladder, ESL One: Birmingham is all set to kick off later today. It marks the second-to-last Major of the first Dota Pro Circuit season, as well as one of the last two remaining chances for teams to earn enough points to get a direct invite to TI8.

The MDL Changsha Major saw us correctly predict 10 out of 12 matches, with us scoring 43.5/50 points. Some people in the community wanted to know why we don’t bet all 25 on one guaranteed win. For one, going 'all-in' is never really a wise choice in gambling/predicting stuff. The other is the ‘Time Traveller’ achievement in the Battle Pass, Valve wants us to correctly predict 50 matches in the Pro Circuit/TI to unlock it. Hence we predict as many as we can.

The tournament format is more than a little unique for a Major with half the teams being eliminated in the group stage followed by a single elimination 8 man bracket. With the groups already drawn let's get into who I believe will come out on top on Day 1 of the ESL One: Birmingham


The predictions for this event are going to be a little bit iffy considering the fact that the event only has 24 series. This time the group stages will be played in a GSL Format with the opening game being a BO1 and the rest of the games being BO3s.
Fnatic vs Evil Geniuses

This is one of the closest matchups of the day. Both Fnatic and EG have shown us flashes of brilliance but have failed to sustain it in the longer run. Coming into this tournament, Fnatic has a bit of an edge with respect to form considering their 7 straight wins in the Group Stages of MDL Changsha Major. Their elimination came in the hands of VGj.Storm who just showed us that they are one of the best teams in the world at the moment.

Evil Geniuses historically has always done well against EternaLEnVy’s teams but they didn’t show much promise in their last tournament – GESC: Thailand. I just don’t see the NA team beating Fnatic unless there is a drastic improvement in drafts and playstyle.

My Advice: 2 Tokens on Fnatic
Virtus.Pro vs Team Spirit

New age Virtus.Pro vs Classic Virtus.Pro – this potential matchup has had many fans salivating at the possibilities.

In theory, Virtus.Pro has the edge in all aspects: Teamfight Co-ordination, Drafts, and quietly frankly the better players. They are easily one of the top teams in the world whereas Team Spirit are barely perceived as a Tier 3 team. However, this is a BO1 matchup which makes me kind of hesitant on spending more tokens.

My Advice: 4 tokens on VP
Team Liquid vs paiN Gaming

The same goes for Team Liquid. They are still one of the best teams out there and managed to secure an invite for TI8 despite never winning a major. A testament to their consistent supremacy.

While paiN Gaming have improved leaps and bounds after their pickup of W33ha, I just don’t see them beating Team Liquid, even in a BO1

My Advice: 4 Tokens on Team Liquid
OG vs Vici Gaming

I just won’t ever bet on BO1 OG games. They are way too hit and miss with their drafts/play that makes their matches quite difficult to bet on. Add the fact that Vici Gaming had a rollercoaster of a performance at the MDL: Changsha Major. You basically have a dud game.

I think that if both teams play at their fullest potential VG have the edge, but I’d be cautious about placing a bet.

My Advice: Abstain
Newbee vs OpTic Gaming

It’s the same story for Newbee. One day, they are 1 crit away from losing to a low tier team like Invictus Gaming. The other day, they 2-0 a team like Mineski. We just don’t know which Newbee will show up at this major.

OpTic Gaming, on the other hand, come into this event where nothing short of a win can put them into the top 8 of the DPC. Their last appearance in the DPC saw them winning a Minor, they’ll try their earnest to win this match against Newbee and will succeed if Newbee brings anything but their best to the table.

I think OpTic have the edge, but a Newbee win shouldn’t really be too surprising considering the circumstances.

My Advice: Abstain
Mineski vs LFY

Last time I had Mineski winning in my predictions, they sorely disappointed me. But that was ‘Newbee’, this is LFY whose biggest performance this season has been winning a Chinese Qualifier for this tournament. Ahfu and company look like they’ve lost their Midas touch which saw them rise above almost every other team in TI7.

Mineski, while disappointing in the MDL Changsha Major, did put up several solid showings against Team Secret, and Vici Gaming. Mineski’s individual skill should see them secure the win against LFY in their opening match.

My Advice: 3 Tokens on Mineski


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