The group stages of the Epicenter XL Major has finally come to a close, After five long days of group stage matches with exciting matches and some very surprising results, the playoff teams have been set. 4 teams were sent home packing after their bottom 2 finishes in each group. These unfortunate teams never saw the main stage, just $15,000 of the $1,000,000 prize pool and no DPC points.
Day 4 of the tournament saw Team Empire, Newbee, and compLexity Gaming exit the tournament. Today a showdown between Na’vi and paiN Gaming would decide who will go through to the next stage of the tournament. On the other half of the table, Team Secret took on Virtus.Pro. A win for Team Secret would push the group toward a tie-breaker situation.
Let us take you through who made it to the playoffs, who escaped the fury of BO1 eliminations and who amongst Na’vi and paiN survived?
Team Empire vs FlyToMoon
gg wp FTM— Team Empire (@team_empire) May 2, 2018
we end this tournament with 0-5 score in the groupstage
Although Team Empire had nothing left to play for, except for maybe pride. They delivered in their final group stage matchup stretching it to a full three-game series against FlyToMoon. The first match went to FlyToMoon as the new CIS powerhouse was able to pull out a 30-minute win going 1-0 in the series. Game 2, however, went the way of Team Empire who put up quite the fight and closed it out in 51 minutes. Game 3 saw Alexey "nongrata" Vasilev have a near flawless game in the offlane on clockwerk giving FlyToMoon the much-needed edge to secure the series 2-1.
Team Liquid vs Mineski
This matchup was merely a formality, with neither Team Liquid nor Mineski looking like they were taking this quite seriously. But Team Liquid gave the SEA team’s no easy games as they cleaned up the series 2-0. The series even saw a rare Meepo appearance courtesy Anucha "Jabz" Jirawong, but the cheese pick was not enough for Mineski to win against Matumbaman’s farmed Phantom Lancer. Team Liquid confirmed their undefeated 1st place standing in Group A and move through to the Upper Bracket of the main event.
0-2 lose against team liquid! But our journey to Epicenter is not yet over, Playoffs will start on May 4th! Details and schedule will be posted tomorrow.! pic.twitter.com/v62NE3UV3A— Mineski Pro Team (@MineskiProTeam) May 2, 2018
PSG.LGD vs coL
This series too was a mere formality without any effect on the group tables. But both teams didn’t let that stop them from trying their earnest in their group stage matchup. A back-and-forth game 1 saw PSG.LGD close it out in 34 minutes with a huge teamwipe. Game 2 saw coL try to go out on a high, but DAC 2018 runner-ups took control of the game in the opening few minutes and leaving compLexity gaming in the dust and closed out the series and the group with a 2-0 victory.
Newbee vs OG
Newbee must be kicking themselves for their loss against paiN Gaming as that proved to be the nail in the coffin which sent them packing. With their surprise elimination earlier yesterday, they seemed determined to prove that they hadn’t lost their mojo and took on OG. The Europeans took the first game with ease with more at stake than their Chinese opponents. Newbee bounced back with a reverse sweep, crushing the Europeans in the next 2 matches with sub 30-minute victories. OG's loss ultimately hurt their first place seeding but was still able to grab the second place and a spot in the upper brackets of the main event.
paiN Gaming vs Na’vi
This was it, the most crucial and hyped matchup of the final day of the group stages. paiN Gaming and Natus Vincere were under immense pressure. The winner of this series will move on to the playoffs, the loser unceremoniously eliminated.
In the first game of the series, Natus Vincere were the ones with the early lead but a fight around an early Rosh attempt by Na`Vi pushed the game in paiN's hands. Na’vi committed several buybacks to secure a rosh which allowed paiN to close down the net worth lead that had opened up. William “hFn” Medeiros on his stacked Luna just overwhelmed the CIS team with the 2nd Aegis which saw paiN take the win in just over 32 minutes.
Na`Vi changed up their draft for the second game, drafting a Medusa to stretch the match to a 3-game series but paiN kept what worked. They drafted a heavy push-centric physical damage lineup with a Luna-Vengeful Spirit combo. Na’vi was just not able to match the pace/sheer physical damage output offered by the Brazillians and ended up rolling over in just 23 minutes.
This will be the first ever, playoff qualification for an SA team in a Major this season. Unfortunately, paiN Gaming will not receive any DPC points even if they finish in the top of this major. Thanks to their roster swap, which saw Aliwi "w33" Omar replace Gabriel “Rayuur” Pinheiro mid-season.
This certainly is a huge disappointment for Na'vi and their fans after all the promise they showed earlier in the event. Perhaps the "Na'vi is back" statements were made a bit too soon?
Team Secret vs Virtus.Pro
Virtus.pro took down Team Secret in a heavily one-sided affair. Although they risked losing their lead at some points mostly in crucial highground sieges, the CIS powerhouse maintained their composure and stronghold until the end to secure their place in the playoffs. Roman "RAMZES666" Kushnarev was easily the MVP of Virtus.Pro in both games. His farming patterns and map movements were key for Virtus Pro to close out the series 2-0.
With Group Stages at EPICENTER now completed, everything is set for the playoffs which begin on Friday. The Lower Bracket games open with FlyToMoon going up against paiN Gaming and Mineski going up against Team Secret, in BO1 elimination matchups. The Upper Bracket will see Team Liquid take on OG and VP go up against PSG.LGD, where the losing teams will fall into the lower bracket.
Can Mineski pull off a VP esque run from the lower brackets after their disastrous starts to their Epicenter campaign? If not, who will be crowned as the Epicenter champions? We’ll have a better idea on May 5th when the group stages resume.