The International 2017 has finally, finally begun and naturally, it has graced the world with a whole lot of high-quality Dota 2 action. Here are the group stages standings after Day 1:
Of course, the stats don’t tell the whole story of what happened. Here are some of the highlights (and lowlights) of TI7 so far!
Breakout Day for LGD Gaming
LGD Gaming may have just barely squeaked into TI7 as the third-place winner in the Chinese qualifier...but you wouldn’t have known judging from their performance on Day 1. The group led by Yao Zhengzheng posted the best record of the day, earning a perfect six points through three series.
The strength of competition wasn’t especially high, of course. Their three series came against Team Secret, Team Empire and Fnatic who went a combined 4-14 (4-8 outside their series with LGD) on Day 1. Still, they established themselves as one of the top teams to watch at TI7 and if they can take wins off of Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid, they may just establish themselves as the favorite to win it all.
Pugna Stands Tall
The Dota 2 metagame always gets blown up at The International and this year, it looks like Pugna is the hero with his hands on the plunger.
After OG skunked Cloud9 with Johan "N0tail" Sundstein’s core Pugna, LGD.Forever Young gave mid Pugna a whirl with Xie "Super" Junhao. Both games ended victory and that was all that was needed for the Nether Mage to become go-to pick material. Even as the sample size grew, Pugna remained a surprisingly dominant force and helped multiple teams (including Evil Geniuses and Execration) complete high-ground objectives inside 15 minutes.
Teams wised up as the day went on, but look for this little guy to be a force throughout the event.
Cloud9(th Place in Group B?)
Team NP’s run from May through June teased that Jacky "EternaLEnVy" Mao’s pet project may be a world-class elite organization. Strong showings at the Manila Masters and ZOTAC Cup set them up for a first-place finish in the TI7 North America qualifiers and suggested that addition of Adrian "FATA-" Trinks and Johan "pieliedie" Astrom had pushed them past “good North American team” status.
It looked like the newly minted Cloud9 was poised for a strong run at TI7...and then the first day of the group stages happened.
Facing OG and Newbee, the (other) boys in blue got skunked again and again, en route to an ugly 0-4 record. There were no asterisks. There were no moral victories.
While there’s little shame in losing to OG and Newbee (and while they are teams that have consistently gotten the better of this group), this was a damning display of where they actually stand against the world’s elite teams. There is still time for them to right their path, but another day like this could put their run spot in the main event in jeopardy.
Is TnC SEA’s Only Hope?
Southeast Asia swings back and forth from being one of the best regions in Dota 2 and, well, not being very good at all. Day 1 of the group stages gave fans a taste of both ends of that spectrum, as TnC Gaming surged to a 3-1 record while Execration and Fnatic went a combined 1-9.
Two of TnC’s wins came over Fnatic, but in their other series of the day, they went 1-1 against possible tournament favorites Evil Geniuses and posted a strong performance in defeat. While they don’t vault into the “favorite to win” discussion, they looked the part of a team that can hang with the world’s best and might be able to make a run into the top four.
On the flipside were Fnatic and Execration.
While both were looked at as potential breakout stars at TI7, both struggled against all comers. Fnatic went 0-6 against TnC, Team Liquid and LGD Gaming and rarely looked competitive. Execration, meanwhile, went 1-3. Though the Filipino squad scored a sneaky win over Virtus.Pro with a pocket Pugna pick, it dropped two to LGD.Forever Young.
Again, the group stages are far from over but it looks like both of these squads might be in for a long week.