The International 2017’s first day in Seattle’s Key Arena wrapped up and, boy, what a day it was. Upsets were aplenty in the upper bracket with major coups pulled off by Chinese teams, who dominated their western counterparts. The lower bracket, however, was an absolute heartbreaker as four teams were sent home after just one loss.
Here’s our recap of the day’s action:
Invictus Gaming Stuns Team Liquid, Takes Series 2-1
With TI7 favorites Team Liquid looking exceptional in the group stages and Invictus Gaming showing some vulnerability, many wondered if the main event curtain-jerker might be a bit of a squash match. It wasn’t. The TI7 main event kicked off with a massive, bracket-breaking upset that saw IG take out Liquid in a 2-1 series.
The first game was a dominant performance by IG. A hard-farming Ou "Op" Peng Alchemist alongside a hard-pushing Xu "BurNIng" Zhilei Lycan saw them turn the heat up early, keep it there and ultimately bowl down Liquid’s lanes.
IG tried to seal the series up in Game 2 with the exact same Lycan-Alchemist strategy. This time, however, Liquid was able to bottle up IG, keeping lanes pushed back and holding towers with Kuro "KuroKy" Takhasomi’s Ancient Apparition and Maroun "GH" Merhej’s Keeper of the Light while enabling their carries to pick up kills and, eventually, tear apart IG’s base.
The deciding game saw Liquid draft an odd group of heroes, grabbing an early Faceless Void and surrounding him with three other melee heroes. While it was easy to wonder if there was a trick up Liquid’s sleeve, their seemingly bad composition ultimately proved to be exactly that, with IG’s AOE-heavy team chewing them up in team fights consistently, en route to a dominant, match-clinching win.
It was a jarringly flimsy performance from the favorites...and it wasn’t the only upset of Day 1.
Newbee Sends Evil Geniuses to Losers Bracket with 2-0 Sweep
Monday was a good day for Chinese Dota 2. Following IG’s upset win over Liquid, Evil Geniuses found itself slapped down into the lower bracket by Newbee with an impressive, aggressive performance.
Like a football team double-covering Randy Moss, Newbee was ruthless in its pursuit of EG mid-laner Syed Sumail Hassan’s Mirana in Game 1. They counter-picked him by placing Zeng "Faith" Hongda on Disruptor, stalked him around the map and eventually turned a pickoff on Saahil "UNiVeRsE" Arora into a game-winning push on EG’s ancient.
At the beginning of Game 2, it seemed as though EG had turned the tables, taking a huge lead in experience and net worth off “wombo combos” from Enigma, Sand King and Disruptor. A few misplays, however, saw the lead swing right back to Newbee, giving them two sets of barracks and forcing multiple buybacks. EG would defend for a lengthy stretch after but ultimately fell, and were sent to the lower bracket.
Lower Bracket Action
In addition to the Liquid vs. IG and EG vs. Newbee series, there were four do-or-die best-of-one games in the lower brackets. The results are as follows:
- Team Secret def. Execration
- Team Empire def. Cloud9
- OG def. Infamous
- Digital Chaos def. iG Vitality.
Because these weren’t proper “matches” and were simply one-off games, there wasn’t much of a story to each pairing. For the most part, these games were lopsided with Secret getting and keeping an early lead on Execration, Cloud9 doing little more than stall against a snowballing Empire, OG out-classing Infamous and Digital Chaos marauding a hapless iG.Vitality.
Updated Bracket, Day 2 Matchups to Watch
With Day 1 of the main event over, all series henceforth are best-of-three matches until the best-of-five grand finals. Now attention turns to Day 2, which will feature the following matches:
- Upper Bracket: LGD.Forever Young vs. TnC Gaming
- Upper Bracket: LGD Gaming vs. Virtus Pro
- Lower Bracket: Team Liquid vs. Team Secret
- Lower Bracket: Evil Geniuses vs. Team Empire
Those are all incredibly compelling pairings.
The LGD teams were the stars of the group stages, with LFY dominating Group B while LGD set the standard early in Group A. With both teams cooling off for two days, however, it’s easy to wonder if their momentum may have dulled. They’ll have to prove themselves against a surging TnC and a Virtus Pro that will be looking to reestablish themselves as a world-class squad.
In the lower bracket, former Na’Vi teammates Kuro "KuroKy" Takhasomi and Clement “Puppey” Ivanov renew one of the best rivalries on the European circuit as Team Liquid faces Team Secret. Finally, high-impact substitute Roman "Resolut1on" Fominok will attempt to propel Team Empire to even greater heights as it faces the elite Evil Geniuses.
It’s a guaranteed day of high-quality Dota 2 action and, naturally, we’ll be right here to recap it all for you.