The group stages of the ESL One Hamburg Dota 2 Major are done. Over. Complete. Two teams qualified on Saturday, and three were eliminated, to round out the playoffs for the tournaments.
The standings heading into Sunday are as follows:
But how did we get here? And what happens on the final day of the tournament? Read on and find out:
Keen Gaming Eliminate a Sloppy (but Game) SG E-Sports
As a mostly unknown Chinese team and the delegation from the weak South America region, Keen Gaming and SG E-Sports were both pegged for last-place finishes by most fans. While those assumptions weren’t necessarily too far off, Keen Gaming showed that it wasn’t out of place at ESL One Hamburg on Saturday and they started that off by defeating SG E-Sports.
The first game was a slobberknocker where both teams found different brands of success, with SG stacking up kills as Keen scored objectives. While two of Keen’s cores ended with an ugly kill:death ratio, Jin "zhizhizhi"' Zhiyi managed to score enough kills and Zhai "Ying"' Jingkai managed to score enough farm to take the game late.
SG bounced back in Game 3. While things were neck-and-neck for the first half of the game, things turned into a complete bloodbath at the 25:00 mark, which saw 46 kills tallied in the next 20 minutes. That suited SG, though, as it got the better trades, built up a lead and scored the win in the longest game of the tournament.
That marked the end of SG looking like a strong, competitive team.
The final faceoff saw Lucas Raphael Ferreira "bardo" Barbosa absolutely struggle with playing Disruptor. Whiffed Glimpse-Static Field combos resulted in multiple lost team fights and SG’s willingness to clump up helped Keen land massive AOE spells time and again (most notably Chen "rong" Jingwu’s Winter Wyvern Curses).
The end result was a 2-1 series win for Keen.
It was an important win for Keen that helped them keep up the appearance of a potential contender in the deepest Dota 2 region.That said, their day didn’t end here. And it didn’t end well.
Resurgent EG Come Up Short Against Newbee
EG was facing some serious questions about their place in the current Dota 2 competitive scene, and needed to look good at ESL One Hamburg. While the team won’t take home a Mercedes-Benz or any DPC qualifying points, they managed to silence many of the doubts about whether they can hack it in the game at this point.
EG kicked things off in impressive fashion as it thrashed the TI7 runners-up in the first game. A strong laning phase was built upon quickly and before long, EG had complete control. Newbee tried to fire back but even with strong initiations, they couldn’t take a team fight and couldn’t stop EG’s high-ground pushes.
The second game was the closest of ESL One Hamburg thus far. For 35 minutes, EG and Newbee were incredibly close on every metric. EG’s better split push allowed them to keep the lanes on the other end of the map, however, and a clean pickoff eventually led to barracks. That gave EG the biggest lead of the game, but Newbee was undeterred. It defended its base time and again from EG, and eventually scored a key team fight win that gave it mega creeps and, shortly thereafter, the series-tying victory.
The deciding game, once again, was an absolute nail-biter. While both teams were close by most metrics, Newbee enjoyed a considerable experience advantage throughout, as well as a well-farmed Song "Sccc" Chun Templar Assassin. EG generally managed to hold down the rest of Newbee but as the cores hit Level 25, the game (and series) just slipped away.
Entering the weekend, it felt as though this was a must-win for EG but, in the end, this was an excellent showing from EG against a very good Newbee. After months of concern about whether EG could hold up under the current meta, they finally answered them.
Of course, the next patch drops on Wednesday, so while they may or may not be a heavyweight team again, there is a big shakeup coming in just a few days’ time.
Team Liquid Rout Keen Gaming to Secure Final Playoff Spot
Whether it was SG E-Sports or Keen Gaming that made it to Saturday’s final match, the ultimate outcome felt all but inevitable. And indeed it was, as tournament favorites Team Liquid styled and profiled over their overmatched foes.
But make no mistake. Keen showed up to play, and seemed to catch Liquid off-guard as they took command early, scored a number of key objectives and even took unanswered barracks from the TI7 champions. Unfortunately, Kuro "KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi and company once again showed that they are the toughest out in Dota 2 by holding their base, reclaiming the lead and stealing the first victory.
Liquid got serious in Game 2, though, and that was bad news for Keen. With Maroun "GH" Merhej and Lasse Aukusti "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen on signature heroes Earthshaker and Broodmother, Keen needed to play an absolutely flawless game just to keep up with Liquid. That was too tall a task for the Chinese upstarts and, as a result, they were sent home from Germany with a fifth-place finish.
With that, the top-four of ESL One Hamburg’s Dota 2 Major was decided, and the opening matchups for the definitive playoffs were set.
Day 4 Preview
ESL One Hamburg wraps up on Sunday with the four remaining teams facing off in a single-elimination tournament contended across three best-of-three series.
The first pairing is a familiar one, as Team Secret faces off with Team Liquid. The two European standouts are anything but strangers at this point, with many of the players competing side-by-side in the past and the organizations having faced off plenty of times over the last three years. This time, however, they come together to compete for a load of DPC qualifying points, with the loser taking home 150 while the winner takes home a minimum 450.
By comparison, the second match between Virtus Pro and Newbee is a very fresh one. Despite being two of the best teams of 2017, the king of CIS Dota and the Chinese elites have thrown down only a handful of times and rarely with any serious stakes. That changes on Sunday, though, as they come together for an exciting, high-stakes showdown.
The winner of these series will face off in the grand finals, for the $500,000 top prize as well as 750 DPC qualifying points. Get hype!
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