And relax. Let out that breath you’ve been holding for the past three days, and glance out of the window, blinking as your eyes adjust to the light. The International Preliminaries are over, and the standings have been decided for once and all. We know who’s headed to the Winner’s Bracket, and who’s headed to the Loser’s. In two days, on Friday, the Main Event will start, where teams will be knocked out, and everything will get a little bit insane.
Group A finished with LGD delivering a proper smack down to Mouz, maintaining their winning streak and having them finish as the only undefeated team in the tournament so far. They’ll be joined by DK, Zenith and Evil Geniuses in the Winner’s Bracket, while CLG, AL, M5 and Mouz will all head into the Loser’s.
As for Group B, iG finish with just a single loss, while coL, Na’Vi and Orange all accompany them to the Winner’s Bracket. Seeming as yesterday there were so many teams sitting in the middle of Group B, it’s almost a shame that we didn’t end up with a bunch of playoffs, but at least this is nice and clean. Tongfu, EHOME, mTw and Darer are all relegated to the Loser’s Bracket.
Which all makes it look rather clear cut. iG against LGD is the obvious setup, but there are rumours, just whisperings, that we haven’t seen the last of some of the bigger Western teams. Typically, the Chinese teams are exceptionally technically impressive, getting last hits and denials, and just generally outfarming the Western teams. But the idea is that they’re not so able to improvise on the fly.
So the hope is that teams like Na’Vi, mTw and CLG are going to have some aces in their holes. Some hidden strategy that will take the Chinese powerhouses by surprise and put them on the backfoot. And when the tournament heads into a knockout stage, any mistake could be fatal to a team’s chances.
Either that or it’s just that I’ve watched too many sports movies where the hail mary pass has pulled it out of the bag. It would be pretty entertaining to see something insane knock out the favourite, but at the same time there’s a very good reason these teams are the favourites. They play Dota very, very well, and they deserve to do well because of that.
I guess we’ll see on Friday, when the excitement becomes all but overwhelming.