The first day of the Group Stage saw upsets, and surprises for Group A. Competition favourites EHOME were knocked into the losers bracket for the main event by underdogs MVP Phoenix.
Analysts and fans alike didn’t expect much from MVP Phoenix. They have surprised teams with their versatility and adaptability before, but everyone expected them to go down to the powerhouse of Chinese Dota, EHOME.
It was a huge upset then, when MVP took the first series of the day against EHOME. Later in the day however it was revealed that old eLeVeN had been dealing with an acute tooth infection and was quickly taken to hospital after the second round of matches to have it removed, before continuing to play.
That however takes nothing away from MVP who played strategies perfectly crafted to their opponents. QO stepped up in the second game as Slark to dominate EHOME, With FoREv’s Nature’s Prophet out-pushing old eLeVeN’s Broodmother in the early game, denying map control and easily taking the second game to put EHOME in the losers bracket 2:0.
Team Secret vs CDEC was a more even match up, however Secret came out on top to win 2:1. Both EHOME and CDEC’s draft heavily featured Faceless Void as a first phase pick, however it failed to impress, and CDEC’s void picks were heavily countered by Secret.
Secret dropped the first game, but in games 2 and 3 drafted an Enigma, Tidehunter, and Invoker line up, that just had so much team fight presence that CDEC were unable to take control of the games.
MVP Phoenix then continued to show their new dominance by destroying Secret in the winner’s bracket. MVP drafted surprising picks in both games, but not only managed to make them work, they shone with brilliance. The first game was all but over 5 minutes in. Secret had let Earth Spirit through and MVP showed why the hero has been first ban material. DuBu used the hero to initiate mid and on Misery’s Beastmaster in the offlane and by minute 4 Secret’s mid and offlaner were 0-2. QO’s Phantom Lancer was allowed to get out of control and had over 9k net worth at the 15 minute mark.The game was done in just over 18 minutes, and looks like it could be one of the quickest games of the tournament.
The second match was just as bad for Secret. MVP drafted a core Leshrac, Qo was allowed to pick up Phantom Lancer again, and with a Natures Prophet too, MVP proceeded to take a tower almost every minute from minute 3 of the game until Secret only had tier 3 towers left. At that point it was only a matter of time before MVP took the base. Secret held out longer in game 2, as MVP got a little overconfident and tried to push a tilting Team Secret, but Secret stabilised and made MVP pay for their over-commitment. However MVP still took the game convincingly in under 25 minutes.
In the Loser’s bracket, EHOME stabilised and beat CDEC 2:1. CDEC’s Faceless Void on XZ managed to shine through in game 2, but otherwise EHOME won convincingly in games 1 and 3.
That put EHOME up against Team Secret and this was a scrappy fight for second place in Group A, but perhaps old eLeVeN’s recent tooth pulling was affecting him, and Secret were able to win 2:0.
That brings us to the matches for Day 2.
Alliance will face off against Team Spirit, and Vici Gaming against Fnatic.
Alliance and Vici Gaming are clear favourites in those match ups, but if Day 1 taught us anything, it’s not to underestimate any team.