The Chinese qualifier for ESL One New York has only just kicked off but it has already almost reached its halfway point. After six great matches, two teams have already secured their positions in the playoffs, while the other six will have to fight it out among themselves for the last two spots.
Group A: Big names, big surprises
With teams like LGD Gaming, Invictus Gaming and TongFu, Group A was set to be a spectacular one from the start, but no one could predict quite how spectacular it would be: after the many changes in each of the Chinese teams’ lineups, no one could be truly certain of their strengths and weaknesses.
This became apparent in the first matches of the group as Invictus Gaming faced off against LGD Gaming in a rematch of The International 4. After being knocked out by LGD, Invictus Gaming was looking on revenge in this matchup, but that didn’t quite work out for them. It became very apparent in the early stages of the match that the new LGD squad is a force to be reckoned with. Invictus gaming quickly became aware of this, too, but couldn’t stop the pushing lineup of LGD and failed to get the revenge they wanted.
Meanwhile, the unknown Lai Gaming faced off against TongFu in one of their first matches as a competitive team. The lack of experience, however, was not noticeable, with the more established making quick work of TongFu and their way to the winner finals to face off against LGD Gaming.
In that particular matchup, the unknown team showed the world what they are capable of. LGD Gaming’s plans quickly turned sour as Lai Gaming took an early lead, gaining a bigger and bigger advantage and picking off more and more of LGD’s players. However, this wasn’t LGD’s first rodeo, with the team holding their composure throughout the match and finding a way back into the game. Some great team fights later, LGD was ready to take the fight to Lai, but the early lead the new squad had built up proved too big, with them managing to defeat LGD Gaming and secure themselves a position in the Chinese qualifier playoffs.
Group B: The International repeat
Both International 2014 finalists in the same group and facing off against each other in their first matchup – what else could a Dota fan ask for? In this group Vici Gaming and Newbee faced each other once again after their fight in the finals of the International earlier this year. This time, however, things didn’t quite go the same way as they did back then.
A lineup that just shouted aggression is what Vici Gaming picked in the draft, and that is exactly what they delivered. Picking off Newbee’s players left and right allowed them to gain the advantage they needed to push down bot lane and finish off the barracks. After that, Newbee didn’t see a way back and decided to surrender to their opponents.
Meanwhile on the other side of the bracket, a second LGD squad – LGD.CDED – was facing off against HyperGloryTeam, previously known as Heart Get Together. Both teams clashed in an epic battle with the advantage switching sides throughout the match. Eventually it was HyperGloryTeam that came out ahead and secured their position in the winners finals.
That winners finals proved to be one of the quickest matches so far in the Chinese qualifier as Vici Gaming decided to waste no time and go straight for the jugular: Drow Ranger, Visage and Death Prophet were the tools of their trade and pushing was the name of their game. In quick fashion, Vici Gaming demolished both HGT’s towers and spirit and secured themselves a spot in the Chinese qualifier playoffs.
What’s coming up
We’re only halfway through the Chinese qualifier so far and there are many more games to come. Eight teams are still in the running, but only one can make it to New York. On Monday the 15th of September, the losers and deciding matches for each group will be played out. The next day – Tuesday the 16th of September – we will already be heading into the playoffs and playing out both semifinals.
Who do you think will make it to New York? Grab your ticket today and see the action live at the Theater at Madison Square Garden!
You can also make sure you don’t miss any of the Chinese qualifier action by grabbing yourself a DotaTV ticket.
You can check out our previous qualifier summaries below: