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Road to the finals
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The first major tournament of the year is upon us. ESL One Genting not only has the honor of bringing us into the new year but will also be the first large tournament on the new patch. With teams scrambling to figure out how to play on Patch 7.01 - and in some cases figuring out how to play with new line-ups - we’re sure to see some interesting games. ESL One Genting is also the first ESL tournament held in Malaysia but it will feature a familiar face returning to the ESL One circuit as Eri Neeman will be presenting on the stage. Many will remember him from ESL One Manilla where he tried to teach ODPixel and SirActionSlacks Tagalog, or the Macho Man contest. Genting will be a cutthroat three day event where Wings will look to revive their TI6 performance and shrug off the Boston Major, DC will look to continue to impress with their play, and every team will try to find their footing in 7.01.
Virtus Pro is, in part, a product of strong leadership and a clear game plan laid out by their captain Solo. Lil has said that much of their success as a team originates from listening to Solo whether he is right or wrong when making calls. This leads to a unified VP with a clear direction and goal in-game and the results speak for themselves so far. VP were favourites as they went into the Boston Major and although this is a new patch, Lil’s support Weaver demonstrates that they can be a very flexible team. While their group might be difficult with Newbee, NP, and a yet to be seen Fnatic, we see no reason for VP’s status as one of the favourites to change as they head to Malaysia.
The changes made to the team after TI6 saw Fnatic fail to make it through the Boston Major qualifiers and struggle in other local events. The team decided to start over yet again with Mushi and Ohaiyo as the centerpieces and once again aim to become the juggernaut of the SEA region. Joining Mushi and Ohaiyo at ESL One Genting will be Febby, Yamateh, and Inyourdream who previously played for the all Indonesian squad The Prime. Inyourdream will play mid/safelane while Febby and Yamateh will be the support duo for the team, with Mushi going back to the carry role with the possibility of playing mid depending on the draft. Yamateh is said to be a stand in for the team during the event but his skill in the SEA region is well known. Whether this newly put together Fnatic will be able to stand up against VP, Newbee, and NP remains to be seen.
Newbee’s strength most likely comes from Kaka, their captain, as he has proven himself from EHOME, to first joining Newbee, to after TI6 where they fought their way through three qualifiers and came second at three events. His ability to bring out the best in his teammates and to control the pace of the early game makes Newbee a serious threat, especially in the new patch where gaining an early lead can snowball out of control even faster than before.
NP had a flawless run through the ESL One Genting North American qualifier where they 3-0’d compLexity in the finals to ensure their participation in the event. At the Boston Major, NP was in a similar group to Genting as they faced off against Newbee and VP, they were 2-0’d by both of them in Boston.In the playoffs, they managed to beat EHOME 2-1 in the first round before losing to DC in the ro8. On the new patch, it is hard to assess how the rematch between VP and Newbee will go but - unlike Boston - the bottom two teams in Genting get eliminated. This means NP will have to beat at least one of the teams that beat them in Boston in order to advance into the top four.
ESL’s punishing format remains unchanged for ESL One Genting: The eight teams will be split into two groups of 4 where they will play in a double-elimination group stage leaving the bottom two teams from each group eliminated. The remaining four teams will then play through a single-elimination playoff bracket with bo3 semi-finals and a bo5 finals. The winning team will receive $100,000 for their efforts and bragging rights as the first champions of the new year.