The International 2017Group Stage Recap
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The International, the biggest event in Esports, is already halfway complete. Valve have brought the top 18 teams in the world to compete for 24 million dollars. Two major changes occurred in this rendition of The International. First, Valve chose to eliminate the Wild Card event and have 18 teams in the group stage. Second, the last place team in each group is eliminated and will not participate in the Main Event. At previous TI’s placing last in groups hardly mattered, the only thing of importance was finishing in the top half and making it to the Winner’s Bracket. This lead to games that were inconsequential outside of seeding purposes, but with these new changes the bottom teams have to fight desperately for a chance to play in Key Arena. Team Liquid will be trying to ride their recent victories to a strong performance while OG will attempt to bring some of their Major success to The International. With a relatively open meta teams will be attempting to bring old and new strategies to bear, doing whatever they can to throw off their opponents.
The opening day of TI7 saw the rise of China as both LGD and LFY went undefeated, combining for a 10-0 score. Other top teams performed as expected with strong showings from Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, OG, Virtus Pro, and Newbee. OG in particular continued their “Lose early, win late” style of gameplay, including a 20k networth comeback vs DC. The surprise of Day 1 was TNC, the kings of SEA, going 3-1 including a split series with EG. On the other end of the groups Fnatic, HellRaisers, and Cloud9 all had very disappointing results with no wins between them. While expectations for HellRaisers have been low, the talented teams of Fnatic and Cloud9 were somewhat surprising to see at the bottom of the groups. Day 1 ended with a few teams climbing to the top while even more struggled to pick up more than a single win.
Day 2 continued the trend of extremes with LFY reaching a shocking 10-0 record, while Fnatic, Cloud9, and HellRaisers all had the same record of 1-7. LFY have had a great group performance after only 2 days, but such a strong showing also paints a target on their back. If other teams can solve them during the break between stages they will have a much harder run during the Main Event. Cloud9 are baffled at their current position, tied with HellRaisers for dead last. However, with their toughest matches out of the way, Envy & Co. hoped for a strong turnaround to secure their spot in the Main Event. Outside of the very top and bottom of the groups the rest of the teams were in a close race to get a spot in the upper half and secure their place in the Winner’s Bracket. Group A saw EG, TNC, and IG.V within a series of each other while Group B saw Newbee, VP, and OG all tied for 2nd place.
Day 3 would see some teams finally achieving secured results, guaranteeing their entry into the Winner’s Bracket. Team Liquid and LGD would see themselves atop Group A, in a dead heat for first place, while in Group B LFY found themselves locked into first (though they did drop a map to DC in rather comical fashion, see the recommended games). For the teams near the bottom this was a very important day. If they were going to start a comeback it had to be during this day as the 4th day of groups would likely be too late. However, this day would be yet another filled with disappointment for the bottom teams of each group. None were any closer to survival than the day before with Infamous, Fnatic, Cloud9, and HellRaisers still competing for not-last. The middle section of both brackets was still in hot contention with many teams fighting for 3rd or 4th, though it wouldn’t be until the last day before anything was secured.
The final day would bring an end to the madness that is the Group Stage. Liquid would triumph over Team Secret to hold their first place position while LGD and EG both 2-0’d their opponents to secure their places in the winner’s bracket. The biggest upset of Day 4 was Infamous’ victory over IG.V, denying IG.V a chance at tiebreakers with TNC. The light finally shone on Jacky Mao as Cloud9 went 4-0 on their final day, defeating fellow NA competitors DC and European underdogs HellRaisers. As the light shines on one, so must a shadow be cast on another. OG, one of the strongest teams coming into TI, went 2-2 on the day and finished 5th. OG needed one more win to stay even with IG and force a tiebreaker, but a disappointing 1-1 result with Execration would seal their fate. With strong teams topping both groups, and the addition of a 4th place TNC makes the Winner’s Bracket look quite formidable. The Lower Bracket Bo1’s are as frightening as ever with teams like Team Secret, OG and IG.V starting there but with a single best of one anything can happen.
For a more defined picture of how the Group Stage went, see the tables below for each team’s exact position after the final day.
OG vs DC G2:
OG vs VP G2:
IG.V vs Empire G2:
LFY vs. DC G2:
VP vs. IG G2: