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Road to the finals
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Next up in the run to TI is ESL One Frankfurt where six of the eight teams recently faced off in Manila. Many will be looking for revenge or to prove the legitimacy of their performances at the Manila Major. The only teams arriving in Frankfurt who did not compete at the Major are Vega Squadron and Virtus Pro who will be replacing LGD due to health problems for one or more of LGD’s players. Their competition will know very little about them while they have been able to watch the other six teams very closely throughout the duration of the Manila Major. Whether they can fully utilize this advantage remains to be seen, but as we witnessed with Wings at the last ESL One in Manila it is very dangerous to underestimate anybody in this highly competitive era of professional Dota.
Rounding out the ESL One Frankfurt lineup are Liquid, OG, Fnatic, Na’Vi, Complexity, and Alliance. All of whom have made the flight from Manila to Frankfurt in order to put themselves through an even tougher tournament format that will truly have teams running a gauntlet. Beginning in the groups stage two teams will be eliminated before the main stage event where the surviving teams will be put through a single elimination best-of-three semi-finals with a best-of-five grand finals crowning the winner. Unfortunately, we will not be seeing Wings attempt to defend their title as they were knocked out of the qualifier by Vici Gaming. If the Manila Major was an endurance test, ESL One Frankfurt will be a sprint to the finish in which teams will have very little time to react to each other over the course of only two days.
The groups themselves look highly competitive as Group A features Liquid, Fnatic, Alliance, and Vega Squadron. Group B has OG, VP, Na’Vi, and Complexity squaring off against each other. Fighting for the top two spots of each group will be an uphill battle for many as Liquid and OG are expected to take the #1 seed in their groups leaving just one heavily contested spot remaining, barring any major upsets.
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