Wildcards - Crushed Dreams and New HopesWhen the dust settled after the first day of play, two teams, compLexity and Execration, were denied entry to the biggest esports tournament of all time. For these teams, whose tournament ended too quickly, there will be no celebrations tonight, as they will be forced to watch from the sidelines as the remaining 16 teams fight for millions.
Even though their fates might seem similar, this defeat must sting so much more for coL. They were one game away from grabbing a spot at the main event, not just once, but twice during the American qualifiers. But after first losing to Escape and then getting 2-0’d by Execration, coL are relegated to the sidelines. An uncertain future awaits the team and its players, as very few teams of coL’s caliber survive a result like this intact.
For XctN, getting to the lower bracket finals has to be seen as somewhat of a success. Going into the day, most fans expected the Filipino squad to have little impact, if any. As the day went on, they proved us wrong time and time again. In their first match against EHOME, they actually had the series lead after winning game one, but ultimately fell. They weren’t happy with that. XctN came to Seattle to compete, and they certainly showed that in their 2nd series of the day against compLexity. If you’re looking for something to watch, check out 15 year old Abed’s masterful Meepo performance in game 2 (linked below). Unfortunately for fans of SEA Dota, it seems like Execration had played out their hand. Escape first-banned Meepo in both games and made short work of XtcN in the last series of the day. Just like that, we were left with our two winners of the day.
The WinnersWhile EHOME had a slow start to the day, dropping the first game of their series against XctN, they quickly repaired their mistakes. After getting the early loss out of their system, EHOME went 4-0 to qualify for the main event. During their run today, EHOME showed off why they belong on the Key Arena stage, but also why they don’t. In both game 1 and 3 against Execration, EHOME looked quite shaky, with iceiceice having very little impact on the games. But when the individual plays might not be up to par, the strats will have to take over and carry you to the finish line. We saw EHOME bring out an old “favorite,” but in a new way, as they used Kunkka’s X-Marks The Spot along with iceiceice’s Anti-Mage to safely bring down Escape’s barracks in game 2. Hopefully iceiceice, LaNm, Fenrir, and the two old fellas will find that little extra that a deep run in the brackets will require.
The second, and last, team to qualify to the main event was Escape Gaming, as predicted in our power rankings yesterday. While many expected EHOME to move on, choosing Escape over compLexity was not an uncontroversial decision, and many hoped that the two would face off in the lower bracket finals so coL could get their revenge. But after coL’s early exit, that match unfortunately never happened. Instead, Escape went up against a red hot XctN, causing a lot of worry for Escape fans. In the end, it turned out that XctN had shown too much of their hand in their earlier games, as Escape rolled over the Pinoy squad without any real issues. After some weak performances in earlier games, Era was definitely the man of the series. He showed off an unconventional armlet Tiny build, in game 1, and then proceeded to almost single-handedly win Escape the game with his mid Huskar in game 2. The entire series barely took an hour, and Escape Gaming comfortably advanced into Group A.