The Group Stage of The International saw plenty of turmoil and two unfortunate teams eliminated. We’re now left with the cream of the crop. That’s a damn competitive list.
But even those that survived the group stages enough to reach the double elimination upper bracket have a long road ahead of them.
Let’s take a look at that road.
Team Liquid vs. Invictus Gaming
While Invictus Gaming have a deep history and had a fair showing in the tournament’s Group Stage finishing 10-6, Team Liquid proved how it can stand ahead of the pack in the meantime at 13-3. Though this game could go either way on each team’s best day, we must go with the best performing team just three days before the next round.
Verdict: Team Liquid wins in straightforward fashion.
Newbee vs. Evil Geniuses
Evil Geniuses and Newbee matchup to be perhaps the most even battle the upper bracket has in round one, making it easily the hardest match to call. Both teams have a strong Dota history, but one team has done plenty more than the other this year overall. While this is a near impossible match to call, we’ll side with experience and consistency in 2016.
Verdict: Evil Geniuses edge out a close victory.
LGD Forever Young vs. TNC Pro Team
LGD Forever Young enter the Main Event of The International as RealSport’s favorite, and for good reason. The squad demolished the Group Stage in phenomenal form, taking the best record across both groups at 14-2. Whether you think the groups were imbalanced or not, that’s an impressive feat. Worse, TNC Pro Team has the worst Group Stage record of the upper bracket. All things considered, despite TNC Pro Team being a strong group, LGD Forever Young will continue their rampage in round one.
Verdict: LGD Forever Young breeze by for a dominant win.
LGD vs. Virtus.Pro
If TNC Pro Team hadn’t made the upper bracket, Virtus.Pro would firmly hold the spot as the weakest team. That’s not to say Virtus.Pro is at all a bad team, or out of its league in this tournament, but the squad will have to prove far more than they did in group stage to upset a terrifying LGD. Beyond LGD’s Forever Young squad’s dominance, LGD isn’t far behind in putting in spotless performances and beating down its opponents. Though it isn’t quite the top dog in the tournament LGD should be able to see off Virtus.Pro in swift fashion.
Verdict: LGD take an easy round 1 victory.
Team Secret vs. Execration
While Execration wasn’t the worst team in Group Stage, it certainly was among the bottom of the table. Even worse for the squad, they face off against an acclaimed Team Secret. Though Team Secret’s results are fairly dated, they hold final’s victories over the likes of Team Liquid. While it may not be Team Secret’s heyday, kim0 is still surrounded by talented Dota 2 players. Execration need to turn things around severely if they want to avoid going home.
Verdict: Team Secret edge out a victory.
Cloud9 vs. Team Empire
Both teams have seen better days, but only one can remain in the tournament. While both had very lacklustre performances across the group stage, one will need to step up if they want to keep their International hopes alive. Beyond bad performances, only one has the 2017 tournament experience to win out. That’s Cloud9. With a second place finish just barely falling to TNC Pro Team earlier this year, taking out Team Empire looks like it’ll be next.
Verdict: Cloud9scrape by Team Empire.
OG vs. Infamous
OG’s group stage performance is perhaps the most disappointing, and not because of their actual finish. Going 9-6 at The International is nothing to be upset about, but the team just narrowly missed qualifying for the upper bracket, and picking up that sweet extra elimination protection. In doing so, it would’ve joined every other team that was directly invited. Thankfully, they’ve got as close to a bye as The International 2017 still has in its round one opponent, Infamous.
Infamous just couldn’t put things together in their group stage showing and paid for it dearly with a tough finish of 5-11. While it was enough to protect itself from elimination that the 2-14 Fnatic faced, it isn’t enough to instill any confidence in us for its round one matchup.
Verdict: OG cruise on easily to eliminate Infamous.
iG Vitality vs. Digital Chaos
iG Vitality didn’t quite put together the performance they wanted in the group stages, but going nearly 50% on the biggest stage of them all still makes you a threat, especially in the lower bracket. Digital Chaos isn’t much different. With one less group stage victory, Digital Chaos look to right their ship in this tournament before it’s far too late. In the lower bracket, they’re on thin ice to pull it off. But with deep experience in The International after the organization’s 2nd place finish in 2016, we think the squad will hold on to see off iG Vitality from the tournament.
Verdict: Digital Chaos bring home a hard-earned W.
Road to Glory
With the top competition the game has all battling it out on one stage, it’ll be a tough fight for any team mentioned above. But the win will bring home major cash prizes, and the most prestigious title Dota 2 offers.
For what it’s worth, once the dust settles, we firmly believe LGD Forever Young will secure the crown, capping off perhaps the most impressive Group Stage performance.
Regardless, as team after team fall, only one can be champion.
Let us know who YOU think will become champion at The International 2017 in the comments below!
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