Six teams will move on to play against each other for the $250,000 top prize.
The extensive group stages for EPICENTER: Moscow are almost at an end, with only LGD.ForeverYoung versus Team Secret’s tiebreaker match left to decide the top seed for Group A, which will be taking place this afternoon. Group B has concluded and are set to start playoffs tomorrow.
As a reminder, EPICENTER’s group stage format is 2-group, round-robin best-of-threes, where the top team from each group will advance directly to the semifinals, while the top two and three will move on to the quarterfinals, facing the other group’s second and third seed. The bottom two teams from each group is eliminated.
On paper before coming into the tournament, Group A looked like it a clean-cut top three – multiple-major winners OG, Team Liquid who are somewhat fresh from their win at StarLadder, and Team Secret who have been doing well at DreamLeague and other matches in the EU. But the Chinese team of LGD.ForeverYoung came in with a stellar performance, defeating OG 2:0 right in their opening match-up, and has proceeded to dominate all the other teams in the group (aside from Secret who they are still to face), proving that they are a team to be reckoned with. They only drop a single game to Team Liquid. Meanwhile team Secret is also showing a strong performance, and haven’t dropped a game thus far. Perhaps it’s another one of their “do very well in the group stage and fall out in the quarterfinals” as has been their trend since the Kiev Major – but we’ll have to see. Team Liquid earns the hard-fought third spot, thanks to their 2:1 victory over OG, whose 7.06 woes seem to be continuing. Natus Vincere ranks at the bottom of the table with no wins, perhaps a team not at all ready for this level of play just yet.
The second group didn’t have many upsets at all, as most people did expect Evil Geniuses to come through after just having won the Manila Masters, and with Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan on a hot streak as well. Hometown heroes Virtus.Pro were also expected to go through, who have won two smaller tournaments since placing 2nd at the Kiev Major. Invictus Gaming, though they haven’t achieved a grand-final since their win at DAC, consistently earn good rankings at tournaments, and are certainly a contender here. Planet Odd’s (formerly Thunderbirds) only win series win was over Clutch Gamers, though they did take a game off of EG and iG. Clutch Gamers unfortunately sits at the bottom of the table, and with their Summit 7 attendance not pushing through due to visa issues, this will also be their last international tournament before TI7 qualifiers.
Teams will take the main stage in front of Russia’s passionate crowd tomorrow, with Invictus Gaming facing the loser of LFY vs. Secret, while EG is safely waiting for the winner in the semi-finals. Virtus.Pro and Team Liquid will be facing off on their side of the bracket, and whoever wins the match-up will be facing the winner of LFY vs. Secret.
It’s set to be an exciting playoff bracket, as EPICENTER is the most prestigious LAN before TI7, and for most teams outside the Kiev Major toppers, one of the last chances to impress Valve for a TI7 direct invite.
KaLeRei is currently enrolled as an engineering major. In her free time she likes going on quests to save the world with a party of interesting characters, building sprawling empires, or just going on adventures. Sometimes she also supports her friends when they feel like destroying ancients. She has a fascination for old pros trying to prove they’ve still got what it takes, and cats.
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