The Group Stage is practically over, with just a seed-deciding tiebreaker between iDeal and iZone to be held tomorrow to formally finish it.
This stage saw the early exit of last month's 2nd-runner up Mineski, along with Malaysian powerhouse Invasion ReD. A common denominator between these two teams is their rather shift of focus from WC3 DotA to Dota 2 lately, and it is arguable that it may have caused them some unfamiliarity this month.
Doubtful if these teams would come up with excuses though. Teams exiting from the tournament also include qualifiers IGT, BBDota and BauCat. GEST regulars eNcy, Pokerstar and SkyNet were also ousted, with the former two ending on the bottom of their group and the latter not being able to compete this month.
Despite being a match away to determine the full playoff positions, we have already determined the 12 teams advancing to the 2nd day of the tournament.
A few highlights of the latter half of today's play date include:
Round 3 - SVR_ES vs Invasion Red
Invasion.Red is looking to finally be able to get their much needed first win of the tournament. Their playoff chance depends on this game, and they are playing in a way that shows just that.
They were able to utilize a big early game lead, with the Pushing monster Broodmother taking towers and farming up early. The 12-minute mark proved to be the turning point though, as SVR_ES signature Riki-Wisp combo getting an Ultra Kill for the former, and they never looked back since then.
Invasion.ReD was formally eliminated after incurring 3 straight losses, and they decided to forfeit their no-bearing last game.
Round 4 - NeoES.PH vs Pacific.eMaxx
Group leader Pacific.eMaxx is getting outplayed by NeoES.ph, a very short notice replacement team for Orange which backed-out of the tournament just a day prior.
An Abaddon pick really threw eMaxx off-guard, as Lord of Avernus made use of his natural tankiness and lane survival skills to win early game for their team. Since he is absent from the Dota 2 pool, people have forgotten a few part of his skill mechanics. NeoES.ph made sure that everyone remembers however though, using timely Aphotic Shield placements to remove stuns right after disables like Split Earth and Primal Roar were casted. The shield + Death Coil combo early proved to be enough for them to win their lanes, and it appeared to more than make-up for their lack of stuns.
As eMaxx got their necessary levels though, they used the pushing capability of their heroes (Leshrac, Prophet and Beastmaster) to try and advance on multiple lanes. This heroes, together with several Necronomicons, proved to be enough to sway the game back into their favor.
Dispute Neo.ph winning most of the skirmishes with great play coming out of King's Queen of Pain, the push was too much to handle. A gallant effort was shown, including mass Hand of Midas to counter the Necro-books - but the methodological push proved to be too much for the Sentinel to successfully defend.
Tiebreaker - Alive.Alacrity vs Neolution
To settle tied scores, the tie breaker matches were held. The game is a match to decide who will be seeded first in Group A, which means getting a bye on the first round of the GEST playoffs. This game actually saw one of the rather rare Invoker pick today
Alive.Alacrity, probably the Cinderalla story of this month, utilized a Weaver. Despite being criticised due to its shitty Attack animation, Anub Seran's team was actually winning early. However, the team wasn't able to ride that momentum and Weaver didn't really get its much needed early game farm.
With TA leading the way, they slowly but surely claimed the lead before ultimately winning the game.
Tiebreaker - Mineski vs MSIEvoGT
This tie break is probably of more importance, as this game would be for a Playoff Slot - and thus the loser will be the first Philippine team to be eliminated. The game couldn't have been more rewarding for the viewers, as it was as exciting as it was well-fought.
Mineski's off-lane Windrunner was easily destroyed by MSI's trilane of Earthshaker, Shadow Demon and Centaur. It wasn't for naught though, as the former was able to get both Sylla Bear and Lycan free farm in exchange.
The aggressive play-style and line-up of MSI have them getting 4 quick blink daggers (on Eartshaker, TA, Centaur and Puck). With this, they steadily tried to push the phase. As expected on a Bear/Lycan line-up though, Mineski did their best to split-push and pressure the lanes.
As we have seen earlier the day, MSI built into Hand of Midas on both Puck and Centaur - all on the goal of delaying the push long enough to farm sufficient gold and items to be able to push without the fear of losing a lane without a team fight.
MSIEvoGT, with solid farm and sound execution (and 3 Roshans) aiding them, they eventually managed to force team fights, and just in totality outfarm and outwhelm Mineski, converting pick-offs into the necessary Towers and Barracks to win the game.
With this, MSIEvoGT advances through, whereas local favorite Mineski is sent home early.
Check out all the coverage, such as news, results and streams at GosuGamers' GEST coverage.