Bring on the pain; paiN gaming and Fnatic head to ESL One Birmingham semi finals
Photo courtesy of ESL
With the odds stacked against them, paiN Gaming has made a compelling run at ESL One Birmingham to advance to the semifinals along with Fnatic.
ESL One Birmingham Major has been a thrilling ride with some unexpected twists. Along with some of the top contenders and event favorites exiting early, the boys from Brazil have become a menacing opponent, knocking down giants with confidence and swagger.
Those that follow South American Dota and paiN Gaming have consistently said that the team has much promise and potential. Appearing at several Pro Circuit events during the season, they have steadily improved and won over talent and spectators as fans. Usually, the team had strong starts to their games but struggled to close things out or hold on tightly against the more experienced and higher ranked teams. Off the heels of a bootcamp, the Brazilian team came to ESL with a new game plan and strategy.
In two very one-sided matches, paiN Gaming swept through a second set of 'kings' - Mineski. The rotations, decision making and calculated approach to the games showed just how much the South American team had evolved and seemed to have harnessed their talent and skills. Mineski didn't stand a chance or even take control at all, suffering at the hands of William "hFn" Medeiros's spectacular performances and the team's impressive coordination.
fnatic came into the UK with only one goal — to claim the championship title or at the very least make it to the Grand Finals. Doing so, would bump up their DPC ranking to slide into the coveted Top 8 spots and obtain (assuming they didn't get bumped back out during the China Super Major) a TI8 direct invite. With everything on the line, the SEA based team fought tooth and nail against opponents that had nothing to lose — such as OG who had lost their eligibility to receive an invite due to a late-season roster change.
As the two teams went head to head, OG dominated the first match with fantastic laning phase to mid game control that led to a significant advantage and set up for an easy win. The second match seemed to be very even for most of the game. Despite the sizeable difference in kill score in favor of Fnatic, Sébastien "7ckngMad" Debs remained on top of the networth chart with his outstanding farming efficiency and prowess. After a few bad fights for OG after 30 minutes in, Fnatic was able to claim the victory and tie up the series. Once again, things started out even between the two teams but 20 minutes in, Fnatic started to run away with the advantage and lead, ending with almost a 30k networth advantage. Terrific draft and execution along with outstanding performance rewarded Fnatic with a place in the top 4. They will still need to surmount OpTic Gaming to reach their goal.
The action resumes tomorrow, May 26th at 14:00 local time/15:00 CEST with paiN Gaming taking on Virtus.pro in the first of the semi-final matches.