Virtus.pro, OpTic Gaming and VGJ.Storm exit the TI8 spotlight

Dota 2 Geoffrey “SophoS” Magdziasz

NA Dota witnessed two of the region's best exit the International 2018. Joining them is Virtus.pro, whom many pegged as one of the favorites to be the last team standing.

OpTic Gaming has experienced a roller coaster of an International. In the group stage, OpTic went from near elimination to squeezing into the upper bracket in just one day. Their reward was a first-round series against the defending champions. Team Liquid did not hesitate to educate OpTic on what it takes to lift the Aegis. The green wall cracked but held firm in the lower bracket against Team Serenity. Suddenly, they stood toe-to-toe against an all too familiar enemy. Virtus.pro has eliminated OpTic from a significant number of events during the DPC season and the trend did not change.

Virtus.pro have had a slow start at the International. That’s by their own standards. A 10-6 record in the group stage secured an easy upper bracket birth. Impressive indeed, but Virtus.pro is notorious for their flawless gameplay. This is something that has been missing. Virtus.pro was steamrolled by PSG.LGD in the first round of the upper bracket. The CIS juggernauts bounced back quickly against Mineski to find themselves with a favorable matchup in OpTic Gaming. Virtus.pro were blindsided in game one against a Huskar and fell behind in the series. They were quick to return the cheese in game two by drafting a Broodmother. The strategy worked out as they were able to even the series and take a wrecking ball to the green wall in game three.

As you may know, VGJ.Storm made late changes to their roster and found immediate success, before and after Roman ‘Resolut1on’ Fomynok joined. This meant having to enter the International via regional qualifiers. They made it look easy. Once there, VGJ.Storm charted a course similar to OpTic. They dominated group B to earn a slot in the upper bracket but made a quick departure into the lower bracket. Like OpTic, they bounced back in convincing fashion against WinStrike Team to face-off against Team Secret. These two teams also had some history during the DPC season. The pair had spent occasions trading knockout blows at a few events and today was no different.

Team Secret directly qualified to the International. During the final stretch of the season, many saw them as a team with an immense upside but dwindling results. Like OpTic, Secret snuck into the upper bracket by the skin of their teeth. Only after a tiebreaker win against Newbee did they achieve that. Now they found themselves on the brink of elimination. In game one, they drafted a Danny ‘Ace’ Junget Meepo whose top tier GPM and XPM carried them to victory. Game two was a true barn burner. Any fan of late games and Divine Rapiers would be wise to catch the highlights. VGJ.Storm may choose to skip the highlights as the result meant their journey coming to an end. Team Secret will have a date with the defending champions.

Sometimes luck will have it that you must play two lower bracket series in one day. This was the case for Virtus.pro. After their victory, they had some time to prepare and practice for a match against Evil Geniuses. As mentioned earlier, Virtus.pro haven’t possessed their same x-factor that set them aside from every team. It showed in their second series.

What is better than a Sumail ‘SumaiL’ Hassan Storm Spirit? His Storm Spirit with Drow Ranger aura. In game one, he had the opportunity to remind spectators that he is still one of the best Storm Spirits in the world. Evil Geniuses took a decisive series lead. Game two was the same story, different chapter. SumaiL’s Alchemist skyrocketed beyond the rest in net worth. After getting six-slotted on Alchemist, Evil Geniuses landed their killing blow and escorted Virtus.pro out of the International.

Tomorrow's games will include the upper bracket finals between PSG.LGD and OG and the lower bracket knockout round between Team Liquid and Team Secret, with the winner moving on to face Evil Geniuses.

The International 2018 Format:


  • Main Event - August 20th - August 25th, 2018
    • Sixteen teams play in a double-elimination format over six days
      • Eight teams begin in the Upper Bracket, eight in the Lower Bracket
      • First Lower Bracket round is Bo1, Grand Finals are Bo5, all others rounds are Bo3


The International 2018

The main event is set to begin on August 20 and scheduled to run through August 25. For the first time ever, The International will be held in Vancouver, Canada with a total of 18 teams competing. Currently, the prize pool is a staggering $25 million with a few days left in the main event.


Who will win their series?

Team Liquid
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Team Secret
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Geoffrey “SophoS” Magdziasz
Accounting graduate, Esports enthusiast, aspiring businessman. Follow on Twitter @SophoS_Dota


  • Bence "MeltingSnow" Pesenyánszki ,
    Dear SophoS, I don't blame you to use the same wording as TI panels and commentators, but it is incorrect to say that LGD steamrolled VP. What really happened was that LGD prepared well for VP, and a key point in their plan was vision advantage. They drafted what they planned and started the game as planned, putting VP in a very hard position. However, VP, with miraculous plays, turned the tides of the game in their favor and started dominating LGD in every possible aspect. Until they made a big mistake, which was a greedy high ground poking without buybacks, but they were heavily leading at that point. LGD played well and prioritized on the mistake, they just took the ancient without raxes in a rush while VP wasn't in full team. This very quick, very sudden, very unexpected loss actually shattered the morale of VP by the next game, which was a clean LGD victory, unlike game 1, and arguably it also shattered the morale for VP for the rest of the tour. For which I'm very sad, but they should be able to bounce back, in their match vs EG you could feel that it wasn't the VP u got used to seeing. So, my point is that this can hardly be called steamrolling, LGD may have prepared well, may have shattered the morale of VP, but they didn't show they were a superior team that can "easily" steamroll VP, or Liquid. LGD was visibly nervous in the first game against Liquid, and I think they made uncharacteristic mistakes, but the game turned out ok for them still, and in the later stages, they did flawless plays to make sure they win. This g1 victory gave LGD such a huge morale boost that it was easy for them to take game 2, much like as it was against VP, and we'll see, but possibly even TI is theirs if they got on a roll. The two teams they were afraid of were VP and Liquid, and with all due respect to the defending champions, VP was the one to make a better stand against LGD in my opinion. So I'm a bit of a butthurt fanboy if you say LGD steamrolled VP, its a superficial half-truth. Pity for Solo, btw, I think he would deserve a TI. Overcoming his shady and scandalous past by transforming from a star core to a support and captain, from helping less fortunate teams to eventually rising to the top of the DPC. He may have fed before to lose a game and win money. Now he's a support, who feeds in a game to protect his cores and win the match, and win money. Respect for that! But why the hell did they stick so much to the tour meta? :/ Solo said something about being caught off guard by dual lanes, but 1-1-3 laning isn't impossible, or necessarily detrimental to winning in this meta, it could work well with the right setups...


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