Chongqing Major: Secret and EHOME move on, Team Liquid and Fnatic fall to the lower bracket
photo courtesy of Team Secret
On day one of the Chongqing Major Playoffs, Team Secret rose above their missteps from the group stage, while Fnatic and EHOME slugged it out in a competitive and very entertaining three game series, which saw the latter team also rise above.
Team Liquid vs Team Secret
The Chongqing Major Playoffs kicked off with stellar performance by Team Secret, who took down the TI7 Champions, Team Liquid in convincing fashion. Although Team Liquid were missing Amer ‘Miracle-‘ Al-Barkawi due to unforeseen and sudden personal reasons, they looked to be in great shape with TI6 winner Chu 'shadow' Zeyu standing-in, coming out of Group C at the top and only with one game dropped.
However, in game one of the series, Liquid fell apart as their draft was simply outclassed. Liquid went with a Chen and Magnus support duo, hoping to secure shadow’s Phantom Assassin a strong start but going up against Secret’s much more aggressive trilane of their own, the bottom lane collapsed for Liquid. To make matters worse, the offlane and midlane also went poorly, especially the midlane where Secret’s Michał ‘Nisha’ Jankowski dominated Lars ‘Matumbaman’ Urpalainen. With a lack of playmakers and the very poor laning stage, Liquid called it quits just before the 35 minute mark.c
In the second contest, Liquid seemed to start off on better footing, with a much better start for shadow and other lanes. However, Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov’s squad came with another strong draft again, with some very big teamfight ultimates, which they played brilliantly around. The contest remained relatively even until Secret claimed the first Roshan at 17 minutes, and then pushed the aggression. A few minutes after, Secret would pick apart Liquid’s lineup all over the map, leading to a high ground push and another team wipe for Liquid that pushed the momentum firmly in Secret’s favor. Another Roshan fight at 30 minutes would seal Liquid’s fate and they called it a few minutes after, moving down to the lower bracket.
Fnatic vs EHOME
Game one of the second upper bracket series of the day started off with a flurry of action, as Fnatic and EHOME pushed the aggression early on especially in the top lane as the pair of trios continually clashed with Fnatic coming out slightly on top. Coming out of the laning stage and into the midgame, Fnatic were the ones to try and start the aggression in the bottom, coming down for a three man smoke gank. However, the gank was for naught, as EHOME responded with some great counter-play that turned the fight around with an insane Chain Frost from Zhang 'y`' Yiping.
As the game moved into its later stages, EHOME seemed in full control, especially with the insane play from Li ‘ASD’ Zhiwen's Shadowfiend in the laning phase along with Jiang '天命' An Tusk’s timely Snowball saves time and again. Fnatic, however, showed some signs of life in the game’s final stages despite being down 7k in networth. The SEA squad found some momentum after a number of fights, including a scramble in the Roshan pit that saw Daryl Pei 'iceiceice' Xiang Koh snatch the Aegis, which tilted the scales slightly towards their favour. However, EHOME rallied back, and continually took advantage of the lineup’s reliance on Abed ‘Abed’ Yusop’s Tinker. EHOME closed it out in around 40 minutes, with an emphatic performance from ASD.
In game two, Fnatic bounced back in emphatic fashion, trouncing EHOME in just 18 minutes. Despite analysts and casters favouring EHOME’s draft, the Chinese squad simply did not have the damage to deal with Noah 'MP' Pyo's Timbersaw who simply walked down the lanes, bullying EHOME out; with Fnatic pushing the pace, EHOME’s lanes collapsed leaving their Anti-Mage in limbo. Ultimately, Fnatic went up to a 4k gold lead in just 10 minutes and doubled that shortly after with a great fight. EHOME would call it quits at 18 minutes, clearly more interested in going back to the drawing board for game three than fighting a lost cause.
In the final game of the series, EHOME came at Fnatic with a much faster tempo going with a Drow-Visage combo. And on the steady performance of Zhang 'Faith_Bian' Ruida's Dark Seer, EHOME were in a much better place, almost mirroring Fnatic’s previous performance, with a 3k lead at 10 minutes—much of it off the back of ASD’s Drow Ranger, who throughout the game had another stellar performance.
As the game transitioned to its later stages, the accelerated experience and farm of the Drow Ranger came into effect and eventually Fnatic were hemmed in their base at 30 minutes unable to move lest they risk a potentially game ending high ground push. Yet, despite EHOME’s apparent lead, Fnatic still seemed like they had the potential for a swing back. The swing almost came to fruition around 35 minutes, which saw a huge extended fight that ended up going from Fnatic’s ancient to EHOME’s. EHOME started off great, wiping Fnatic along with a number of their buybacks. Fired up, the Chinese squad attempted to simply end the game going for the throne. But an insane hold by Abed and iceiceice pushed EHOME back, eventually allowing Fnatic to take a melee barracks. Another engagement, however, would end Fnatic’s valiant effort at around 40 minutes.
Round 4 - Best of 3
Round 1 - Best of 1
Round 5 - Best of 3
Round 6 - Best of 3
Best of 5
EHOME and Team Secret both move on to the second round of the upper bracket while Fnatic and Team Liquid fall down to the lower bracket. The two, however, luckily avoid the best-of-one slaughterfest set to take place tomorrow