Chongqing Major: Lower Bracket Brawl ends with four teams gone
Title image courtesy of StarLadder
The herd was culled as four teams moved on from the lower bracket best-of-ones and four went home.
Chaos Esports Club rallied from their performance in the group stage. The South Americans, Thunder Predator, surprised and rose to the occasion. Veterans J.Storm delivered overpowering their NA favored rivals, and the Filipino titans TNC Predator escaped elimination, moving on the second round of the lower bracket.
Alliance vs Chaos Esports Club
After a somewhat disappointing performance in the group stage, Chaos Esports Club rallied to take down the storied Swedish organization in a strong sub-half hour game. Most of the game stayed relatively even, but Chaos EC continually pressed their advantage and maintained an overall lead. Despite the threat of Michael 'mICKe' Vu's Anti-Mage against William 'hFn' Medeiros's Medusa, mICKe just could not seem to get things going. Alliance called it quits just a few minutes before the 30-minute mark, while Chaos EC now moves on to face Vici Gaming.
The Pango vs Thunder Predator
The South Americans showed impressive discipline in their game against The Pango. Their patience as well as solid play allowed them to take advantage of Pango’s mistakes, and continually build their advantage. Early on, Thunder Predator took a small lead, with great rotations by Sergio 'Prada' Toribio, allowing Juan 'Atun' Ochoa to farm up his Terrorblade. Although, The Pango’s Medusa player was also given some space as well. The game stayed even but Thunder Predator’s map presence was overall better, as the squad continually found pick-offs that turned into objectives. It was a slow burn to the end, as the South Americans simply turned fight after fight into objectives, never pushing too far lest they risk a potential comeback from The Pango. Thunder Predator escape the best-of-one pit and move on the Bo3s where they now face off against NA juggernauts, Evil Geniuses.
Forward Gaming vs J.Storm
The duel of the NA squads showcased some world class Dota, as each team performed spectacularly, going all the way to the 70-minute mark in a tense contest that was played on a knife’s edge. Early on in the game, it was Forward Gaming to strike first, as the lanes slipped into their favour in the first few minutes. However, once rotations around the map started and space freed up, a pressured Lee 'Forev' Sang-don managed to even out, and likewise coming out of the laning stage, both teams were fairly even. With elimination no doubt weighing heavy on their minds, each team remained relatively passive, content to farm and secure the gold and items that could potentially swing the midgame in their favour. It would be J.Storm to take the early tempo as Forward Gaming were content to play a four-versus-five while Roman ‘Resolut1on’ Fominok continued to farm up on his Terrorblade.
Once the game transitioned fully to the middle phases, and once Resolut1on had acquired a few items, Forward Gaming attempted to get things started. A failed smoke gank at 21, however, showed the clear weakness in the lack of initiation from the squad. Attempting to capitalize, J.Storm ended up taking the first Roshan, but the fight traded out fairly even for both teams; the middle would continue in a back and forth as J.Storm extended their networth lead but were stymied from any real push due to Forward Gaming’s great positioning and constant split pushing—on top of the fact that it seemed like Resolut1on had a double damage rune almost every single push!
In the game’s final stages, both teams played extremely conservatively with each small misstep costing each team more and more. This was clear as time and time again, J.Storm would posture for a highground push, but quick lifts from Arif ‘MSS’ Anwar's Rubick and the damage from the insanely farmed Resolut1on would dissuade any further momentum. At one point, Forward even had taken two of J.Storm’s melee barracks despite being down almost 6k gold. However, it was the continual advantage of each Roshan taken by J.Storm that continually wore down Forward. A penultimate engagement at the Roshan pit, which saw Forward expend all five buybacks would come to bite them later at the 70-minute mark as J.Storm surged ahead, knowing the precarity of Forward’s position. J.Storm move on now to face SEA powerhouse Fnatic.
TNC Predator vs Team Aster
In the last best-of-one series, it would be the Filipinos to escape elimination as they took down Team Aster in convincing fashion. From the start, TNC Predator were in full control, evidenced by Aster having to adjust their lanes. Despite their relatively greedy lineup with a Tinker and a Morphling played by Armel 'Armel' Tabios and Kim 'Gabbi' Villafuerte Santos respectively, TNC came out of the laning stage well ahead of Aster. Sensing the tempo shifting, Aster attempted to strike first with a big gank down bottom, which ended up costing them two of their cores. They would answer back shortly after, claiming two from TNC. However, it was clear from the farm and lack of experience that Aster’s reliance on Jia 'Sylar' Jin Liu's Terrorblade lynchpin would be all that stood in the way for TNC. As the game winded down, TNC played an extremely tight control game, starving out Aster from any sort of farm while Gabbi and Armel put on a show with their Morphling and Tinker. Aster would call it quits around 35 minutes, unable to deal with the immense lead that TNC had secured for themselves with outstanding play. The Filipinos now move on to face Team Liquid.