The Boston Major is underway, and Day 1 of the Group Stage has wrapped up. It was a doozy, too. If you're just catching up and you're looking for the shorthand notes, I've got your back!
Group A Wings Gaming took on Malaysian hopefuls WarriorsGaming.Unity, and the best of three was probably the highlight of the day. The International Champions were bullied early on, with WG snagging first blood and shoving Wings around, but experience won over eventually as Wings managed to outlast the (relative) newcomers. But in the second game WG.U stayed disciplined, made fewer errors and took a game off Wings. The real highlight was the third game, where the advantage traded back and forth a few times before WarriorsGaming completed the upset and knocked the champs into the lower bracket for Group A. If you only watch one game from the day, make it Game 3 of Wings vs WG.U — we've embedded it for you below.
The other opener in Group A saw Digital Chaos face off against LGD Forever Young, and the second game of that series is a gorgeous demonstration of staying calm under pressure, as DC spent a full hour behind behind. The difference came when LFY Yao die-backed at exactly an hour in, the momentum swung DC's way and the US team used the 120 respawn timeron Yao to push in LFY's defences.
In the winner's bracket DC and WarriorsGaming.Unity faced off, but it was almost like a different team showed up for WG.U. DC dismissed them to the loser's bracket decider with ease. w33 running circles around his opposite AhJit, and Resolution didn't die a single time to the first round upsets. It was a similar story in the loser's bracket showdown, as a refocused Wings took on LFY and dismissed them quickly. The fastest was in the second, when shadow's Timbersaw out-killed the entire LFY team - although shadow was similarly dominant in the first of the loser's bracket games as well.
Wings took their revenge when they faced off against WG.U in the Group A deciders, but I'll tell you what, WG.U seem to have the 2016 champions' number. All five of the Wings/WG.U games are must watch for any team hoping to 'solve' the extremely tricky Wings team — WG.U were able to consistently give them problems all day today. Still, I think experience won out in the end and Wings were able to stay composed to eek out second place in Group A.
Group B Group B kicked off with a game close to Aussie hearts, as Newbee took on MVP Phoenix — pitting Damien "kpii" Chok against Kim "Velo" Tae-sung — but there was no Anzac spirit as Newbee dispatched of MVP quickly. One of their matches was the shortest of the day, where Sccc — on Templar Assassin — went all the way off. A tactic which shouldn't have worked as many times as it did saw kpii on Slardar bait MVP in one direction, and then Sccc would come in from the other and dismantle the South Korean team. Watch that game, embedded below.
In the second opener for Group B the new look Virtus.pro were just as scary as we said they would be — perhaps scarier. They demolished EternalEnvy's Team NP, the first game winding up in just 25 minutes and a mere 2 kills going the way of the newly formed Team NP. Templar Assassin played a big role in the second match as No[o]ne used her with gross efficiency, shutting Team NP down again — there might be synergy problems on the Canadian team's side, but there were none to be seen from Virtus.Pro who were firing on all cylinders.
Speaking of, in the Winner's bracket match Virtus.Pro barely slowed down as they destroyed Newbee in just two games. The second game was a knock-down dragout as Newbee started to find their form, but No[o]ne's Outworld Devourer proved to be too imposing, dumping out nearly 40k damage over the course of the 61 minute match.
In the loser's bracket match MVP Phoenix took on Team NP, and the best of three went all three rounds. The third game was a nailbiter, and it shows the promise I spoke about in NP — when they're able to stay on goal, they're hard to unseat. MVP focused on EternalEnvy early, but instead of tilting NP stayed focused. Smelling blood, MVP went in way too deep and paid for it dearly — and then they did it again, fighting under the tier 4 towers and chasing kills all the way into the fountain instead of playing conservatively. It's a total cliche, but NP didn't win their third game with MVP Phoenix, they just waited for MVP to lose it.
The final game, the Group B decider, saw Newbee face off against Team NP and it was a smashing. Game 1 saw NP struggling up hill from near the get go, until a huge combo from MSS and SVG in the late game swung the momentum back in their direction. Unfortunately for NP, Newbee were just too composed — even after losing a huge team fight at the gates of their own base they still managed to come back to win the first game. The second game was almost just a matter of course for the Chinese team, and they wrapped it up in a businesslike fashion — NP seemed somewhat exhausted, if anything.
At the end of the day, the tables are as follows:
LGD Forever Young
Teams at the bottom of their groups will be paired with teams at the top of others, which means MVP Phoenix and LFY will have some tough games ahead of them.