You’d think that this week in between the LCS summer split and the summer playoffs would be relatively quiet and less action packed. But you would be wrong! We just finished the group stages of the International, the biggest Dota 2 tournament of the year, and in history. There were big CS:GO surprises at CEVO Season 7 Finals and in the ESL One qualifier. Our preview of the LCS playoffs will be next week given that they start on the following Saturday, but we’ve still got a packed version of eSports Weekly, just for you.
Dota 2 International Championships Main Event Preview
It is the grand daddy of Dota 2 events, the Super Bowl of esports, and it features the largest prize pool in the history of competitive gaming, breaking the record that the same tournament set last year. You know it, it’s the Dota 2 International Championships, known simply as the International. The International has turned Seattle’s Key Arena into a mecca for eSports, as arguably the biggest tournament of the year has been held there multiple times. In this year’s event, its fifth iteration, the action began in the wild card stage, as the runner ups from each qualifier fought for the two remaining spots in the group stages. Unfortunately for the American and European fans, the two Western teams, Team Archon (formerly North American Rejects) and Vega Squadron were sent home, and MVP Phoenix and CDEC punched their tickets to the main event.
In group stages, the sixteen teams were split into two groups of eight, and each team would face each team in their group in a best of two, for a total of seven matches. In Group A, two of the favorites would go undefeated, with LGD Gaming picking up five wins and two draws, and Team Secret claiming four wins and three draws. The two American teams in that group, Cloud 9 and compLexity would also place in the top half of their group, ensuring a spot in the winner’s bracket. Former champions Na’Vi, who had to win European qualifiers just to make it to the main event, struggled heavily, picking up zero wins, four losses, and three draws. They join Fnatic, Invictus, and MVP Phoenix in the bottom half of Group A, in the loser’s bracket.
Group B also produced some surprises. CDEC, fresh out of the wild card, finished second overall, with four wins, two losses, and a draw. They tied with first place finisher Evil Geniuses in points, who picked up three wins and four draws. EHOME and Empire joined EG and CDEC in the winner’s bracket, while Virtus.Pro, Vici Gaming, MVP HOT6ix, and defending champions NewBee went to the loser’s bracket.
Some interesting notes: all three North American teams (Evil Geniuses, Cloud 9, and compLexity) finished in the top half of their groups. So too did Secret, who feature North American superstar Arteezy. With the exception of LGD, none of the invited Chinese teams finished in the top half of their groups. The only other Chinese teams who made it to the winner’s bracket were the Chinese qualifier winner and the wild card winner, EHOME and CDEC, respectively. No North American team has ever won the whole thing, or even appeared in the grand finals. The closest was last year, when Evil Geniuses finished third, but now they have an altered roster. Will this be the year NA finally lifts the Aegis of Champions? The pattern of winners (EU-China-EU-China) suggest that a European team will win this year, and seeing how strong Secret is playing, it’s certainly possible.
CS:GO: CEVO Season 7 Finals, ESL European/Asian Qualifier Results
This past week featured some surprising results at the end of the CEVO Season 7 Pro League Finals, as well as the European qualifiers for the upcoming ESL One Cologne event. The group stage of the main event featured five capable North American teams, including the red hot Cloud 9 squad, and three European teams in Virtus.Pro, Na’Vi, and mousesports. The event initially included high profile teams such as Fnatic, TSM, NiP, and EnVyUs, but they all dropped out for varying reasons. Only Cloud 9 was able to make it out of group stages of the American teams, joining the three European teams in the playoffs. There, they were eliminated by Virtus.Pro, who would go on to beat Na’Vi in the grand finals 3-1 and take home first place. This was a big victory for a struggling Virtus.Pro team, who were embarrassed a week prior in an early exit from the FACEIT League Season II Finals, which included a 16-0 loss on Cache to Kinguin in their final game.
There were more surprising events at the end of the last week, as some talented European teams competed for four spots at the upcoming ESL One Cologne event. Names such as Kinguin, Dignitas, Titan, FlipSid3 and more were in the running to earn one of those important spots. Group A came down to three teams: Kinguin, Dignitas, and FlipSid3. Unfortunately for Dignitas, they lost both the winner’s final to Kinguin and the loser’s finals in overtime to FlipSid3, and both Kinguin and FlipSid3 earned a Cologne spot. Group B featured a surprise run by a relatively unknown team of Polish players called eBettle. Team eBettle upset HellRaisers and the new roster of Titan in overtime to earn a spot at Cologne. The new Titan roster, featuring SmithZz and shox, and minus kennyS and apEX, would rebound in the loser’s final, dismantling LGB eSports 16-2 and punching their ticket to Cologne.
Finally, it was the Australian nation’s domination in the Asian qualifiers, as Australian teams Renegades and Team Immunity qualified for their spots in Cologne, beating out teams from China, India, and Malaysia, among others.
- CS:GO: Nihilum have dropped their CS:GO roster that includes players Hiko and SEMPHIS, expressing disappointment in their recent offline performances. Despite the mutual departure, the roster will stay together and compete in the upcoming ESL One Cologne North American qualifier as Maximum Effort, alongside CLG, Cloud 9, Team Liquid, and more. The qualifier matches begin on Saturday, August 1st. Also competing at the qualifiers are the former Luminosity roster, featuring Devilwalk and ptr, now competing as Mythic. The Luminosity organization signed the former Keyd Stars roster, who have already qualified for ESL One Cologne.
- Halo: Evil Geniuses defended their Halo Championship Series Season I title with a solid defense at the Season II finals to repeat as champions. EG took home half of the $150K prize pool, doing so with a 3-0 sweep of CLG in the finals.
- Heroes: Luminosity picked up more than just a Brazilian CS:GO team this week. They announced today that they have signed the Canadian Heroes of the Storm team called Goon Squad that finished in the top six of the Road to Blizzcon Open this month. Additionally, Cloud 9 is letting go of one of their teams, Vortex, while retaining their other Heroes team, Maelstrom. No official statement has come from Cloud 9, but the casters during last night’s ESL event revealed that Vortex would not be competing under the C9 banner.
- Hearthstone: Interested in the new cards in the upcoming Grand Tournament expansion? Daily Dot’s Callum Leslie and Luke Winkie give their thoughts.