The top headlines from the Frankfurt Major group stage
We are now 2 days into the Frankfurt Major and there has been plenty of action, as the group stages have been wrapped up and the seeding decided for the playoffs. As was perhaps expected, 7 out of the 8 directly invited teams to the event have made it into the upper bracket play offs. However, the real story of the 2 days, is SEA team Mineski beating EHOME 2-0 in their final group match to secure themselves an upper bracket spot.
Going into the groups it looked like all of the groups were fairly balanced in terms of skill bracket, but a few stood out, as they caused problems for a few teams that were highly touted and a few teams that had nearly all their work cut out for them. Here is an overview of how the groups went:
Group A: TI5 and TI4 champions go opposite directions
The International 5 winners, Evil Geniuses, got off to a strong start in the Frankfurt Majors, winning both of their best of 3 series’. Despite both Fnatic and Virtus.pro taking them to the full 3 game series, the Americans booked their spot straight to the upper bracket, which bucks their trend of usually haivng difficult first days at LAN.
Meanwhile, both Fnatic and VP had crucial matches to try and avoid going into the gruesome best of 1 lower bracket elimination. After VP beat Newbee and then lost to EG, they were faced with the TI4 champions once again, who they decisively beat 2-0 again to put them into the lower bracket. With these results, both Newbee and Fnatic will be fighting for their Frankfurt lives come the lower bracket playoffs.
Group B: Peruvian underdogs struggle in tough group while OG underperform
After an incredible run to make it to the Frankfurt Major, team Unknown.xiu still had a long road ahead of them to make any headway in the tournament itself. When the groups were decided, they looked relatively balanced, as there were no completely one sided groups, however Group B was one of the groups that looked particularly tricky.
Having both Vega Squadron and OG looked to be hard enough, as they are 2 recently very successful European teams, but put on top of that the Chinese giants, Vici Gaming, and you have a the Mount Everests of DotA groups to climb. So naturally, Uknown had a tough time of it, losing both their games 0-2. As for Vega, they managed to repeat some of their success that they had at ESL One New York, after being a surprise direct invite to Frankfurt, with some more overpowering Nightstalker games.
However after Vega lost to VG, securing the Chinese a relatively simple upper bracket place, they had to take on their European brethren. OG managed to take the first game in their signature style by dominating the lanes, turning that into a 23 minute GG call. Vega were unfazed, though, and copied their earlier group game against OG and took the last 2 games to advance.
Group C: Team Secret look for next LAN win, putting Cloud9 further from their first
Although Team Secret advanced comfortably to claim their place in the upper bracket of the main event, it was not without a few hurdles along the way. They fell flat in a 23 minute game against Chinese replacement team Newbee.Young who showed exactly why teams hate Huskar so much. Similarly, they took their series against LGD 2-0, but not after a 66 minute game 1.
The group got interesting after LGD ultimately suffered a defeat from Secret. As the 2 losing teams of the group, Cloud9 and Newbee.Y faced off to avoid instant elimination into the lower bracket. In a tense series, Cloud9 managed to curb their usual farm-oriented style, picking up a Razor to take the fight to the Chinese.
With that win they once again had to play LGD, a terrifying match up to be sure, but one in which they had managed to take a game off of the TI5 3rd place team. Unfortunately for the Americans, they were pretty much systematically dismantled by the Chinese, never getting their Naga pick in game 1 off the ground. They had a bit more early game success in game 2, but were met with a similar ending as they were forced to call the 30 minute GG again.
Group D: Alliance are back... against the wall in the midst of SEA success
An all Asian group had the Swedish Alliance in a tough spot from the start of the group stages. After an epic final qualifier game to make it to Frankfurt, they failed to take a single game in their group. They arguably had the group stacked against them, as they looked to struggle to make it to the upper bracket in the first place, however the sudden success from SEA qualifier team Mineski must have been a real kick in the teeth.
As for Mineski, they really opened some eyes to the talent on the team, not only beating Alliance 2-0, but also taking out the old school Chinese superstars, EHOME, 2-0 as well. After losing to CDEC 1-2, the SEA team had all to play for, but were probably underrated by nearly everyone in the DotA 2 pro scene. They may have lost to CDEC initially, but it is them who will be joining the TI5 runner up team in the upper bracket.
Coverage resumes tomorrow, as the play off bracket is set. After the first set of best of 1 elimination matches have dispatched half of the lower bracket, all the remaining matches will be best of 3 to determine who will make it to that coveted best of 5 grand final.