By Radu Muresan
August 15, 2019
The International 2019 started with a bang today and 20 superb matches. Here’s what I’ve learned as a result of watching all of The International 2019 day one matches in parallel and analyzing the results.
Group A of The International 2019 started well for two of the four teams that are expected to finish in the top four. Team Secret and PSG.LGD clearly proved that they’ve prepared thoroughly over the last six weeks and dominated the opposition. Secret got six points out of the first three matches while PSG.LGD got five.
Apart from these two teams, TNC Predator and Newbee also looked very strong, despite losing one match each. TNC started with a victory over Keen Gaming, followed by an unexpected loss against their regional rivals, Mineski, and then a predictable draw against PSG.LGD. In Newbee’s case, the tournament started with a 2 – 0 victory against Team Liquid. This was a monumental upset that showed just how good Newbee is at this point.
In their second game, the NA roster playing under the Chinese banner encountered the winner of the Dota Pro Circuit, Team Secret. They lost both games, but the action itself favored them each time and it was a miraculous turnaround from Puppey and his squad that turned the result at the very last moment. Secret had already done something similar in their first game against Alliance, where they managed to win a totally lost battle.
Despite their 1 W – 1 D – 1 L and 1W – 0 D – 1 L records, TNC Predator and Newbee proved their worth on day one of The International 2019 and let everyone know that they’re here to get a top placement. I expect both teams to finish in the top four by the end of the Group Stage.
The big negative surprises of the group were Team Liquid and Alliance. Both teams had looked very well prior to the start of The International but started the tournament with poor results. Liquid won a match and lost two others while Alliance drew one match and lost another.
The weakest team in Group A after the first day of TI9 turned out to be Chaos Esports Club. This had been expected by almost everyone and by the end of the first stage of The International 2019, we will most likely see them eliminated from the competition. Their main rivals at the bottom of the standings table will be hard to avoid, as all the other competitors are significantly stronger.
Overall, the full results in Group A after the first day of The International 2019 are the following:
In Group B of The International 2019, Vici Gaming proved to be just as good as we had seen them at the Dota Pro Circuit Majors. The double Major champions started the tournament with easy victories over Fnatic and Royal Never Give Up.
Apart from Vici Gaming, two other teams have already shown quite a bit of skill on day one, although their situation is far from being clear. We’ll need at least one more competitive day to figure out how strong these two competitors are relative to the rest. I’m talking of course about Virtus.pro and OG. Both got one win and one draw in their first two matches. However, while VP’s results came against some very serious teams (NiP and RNG), OG’s successes came against much weaker opponents (Infamous and Na’Vi). So, we can’t say much about them at this point.
Among the big surprises in this group was Natus Vincere, a team that every statistic had indicated to be one of the least likely to succeed. And yet, they drew against EG and OG in their first two matches of the tournament, clearly proving that they’re not here to simply roll over and get eliminated.
The weakest team in Group B turned out to be Infamous. This was expected so it’s not that big of a surprise. However, it is a massive surprise what’s happening to Evil Geniuses. The North American squad entered the tournament as one of the big names, having finished the regular season in the top five with three top three placements at the DPC Majors. They’re also the exact same lineup that finished 3rd at TI8. So, their defeat against Fnatic in the first match of the tournament, followed by a draw against Na’Vi, inevitably left everyone disappointed.
The complete results in Group A after the first day of The International 2019 are the following:
Based on what I’ve seen so far, I expect a lot more positive results from Vici Gaming and Team Secret on the second day of The International 2019. Apart from these two competitors, Infamous and Chaos Esports Club are likely to keep on losing. Everyone else is kind of in between, either because their strength level is not yet clear or simply because they are about to face strong opposition in the matches to come.
Personally, I’m expecting an X2 result in Virtus.pro vs. Vici Gaming as well as in Liquid vs. PSG.LGD. Overall, lots of draws should be expected tomorrow, as the matchups will be much closer than today. Out of the first 20 matches of day one, only five of them were draws. On day two we’re likely to see two times as many.