The main event in Manila Major will kick off this week, but top teams in the tournament are already facing troubles as they underperformed against everyone’s expectations in the group stages.
The upper bracket is now rife with teams whose names were not held in high regard before the tournament. LGD Gaming, Fnatic and Digital Chaos, are the few to exceed all expectations and enjoy the rewards of a comfortable spot at the upper brackets.
Alliance, Team Secret and Evil Geniuses – three big names in the tournament – all paid the price as the smaller teams advanced. Right now, placed at the lower bracket in Manila, they are at a crossroads between survival and elimination from the $3.1 million event.
In group C, Fnatic managed to trump Alliance by 2 games to 1 and win a spot in the upper bracket. Even before that they had done well to come out a near win against Team Liquid. In their last group game, the Asian team was able to endure two long and grueling long matches before swiftly beating Alliance in the third.
But it’s more than just the game in Group B, as Team Secret hits rock-bottom. Digital Chaos may have only placed second to Na’Vi there, but the desire to see them fail is there in two-fifths the team. In fact, their support player, Rasmus “MiSeRy” Berth Filipsen, was nothing less than vocal in his desires to “knock [Secret] out entirely” from the running.
The truth is, nobody would expect anything less when you are kicked out of your former team unceremoniously after winning a major tournament. This was exactly the case as MiSeRy and current Digital Chaos midlaner Omar “w33” Aliwi were removed from Team Secret, despite winning the Shanghai Major.
Now, the result puts Team Secret in a particularly dire situation. Despite fielding an individually-talented team, the roster failed in dramatic fashion. It was indeed a situation few could have imagined, following their signing of Evil Geniuses superstars Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora in March.
Over in Group D, LGD Gaming was the undisputed group winner ahead of Korea’s MVP Phoenix. It was a much greater achievement when one considers that nobody had much expectations for them, given their results up until the Manila Major have been anything but impressive.
But here in Manila, they managed to win their series against both Evil Geniuses and recent WePlay Season 3 champions MVP Phoenix. There had been backlash and criticism, but now it would appear that Valve made the right decision in extending them a direct invitation to the Manila Major.
As the main event begins, LGD’s series against Fnatic is poised to become one of the more interesting matches. Both Asian teams will meet in their first international LAN setting, and we shall see show the results of their consistently improving gameplay over the past few months.