The ESL One Birmingham 2018 Semifinals will see the perennial underdogs paiN Gaming try to pull off yet another upset against three-time Major winners Virtus.Pro. Meanwhile, Fnatic and OpTic Gaming will also square off in a series that could mean the difference between receiving a direct invite to The International 2018 and having to try their luck via the Regional Qualifiers.
And then there were four.
Yesterday, the ESL One Birmingham 2018 Quarterfinals went exactly as we predicted. paiN Gaming pulled off yet another huge upset against the DAC 2018 champions Mineski. At the same time, the Southeast Asian powerhouse also lived on to see another day after eliminating OG in a tight best-of-three series that went all the way. Now, paiN Gaming and Fnatic will face off against Virtus.Pro and opTic Gaming at the ESL One Birmingham 2018 Semifinals later today to decide which Dota 2 team will move on to the Grand Finals.
Scroll down further below to find out our picks for the ESL One Birmingham 2018 Semifinals.
paiN Gaming vs Virtus.Pro
Match Schedule: May 26, 2018 (Saturday 14:00 BST)
Nobody in the right mind would have expected paiN Gaming to make it this far. But, then again, this particular lineup isn’t exactly new to surprises. Lest we forget, it was roughly around a year ago that William ‘hFn‘ Medeiros, Otavio ‘tavo‘ Gabriel, and Danylo ‘Kingrd‘ Nascimento pulled off the unthinkable while playing for SG e-sports as they eliminated one of the heavy favourites Team Secret, as well as very nearly took out another powerhouse in Evil Geniuses, at the Kiev Major.
Now, they’ll try to do it against for the third time in the same tournament. Their opponent? Virtus.Pro. Although both Mineski and Team Liquid are legitimate powerhouses, Virtus.Pro are just on another level right now. In fact, of the five games they’ve played so far in the tournament, only one went past the 30-minute mark. That was Game 2 against Fnatic during the Group Stages.
Of course, it’s not like Virtus.Pro are immune to losing against underdog teams; it was barely one month ago that FlyToMoon eliminated them at EPICENTER XL. But, betting on that happening again here, and for paiN Gaming to pull off a third upset in a row seems like wishful thinking. There’s no way Virtus.Pro have not done their homework heading into this game. Especially since a third Mercedes-Benz is potentially on the line for them.
Betting: Virtus.Pro to win at 1.2 odds (GGbet)
OpTic Gaming vs Fnatic
Match Schedule: May 26, 2018 (Saturday 17:50 BST)
These are two Dota 2 teams whose fate could very well depend on how their series at the ESL One Birmingham Semifinals goes. For Fnatic, a win here will guarantee them at least 2,390 Qualifying Points. This is enough to help them squeak into the Top 8. Then, all they need to do is to pray that VGJ.Thunder do not finish in the Top 4 at the China Dota 2 Super Major next week so they can start preparing for The International 2018. As for OpTic Gaming, anything less than the title will mean going through the Regional Qualifiers.
With so much on the line, expect each team to give this match everything they’ve got.
As for our pick, we have a feeling that OpTic Gaming will take this series. So far, Peter ‘ppd‘ Dager has done a mighty fine job giving Quinn ‘CC&C‘ Callahan and Pers Anders Olsson ‘Pajkatt‘ Lille each a chance to shine. We have yet to see a game where OpTic Gaming drafted specifically for Neta ‘33‘ Shapira to succeed, and we all know how good he is if ppd lets him loose.
Betting: OpTic Gaming to win at 1.70 odds (ArcaneBet)
Which of our predictions for the ESL One Birmingham 2018 Semifinals do you think will come true? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.