Four days and dozens of matches later, we’re finally down to the final five teams who will play in front of the live audience at the ESL One Katowice 2018 Main Event.
Fnatic, ViCi Gaming, Virtus Pro, Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses will all compete in front of the live audience at the Spodek Arena in Katowice tomorrow for a shot at the $1 milllion prize pool and 1,500 Qualifying Points. Noteworthy teams that were not able to advance were Team Secret, who fell at the hands of Team Liquid in the last match played behind closed doors. Meanwhile, Newbee found themselves absolutely helpless against Evil Geniuses as the boys in blue routed them in a quick 37-minute series to advance to the main event.
With these five Dota 2 teams having already made it through the group stages, the real test now comes as they clash in what will likely be a day full of highlights and more importantly, opportunities to make bank.
Virtus Pro vs Evil Geniuses
— Virtus.pro (@virtuspro) February 23, 2018
Match Schedule: February 24 (1200H / 12:00 NN CET)
This particular matchup has got to be one of the weirdest in Dota 2 history. Though Virtus Pro have been one of the most successful teams post-TI6, along with Team Liquid, they have always lost to Evil Geniuses. And by always, we mean it quite literally so. In fact, you’ll have to go back to their matchup at Dota Pit League Season 3 on March 29, 2015, as the last time Virtus Pro ever won against Evil Geniuses.
Of course, the usual caveats apply. Both teams have since changed members. Clinton ‘Fear‘ Loomis and Syed Sumail ‘SumaiL‘ Hassan are the only members left for Evil Geniuses from that particular matchup, while all have since jumped ship for Virtus Pro. But still, this is a pretty one-sided matchup. At least, according to the stats.
Fortunately, with Evil Geniuses playing the way they’ve been — they’re 6-0 since losing to LGD Gaming in the opening rounds of ESL One Katowice 2018, capped off by a 2-0 drubbing of the ESL One Genting 2018 champions Newbee — you don’t need to look at the previous matchups to give the boys in blue a huge edge against Virtus Pro.
Betting: Evil Geniuses to win 2-0 at 3.35 odds (GGbet)
ViCi Gaming vs Team Liquid
— Team Liquid (@TeamLiquid) February 23, 2018
By sending Team Liquid down to the lower brackets during the group stages, ViCi Gaming became just the fourth team to beat Team Liquid in a series this season. The question now is, can they do it again, this time at the ESL One Katowice 2018 Main Event while playing in front of what will likely be a full crowd?
Throughout the tournament, ViCi Gaming have proven that they can win both early and late, a trait that should come in handy against the reigning TI champions. By virtue of being the winningest Dota 2 team of all time, Team Liquid are the favoured team in this matchup. But, considering how well ViCi Gaming are playing, picking them to be the second Dota 2 team to beat this iteration of Team Liquid twice — and the first to do so in the same tournament — might just be worth the risk.
Betting: ViCi Gaming to win at 2.57 Odds (ArcaneBet)
Which teams do you think will make it out of Day 1 of the ESL One Katowice 2018 Main Event? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.