Liquid vs IG
Whether they admit it or not, the fact that we’re looking at a Liquid vs IG upper bracket matchup as the first match of the day tells that the Group A leaders are out for revenge.
Sure, you could argue that familiarity played a role; they’ve played Virtus.Pro only once since March compared to the 8 times they’ve played Invictus Gaming since March of 2017.
But, if you’re Team Liquid, you’ll want to start the main event right and what better way to get things going than by taking down the team responsible for dropping you at The Kiev Major.
As per datdota.com, Invictus Gaming holds a slight edge in head-to-head matchups (5-3) this 2017. However, Team Liquid has better momentum heading into TI; they’ve won 3 straight LAN titles since May, including a win against IG at StarLadder, while the DAC 2017 champions have finished in 5th-6th place in three straight tournaments over that same period.
Team Liquid are definitely the favourites to advance, but with Invictus Gaming having shown better form in the past two days, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if they end up winning this.
Betting: Team Liquid to win 2-1 at 1/3 (betway)
Newbee vs Evil Geniuses
Similar to Liquid vs IG, these two teams have already played against each other throughout the year.
The Manila Masters saw these two teams give us two epic series, with Newbee striking first with a 2-0 sweep of Evil Geniuses at the winner’s bracket finals before the boys in blue made it out of the lower bracket finals to avenge their earlier loss with a 3-1 win at the Grand Finals to come home with the title.
Both teams have been one of the most consistent all year and judging by their performance these past few days, appear evenly matched.
Newbee gets the vote here but only because of Evil Geniuses’ penchant for dropping to the lower brackets.
Betting: Newbee to win 2-1 at 5/4 (Bet365)
Team Secret vs Execration
Playing in the main event of TI for the first time in their careers, Execration deserves props for making it this far after clawing their way from the TI7 open qualifiers. Unfortunately, this is where their run ends.
Team Secret may be known for their inconsistency, and in a BO1, anything can happen, but no offence to the Filipinos, all five of them can’t hold a candle to Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov’s experience on the grandest stage of them all, having led every one of his teams to a TI appearance and having won one himself.
It always makes for a great feel-good story to see an underdog win, it’s just that the chances of it happening here are slim.
Betting: Team Secret to win at 4/11 (Bet365)
C9 vs Empire
What do you get when you pit a team that has one of the best split pushers in the game, Roman ‘Resolut1on’ Fominok, against a team whose average match length is among the longest of the 18 teams at TI this year?
Cloud9’s recent surge may have been enough to get them into the main event, but it’s hard to see them getting past Team Empire.
Betting: Empire to win at 11/10 (Bet365)
OG vs Infamous
Team Secret knows all too well that you shouldn’t underestimate South American teams after SG e-sports took them down at The Kiev Major. Even Evil Geniuses know first-hand that they are the real deal after the Brazilians gave them quite the scare in the same tournament.
It certainly doesn’t help that it’s a BO1, so anything can happen; Infamous could pull off a cheese strat and upset OG, making the four-time Major winners the butt of jokes yet again for a few months until they win another set of Majors only to .. you know how it goes.
Infamous do have a fighting chance, except that they really don’t.
OG, who are fresh off a new partnership announcement with Red Bull, are too hungry, too determined and too good to exit this early on.
Besides, this isn’t the lower bracket matchup that has OG fans sweating at night.
Betting: OG to win at 2/7 (Bet365)
iG.Vitality vs Digital Chaos
Digital Chaos vs IG.Vitality is one of the harder games to call if only because they’re both middling teams who have been relatively even record-wise so far; both also got swept on the last day of the group stages.
While iG.V is primed for a breakout, we’ll have to give Digital Chaos the edge as all of their members have been to TI before – Abed Azel ‘Abed’ Yusop played in the wild cards at TI6 with Execration – and have an almost-sure win cheese strat with Meepo should iG.V forget to ban the Geomancer.
Betting: Digital Chaos to win at 11:10 (Bet365)
Click here for our Group Stage recap.
Which matchup are you looking forward to the most? Liquid vs IG? Newbee vs EG? Or is it one of the lower bracket matchups? Be sure to let us know in the comments down below!