Undoubtedly the biggest upset of the qualifiers, Tundra Esports 2-0’d OG in the upper bracket final to keep their lossless record up until the Grand Final.
OG 100% outplayed and outpicked
The biggest fans of Dota 2’s back-to-back defending champions found themselves in quite the shock as OG fell to Tundra Esports in two straight games, knocking them to the lower bracket final and facing possible elimination before the bo5 Grand Final. The seemingly invincible OG drafting magic and unbeatable pacing was shattered when Tundra pulled off surprise picks of their own, obliterating the TI9 champions and proving themselves the scariest European team in these qualifiers.
Part of Tundra’s success came from confident picks that looked weird, but in action made a ton of sense. Mid-laner Leon “Nine” Kirilin flexed his deep hero pool himself in the first game, picking Winter Wyvern which absolutely decimated OG’s Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen and his Void Spirit in lane. The off-lane combo of Jingun “Sneyking” Wu and Neta “33” Shapira was also a key component of their two victories, as the perfectly timed rotations and plays from these two secured a lot of objectives early on and kept OG’s cores from ever reaching their timings. In the end, Tundra took game one with 29 kills against OG’s 18, and took game two with 52 against the defending champions’ 21.
With that series secured, Tundra Esports look to be in top form going to the Grand Finals of the Qualifiers, finishing all of their matches in the upper bracket without dropping a single match.
Chicken Fighters and Spider Pigzs are eliminated, ending both of their fantastic lower bracket runs
The Chicken Fighters’ solid run from bottom of the barrel to complete domination ended in their match against Team Liquid, as the latter, fresh from their defeat from Tundra Esports, took the series 2-1. Of particular note was the first game between the two, as the standoff of powerful cores from both teams pushed the game to 100 minutes with tons of Divine Rapiers bought and dropped. In the end, Team Liquid’s captain and hard support Aydin “iNSaNiA” Sarkohi took it upon himself to finish the game, picking up dropped Rapiers with his Ancient Apparition to kill off the enemy Snapfire and Pangolier, leaving Chicken Fighters without any remaining defenders and buybacks.
The Chicken Fighters did not give up without a fight, however, as they took the second game in the span of 23 minutes. Despite their valiant efforts, they ultimately found themselves on the ropes in game three as Team Liquid ran them down mercilessly to finally end their fantastic run once and for all.
On the other side of the lower bracket, however, there was Team Nigma who were out for blood after their defeat against OG on day two. This became apparent in their fast-paced games against Spider Pigzs, who were knocked out before they even knew it. Team Nigma took both games one and two before the 30-minute mark to secure a date with Team Liquid to decide who will face OG in the lower bracket final.
Team Nigma sets their eyes on a rematch with OG
After OG’s well-documented loss against Tundra Esports, Team Nigma found themselves in a redemption arc of their own as they managed to defeat Team Liquid in an undoubtedly close series. Team Liquid took the first game as they used Samuel “Boxi” Svahn’s fast Axe timings to set the pace of the match in their favor, running over Team Nigma and their cores to secure the game within 40 minutes.
This victory would be their last, however, as Team Nigma found a rhythm of their own that dictated the last two matches well within their favor. It speaks to the proficiency of Team Liquid that they managed to wrestle away some control for a short amount of time, but Team Nigma made it clear that they will not be denied their chance for revenge against OG. Of particular note was mid-laner Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi’s efforts as both Storm Spirit and Templar Assassin, using his role effectively and keeping himself alive in the crucial team fights of the games.
With this win, Team Nigma is all but set for the lower bracket final against OG, and the winner of this series will face off against Tundra Esports to decide who will take that final spot for Europe in TI10. Whoever wins in these last two matches is still up in the air, but what is sure is that it will be some of the most amazing matches for EU Dota this year.