Following their defeat against Team Liquid in the Upper Bracket Match for Group C in Day 1 of the Group Stage, Evil Geniuses (EG) managed to secure the last Upper Bracket spot for the group over Chinese Team Aster and Southeast Asian Team Adroit.
Team Aster outclass Team Adroit, 2-0 (Group C Lower Bracket)
Day 2 matches for Group C began with Aster going up against Adroit to see who will face EG for the last Upper Bracket spot for the group. Aster opened with a core duo of Juggernaut for Song “Sccc” Chun and Dragon Knight for Kee Chyuan “ChYuan” Ng while Adroit ran Lycan for John Anthony “Natsumi-” Vargas and Invoker for Mc Nicholson “Mac” Villanueva.
Aster established a significant lead early and didn’t look back, dominating Adroit in teamfights and denying them any chances of getting themselves back into the game. With the pressure from Aster seemingly unsurmountable, Adroit called GG in just under 30 minutes.
In game two, Adroit looked to bounce back with Natsumi on Leshrac and Mac on Templar Assassin while Aster positioned themselves to close the series out with Sccc on Bristleback and ChYuan on Invoker leading the way.
Game two had a similar start to the previous one as Aster once again went on the offensive early and built up a huge lead. While Adroit were able to strike back and extend the game, they overextended hard and let Aster close the series out with a dominant sweep.
Evil Geniuses sneak past Team Aster, 2-1 (Group C Decider Match)
Looking to shake off their earlier defeat to Team Liquid, EG looked to open its series against Aster strong with a heavy teamfight lineup featuring Artour “Arteezy” Babaev on Faceless Void, Abed Azel “Abed” Yusop on Ember Spirit, and Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev on Tidehunter. Meanwhile, Adroit went with Sccc on Gyrocopter and ChYuan on Invoker.
A good start by EG let them exert control over much of the map early, forcing Aster to play catchup and demolishing them in fights. While Aster was able to repel the EG onslaught for some time, the North American squad eventually overpowered their defenses to take game one.
A confident EG let the dreaded Morphling-Earthshaker combo slip through the draft which Aster than picked up, thinking that a strong midgame push by a Juggernaut for Arteezy empowered by Magnus for Ramzes would counter it.
EG predictably dominated early and looked poised to end the game and claim the series by the 25-minute mark, but Aster was able to hold on long enough for Sccc’s Morphling to get Aghanim’s Scepter and lead a comeback. Despite having the chance to win the game much earlier, EG succumbed to the Morphling-Earthshaker combo after 52 minutes.
Wising up, EG predictably banned the Earthshaker in the deciding game three and ran the Juggernaut-Magnus combo again, this time with Abed on Dragon Knight for even more midgame power. Meanwhile, Aster countered with a strong teamfight composition with Sccc on Ember Spirit, ChYuan on Invoker, and Lin “Xxs” Jing on Axe.
Both teams were relatively even heading into the midgame, with both teams clashing multiple times around the Rosh pit where Aster’s strong teamfight composition shined. Crucial mistakes by Sccc saw him getting picked off multiple times, which hamstrung his team’s hopes for a comeback as EG eventually managed to secure the series.
EG will be facing the Summit 11 Minor champions Invictus Gaming (IG) in the Upper Bracket, though they may no longer be the favorites in that matchup as IG dominated their group while they looked vulnerable. As for Aster and Adroit, they will begin the playoffs in the treacherous best-of-1 Lower Bracket against Gambit Esports and Beastcoast, respectively.