The ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League Group Stage is finally over after four weeks of action, and the eight teams competing for the championship in the Playoffs have been decided.
Here’s how the competition stacks up as the league readies to crown a champion:
Record: 6-2-1 (1 Seed, Upper Bracket)
Last week: 1
As expected, Fnatic finished the group stage atop the standings, and are the clear favorites to take the championship. Aside from a surprise 0-2 loss to Neon Esports in Day 2 of Week 4, the top dogs of Southeast Asia are looking as dominant as ever.
Fnatic will open their playoff campaign in the Upper Bracket against the same Neon squad that dealt them their only loss in the league. If they can avoid the same outcome of their previous matchup, then the tournament favorites should have an easy road towards claiming their fifth championship this season.
2. TNC Predator
Record: 4-4-1 (2 Seed, Upper Bracket)
Last week: 2
After months battling inconsistency issues, TNC Predator are looking like they’re finally rounding back to their previous world-class form. Much of that resurgence can be attributed to the new patch 7.27 meta, which favors TNC’s signature aggressive play style.
With that said, TNC are still nipping at the heels of Fnatic, who soundly swept them in their group stage matchup. But before they can even think about winning a rematch against the tournament favorites, TNC must first take down another strong contender — Geek Fam in their Upper Bracket opener. If there was ever any better time for TNC to show that they are well and truly back, then it has to be now.
3. Geek Fam
Record: 3-5-1 (3 Seed, Upper Bracket)
Last week: 3
Geek Fam had a slow start in the group stage, likely the result of fatigue from their run to the championship at BTS Pro Series: SEA Season 2 just before the SEA League started. Even so, they were able to secure a nice string of wins to lock up an Upper Bracket berth.
TNC and (most likely) Fnatic stand in the way of Geek Fam’s goal of taking back-to-back championships. And while they were able to hold both of those teams to a 1-1 draw in their group stage matchups, they’ll need to kick things up a notch now that it’s playoff time.
4. Neon Esports
Record: 3-4-2 (4 Seed, Upper Bracket)
Last week: 6
Neon Esports hovered just below fourth place in the standings heading into Week 4 of the Group Stage, but they were able to nab an Upper Bracket berth with a resounding 2-0 win over Fnatic. Neon’s success has been fueled by their deep understanding of the current meta, to the point that they have been confidently running heroes like Faceless Void and Legion Commander as position 5 supports.
Neon will begin their playoff run with a rematch against Fnatic. If they can upset the tournament favorites again like they did in their previous meeting, then the SEA League championship is well within their reach.
5. BOOM Esports
Record: 3-3-3 (5 Seed, Lower Bracket)
Last week: 5
BOOM Esports looked solid in the first half of the group stage, but they have fallen to a slump ever since the 7.27 patch hit. While they are still a team to be reckoned with, they need to figure out the meta fast if they hope to survive, not to mention contend for the championship.
BOOM will open the Lower Bracket by taking on Team Adroit, a squad that has showed a better understanding of the meta. Though once considered a strong contender, BOOM will now have to fight multiple uphill battles.
Record: 3-2-4 (7 Seed, Lower Bracket)
Last week: 4
T1 stood atop the standings after Week 1 of the Group Stage, but in Week 4 they only narrowly avoided a three-way tie with Adroit and Reality Rift that could have ended with an early elimination. The team needs to quickly right the ship if they hope to make a deep run in the Playoffs.
T1 will be facing a struggling NEW Esports squad in their Lower Bracket opener. While they are the better team on paper, they can’t get complacent like they did in the group stage. T1 knows they are better than this, but they have to prove it in a crucible of elimination matches.
7. Team Adroit
Record: 1-7-1 (8 Seed, Lower Bracket)
Last week: 9
Team Adroit struggled throughout much of the Group Stage, but they were able to figure things out by the end of Week 4 to force a tie with Reality Rift, and eliminate them in the tiebreaker.
Adroit will be heading into their Lower Bracket matchup against BOOM Esports with a better understanding of the meta and nothing to lose. If Adroit can pull off an upset to open their playoff run, they’ll be a dangerous opponent for any unlucky team in the Lower Bracket.
8. NEW Esports
Record: 3-2-4 (6 Seed, Lower Bracket)
Last week: 8
NEW Esports were pulling off upsets left and right in the first half of the group stage, and were looking like they could even snag an Upper Bracket berth. But the wheels have fallen off for them ever since the 7.27 patch hit, where the meta has shown to be unfavorable to their greedy play style.
NEW Esports will be facing off against T1 in their Lower Bracket opener and they will have to figure things out quickly if they hope to survive. While NEW have been one of the biggest surprises of the league, it’s looking like they’re headed for an expected early exit.