The ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League Playoffs is finally here. The eight remaining teams in the league will be clashing in one final week of competition to determine who gets to walk away as champions and the lion’s cut of the US$100,000 prize pool.
Here’s a preview of the opening round of the Playoffs:
Fnatic vs Neon Esports
Day 1 of the Playoffs will be devoted to the opening round of the Upper Bracket, with the first match seeing tournament favorites Fnatic taking on dark horse Neon Esports.
This matchup will be interesting to say the least, as Neon was the only team to deal Fnatic a 2-0 loss in the group stage, and did so in dominant fashion too. Neon’s hyper-aggressive playstyle and unorthodox picks has allowed them to thrive in the current meta, but will that be enough for them to defeat Fnatic again when it matters?
We expect this series to be a close one, but Fnatic should be able to take it in the end, 2-1.
TNC Predator vs Geek Fam
The first day of the Playoffs will end with a clash between two of the top three teams in the league, TNC Predator and Geek Fam. Geek Fam has been ascendant as of late and is looking for a second-straight tournament win, while TNC seems to have finally bounced back from their recent slump here in the SEA League.
The last time these two squads met at the group stage, it ended in a 1-1 tie. Both teams epitomize the trademark hyper-aggressiveness of SEA Dota, but have slightly different ways of going about it. TNC play with a boldness that lets them dictate the pace and make or break games, while Geek Fam is more measured and prefer having a timing when they’ll overwhelm their enemies.
It’ll be a treat to see those two styles clash again, but in the end we expect to see TNC emerge victorious from a hard-fought 2-1 series.
BOOM Esports vs Team Adroit
Day 2 of the Playoffs will open with BOOM Esports taking on Team Adroit in the league’s first best-of-three elimination match in the Lower Bracket. BOOM looked like a strong contender in the first half of the Group Stage but has fallen off since the 7.27 patch hit, while Adroit barely made the Playoffs after seemingly figuring out the meta.
Adroit was able to defeat BOOM, 2-0, when they last met in the group stage in one of the biggest upsets of the league. Both teams like to run four-protect-one strategies, but Adroit seems to know better than BOOM how to make it work in the new meta.
While BOOM was clearly the better team before, if they aren’t able to figure out the meta quickly then Adroit could very well force a team once considered a championship contender to make an early exit.
NEW Esports vs T1
The second day of the Playoffs will end with a clash between NEW Esports and T1 to see who gets to stay longer in the league. Both teams started off strong but the wheels seemingly fell off in the second half. T1 folded against much stronger competition, while NEW Esports failed to adapt to the new meta.
We expect T1 to take this match, unless NEW Esports are able to figure out the meta and get the mojo they had at the start of the season back.
The winning teams of the opening round of the Upper Bracket will advance to the Upper Bracket Final to determine the league’s first grand finalist on Day 4, July 18.
Meanwhile, the losing teams drop to the Lower Bracket where they will fight for their tournament lives against the winners of the opening round of the Lower Bracket on Day 3, July 17.