Whether fans consider it officially part of the pursuit for the Aegis of Champions or not, the stakes have never been higher in the TI11 Last Chance Qualifier.

The 11th edition of The International kicked off today, with 12 teams vying for just two more slots to the main event. After one day of competition, some pre-tournament favorites performed, and some didn’t.

Here’s a recap of what happened on day one.

TI11 Last Chance Qualifier standings after day 1

Group A

1stNatus Vincere5 — 12 — 1 — 0
2ndTeam Secret4 — 21 — 2 — 0
3rdPolaris Esports3 — 11 — 1 — 0
4thVici Gaming3 — 11 — 1 — 0
5thnouns1 — 50 — 1 — 2
6thTempest0 — 60 — 0 — 3

Group A already sees a chasm forming between the teams. It wasn’t a great day for North and South American teams—just four wins shared between the four squads from the region on day one, with the two teams in Group A only providing one.

Nouns and Tempest had torrid first days, with the sole victory coming in nouns against Team Secret. While there’s still a chance for the two teams to pull themselves out of the mire on day two, it’s likely that these two will be the teams starting their playoff campaign—and the final shot at TI qualification—in the lower bracket.

No[o]ne with VP at DreamLeague Season 13
Credit: DreamHack

NAVI had a clean day one, with both series wins coming against nouns and Tempest. And while they hold the top spot heading into the second day, Team Secret, Polaris Esports, and Vici Gaming continue to gun for the top spot.

While most will favor Secret and NAVI from this group, Vici and Polaris have each taken a game off the two teams respectively. As more games play out between these four squads, we’ll get a better idea as to who will be favored for claiming one of the two direct invite slots.

Group B

1stTeam Liquid4 — 21 — 2 — 0
2ndVirtus Pro4 — 21 — 2 — 0
3rdXtreme Gaming4 — 21 — 2 — 0
4thInfamous2 — 40 — 2 — 1
5thT11 — 30 — 1 — 1
6thWildcard Gaming1 — 30 — 1 — 1

It’s arguable that all three of the top teams in Group B at the end of day one are amongst the top favorites to come out of the LCQ—even Evil Geniuses’ Artour “Arteezy” Babaev agreed. While it’s no surprise to see them on top, fans might be surprised at how T1 has been performing so far.

But Eastern European team Virtus Pro will be kicking themselves for missing a chance to go clear on top of Group B. The team lost an 18,000 gold lead in game one against Wildcard Gaming. While they promptly and swiftly kicked down WG in the second game, it’s a worrying sign for them going into the LCQ playoffs, where every little mistake will be capitalized on.

Anathan “ana” Pham and Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen’s new team have a lot of catching up to do, if they want to start the LCQ playoffs in the upper bracket. The team seems to be going against the meta in many regards. While Topson’s hero selections have never been orthodox, going Enchantress mid and Bounty Hunter in the offlane against Team Liquid looked like a pub experiment gone wrong. They are also the only team so far to even entertain picking Gyrocopter, even in the first phase—a hero that has so far been otherwise ignored.

The only game T1 won was through an imperious Leshrac 20-kill performance by Topson versus Infamous—his first professional game on the hero—breaking a GPM world record for the hero in the process, according to DatDota. At least somebody is still setting records on their debut.

Topson at The International 10
Credit: Valve

Things aren’t to get easier for T1. With Virtus Pro and Xtreme Gaming still on their schedule, they have but one night to figure it out—and go at it again tomorrow morning, starting 10 a.m. GMT +8.

Throughout the group stage, four games will be running separately on PGL’s Twitch streams: PGL_Dota2, PGL_DOTAEN2, PGL_DOTA2EN3, and PGL_DOTA2EN4.

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