The second day of the WePlay! Bukovel Minor had some incredible matches that caused the tournament to end much later than expected, but the fans were definitely entertained.
The event started with an elimination match which featured Team Spirit eliminating Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) in a 2-0 sweep. Then, Royal Never Give Up (RNG) completely dominated Geek Fam, 2-0, with two statement games that moved them up as tournament favorites.
Next, Geek Fam managed to regroup and win their elimination match against Team Spirit, 2-0. After that, Gambit Esports moved up to the Upper Bracket by outlasting Fighting PandaS, 2-1.
The final match of the day was an incredible match that Nigma Esports won on a 2-1 count, eliminating Fighting PandaS from the Minor.
Here is how the Day 2 matches played out:
Team Spirit beat NiP, 2-0 (Group A elimination match)
NiP decided to go with a Timersaw in the middle lane for Connor “TANNER” Weedon, and had Peter “ppd” Dager’s position 5 Viper support Nico “Gunnar” Lopez’s Faceless Void in the Dire safe lane.
Meanwhile, Team Spirit went with heroes that would peak during the mid-to-late game stage by picking Slark for Igor “iLTW” Filatov and an offlane Necrophos for Alexey “nongrata” Vasilyev.
NiP edged out Team Spirit during the laning stage by outmaneuvering their CIS opponents all around the map. The European squad opened up the map for themselves by taking down Radiant towers, which gave them more angles to attack from.
Team Spirit was able to take back control of the game from NiP once iLTW and nongrata farmed their key items. NiP’s transition to the late game was disastrous with their core heroes becoming easy targets for the Radiant team.
NiP tried to find the best possible opportunity for a game-altering Chronosphere from Gunnar, but Mihail “Misha” Agatov was able to time his Relocate ultimate perfectly and save iLTW. With all their spells and buybacks spent, NiP had no choice but to call good game against Team Spirit.
In the following game, NiP drafted team fight-oriented support heroes with Disruptor and Lich to go with Universe’s Sand King.
Team Spirit decided to go with the Necrophos again, along with a Specter for iLTW.
Similar to the first game, Team Spirit fell behind during the laning stage. NiP’s Kunkka at the middle lane topped the creep last hit chart and made key early game rotations that dictated the pace of the game.
Team Spirit eventually chipped away on NiP’s slight lead and at the 23-minute mark, Alexander “Immersion” Hmelevskoy dropped a massive Echo Slam on four NiP heroes that helped them win a pivotal team fight.
With NiP heroes being taken down consistently, Team Spirit charged right into the Radiant base and ended the match and eliminated NiP from the Minor.
RNG outplay Geek Fam, 2-0 (Group A winner’s match)
RNG’s well-rounded draft completely dominated Geek Fam’s range-based lineup. The game ended up being completely one-sided in RNG’s favor. Despite a low kill score, the Chinese squad controlled the entire map and kept sieging the Dire base.
RNG’s methodical playstyle prevented them from making any mistakes. Geek Fam waited for their opening, but they were already too far behind. Geek Fam’s patient play worked in RNG’s favor as they quickly claimed Dire buildings and eventually finished the game.
RNG dominated Geek Fam in the following game, as well. The Chinese team had multiple saves lined up that prevented Geek Fam from taking down key targets.
Geek Fam continued with their cat-and-mouse play, avoiding any major clashes with RNG without their key team fight items. Gao “Setsu” Zhenxiong’s Puck was able to chase down Geek Fam’s retreating heroes with ease.
Geek Fam had no answers for Du “Monet” Peng’s Huskar, who kept jumping to different targets to earn his game-ending Rampage.
Geek Fam beat Team Spirit, 2-0 (Group A decider match)
Both teams drafted sustainable heroes with Team Spirit taking Morphling, Omniknight, and Winter Wyvern. On the other hand, Geek Fam decided to go with Abaddon and a Rubick who could steal the opposing team’s spells.
The game started out even, but the deadlock was broken at the 22-minute mark after Geek Fam caught Team Spirit in the Roshan Pit. The SEA squad quickly burst down iLTW’s Morphling and Kenny “Xepher” Deo was able to prevent nongrata’s Omniknight from casting his spells.
Geek Fam then extended their advantage with Xepher stealing nongrata’s Guardian Angel ultimate, helping set up an amazing Reverse Polarity for Karl “Karl” Jayme.
Geek Fam’s lead eventually ballooned up to 27,000 gold, and this helped them close out the first game at the 36-minute mark.
Geek Fam secured early game kills to claim an early lead in the second game. Karl’s Magnus made a significant impact throughout this one. He crushed his lane and took the top spot of the networth chart.
In response, Spirit rotated their heroes into the Dire side of the map looking for kills and their ambushes proved to be effective, taking down three Geek Fam heroes.
Team Spirit tried to burst down an overextended Magnus at their top tier 2 Tower. But, this only started the CIS team’s demise. Geek Fam was prepared for a full team fight and Marc “Raven” Fausto’s Blood Seeker continued to zone out Spirit’s heroes, which forced them to split up and take unfavorable fights.
After two convincing team fight wins, Geek Fam charged down the middle lane and forced what was left of their opponents to defend their Ancient.
Gambit Esports outclass Fighting PandaS, 2-1 (Winners’ match)
Gambit drafted mobile lineup heroes like Puck and Blood Seeker, along with strong team fight heroes like Earthshaker, Crystal Maiden, and Naga Siren. In response, Fighting PandaS bet the game on Eternal Envy’s Alchemist.
Both teams struggled to take a clear advantage over the other, but the game tilted towards Gambit’s favor after they were able to team wipe the Radiant squad at the top lane by catching the enemy heroes isolated.
Knowing they were behind, Fighting PandaS tried to claim the Aegis of the Immortal, but Gambit’s Earthshaker jumped into the Roshan Pit and snatched the Aegis. The Dire team ended up overextending and was punished by Fighting PandaS who had the high ground advantage.
Fighting PandaS’ team fight items eventually came into play with multiple auras on their side. Meanwhile, Gambit focused on picking up individual-focused items that lost their value as the game continued. With a 22,000 gold lead on Fighting PandaS side, they overpowered their opponents in the Dire base and advance to the next round of Group B.
In the following game, Fighting PandaS drafted early game heroes like Blood Seeker and Clinkz hoping for a quick finish. Meanwhile, Gambit went with counter initiation heroes like Brewmaster and Lina in response.
Fighting PandaS had a difficult laning stage with Jonathan “Bryle” De Guia’s Clinkz struggling in the top lane. In an attempt to equalize the game, Fighting PandaS tried to trade kills by letting Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling die at the top lane while trying to take down dream’s Morphling. The rest of Gambit’s heroes were quick to respond and XSvamp1re was able to steal Guardian Angel to help win a team fight.
Gambit continued to snowball their lead and they eventually caused Fighting PandaS to tap out of the game and force a final deciding game.
Both teams continued to be evenly matched, and Fighting PandaS tried to win the first major team fight of the game. But Gambit was ready for the Radiant team’s aggressive play and punished their opponents with their multiple area-of-effect spells.
Fighting PandaS kept trying to catch their opponents off guard with a Smoke gank, but the team lacked the damage needed to take out Gambit’s core heroes.
The North American team’s persistence eventually paid off and they were able to catch two key Gambit heroes, prompting Fighting PandaS to begin the Dire base siege. Instead of going for the middle set of Barracks, the Radiant team decided to dive the tier 4 Towers, and Gambit punished them for this by taking down three of their heroes.
With Gambit already by the middle lane River, they rushed straight into the Radiant base and force their opponents to buyback and eventually dieback, which ended the match.
With the win, Gambit advances to the Upper Bracket where they’re set to face Geek Fam in the Playoffs.
Nigma Esports outlast Fighting PandaS, 2-1 (Group B decider match)
Nigma took advantage of a fatigued Fighting PandaS squad that just had a grueling best-of-three match against Gambit.
Maroun “GH” Merhej on the Elder Titan and Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi on the Lich landed an amazing Earth Splitter into Chain Frost that destroyed Fighting PandaS.
Nigma continued to steamroll over Fighting PandaS with Aliwi “w33” Omar’s Wind Ranger and Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi’s Anti-Mage chasing down and eliminating retreating enemy heroes. They even timed the exact moment Bryle’s Aegis would expire.
After stuffing another untimely Smoke gank attempt, Nigma charged down the middle lane and finished the first game.
In the following game, Nigma underestimated their North American opponents by hoping that Miracle-‘s Terrorblade would secure them the win once it reached the late game phase. But Fighting PandaS was able to regroup and David “MoonMeander” Tan’s Treant Protector helped his team with key Over Growth ultimates and continuous repairs on their key structures after every Nigma Radiant base siege.
Miracle-‘s Terrorblade decided not to pick up a Black King Bar knowing that his teammates would be able to keep him alive by throwing themselves into the front line. Instead, he picked up a Linken’s Sphere and damage dealing items to burst down Fighting PandaS’ heroes.
With a commanding 17,000 gold lead, Nigma attempted to take down the Radiant’s second set of Barracks, but after an overextended Winter’s Curse inside the Radiant base, Fighting PandaS was able to punish, and takedown four Dire heroes.
Fighting PandaS quickly sprinted down the middle lane and since there were only two Nigma heroes left to defend the Dire Throne, the North American squad quickly focused it down and forced a final game.
Nigma drafted a team fight-oriented squad with w33’s Wind Ranger and Miracle-‘s Ember Spirit. But it was interesting that the European team didn’t draft a tanky hero.
Meanwhile Fighting PandaS took their comfort picks with Storm Spirit, Drow Ranger, and Treant Protector.
Nigma strong laning heroes too a quick lead with w33 winning the middle lane. Miracle and Kuroky also took control of the bottom lane by forcing Jingjun “Sneyking” Wu’s Legion Commander to trade kills at a disadvantage.
Fighting PandaS prevented their opponents from extending their lead by continuing their Smoke gank players, which was their best offensive play all day during the tournament.
The North American team tried to do this again, but this time they dove into a blindspot of the map and Bryle failed to create separation from Aui_2000, which led to KuroKy’s Chain Frost bouncing 11 times.
With Nigma’s momentum gaining, the European squad took complete map control and pressured Fighting PandaS by constantly hunting down Bryle’s Storm Spirit.
With Fighting PandaS lanes being pushed in on all sides, GH’s Disruptor set traps that caught the enemy Storm Spirit on two separate occasions. This led to the end of Fighting PandaS’ tournament run at the WePlay! Bukovel Minor.
The WePlay! Bukovel Minor continues tomorrow with:
- Royal Never Give Up vs Nigma Esports (Upper Bracket semifinals) — 11:00 a.m. GMT+8
- Gambit Esports vs Geek Fam (Upper Bracket semifinals) — 2:00 p.m. GMT+8
- TBD vs TBD (Lower Bracket Semifinal) — 5:00 p.m. GMT +8
- TBD vs TBD (Upper Bracket Final) — 8:00 p.m. GMT+8