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MDL Chengdu Major group stage came to a close with two thrilling deciding series. Evil Geniuses were put to a great test by Team Aster in group C, while in group D J.Storm were taken by surprise by an incredibly resilient beastcoast who were expected to underperform as most of their players felt under the weather after catching some sort of flu or travel sickness.

Evil Geniuses were outmaneuvered yesterday by Team Liquid and lost the first seed of the group. On the last day of the group stage matches, they were pitted against Aster, who lost game one to a few too many personal mistakes coming from Ye “BoBoKa” Zhibiao on Earthshaker. EG had a pretty greedy draft with Faceless Void, Ember Spirit and Tidehunter, which had them losing control of the laning stage pretty fast. To make things even harder for them, the first Ravage of the game was a complete miss, and while Aster were on point with the counter initiation spells from Invoker and Winter Wyvern, the tension got the best of BoBoKa, who had an awful game and lost crucial team fights for his team.

Going into the second game of the series, Aster switched the Earthshaker from support position to offlane and managed to secure the annoying combo with Morphling, while EG were relying on an early to mid-game victory with the Juggernaut – Magnus combo. The first 27 minutes of the game went perfect for EG, they were ready to breach the high ground just as Morph finished his Aghanim’s Scepter. From there on, Aster turned the game on its head and pushed the series into a decisive game three with a spotless performance from their winning condition duo cores. 

Unfortunately for the Chinese team, they couldn’t replicate the perfect coordination in the last game of the night. Lin “Xxs” Jing had a flawless Axe game, but Song “Sccc” Chun on a safe lane Ember Spirit, ended up chain feeding and making countless questionable decisions, perhaps underestimating the enemy Dragon Knight’s right click power and tankiness.

In group D, beastcoast’s first day at the Major was a complete mess that ended with a visit to the hospital as Jean Pierre “Chris Luck” Gonzales was suspected to have caught the H1N1 virus. Fortunately, it turned out that he suffers from a simple flu and the entire team was able to return to their practice room on the second day. They put a valiant effort given the circumstances and even relegated Gambit Esports into the playoffs lower bracket before giving a hell of a fight to J.Storm in the final series of group D.

The South American line-up opened their matchup versus J.Storm with a hard-fought game one, where they played more of a four protect one strategy around Lifestealer. In game two, they made an interesting choice in playing Morphiling without the ES, although he was in the pool. They drafted a trio core suited for late game, while J.Storm were technically time pressured by their hero choices. Nonetheless, the NA squad’s itemization on Viper and Timbersaw allowed them to outlast in team fights and push the series into game three, where they crushed their opponents despite playing into a Tinker who was stalling the game as much as possible.

MDL Chengdu Major playoffs stage starts Monday, November 18 at 10:00 SGT/ 04:00 EEST/ 18:00 PST with the upper bracket quarterfinals TNC Predator vs Alliance, followed by Team Liquid versus J.Storm. In the second part of the day, the eight teams in the lower bracket will fight for their survival in a best-of-one affair, and four of them will be sent packing.

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