photo by: ESL One
ESL One Birmingham is heading into the playoffs stage, but with just eight teams out of the 12 at the start of the tournament. Group stage matches were held with early elimination on the line and Group A has already decided who goes further and who goes home.
- Vici Gaming
- TNC Predator
- Team Liquid
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Forward Gaming
For the past three days, the six teams seeded in group A battled against each other in two game series. On day one it was only OG that took a clean 2-0 victory, the rest of the results being all draw scores. OG victory was registered versus Forward Gaming, the second game of that series also bringing the shortest victory at ESL One Birmingham thus far. It took OG just 14 minutes to crush their adversaries. The TI 8 champions continued through day two far less successful and after a 0-2 defeat and a draw score they started the final group stage day in danger of losing it all. However, the final day pitted them against the TI7 winners, Team Liquid who remained in the same formula since 2017.
In game one Liquid caught OG off guard with a last pick Meepo and snowballed towards a convincing victory with Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi closing the match with 14/0/8 K/D/A. Game two started well for Liquid as well, but OG had the Troll Warlord – Magnus combo and executed their game plan to perfection to keep themselves alive in the tournament with yet another draw result.
Unfortunately, the day wasn’t good at all for Ninjas in Pyjamas, who also needed at least a draw score to force a tiebreaker and keep their hopes alive. NiP fought today against TNC who came prepared with strong laning stage combos and focused to win the series with powerful team fight tools. In game one they put together Warlock and Sven in the safe lane, which made it nearly impossible for Neta “33” Shapira to stay anywhere close to the creeps due to the Fatal Bonds – Sven’s Cleave devastating combo. TNC used the same concept in game two as well, swapping Sven for Medusa and with 33 shut down in both games, NiP found themselves in the impossibility of taking fights. Despite having an Anti-Mage that had a good laning stage, they couldn’t match Sven’s farm and his thirst for blood. They’ve done their best to drag the game to the late stage, but TNC plowed through the stalling maneuvers and took home a 2-0 victory to finish second in group A.
Forward had a super rough group stage and besides taking a game from TNC and Team Liquid, they didn’t manage to clinch any other victory, thus they finished last in the group and will have to resume their training for the upcoming EPICENTER Major.
ESL One Birmingham playoffs will start later today when the upper bracket seeded teams will fight for a shot at making it into the upper bracket finals.
So far it’s Vici Gaming and TNC from Group A and Evil Geniuses from group B who have secured a spot in the semi-finals. One more squad from Group B will join the semifinals later today, while two more will be sent packing along with Forward and NiP.