TNC Predator and Alliance opened the playoff stage at the first Major of the new season with a best-of-three duel for a guaranteed top six finish in Chengdu, China. Both teams came to this Major with a championship title already claimed this season, Alliance at the DreamLeague Rotterdam and TNC at the ESL One Hamburg 2019. Their strong start of the season placed them as top contenders for a Major victory as well, which made the quarterfinals confrontation between these two even more interesting to watch.
Game one was an all Alliance show, as they came with a surprising Chen core for Neta “33” Shapira and an overall draft built for laning stage dominance and a fast push with a support Leshrac and a mid lane Death Prophet. Alliance’s plan worked perfectly and had TNC running in serious troubles as even in the late game, their Outworld Devourer damage was nearly entirely negated by the Chen triple, sometimes even quadruple neutrals Cloak Aura. Neta elevated the Chen army concept by going with the five extra creeps talent from level 25 over the Hand of God bonus heal, which allowed Alliance to power through an Omniknight Refresher – Aghanim’s Scepter desperate attempt to defend the Throne.
Heading into the second game, TNC banned Chen, but allowed Alliance to pick once again Death Prophet and Night Stalker in the carry position, as they were ready to counter the two with a Naga Siren-Templar Assassin and Chaos Night trio core. Paul “Armel” Tabios’s TA got the farm priority and was heavily protected the entire early game in order to carry TNC in a decisive game three. With their backs against the wall, Alliance favored comfort picks, while TNC came with a rather unconventional strategy that featured no stun spells between the five heroes, but had an overwhelming laning stage presence and a huge push potential. Park “March” Tae-won, TNC’s captain picked for himself a position five Magnus, which he paired with a carry PA, while the laning stage was secured by a position four Nature’s Prophet, an offlane Venomancer and a mid Kunkka. The Alliance heroes were bullied in all three lanes, and although Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov was on his signature Faceless Void, there was little he could do against the constant pressure put on his team.
TNC Predator’s victory secures them a top six finish at MDL Chengdu, while for Alliance the Major will continue via lower bracket rounds.