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MDL Chengdu, the first Major of the 2019-20 Dota Pro Circuit season is well underway in China. We are already on the fifth day of the tournament, which means that the teams eliminated today are sent home in the 9th-12th spots, with $25,000 and only 150 DPC points.

Fnatic’s poor group stage performance forced them to a lower bracket battle for survival in the playoffs and their struggle lasted only one round. Although they crushed the Peruvian underdog Team Unknown yesterday in the best-of-one first round, their match-up against Invictus Gaming put them to a bigger test and they failed to pass it. They started the series with a stomp, mainly courtesy of a great game from Djardel “DJ” Mampusti on Mirana, who landed the perfect Arrow setups for his team to take an early lead and snowball towards a 22 minutes victory. For iG, that was the third game in a row where they looked extremely undisciplined and very different from the team we witnessed crushing the DOTA Summit Minor just two weeks ago and cruising through the group stage at this Major, taking the first seed of group D.  Down but not eliminated yet, iG came into game two against Fnatic in better spirits and carefully built a draft to counter Fnatic’s first pick Alchemist.

“We actually prepared for Alchemist,” said Zhou “Emo” Yi in the winners’ interview at the end of the match. Emo got to play Ember Spirit and he was able to completely annihilate Fnatic’s early game. Partially, the game became even harder for the SEA players as Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang fed way too much, and requesting both supports to babysit him put Alchemist’s laning stage at risk. Besides farming Fnatic’s heroes, iG also made sure to secure all bounty runes, denying the extra gold for the enemy Alchemist, and with no real room for a comeback, Fnatic had to admit defeat.

Game three had a pretty similar story. Fnatic didn’t risk an Alchemist game anymore, but they still picked  Spectre, another late game carry, and insisted with iceicieice’s Timbersaw, while iG had Emo on Storm Spirit with the same idea in mind: constant aggression, early rotations and good team fight and push potential. At times, Fnatic was able to win a fight or two while defending their towers, courtesy again of good counter initiations from DJ, this time around on Tiny. But they couldn’t stop the Storm Spirit to save their lives and bowed out of the tournament only 9th-12th.

Invictus Gaming have now secured a top eight finish and a Main Event stage series for a top six slot, which comes with 900 DPC points and $60,000. 

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