After a fantastic opening to The International 2019 with PSG.LGD taking down Virtus.pro, it was time for the next upper bracket series between TNC Predator and Vici Gaming. While VG looked extremely strong through the DPC season, the SEA squad were hungry to show just how strong they were on the biggest stage in Dota 2.
As game one begun, TNC looked poised to create a lot of early pressure, running at VG’s lineup and finding the kills to go along with their pressure. However, VG did have a saving grace – or a hope of it at least, Zhang ‘Paparazi’ Chengjun’s Juggernaut, which farmed Manta, Phase Boots and a Skadi in just 20-minutes, thanks to a Magnus Empower. As the game progressed, fights went back and forth but it was clear that TNC were coming out ahead and not even the Reverse Polarity + Omnislash combo could pull VG into a win, giving TNC game one in just under 80-minutes.
Game two was another hotly contested affair between these two powerhouse squads with TNC picking up the Bristleback but VG grabbing the Kunkka. The game went back and forth constantly as both teams found brilliant initiations and superb fights but this time it was VG who begun to pull ahead. Even though they made some great attempts at a comeback, the Chinese team remained resilient and managed to tie the series, taking us to our first full‑length series of TI9.
After two absolutely spectacular games, we still had one more left to decide who would be the victor of this series. VG begun heavily on the front foot, pummeling their way through TNC’s lineup at every turn. There were brief moments where it seemed as though the SEA team could put up a fight, but VG slammed the door shut.
While it was an extremely hard fought series with both teams fully deserving of the victory, it was Vici Gaming who would be victorious, claiming a top 6 finish at TI9 and sending TNC Predator into the dreaded lower bracket. VG’s next series will be the semi-finals where they will have to meet PSG.LGD – in what is sure to be an epic Chinese battle.