Boston Major Day 1 Recap: VP storms through as Wings bow out

After a two-day hiatus, the highly anticipated Boston Major has resumed with the main event. 16 teams will fight for their survival on the main stage of the Wang Theater in a single-elimination format. This means no second chance as every team will have to bring their A-Game if they want to advance further into the next rounds. A single mistake could potentially lead to direct elimination, which makes every best of 3 a show to behold.

Virtus.Pro vs ig.Vitality

The main event’s opening match was also the most seemingly one-sided as well, due to Virtus.Pro’s dominating recent performance and the fact that ig.Vitality had to play with 2 stand-ins: the legendary Xu ‘Burning’ Zhilei and TI runner up Fu ‘Q’ Bin. However, the Chinese proved that they were no underdogs as a very synergistic and organized Treant Protector/Luna draft negated a lot of VP’s early game damage, and a decisive teamfight at minute 20 put them way ahead. Virtus.Pro quickly found a response as a skillful baiting maneuver coming from Alexei ‘Solo’ Berezin into a Vacuum/Wall combo from the Dark Seer helped them turn the game around and establish the upper hand. iG’s over-reliance on Luna alone ended up backfiring in the end as VP’s multiple core lineup quickly gave them the edge in every skirmish, and they sealed the deal after another successful fight in the Radiant jungle. Despite looking somewhat shaky, Virtus.Pro took the lead.

ig.Vitality made a strong attempt at comeback, but it wasn’t enough

 With their backs against the wall, ig.V resorted to Alchemist – a hero that boasts a massive 90% win rate in the group stage. While he had a rather difficult start, Xu ‘Sakata’ Zichen managed to turn the hero into a powerhouse and worked alongside Luna to form a two-pronged assault which caused VP a myriad of trouble. Despite losing the early-mid stage, it’s actually ig.V who took down a midlane barrack first. They then systematically won convincing teamfights and took down other towers, pushing the tournament’s favorites to their absolute limits. However, when it came to late game, whichever team makes better use of buybacks wins, and Virtus.Pro proved that they were the superior squad. Even though they only had one ranged barrack remaining, the Russians were able to take out both Alchemist and Luna for 100 seconds, just enough to punch their tickets to the next round. ig.Vitality became the first team to get eliminated, but they can be rightfully proud of their performance.

Final results: Virtus Pro 2-0 ig.Vitality

Evil Geniuses vs Wings Gaming

No-one would expect this before the tournament, but the two TI champions had to duke it out in the very first round of the main event if they wanted to keep their Boston dream alive. Wings opted for an early-game pressure lineup with heavy pushing heroes such as Juggernaut, Invoker and especially Shadow Shaman, while Evil Geniuses picked up a page from their old captain’s guidebook and chose Treant Protector to prevent Wings’ aggression. While the first 10 minutes went out in the Chinese squad’s favor, Evil Geniuses soon bounced back as Syed ‘SumaiL’ Hassan had an explosive game on Alchemist. Not only was he able to constantly pressure all of Wings’ lanes, the young Pakistani midlaner also managed to provide his teammates with valuable Aghanim’s Scepter upgrades, which helped EG gain the upper hand during mid-game fights. The TI6 champions soon found themselves severely lacking in damage, and while they did a good job holding on to the barracks, they were unable to cope with the tankiness of sumail and evasiveness from Artour ‘Arteezy’ Babaev’s Lifestealer. EG outlasted their opponent and put Game 1 in the bag.

Arteezy stated that only strong teams motivated them, and he backed up his words with results

Coming into Game 2, Wings Gaming picked an all-out minus armor strategy with Dazzle, Slardar and Weaver supporting Lycan that threatens to tear EG’s defenses apart, while the American squad chose an unconventional Leshrac to go along with the meta picks like Mirana, Luna and Shadow Demon. While their performances were somewhat lackluster during the group stages, Ludwig ‘Zai’ Wahlberg and Andreas ‘Cr1t’ Nielsen really became the stars of this game as their non-stop rotations helped secure Evil Geniuses a dominating early game over their opposition. While Wings did muster their strength to put up a decent response in the middle stages of the games thanks to BKB purchases, it was too little too late as Arteezy and SumaiL continued to spiral out of control, and they easily mauled down all of Wings buildings as the TI6 champions could only helplessly watch. And with that, they were the second team to be eliminated from the Boston Major. EG, while undoubtedly happy with this win, had their work cut out for them as they face Virtus.Pro in the next round.

Final Results: Evil Geniuses 2-0 Wings Gaming

compLexity Gaming vs Warriors Gaming.Unity

It’s undeniable that compLexity Gaming performed above all expectations – they managed to come out on top in the North American derby against heavy favorites Evil Geniuses not only once, but twice in the group stage. Their Malaysian opponents, Warriors Gaming.Unity also managed to cause a few upsets themselves, taking down Fnatic in the regional qualifiers and defeating Wings Gaming in the group stage. In the first game, the Southeast Asian representatives proved that they did their homework and drafted a very teamfight-oriented lineup around Omniknight, which completely repelled compLexity’s tendency to gank and snowball into the middle game. As a result, Jaron ‘monkeys-forever’ Clinton couldn’t get a lot of ganks going, and a few bad fights plus a lack of wave clear left coL completely helpless against the push from Luna and Shadow Demon so early into the game. They also had no way to deal with an unkillable Timbersaw by Kam ‘NaNa’ Boon Seng backed up by Chua ‘Kang’ Soon Khong’s Omniknight. WarriorsGaming swiftly took down all of coL’s barracks 23 minutes into the game, forcing out a quick “GG” call and put them ahead on both the scoreboard and the mentality race.

compLexity seemed to have run out of steam

The second game took place with a rather similar pattern, as WarriorsGaming again drafted the Luna/Timbersaw duo. compLexity did manage to hold on a bit better due to stronger lanes and exceptional performance from the Romanian midlaner Mihai ‘canceL^^’ Antonio. However, the same problem still persisted as coL had a very hard time taking down the Timbersaw, even without the support from Omniknight. David ‘Moo’ Hull got an extremely contested lane with his Lifestealer and could not contribute a whole lot when WG came knocking on the tier 3. After another swift fight where NaNa sliced through everyone, compLexity dropped their second game and were eliminated from the tournament.

Final Result: compLexity 0-2 WarriorsGaming.Unity

Team OG vs MVP Phoenix

Two-time Major winner OG had faced MVP Phoenix before back in The International 6 where they suffered defeat and later dropped out of the tournament by the hands of TNC Gaming. Both teams have made some significant changes to their roster, but their strengths and playstyle remain relatively the same. MVP’s well known for their self-styled “cavemen DOTA” of ultimate aggression, but it is OG who brought the fight to them in Game 1. The massive amount of magical damage coming from Anathan ‘ana’ Pham’s Ember Spirit as well as Gustav ‘s4’ Magnusson’s Dark Seer helped OG overcome MVP’s protection spells and gain the upper hand on the Net Worth chart. By the time MVP managed to catch up, OG had already switched to split pushing and quickly sealed their win for game 1, putting Kim ‘QO’ Seon-yeop’s team close to the edge of elimination.

Boston Major Day 1 results (credits: wykrm)

In the second game, MVP Phoenix decided to pull out the Pudge pick to heavily amplify their already-aggressive early game playstyle. However, again OG managed to work around it and picked a heavy push lineup with Terrorblade for Johan ‘n0tail’ Sundstein, giving the Koreans’ ganking lineup very little room to maneuver. S4 also had another outstanding game on Axe, constantly being involved in teamfights to create space for his cores and helped Ana land critical Sun Strikes. Everything went smoothly as planned for OG, and MVP had to bow out and became the final team to be eliminated from the tournament today. OG advance to the next round, where WarriorsGaming.Unity lie in waiting.

Final Result: Team OG 2-0 MVP Phoenix

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