With a single elimination bracket playoff stage, the group stage of the Boston Major was more important than it’s ever been. Each group, a mini double elimination tournament to determine seeding, had 4 teams; 2 of which were invited, and 2 of which qualified. We saw some major upsets during the group stage, and some intense matches, here’s the recap.
Group A: Hidden Potential
(Image Credit: Digital Chaos)
Most people pegged this group as an easy win for both Digital Chaos and Wings Gaming, as they were placed in a group with WarriorsGaming Unity, a mostly untested team on the international stage, and LGD Forever Young, who had to replace two of their starters due to visa complications. It did turn out that way in the end, but there were some speed bumps along the way. In particular, Wings seem less and less like the enigmatic, invincible force that they used to be in the early stages of the post TI6 season. In the first match of Group A, WG.U upset Wings Gaming in a shocking 2-1 result, proving that they’ve earned their place among the more established and more experienced teams at this major. DC proved that their TI 2nd place wasn’t a fluke and sweeped both LGD.FY and WG.U to earn the top seed looking cool, calm, and collected throughout. They managed to avoid Wings in the group but Wings Gaming, for their part, ended up winning their rematch against WG.U to claim 2nd place. However, Wings Gaming was not playing their best, making several mistakes throughout the entire group stage and looking rather shaky. This is worrying news for the returning champions, and might point to a lack of preparation in the lead up to Boston.
Group B: Virtus Plow
Virtus.Pro continue to look dominant, snatching first place in Group B from Newbee and NP, and dropping zero games on their way to doing so. At this point, with a weakened Wings Gaming, and no real standout competitors, Virtus.Pro look poised to take the championship. They shutdown fan favorites Team NP, barely dropping any kills in the two games that they played against them and also surprised Newbee with their push oriented lineups and pocket Weaver strategy. Newbee took down MVP and Team NP on their path to victory. Game 1 between Newbee and Team NP was especially exciting with Newbee ultimately winning in the clutch. Perhaps the biggest surprise in this group was MVP, losing 4 games straight to finish last in the group. For a team that has traditionally turned in strong performances on LAN despite their online woes, this is a worrying turn of events for them and their fans.
Group C: Red Rising
(Image Credit: PGL)
LGD and CompLexity came out on top of this group, beating out SEA powerhouse Team Faceless, and dropping tournament favorites Evil Geniuses to a disappointing third place. LGD, who originally failed to qualify for the major and were a last minute replacement for SEA invite Execration, came to the group with something to prove, prevailing over both Faceless and CompLexity in 2-0 wins. CompLexity looked like EG’s kryptonite in this group, upsetting them twice, both 2-1. Unfortunately they were unable to quench LGD’s hot streak and fell, taking second place in the group. Faceless continue their international troubles coming dead last in their group.
Group D: Dream Green
Group D turned out to be the scrappiest group at the Boston Major, with zero easy victories for any team and every single series going to a critical game 3 decider. OG managed to snatch first place from fellow Europeans Ad Finem, and Chinese upstarts IG.Vitality. EHOME took second, but the way there wasn’t easy. EHOME have seemed weakened ever since TI6 and this groupstage was no different; they lost their initial match to Ad Finem, squeaked by IG.V with a 2-1 victory, and managed to defeat Ad Finem off of a brilliant Game 3 Batrider performance by Yangwei “old eleven” Ren.