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The 14 competing teams have been split into two groups of seven, with the top four from each group advancing to the upper bracket playoffs. The fifth and sixth-placed teams from both groups will compete in the lower bracket playoffs. It’s a single round-robin format which means each side plays six matches; all of them are best-of-two.
It’s not where you expected these sides to be at the end of the group stages, but both T1 and Fnatic will fight it out in Round-1 of the Lower Bracket playoffs. A series of indifferent results have led to this possibility. T1 finished fourth in Group A, behind Tundra Esports, OG and Betboom Team.
They managed two wins, two losses and two draws. Fnatic managed a similar 2-2-2 scoreline, but finished sixth in Group B, after being narrowly pipped by Team Liquid and Team Spirit. The luck of the draw then had T1 face off against Group B toppers Gaimin Gladiators in the Upper-bracket Round-1, where they were handed a 2-0 beating.
That brings them to this clash against a familiar opponent. The odds are nearly the same – it’s reflective of the nature of the two sides who have had the propensity of tight finishes. T1 are marginal favourites for this one despite the slip-ups.
The Gladiators were all over T1 in both games. They stormed to early leads that they consolidated to take the match. At no stage did T1 look like they were going to make a fist of it. Gladiators pocketed 70.1k gold as compared to T1’s 49.3k gold in game-1. They also landed 34 kills to T1’s 11.
It’s all you needed to know about the result. Game-2 followed a similar pattern. Gabbi Bristleback landed 4 kills, but 6 deaths to top that undid all the good work in T1’s quest to get a sound footing. Karl Lina’s offensive proficiency stood out in game one; he landed 5 kills, 2 death and 5 assist.
But instead of being able to build on that, he faltered in the second game, where he managed a grand sum of just one kill. That was the game right there as T1 went down in a whimper.
Fnatic were on paper in a decent position to give Gaimin Gladiators a run for their money. Both teams gave it their all with GG sealing a 2-0 win. The first game was a tussle between Fnatic’s TA and GG’s Ember.
Fnatic had their moments, and had a slight-edge mid-game, but lost the advantage near the Rosh pit to go down quite comfortably. In the second game, Miroslav “BOOM” Bičan and co had an explosive start that helped spiral Fnatic’s woes. And despite their best efforts, they were merely delaying the inevitable.
This is a contest that pits Tundra, the Group A topper, against Thunder Awaken, Group B’s second-placed team, in the upper bracket semi-finals. Tundra didn’t lose a single game in the group phase, managing five wins and a draw. In comparison, Thunder Awake won two, drew three and lost one.
Then in the upper bracket quarterfinals, Tundra overcame a fierce challenge to eventually pip Team Spirit 2-1. Thunder Awaken were given a scare by Betboom Team, but eventually gathered their strength to also win by a similar margin.
This leads us to their semifinal clash between Tundra and Thunder. The odds are firmly with Tundra on current form. Go ahead and place a safe bet on them to surge into the grand finale.
Tundra by virtue of finishing fourth in their region were always expected to dominate their round-1 upper bracket clash, so it was no surprise to see them win the way they did. Spirit did show some fight in the second game after going down in a whimper in the first.
This allowed them to level proceedings. This may have caused them to relax a wee bit, because they switched off all too briefly in the third and then saw Leon “Nine” Kirilin ransack his way to 13 kills and no deaths. As if to compete with him fiercely at the other side, Olivier “skiter” Leuko brought 14 kills with his Chaos Knight. It consigned Spirit to the Lower Bracket in a flash.
The Thunder-Betboom clash was close, but Thunder held on after storming an early lead to take the opening game. In the second, they took an early lead but Betboom managed a way back courtesy clear objectives.
To Thunder’s credit, they learnt from their mistakes immediately in the third as Crhistian Antony “Pakazs” Savina Casanova rose to the occasion to deliver a win. Thunder had the best performance in Group B tiebreakers, beating every other side to storm to a 3-0 lead. They beat TSM in 35 minutes on red, Liquid in 36 minutes on Green and Spirit on 48 minutes in green, eventually earning the second spot.
TSM were primed for a top two spot in Group B until their lone loss had them equal on points with Thunder Awaken. Eventually they had to settle for third spot. That was however enough for them and Gaimin, the toppers, to make it through to the upper bracket playoffs, where they beat OG and T1 respectively to qualify for the upper bracket semi-finals.
While Gaimin beat T1 by a 2-0 margin, TSM beat OG by the same margin. Both sides exercised the kind of dominance you’d expect them to. That said, Gaimin have the odds in their favour for this clash purely on current form.
When a new team is formed, irrespective of the esport, you’d expect they give themselves a settling down time. Gaimin Gladiators have backed the trend. Formed barely five months ago, in January 2022, they’ve already risen up the Dota-2 rankings and have made it through to the top 14 of the ESL One Dota 2 Major.
That isn’t all, they’re now run the upper bracket semifinals, and potentially one win away from winning the Major too. Talk of accelerated developments. The Canada-based outfit are now looking at a global expansion at a parallel level, acquiring teams in Europe and South East Asia, while also eyeing the Brazilian market.
It speaks highly of their mission world domination. How long before we see all their teams storm through to top their respective regions? Perhaps not long.
|ESL One Stockholm 2022 Information|
|Teams||T1 vs Fnatic, TSM vs Gaimin Gladiators, Tundra Esports vs Thunder|
|Time||May 18 at 6.15 am ET|
|How to watch||Official Twitch channel|
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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