With the Group Stage over, the much-awaited Main Event in The International 2019 has begun!
Eight teams qualified for the Upper Bracket including the two Chinese teams, PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming. The two teams finished in first and second in their respective groups, respectively. Joining them in the Upper Bracket are Virtus.pro, TNC Predator, OG, Newbee, Team Secret, and Evil Geniuses.
PSG.LGD opened the Main Event with a dominant series against the second successful team from the Dota Pro Circuit. Virtus.pro. The invited team from the Commonwealth of Independent States held on to the fourth spot as the Group Stage came to a close but clearly struggled against the top team of Group A in the Main Event opener.
Throughout the two games between PSG.LGD and Virtus.pro, it was the Chinese team that found their openings and ultimately put them ahead. Virtus.pro was forced to tap out of Game 1 with a 43k gold deficit in 45 minutes. While PSG.LGD was able to force it quicker in Game 2 with a 23k gold lead and a scary Phantom Assassin leading the charge.
With the loss, Virtus.pro fell down to the Lower Bracket waiting to see whether they would be up against either Alliance or Royal Never Give Up.
Next up was Vici Gaming and TNC Predator. Unlike the first Upper Bracket match-up, the series between the Chinese squad and the Filipino team was closer throughout the stretch of the series.
The two teams opened the series with a 77-minute nail-biter of a match. Vici Gaming found an early lead but TNC found pick after pick which forced Vici Gaming to play a bit more defensive. In the end, the late game Lifestealer in the hands of Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte with the delivery service of Sand King and Queen of Pain was far too much too handle for the second seed of Group B.
Vici Gaming gave TNC a taste of their own medicine after drafting a Lifestealer in the second game for Zhang “Paparazi灬” Chengjun. Partnered with a Tidehunter, Shadow Demon, Kunkka, and Rubick, Vici Gaming had the tools to take on the team fights even up against the beefy carry Bristleback that TNC had drafted. The Filipinos were forced to call “GG” in 61 minutes despite getting an early lead for themselves.
With momentum on their side and the hometown crowd behind them, Vici Gaming took an early lead against TNC and this time, held on to it. They used this to snowball the third and final game. With the immense pressure from the Chinese squad, TNC was forced to tap out in 35 minutes. The quickest game in the series was the most decisive and also dropped TNC to the Lower Bracket.
TNC Predator was set to face either fellow Southeast Asian team, Fnatic or the team they beat to get to the Upper Bracket, Team Liquid.