The International 10 is delivering on all fronts, and it will get better and better now the knockout stage is upon us. The group stage’s final day saw Evil Geniuses fail to get themselves into the upper bracket after their fellow North Americans; Team Undying held them to a draw. This had a significant impact on the upper bracket fixtures.
OG and T1 both secured the upper bracket for themselves and will be facing Team Secret and PSG.LGD respectively. On the other side, Invictus Gaming topped Group A and chose to face Team Spirit in their upper bracket game. Vici Gaming will be facing Virtus.pro in the final match of the upper bracket.
We will look at all of the fixtures on the first day of the knockout stages and give you our predictions. However, before that, we would like to share some of our findings of the meta heading into the knockout stages.
The META in Knockout Stages?
We previously talked about how Elder Titan and Tidehunter dominated the group stage, but many teams have a few new contenders on the priority list. Two heroes have slowly made games unwinnable for the opponent teams on their own but for very different reasons.
Ogre Magi has been the go-to pick for Team Secret, and this has been due to how powerful his Fire Shield has become. We have watched Puppy rush Aghanim’s Shard, and once the item is completed, it changes the hierarchy of team fights prioritization for the opponents. We have watched players trying to target the Ogre Magi instead of the carries, and this proves to be so troublesome.
We have now seen teams like Fnatic and Quincy Crew using the Ogre Magi in crucial games; however, this also resulted in positive results. The other hero that is proving to be decisive for teams is Earthshaker. That’s the case due to how powerful he is combined with Fae Grenade. It is straightforward to execute, and you can even do this in your games too!
It would be best to use your Enchanted Totem (W) and then hit the opponent with a Fae Grenade before you land an auto-attack on them. This will take a big chunk out of their health, and we have seen teams like T1 and OG using this build very proficiently in their games.
We expect the teams to go for these strategies, and they could be the difference in the lower bracket games!
The Upper Bracket Games on Day 1 of KO Stage!
1- Invictus Gaming vs. Team Spirit
The upper bracket is going to start with demolition. Team Spirit is an outstanding team and deserves to be here, but Invictus Gaming is on a whole another level. They are currently undefeated and look unstoppable. They have only dropped two games throughout the tournament, one against the defending champions OG and one against the promising rookies of North America, Team Undying.
It will be complicated for Team Spirit to pull off the upset, but we have seen similar feats being pulled off in the history of The International and have identified some of the areas they can look to play through.
Invictus Gaming is the epitome of controlled aggression, while Team Spirit is very good at forcing early mistakes from their opponents. If Team Spirit can secure winning matchups in the drafting phase, they can take a game away from Invictus, but then winning the series is unlikely.
Prediction: Invictus Gaming 2-0 Team Spirit
2- Team Secret vs. OG
It will be quite surprising for you to know that this is the first time the two teams will ever play against each other at The International. Team Secret and OG are two of the best teams to ever come out of the western DOTA competitive scene, and watching them trade blows is a spectacle that no fan would ever want to miss. However, if we look at previous results, then Secret is heading into the game with a better Head to Head record. It doesn’t mean anything in gameplay but might give them a mental advantage over their opponents.
There are several areas where this series would be decided; however, the main deciding factor would be how the two roaming supports play. Puppy and NoTail along Kuroky are often called the Holy Trinity of Europe. Watching two of these players go ahead against each other in the first match of the upper bracket will give us some proactive gameplay.
We expect both teams to play aggressively from the first minute and won’t be surprised if OG brings their monkey business to the table in bounty fights! The champions to look out for in this game will be Snapfire and Monkey King, as we have seen them appearing in the games of these two teams throughout the tournament. However, OG should keep in mind that Puppy is the best Ogre Magi player at the tournament and should ban it in the very first phase of the draft.
Prediction: Team Secret 2-1 OG
The Do or Die Lower Bracket Games!
1- Undying vs. Fnatic
This game is one of the most exciting games we are looking forward to in the lower bracket. Fnatic ended the group stage on a high note with their win against Team Secret, and Undying blessed T1 and OG with upper bracket spots with their tie against Evil Geniuses.
These teams have been excellent and have exceeded the expectations of the fans in terms of their gameplay. Few fans criticize Fnatic for not winning more games, but they have to remember how difficult their group was and how resilient they were in defending their base.
Fnatic’s best player, Raven, prefers to play heroes who move swiftly over the map, find kills, and return to farming. That’s why Undying must look to ban heroes like Monkey King and deny Raven freedom to take over the game. It will be a close encounter, but we believe Undying will continue their good run of form and progress to the next round, where they will face either Invictus Gaming or Team Spirit.
Prediction: Undying 1-0 Fnatic
2- Quincy Crew vs. Team Aster
Quincy Crew and Team Aster both have an excellent chance to progress to the next round, but there are a few key aspects to look out for in this series. YawaR is in the form of his life, and on the other side, both Monet and XSS are playing some of the best DOTA 2 we have seen from them in a long time. Quincy Crew needs to put all of their resources towards YawaR and allow him to scale into the late game because if they contend the early game against Aster, they are inviting trouble.
We will go with Aster because of how impressive they were against Alliance and OG, and we expect them to continue China’s run of good form at The International 10
Prediction: Aster 1-0 Quincy Crew
3- Beastcoast vs. Alliance
Alliance has one of the best carries ever in Nikobaby, but currently, Beastcoast is playing better as a team. Many other titles out there allow individual brilliance to shine through and award the better player to win the game for his team. However, DOTA isn’t one of those titles. In DOTA, you need to play well as a team together, and no matter how well you play on your own, it is impossible to win the game single-handedly.
Alliance will see this game to secure winning lanes and allow Nikobaby to play at his own pace, but we think that Beastcoast can easily play around this and increase the game’s tempo. It will force Alliance to make hasty decisions, and it will come down to execution, but if Beastcoast is the one initiating the play, we fully expect them to come out on top.
Prediction: Beastcoast 1-0 Alliance
4- Evil Geniuses vs. Elephant
Evil Geniuses were one of the early favorites heading into The International 10, but their performances have been quite underwhelming when compared to the expectations around them. On the other side, Elephants are coming into this game as a group of players with nothing to lose and everything to win. It will be a game of heart more than a game of superior intellect, and if the Elephant carries can hold the Evil Geniuses carries down in the early game. They have an excellent chance to eliminate Evil Geniuses in the very first round!
Arteezy and Abed will be pivotal factors of this series, and if they can get their team considerable leads in the laning phase, then Evil Geniuses can take over very soon. We have seen them playing very early game-oriented team comps, so the onus will be on the two carries to never allow Elephant to have any say in the game’s outcome.
Prediction: Evil Geniuses 1-0 Elephant