Steven R. May 10, 2019
The competitive field of the MDL Disneyland Paris Major is shrinking rapidly and elite teams are starting to get sent home.
Just six teams remain at the event and the latest set of lower bracket games saw previous major winners Vici Gaming and Virtus.pro sent home. They share a seventh-place finish at the event, which is good for $40,000 and 450 Dota Pro Circuit points.
Vici Gaming’s elimination came at the hands of Team Liquid in a hardfought best-of-three. The DreamLeague Major winners got out to a hot start against Liquid, handling them with little trouble in game one. In game two, Liquid pulled ahead early but Vici nearly mounted a comeback to seal the series. Liquid managed to regain their bearings and close things out to force a game three.
The final showdown was looking like an easy win for Vici Gaming, as the team ran away to a 12,500 gold lead at 20 minutes, but Liquid showed that their base defense remains exceptional. Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi was able to bring his Medusa online late and Maroun "GH" Merhej made the necessary plays on Earthshaker to steal the series away 2-1.
Though that series was defined by its wild momentum swings, Virtus.pro's series against PSG.LGD was a clean and exciting set of Dota 2.
The two teams traded kill for kill throughout game one, but Virtus.pro couldn’t match the farming output of Wang "Ame" Chunyu’s Sven and Lu "Somnus" Yao’s Medusa which led to an opening loss. Virtus.pro got off to a strong start in game two, taking over with their signature early aggression. But the team couldn’t turn that into a significant gold advantage. This allowed Somnus and Ame to once again come through to seal up the 2-0 series win.
This is a huge coup for both PSG.LGD and Team Liquid. Though both teams are widely held among the best in Dota 2 today, they haven’t backed up those perceptions with actual hardware this year. PSG.LGD hasn’t placed higher than third at any event since The International 2018, while Liquid suffered early exits at each of its major appearances this year. This only guarantees a top-six finish for both teams, but hitting that mark with wins over recent major winners is an achievement no matter how one slices it.
Though Virtus.pro and Vici Gaming are undoubtedly disappointed by the outcome, the relatively early exit from the event is not a huge concern for either team. Both already have a direct invitation to The International 2019 in their pocket, with top-12 finishes in the Dota Pro Circuit season mathematically guaranteed.
Liquid will next face OG in an elimination series while PSG.LGD will set their sights on the loser of Evil Geniuses vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas.