Steven R. August 20, 2018
The main event at The International 2018 kicked off Monday and a quarter of attending teams have already departed.
In addition to an exciting pair of upper bracket matches, the lower bracket kicked off with four best-of-ones that sent its losers home.
The biggest elimination of the day was that of Newbee. The staple of the Chinese scene has been formidable throughout the year, taking top-four spots in a number of Dota Pro Circuit events, including first-place finishes at the Perfect World Masters and ESL One Genting. Unfortunately, the team came out on the bad end of a three-way tiebreaker in the group stage, which set them up with a tricky showdown with Winstrike Team which they lost in disappointing fashion.
VGJ Thunder lost a regional showdown with former sister team Vici Gaming. The squad has had a rocky 2018, but managed to secure a direct invite to TI8 with second-place finishes at a number of DPC events. Unfortunately, a rocky start to the group stages saw VGJ sent to the lower bracket, and unceremoniously eliminated.
In another regional pairing, TNC Predator was sent home by fellow SEA team Mineski. After an ugly start to the season, TNC hit its stride with a strong performance at the Dota 2 Asia Championship. The side looked strong in the SEA qualifier and posted a solid record in the group stage, but fell just short of an upper bracket berth. That led to a decisive match with local rival Mineski that ended the way most of their previous matches have.
Finally, Fnatic's turbulent season was ended at the hands of Team Serenity. Despite being a staple of the SEA scene in recent years, the organization riled up its fans by releasing a number of tenured players and building a mostly new squad around Jacky "EternaLEnVy" Mao. That led to a series of successes and failures both in and out of the game, and while the new team was generally a success, this is a sour note for things to end on.