Day one of the MDL Chengdu Major was a tough one for the CIS region. Day two was rough for China. On day three, it was North America’s turn.
All three teams from the region, Evil Geniuses, J.Storm, and Fighting PandaS, absorbed losses at the MDL Chengdu Major. This sees Evil Geniuses and J.Storm drop to the lower bracket, while Fighting PandaS is eliminated.
For Evil Geniuses and J.Storm, this is a tough blow but still one that affords them the opportunity to advance in the tournament. For Fighting PandaS, it could very well be the end for the team.
Fighting PandaS impressed in the group stage, going 2-1 with wins over Team Unknown and EHOME. This came after an awkward opening loss to EHOME to start its event, showing both skill and resiliency from a team that few had high hopes for.
Things went downhill sharply from there. They were welcomed to the upper bracket by possible tournament favorite Vici Gaming and were utterly steamrolled in a 2-0 loss.
That sent them to the lower bracket where they faced beastcoast. Though the South American squad was theoretically a more manageable opponent for Fighting PandaS, the team still took an equally convincing loss. Both games started as back-and-forth affairs before turning into bloodbaths in beastcoast’s favor as Fighting PandaS once again fell in 2-0 fashion.
Precedent suggests that this could be the last time fans see Fighting PandaS. Team captain Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao has developed a reputation for exploding failed rosters, something that saw him compete with five different teams last season.
Though Fighting PandaS could ultimately prove to be a very good team given its talented roster, their final days in Chengdu could result in disbandment.
After starting their playoff runs with wins, Evil Geniuses and J.Storm were both brought back down to earth.
Evil Geniuses dropped a 2-1 loss to Vici Gaming. Game one was a straightforward one as Vici Gaming controlled the pace throughout and eventually drained the fight out of Evil Geniuses. Game two was looking to be the same until Evil Geniuses fought back from having two lanes of barracks down to steal the win and even the series.
The decider likely would have been competitive if Zhang “Paparazi” Chengjun hadn’t gone wild. The Vici Gaming carry scored a gaudy 20-3 K/D with 12 more assists on top of it. Despite enjoying great farm, he was involved in 32 of Vici Gaming’s 33 kills to lock up the series win.
J.Storm’s series with TNC Predator was quite different. The action opened with a 70-minute marathon where the experience lead swung 13 times during the course of the action. J.Storm had opportunities to win, but couldn’t seal the deal against an Alchemist draft. This allowed TNC to lock up the first game of the series.
The second game saw TNC command the action, but J.Storm do great work to prevent TNC from ever gaining serious momentum. Though J.Storm able to keep TNC honest, they weren’t able to keep them from winning. This gave the Filipino squad a 2-0 win.
TNC and Vici Gaming will face off in the upper bracket finals to determine the first entrant to the grand finals. J.Storm and Evil Geniuses are currently waiting on opponents in the lower bracket.