In the opening series of day two of The International 2019, the reigning champions swept Evil Geniuses 2-0 in their group stage showdown. The series adds another lopsided chapter to one of Dota 2’s hottest rivalries and puts Evil Geniuses into a precarious position for the remainder of the group stage.
The series started with an excellent performance from OG. While Syed “SumaiL” Hassan got an early edge on Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen in the mid lane, the side lanes of Evil Geniuses did not go nearly as well. Anathan “ana” Pham started snowballing early as Alchemist, locking up Phase Boots, Radiance, and a pair of bracers at just 14 minutes. Things went just as well for Sébastien “Ceb” Debs in the offlane, as he scored a quick 10-minute Blink Dagger as Sand King.
Getting those key items early set OG up to take complete control in the mid game, something EG had no answer to. While SumaiL could hold his own, OG’s highly mobile lineup was able to wreak havoc on the rest of Evil Geniuses. Topson found his footing with time which allowed OG to push in the lanes and force a GG call at 32 minutes.
EG looked ready to return the favor in the early goings of game two. Artour “Arteezy” Babaev sprinted to an early gold lead while SumaiL once again bottled up Topson in the mid lane, combining for a solid early lead for EG.
But once the mid game rolled around, Ana’s Juggernaut completely took over.
A pair of botched teamfights for EG netted Ana a number of kills and copious amounts of gold. That resulted in Ana rocketing up the net worth chart past SumaiL and Arteezy, something EG’s lineup didn’t have the tools to deal with. Powered up by Ceb’s Magnus, Ana was able to gut EG’s base after scoring a few kills which netted OG the 2-0 series victory.
The first day of the group stage was defined by a series of upsets, but the biggest of the bunch may have been Fnatic defeating Evil Geniuses 2-0. Evil Geniuses managed to get on the scoreboard later in the day by defeating Natus Vincere, but did not look particularly strong in the process as they were run over in game one and nearly squandered a 36,000 net worth advantage in game two.
Starting the group stage with a 1-5 record would be disappointing under any circumstances, but making matters worse is the fact that they haven’t faced especially stiff competition to this point. EG is yet to play Group B heavyweights Virtus.pro or Vici Gaming, and matches against teams like Royal Never Give Up and Ninjas in Pyjamas are far from a slam dunk.
EG doesn’t have to start worrying about being eliminated from the group stage at this point, but the team has to climb out of a deep hole if it wants to start the main event in the upper bracket. They still have five series to work with but they cannot afford to take any more 0-2 losses if they want to avoid those dangerous lower bracket best-of-ones.