Playoffs kick off on August 26 ESL One Fall 2023 on Dota 2. Eight teams made it to the decisive stage of the tournament, three of which represent the CIS. Virtus.pro will meet with PSG.LGD in the upper grid, and Team Spirit and Team empire will converge in a head-to-head duel for elimination. In addition, we will have two more matches in the playoffs of the tournament. Will VP be able to cope with his kryptonite, why Tundra Esports looks such a nice team and is there a chance Alliance – in the material Cybersport.ru.
Virtus.pro against kryptonite
Virtus.pro against PSG.LGD in the first match of the upper bracket of the playoffs – this already sounds like a nightmare for the fans of the CIS team. The International in 2018 and 2019, the Major in Singapore in 2023 – VP rosters change, and the bad tradition of giving in to the Chinese tag in the starting rounds continues. However, at ESL One, the Russian team will finally be able to break the curse, and there are several reasons for this.
Apparently, Virtus.pro took the tournament many times more seriously than its main competitors, including PSG.LGD. And it’s not just about 100% of victories in the group stage. VP plays as disciplined and verified as possible, does not get into unnecessary fights and always repels from his peaks of strength and necessary artifacts. At the same time, Virtus.pro showed that it can effectively use both the popular heroes of the previous patch – Dragon Knight, Templar Assassin, Terrorblade – and the characters that entered the meta with update 7.30 – Void Spirit, Lycan, Beastmaster.
Moreover, ESL One Fall clearly shows how confident Virtus.pro feels online. At critical moments, the team is able to make risky decisions with lightning speed, as in the duel with T1, when VP won the map thanks to a sudden attack on the opponent’s throne through the backdoor. Now not even a trace of the squeezed team that we saw in Kiev is visible. Virtus.pro definitely wants to win this tournament in order to recharge with positive emotions before TI and again feel self-confidence.
PSG.LGD, in turn, is clearly not so strongly motivated. The Chinese team generally started the championship with a defeat from beastcoast and a draw with Team Empire. As a reminder, PSG.LGD is replacing it with ESL One Fall: the mid-roster had to miss the tournament, and coach Xiao8 took his place. It cannot be said that the Chinese team approached the championship completely carelessly, but the team is more eager to test new interesting connections and drafts outside the region, such as the Faceless Void five or Undying three. If PSG.LGD does not decide to drastically change the approach to the tournament and give everything to the maximum, then Virtus.pro will definitely be the favorite in the match. Parimatch bookmakers also prefer the team from the CIS.
- Virtus.pro (1.55) vs. PSG.LGD (2.35)
The confrontation between teams from the CIS was previously considered to be a kind of roulette in which anyone can win, regardless of form. However, in the course of the last season, there was a significant difference between Virtus.pro and everyone else; a little later, Team Spirit separated from the general group of teams, which also reached a new level for itself.
Within the framework of the current confrontation, it makes no sense to recall the stubborn final of the qualification for TI10 for the CIS. Firstly, then Spirit was far from being in perfect condition, which the roster participants said more than once later. Secondly, Empire’s roster, like the meta in Dota 2, has changed. Now we will have a completely different match, and, probably, there will be no intrigue in it. In the group stage, Spirit defeated the teams below the level and T1, the negligence of which we will mention later, but lost to VP without a chance. However, Empire failed to win a single series at all and looked less balanced and organized. Now Spirit and Empire are just teams of different levels, and not so much in terms of drafts, but in terms of team play and actions on the map. Therefore, it is difficult to imagine that in a best-of-3 series, the VANSKOR roster could catch on to victory. Parimatch analysts agree with this, who believe that this confrontation is the most uninteresting among all the first matches of the playoffs.
- Team Spirit (1.33) vs. Team Empire (3.15)
Tundra and her Keeper of the Light
Tundra has a great feel for the meta: the team has introduced into their drafts almost all the characters that have become popular after the release of patch 7.30 – Void Spirit, Batrider, Omniknight, Sven, Earthshaker. At the same time, as in the last patch, when the team destroyed the opponents of the mid-side Winter Wyvern, Tundra prepared its own unique ideas after the update. For example, the team showed Keeper of the Light as a core hero both on the center lane and on the hard one. The team is generally very effective at changing characters between positions. For example, Gyrocopter took both first and fifth positions. The Pangolier Five, Tidehunter Four, and Earth Spirit’s mid lane appeared in the drafts. Tundra hasn’t even forgotten about Visage. But the most important thing is that the team not only surprises the opponent in drafts, but also effectively uses these interesting combinations in the game.
OG and Team Secret aside, Tundra is now the most curious and distinctive European team. At ESL One Fall, the team lost only to Virtus.pro, and that gave it the heat on the first map. Therefore, even though beastcoast took first place in its group (the overall level of competition in which was still lower), Tundra looks like a more likely winner in this pair. Parimatch analysts also believe that the European team has a better chance of success.
- Tundra (1.50) vs. beastcoast (2.48)
T1 looks less menacing, but that’s enough
Before the start of the tournament, we ranked T1 among the main contenders for the trophy. However, the team’s performance in the group stage shattered this confidence. T1, along with PSG.LGD, played a bit imposing and made a lot of mistakes both in micro and macro. The team felt much more confident with the usual 7.29 Medusa than with the now popular Slark. In total, T1 tried 36 different heroes in the tournament – this is one of the highest rates in the championship. For example, Tundra and Virtus.pro used 26 and 27 characters, respectively.
However, in the match against Alliance, you probably shouldn’t worry about the fate of T1. And the point is not that a team from Southeast Asia must certainly get together and show a performance of the level of a major – it’s just that the rival looks frankly weaker. Alliance did not surprise opponents with anything during the group stage. Yes, the Fng team did not forget about the meta Sven and Beastmaster, but conceptually, the team’s play has not changed at all. Alliance starts to get lost in the late stage of the match and make unforced mistakes. It is not yet clear how the European team can improve. Therefore, despite not the best start of the tournament for T1, she should take the victory in this fight. Parimatch analysts agree with this as well, who also consider T1 to be the favorite of the match.
- T1 (1.60) vs. Alliance (2.25)
Odds are taken from the website of the betting company Parimatch and are relevant at the time of publication of the material.