photo: ESL One
ESL One Mumbai action has started today with group stage matches. The eight teams competing for a share of the $300,000 prize pool were split in two groups of four and began their adventure in India in a GSL best-of-three format.
Not exactly planned from the very beginning to be a part of the event, TEAM TEAM (TT) was invited at the last moment by the organizers to replace one of the five squads that had to withdraw on a short notice due to schedule conflicts with the Dota Pro Circuit tournaments. Having a roster change just a few days ahead of the MDL Disneyland® Paris Major qualifiers, the team needs every bit of LAN experience they can get before heading to Paris. ESL One Mumbai was the perfect opportunity for them and EE and co arrived to Mumbai on a trail of lost practice games, as Braxton “Brax” Paulson bluntly admitted today in an official interview with ESL One.
Team Team’s opening series was held against Natus Vincere and the match-up brought exactly what any EE fan would expect: over one-hour long game, split push, a base race, infinite buybacks, and clutch plays. Game one lasted just 43 minutes as EE-sama got to play Sven and had a completed Bloodthorn 33 minutes in, on top of the classic Blink-Echo Sabre-BkB item build. He farmed pretty unhindered and he helped in team fights, nothing too crazy for him in that game, except for a few deaths to Na’Vi’s Doom offlane in the early laning stage. The true surprise was NA’s top leaderboard player Nico “Gunnar” Lopez, who went in both games of the series with a mid Ember Spirit and chose a right-click item build, perfectly outmaneuvering Na’Vi to end the first game without a single death.
Game two marked a new personal record for EternaLEnVy, who according to the stats man Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen, now has “the longest average game time of the players with 1000+ matches” after the 75 minute battle against Na’Vi.
EnVy played Lycan in this second game and prepared right from the start for a long journey where he foreseen all the split push shenanigans and all the nerve wracking attempts to take down the Na’Vi base on his own. Team Team had never had the gold advantage for more than five minutes, partially because of EE’s 10 deaths and almost instant buy backs. His hectic game and questionable decisions that dragged the game to a very late stage, where his own team had to defend the tier four towers while Na’Vi’s base was one barack away from mega creeps, made Kyle Freedman say when the madness was finally over: “There were a lot of things in that game that I truly don’t understand. A LOT!”
Despite a bunch of opportunities for Na’Vi to take favorable fights when EE was down with the buyback on cool down, the CIS squad has still managed to lose two Rapiers and the series as a whole.
On the other stream, compLexity were not having as much fun as their NA friends. Arrived in Mumbai after a couple of delayed flights anda 50 hours trip, coL were taken down 2-1 by TNC Predator. The SEA squad, now finally reunited in full formula, had also a long first series and were perhaps ready for another round of mind games with Team Team. But, this time around EE didn’t mess around and Gunnar continued to crush. In game one the trio core of TT was Troll-Invoker-Centaur Warrunner and everything went smooth for them to close the game in just 32 minutes. Game two began with a bit of a musical chairs game played by TNC, who weren’t sure how to place their heroes and before they figured it out it was already too late.
Today’s clean 4-0 run of TEAM TEAM sends the NA squad straight into the playoffs semifinals and will give the players a day off to adjust to the time zone, practice and prepare for the main event. Na’Vi, TNC and compLexity will return on the second day of the group stage matches to fight in the loser and the decider series of Group A. No team will be eliminated from the event after the group stage, but the bottom two teams from each group will have to fight in the main event via the lower bracket series.