All three CIS teams fighting in the Epic League group stage suffered defeats, which for some comes with possible relegation.
The day opened with a rather important series for Team Liquid, who were sitting among the bottom two slots in the group, dangerously close to relegation in Division 2. Their adversaries were Virtus.pro, who for the most part of the group play had been the uncontested leaders. Up until the matchup versus Team Liquid, VP’s only loss came at the hands of Vikin.gg, which pushed them to second place in the group. Given the impressive display of form from VP, Liquid chose for the first game to surprise the young CIS team with unusual lane assignments by sending Tommy “Taiga” Le in mid on earth Spirit, while for the offlane they picked a Bloodseeker-Invoker duo with Samuel “Boxi” Svahn playing the latter in position 4 support.
Although the mid lane match-up went even between Taiga and Danil “gpk” Skutin on Magnus, Liquid dominated the side lanes, and most importantly gave their carry Drow an explosive start to snowball to a 25-minute victory with over 25K gold advantage.
Moving into the second game, Liquid forced VP to think twice in the draft as they first picked the Earth Spirit, but the shenanigan didn’t work and when their adversaries took the Bloodseker for themselves, Liquid reverted to their usual roles, building for lane sustainability while playing for the late game scenario with Spectre. Their plan didn’t work, despite having the Warlock and Legion Commander healing powers to keep them safe against the aggressive maneuvers of VP and the series went to a decisive game three, which was a continuous back and forth battle for map dominance.
Liquid went once again for a pick not exactly common for them, a carry Snapfire for Michael “miCKe” Vu, combined with Legion Commander for Boxi and in theory they should have had amazing tools to bring down anyone caught in the duel. However, the problems started in the early laning stage, as VP targeted Taiga’s Tiny, delaying his Blink initiation greatly, while miCke was forced towards more of a support build on his core Sanpfire. The game became even harder for Liquid as the Duel-Mortimer Kisses combo was wasted several times on Anti-Mage illusions allowing VP to turn a lot of fights in their advantage. Nonetheless, while almost the entire Liquid line-up was struggling to find the footing in the game, one hero was constantly farming, namely Monkey King in the hands of Max “qojqva” Bröcker, who turned to be the saving grace for Team Liquid.
With the 2-1 victory over Virtus.pro, Team Liquid advanced a step higher on the ladder and saved themselves from relegation to Division 2 for now.
image by Epic Esports
But, unfortunately for the CIS fans, the newly formed Just Error mix, featuring former VP members joined by Syed “SumaiL” Hassan, are now sitting in the bottom two after losing yet another series in the group play. Yesterday’s defeat was registered against Vikin.gg, who are now the top team in the group.
It was a hard day for the CIS fans as none of their teams managed to land a victory, Natus Vincere also lost their encounter with Nigma, however, the defeat doesn’t place them in any danger for now. They are currently in 5th place in the group, just behind Team Secret and they still have four more series on the schedule.
While NAVI and Virtus.pro are battling for an upper bracket spot in the playoffs, Just_Error don’t have that luxury anymore, their focus now being to just stay alive in the group stage. They have just one more series to prove themselves and that’s scheduled for December 5 against OG.