WePlay! Pushka League entered its playoff stage today and we would see a host of upper bracket series as both CIS and European teams would now fight against one another in best-of-threes all the way up until the grand final.
Opening the day would be Ninjas in Pyjamas and HellRaisers, with the CIS team topping their group while NiP ended in fourth place in the EU bracket. Having had quite a grand resurgence in form ever since the organisation picked up the Chicken Fighters roster, NiP were extremely strong and in form – but HR had shown that they could stand up to some of the best when they managed a second place finish at WeSave! Charity Play earlier this year.
HR made a rather huge mistake in both series before the teams had even gone passed the loading screens and that was to not ban the Meepo in either game – which led to an almost one-sided affair on both occasions. In game one, HR seemed completely unable to find their footing as Ondřej ‘Supream’ Štarha’s Meepo remained unkilled through the half hour battle and that gave NiP the lead. The next game was far more contested by HR and even though they had given the Meepo away again, they managed to shut down his game completely.
But even through that and a rather close finish, NiP managed to come out on top and take a solid 2-0 series to open the WePlay! Pushka League playoff stage. Unfortunately for HR, that would see them drop into the lower bracket where elimination loomed in a single series defeat.
Following that would be Virtus.pro Prodigy, the unlikely sister-squad that managed to surprise everyone and make it into the playoffs – even beating some of the more well-known teams in the group stages. Their opponents were Alliance, who seemed to be at the top of their game currently too, with only a single loss in the group stage to Team Secret.
In a massive shock on only the first day of playoffs, it was the CIS squad of VP.P who stomped over Alliance in two games – leaving the EU team in their wake. Egor ‘epileptick1d’ Grigorenko’s Monkey King was at the forefront of their advantage in both games, as Alliance could never shut him down before he had reached “raidboss” levels.
Although their were one or two moments from Alliance where they did show off some skill, it was nothing like the squad which dominated the group stage as VP.P took a fantastic 2-0 victory and knocked Alliance into the lower bracket.
One series remains in the day at the WePlay! Pushka League with Virtus.pro and Team Liquid closing things out today before we get some elimination action to start the day tomorrow.