EPICENTER 2017 Group Stage recap: LFY remain untouched, while fan picked Na’Vi get sent home

Evil Geniuses EPICENTER

Evil Geniuses momentarily struggle against Planet Odd – the only time they dropped a game in the group stage.

It’s increasingly likely that EPICENTER could end in an upset victory for LGD.Forever Young. Meanwhile, Evil Geniuses surprise no one by heading straight to the semi-finals, with Invictus and Team Secret hanging in there by a thread.

As a final showboat before the International 7, the EPICENTER Dota 2 tournament in Moscow has delivered more excitement in its early phase than most people were expecting. In their first game of the group, Planet Odd were mercilessly treated to a four-man Reverse Polarity kill by Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov of Virtus.Pro; touted as one of the most impressive moves in recent memory. Then on day 3, Team Secret had to prolong their final match due to a precautionary hospital visit for Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat.

LGD.Forever Young have placed first in multiple qualifiers before (this tournament included), but never translated these efforts into ultimate victory. That might be about to change; the China-based squad are en-route for a clean sweep in Group A, taking down both OG and Natus Vincere 2-0. The greatest resistance came from returning champions Team Liquid – after dropping an initial game, a focus on tank heavy picks and some consistently strong plays from Du “Monet” Peng helped LFY bounce back for a 2-1 series.

In Group B, home team Virtus.Pro almost matched LFY’s success, but their streak was finally ended by world #1 squad Evil Geniuses. EG dominated their first game against Virtus with a 20-6 overall kill score, but things ended a bit closer with 22-21 in game two. The North American organisation have been expectedly dominant in their group, and jump right into the semi-finals with just one paltry game lost so far.

Maurice "KheZu" Gutmann

Team Secret’s Maurice “KheZu” Gutmann during their decisive match against OG

It was quite the opposite circumstances for Clutch Gamers and Natus Vincere, who were both eliminated without a single victory to their name. That must be a particularly big sting for Na’Vi, who came to the competition only after a public vote by fans ended in their favour. OG and Planet Odd also failed to move up , following uneven performances across the three days.

In the last day of the group stage today, we’ll see whether Team Secret can take away  LGD.Forever Young’s flawless victory. Should LFY ultimately triumph in the competition, it would almost certainly earn them an invite to The International 2017, and a chance at a prize-pool that’s currently over $13 million, and still rising..

This is the second run-through for EPICENTER; a Dota 2 event that is considered a Major in all but an official capacity. With stellar production and the globe’s best teams in its line-up, the $500,000 prize-pool competition is steadily becoming a staple of the Eastern Europe and CIS calendar. Epic Esports Events, the game’s organiser, even won an EUBEA award for Best Live Entertainment for last year’s season.

The EPICENTER playoffs will begin on June 9th, with the best-of-five finals taking place on June 11th. You can watch all the action on EPICENTER’s English Twitch channel.

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