Liquid earns TI8 invite as FlyToMoon avoids elimination in Epicenter XL

Epicenter XL Playoffs: Results of Day 1

The Epicenter XL playoffs kicked off with the first set of main stage matches yesterday.

Two teams have been eliminated from the competition: South American squad paiN Gaming and fan favorite and Pro Circuit third placers Team Secret. Hometown heroes FlyToMoon, hailing mostly from Russia where the tournament is taking place, defeated paiN in under 30 minutes. This victory is considered to be a revenge for CIS-region comrades Natus Vincere, who were denied a main event slot by paiN.

FlyToMoon’s Tinker, piloted by Bogdan “Iceberg” Vasylenko, inflicted a significant amount of damage that the Brazilians simply couldn’t handle. Iceberg dished out a staggering 41,600 points of damage, which is around 1,400 damage per minute. FlyToMoon finished off their rivals in just 29 minutes and 33 seconds.

On the other side of the lower bracket, DAC 2018 winners Mineski avoided sudden death by taking care of Team Secret. It took them just under 40 minutes to secure victory. Kang “Moon” Boon Seng performed remarkably well for Mineski, scoring 18 kills while giving up only two deaths.

Mineski’s win cannot be attributed to regional luck in best-of-one matchups, as their recent performances indicate that they absolutely deserved the victory.

In the upper bracket, reigning world champions Team Liquid swept OG in two games, putting an end to OG’s momentum from the group stage. Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi, as expected, carried the load for his team with 29 kills and just four deaths across the series. OG struggled to find answers to Team Liquid and were unable to overcome the International champions.

Team Liquid’s victory secures them a direct invite to TI8, as they have now scored enough points to guarantee them a spot in Vancouver. They become the second team in the Pro Circuit to do so, after three-time Pro Circuit Major winners Virtus Pro.

The final match of the day featured Virtus Pro against the newly-christened PSG-LGD Gaming. Both teams gave it their all across all three games in the series. However, VP was outdrafted by their Chinese opponents and had to give ground in the end. VP’s hero choices couldn’t keep up with LGD’s Slark, a hero that can take over games on his own if left unchecked.

On the second day of the competition, FlyToMoon will face OG and Virtus Pro will tussle against Mineski in the lower bracket. The second losers’ round will also have best-of-one matches, so we could see some upsets. Team Liquid and LGD will compete for the first grand final slot.

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