Missed the Wildcard stage? Fear not, we’ve hand-picked the five best games from the opening round of the Singapore Major.
Our first taste of international Dota 2 competition after a year does not disappoint. Here are the top matches you don't want to miss from the Singapore Major Wildcard Stage, and what we can expect in the Group Stages. But first a quick refresher.
A refresher on the results of the Singapore Major Wildcard Stage
Day 1 saw Team Liquid and Vici Gaming storm through their matches, finishing 6-0 and 4-0 respectively. Middling the pack were AS Monaco Gambit (4-2), considered an underdog. Meanwhile PSG.LGD (2-2) overcame a shaky start to regroup in their second series. Elsewhere both Nigma and T1 suffered 3 consecutive losses, both ending the day at 0-6.
When Day 2 rolled round, the calibre of play seemed insurmountable for Nigma. Apart from a few signs of life between matches they ended their run at the major with a 1-9 record. For Nigma, as well as T1 (who finished 2-8), they couldn't seem to hit their stride with their last-minute stand-ins.
Day 2 was all about momentum for PSG.LGD though, as they won all of their matches to secure the top spot with an 8-2 record. Seemingly losing their momentum, Liquid couldn't seem to catch a break, and were forced into a tiebreaker best-of-one against AS Monaco Gambit. The boys in blue ultimately came out on top and joined Vici Gaming and PSG.LGD to advance to the Group Stage.
Over the 31 exciting games that were played in the Wildcards, here are 5 we've selected that you don't want to miss.
Must-watch matches from the Singapore Major Wildcard
1) Nigma vs Vici Game 2
If you only have time to watch 1 game, this is without a doubt the most exciting game of the Wildcard Stage. It's by no means perfect play from both sides, but it's reminiscent of EG's TI6 megacreep comeback. In a 56 minute, 99 kill total bloodbath, the match has everything you could want: Dagons, Sick Teamfights and of course, GH's signature Phoenix.
2) Liquid vs Vici Game 2
Following the course of Day 1's games, this match was highly anticipated. Both teams had time to study each other, and that definitely showed in this series. If you want to watch perfect Pangolier play, or even just appreciate some crisp skill usage and team fighting, this match is for you.
3) T1 vs Nigma Game 2
This game is one for the SEA fans. In a pivotal match determining who would 100% be going home, the stakes were the highest they could be. As Johan "N0tail" Sundstein once said "A dying animal, you're about to butcher it, it's gonna bite you, it knows it's going to die". Nigma fought for their pride, and T1 for their region, baring their teeth in a last hurrah.
4) ASM Gambit vs Vici Game 2
There's nothing that keeps Dota 2 fans at the edge of their seat like a match that goes into the late-late-game. I'm talking Tier 5 items baby. In a 67-minute brawl that goes the distance, AS Monaco Gambit silence doubters of the CIS region and prove that they can duke it out with the Chinese powerhouses, and belong in the Major.
5) ASM Gambit vs PSG.LGD Game 1
If you needed a clear example as to how PSG.LGD finished on top, this game should drive the message home. The unrelenting aggression and non-stop pressure was beautiful to watch. With players piloting their signature heroes, this one's quite a treat for Chinese Dota fans.
The Bubble Meta - Heroes We Can Expect To See In The Group Stage
The most successful heroes of the Singapore Major Wildcard Stage are no secret. Across 6 games, Phoenix boasted a 100% win-rate. The percentage health damage and heal from Sun Ray, along with an invaluable team-fight winning spell in Supernova, made this hero a highly contested pick.
Puck also continues its dominance, being picked/banned in all 31 games played thus far. The hero seems to be able to do everything, between BKB piercing Agh's Dream Coils and the ability to be all over the map. With the option to transition into a right-clicker as well, Puck doesn't seem to fall-off at any point in the game.
Therefore, it's no surprise to anyone following the DPC that Io is heavily contested as well. Any team that can utilize Io as a carry will have a definite advantage, as the hero so far seems unbeatable when ran as a position 1. Paired with line-ups that can help the Io kite or defensive healing supports, the sustained healing and damage from this hero is too much for most line-ups to combat.
We can definitely expect to see these heroes, alongside favorites like Tusk, Elder Titan and Monkey King, in the upcoming games. The Wildcard stage developed its own unique meta, coined the Bubble Meta for how it seems unaffected by the various metagames from the different DPC Regional Leagues. As a result, in the upcoming Group Stage, we can expect to see this evolve once again.
The ONE Esports Singapore Dota 2 Major Group Stage will take place from 29th-30th March, where 8 teams will face-off in single round robins. From the Group Stage, only six teams will make it to playoffs.