The Upper Bracket at ESL One Fall 2021 started with a bang today as top-tier teams PSG.LGD and Virtus.pro faced off.

The Upper Bracket at ESL One Fall 2021 started with a bang today as top-tier teams PSG.LGD and Virtus.pro faced off. 

With the Upper Bracket of ESL One Fall 2021: Bootcamp Edition kicking off, Virtus.pro took on PSG.LGD for a chance to advance in the tournament. Some of the best teams in their respective regions, and both invitees to The International 10, this series served as the perfect preview of a TI showdown.

Virtus.pro had started the tournament flawlessly. Going 5-0 in their group stages, with an immaculate 10-0 match score, the team simply outclassed the rest of Group A. The reason? Perfect execution. While team’s picks didn’t exactly look like something innovative and new, to take advantage of the latest patch, they were clean on the tried and tested picks they broke out. The Winter Wyvern, the Phoenix, all looked dominant in VP’s capable hands.

Meanwhile, PSG.LGD’s road to the upper bracket had been more tumultuous. Dropping three of their games, and losing one of their series to beastcoast. But there were definitely bright spots. Wang “Ame” Chunyu’s Clinkz finally saw some playtime thanks to the heroes buffs. Ame has been a clinks fan for a while, frequently picking him in pugs in the past. But the hero’s sudden rise to prominence means his Clinkz practice is finally paying off. 

Spirit Breaker Mid?!

Clearly with their fingers on the pulse of the new patch, and the attempts to make macro plays more simple, LGD locked in mid Spirit Breaker for Zhang “xiao8” Ning. The potential of the “run at you,” Spirit Breaker-focused composition was high, especially if they could avoid the Phoenix egg and Ravage from Virtus.pro.

However, after getting absolutely dunked in lanes, the composition for LGD fell apart. Virtus.pro’s top-level execution of the earlier parts of the tournament continued, and it looked like an easy win for the CIS team.

But LGD punched back post 30 minutes. The team’s composition looked like it might actually work, and they started to close the deficit. However, they’d just fallen too far behind early, and Virtus.pro finished off game one with a win.

If at first you don’t succeed

The second game presented much more salvageable lanes for LGD. Committing to the Spirit Breaker pick, the roaming and ganking potential of the mid actually affected lanes this time. And the Echo Sabre gave him enough damage to be a legitimate threat.

VP countered by forming their own roaming gank squad, but in straight-up fights, LGD just looked stronger. The simple plan of ‘running at your opponent and hitting them until they die’ proved just too effective.

After a fight at the 28-minute mark, VP were able to claw back some control by almost wiping LGD. The team broke out more of their perfect execution, killing Xiao8, and using the Phoenix egg to get additional crowd control off. And this team fight victory erased LGD’s early game lead of 8k gold in a single skirmish.

From this, the team pushed their advantage. Pushing lanes, taking neutral items and pressing their advantage, Virtus.pro didn’t let up on the pressure. Executing with the Chrono and Supernova combo, VP were able to win two key fights and end the game. The first upper bracket ESL One Fall series wraps up 2-0 in favor of the CIS team.

Final Thoughts

Virtus.pro look incredibly strong. The team were able to come back from a huge deficit in game two, and push their tournament record to 12-0. It seems unlikely any team this tournament will be able to end their record.

However, Xiao8 showed that the true Spirit Breaker effect is to be all across the map causing havoc. And if more teams pick this hero up, there’s certainly some fun to be had at the rest of ESL One Fall 2021. The event continues until August 29th.

Stay tuned to esports.gg for the latest Dota 2 news and updates.

Filed Under
Michael Hassall -

Michael Hassall

| Twitter: @hoffasaurusx

Michael is a UK-based content creator who caught the esports bug in 2010, but took eight years to figure out he should write about it. Throwing away a promising career in marketing and PR, he now specialises in MOBAs, covering League of Legends, Dota 2, and esports in general since 2019. When not glued to tournaments taking place on the other side of the globe, he spends time nurturing an unhealthy addiction to MMOs and gacha games.