With the group stages out of the way, the main event of the Shanghai Major can finally begin. This format in particular is unforgiving to teams in the lower bracket, as there will be not one, but two Bo1 elimination rounds down there. This means that teams that didn’t make the cut in the group stages will have to be extra sharp and focused for two whole rounds — and if there’s anything this tournament has taught us so far it’s that anything can go right or go wrong.
Taking a look at the bracket arrangement, it’s clear that only a select few teams will have a relatively easy time against their opponents. The rest (especially some of the winner bracket teams) will have to either pull one or more out of a hat in order to move on. We’re here to tell you which ones will most likely survive the elimination rounds on the first day.
Alliance (4/11 Skybet) v Team Liquid (2/1 Coral)
Alliance got out of a not-so-difficult group without any trouble at all, going 4-0 in maps against Team Spirit and Fnatic. Although they never got to face ViCi Gaming, they eventually didn’t need to prove anything against them given that VG finished dead last in the group. This result was definitely expected from them, so there’s no surprise that they’re favored quite heavily against Team Liquid here. On the other hand, Liquid had a few struggles in their group after being knocked down to the losers’ match by Virtus.pro, who they ended up beating 2-0 in the final match.
While Liquid are certainly capable of beating Alliance in a best of 3, the sheer amount of momentum on the Swedish team’s side right now just cannot be ignored. It’s too bad that they give such low returns on this fixture, but because they’ve been looking so good out there, they still get our vote. If the value on the Liquid bet were a bit higher, we’d have chosen them instead — but as it stands it’s not worth the risk.
Alliance to win the series with Skybet at 4/11 (1.36)
MVP Phoenix (6/4 Coral) v LGD Gaming (8/13 bet365)
Now we’re talking. MVP Phoenix surprised anyone and everyone watching the Major from the first day, taking both of their Group A matches cleanly without dropping a single map. Not only did they score 4-0 in maps that day, but they did it against Team Secret and EHOME, with the latter being one of the favourites to win the whole tournament before they were knocked down to the lower bracket by the former. They played intense but intelligent Dota, taking the initiative whenever they could and showing restraint when they needed to slow the pace down.
This kind of discipline is exactly what they need to continue to make a deep run here. Against a strong team like LGD, they will need to keep themselves grounded. Overextending is just in MVP Phoenix’s nature, but they really don’t want to lose their upper bracket advantage now. From what they’ve shown so far, we think they can do just that in order to beat LGD to advance to the next round. At 6/4 against 8/13, the numbers make a compelling case, too.
MVP Phoenix to win the series with Coral at 6/4 (2.50)
EHOME (1/5 Skybet) v Team Archon (7/2 bet365)
Perhaps one of the easiest games EHOME will ever have to play in their lives. Team Archon simply does not have the talent or skill required to beat EHOME even when they’re down. They failed to win even a single map in their group, which should have been possible against Newbee if not defending Major champions OG. Yes, this is a best of 1 where even the cheesiest strats can work to take a quick win, but with EHOME rested up after that tooth infection that kept ELeVeN down for a while they shouldn’t be taken by surprise here.
EHOME to win with Skybet at 1/5 (1.20)
Team Spirit (4/6 bet365) v CompLexity Gaming (11/10 William Hill)
Unlike CompLexity, Team Spirit actually managed to take a series in their group by way of a 2-0 victory against VG, which was impressive when you consider how the Chinese team was expected to make it out of that group to begin with. Team Spirit even came close to taking second place in Group B, only to be stopped by Fnatic — but even then that series went all three games. On the other hand, CoL came close to beating EG in their group, but then the series got away from them in the third game. From there they just tilted straight to the bottom spot.
Still, we think that CompLexity have what it takes to beat Team Spirit in a best of 1. After all, the lone win that they had against EG in their group was in the first game of that series. If they can replicate that success, they’ll find themselves in the next round.
CompLexity Gaming to win with William Hill at 11/10 (2.10)
Virtus.pro (11/10 Coral) v ViCi Gaming (4/6 bet365)
Yes, that’s right: ViCi Gaming is in the lower bracket. In fact, all of the Chinese teams save one got knocked out of their respective groups, leading many to doubt the whole region even when the tournament is taking place on their home turf. Out of all of them, only LGD has shown that they have the understanding of the playing field and that everyone else is kind of just lost at the moment.
We think this will continue here. Even against teams they should’ve beaten in their group, VG didn’t look very good in their games. VP, on the other hand, managed to 2-0 Liquid before getting 2-0’d back, giving us a bit of confidence in them here. They just have to not choke and throw this one game away like they did at StarLadder.
Virtus.pro to win with Coral at 11/10 (2.10)
CDEC Gaming (11/10 William Hill) v Newbee (4/6 bet365)
Speaking of Chinese teams that are totally lost, CDEC haven’t been very good in this tournament. They lost both of their group stage matches, though to be fair to them they did take one map in each match. This is pretty much in accordance with everyone’s predictions — that of CDEC being one of the underdogs in this major despite being on home ground. Newbee haven’t been better off either, despite what their group map score might tell you. Their 2-0 victory was against the worst team in the tournament, and while they did take a map against LGD, they got destroyed in their rematch in Group C.
Still, they’ve looked a bit better than CDEC in this patch, and they’ve shown lately that they can still put up a fight against the rest of the teams here even if they don’t end up winning. That’s saying a lot compared to CDEC.
Newbee to win with bet365 at 4/6 (1.67)