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Two more teams bite the dust today, and unfortunately, our TNC Pro Team was one of them. Thanks to ppd‘s superb drafting, TNC was forced to play in an unfavorable matchup. Valiant effort came from all members of TNC, but OpTic Gaming‘s heroes took control of all lanes early on. TNC would not be able to pick up the pace of OpTic, and thus ends their TI Direct Invite run. It’s off to the qualifiers for our boys, while OpTic’s will go on.

The other team to be eliminated today was Newbee, and this time in the hands of Vici Gaming. This is a matchup where Paparazi shined brightly. In both games, Paparazi led the players in both net worth and K/D/A ratio, dominating the games entirely and boasting an impressive 88% kill participation in Game 2. Not that losing here was the end of the world for either of the teams, as they have already secured their place in TI. Newbee will come home, same as TNC, happy with their $60,000 loot.

It all comes in full circle

Meanwhile, in the upper bracket, we will see a rematch of one of the last few matches in The International 7. With just one player changed, Team Liquid and LGD Gaming fighting in the Upper Bracket Finals will be interesting. We saw these two teams battle it out in the TI7  Lower Bracket Semifinals, where Liquid would beat LGD and later on claim the Aegis. Tomorrow’s matchup between the two will tell the tale of how big xNova‘s contributions really are for LGD.

These two teams reached their place by defeating Team Secret and Virtus.pro. These two behemoth teams were strong contenders, but they were made to look weak by the way Liquid and LGD defeated them. The two captains of Secret and Liquid continued their rivalry, and this time around Kuroky defeated Puppey by miles in terms of drafting. Puppey’s choice for the heroes is questionable at best, which allowed Team Liquid to beat Secret swiftly, 2-0.

Meanwhile, Virtus.pro was in rare form today, which meant that they suddenly lost the consistency that they’re very well known of. VP won the lanes in both cases, but LGD was able to turn the games around both times. Statistically speaking, both games were very close, with the scales weighing in favor of VP from the early game to the midgame. However, LGD was able to systematically expose VP’s weaknesses, and was able to destroy VP in two critical moments that permanently tipped the scales. It turns out that LGD could make Virtus.pro trip just once, and they could capitalize on the situation to pacify VP for good.

Just one more win

OpTic’s path to TI is blockaded by just one more team: VP. As Virtus.pro fell from the upper bracket, they end up as OpTic’s next opponents. If OpTic were to win this series, OpTic would secure their spot at TI, replacing VGJ.Thunder. The question now is if VP would be able to shake off their loss today and regain their mojo to beat OpTic. ppd’s known for being able to spot the weaknesses of their opponents, and is able to draft accordingly to make use of those weaknesses. LGD reminded us today that VP is not invincible, and OpTic is sure to expound on that.

Meanwhile, Team Secret will be facing Vici Gaming. The stakes are lower here compared to the one above, but that’s not a reason to miss out on this. It’s to be expected for both teams to still fight with the best they’ve got, as it’s never bad to assert your strength in a tournament.

The action returns Saturday, starting with VP vs OpTic.

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