Day 3 of the Dota 2 PGL Arlington Major saw Chinese powerhouse Team Aster become the first team to secure an upper bracket berth in the Playoffs, while Stockholm Major champions OG and Evil Geniuses (EG) bounced back after rough showing in the previous days.
After racking up six wins against two losses in the first two days of the Group Stage, Team Aster went 3-1 in Day 3 off a tie with Beastcoast and a sweep over a struggling Tundra Esports to secure a 9-3 record.
With Group B having one less team after Xtreme Gaming withdrew due to visa issues, Team Aster's record is enough to secure at least a Top 4 finish in their group and an upper bracket berth in the Playoffs.
Team Aster aren't the only Chinese team looking dominant in the Arlington Major, as PSG.LGD are also a virtual lock for the upper bracket with a 9-1 record after Day 3.
The Chinese juggernauts soundly swept Team Liquid before being dealt their first loss of the tournament by Soniqs Esports in a 1-1 draw.
PSG.LGD have three matches left to play against Eastern Europe's Outsiders, fellow Chinese team Royal Never Give Up (RNG), and South America's Thunder Awaken.
It's safe to bet that PSG.LGD will finish the Group Stage with a near-perfect record and be the heavy favourites heading into the Playoffs.
Meanwhile, OG and EG have begun to bounce back after struggling in previous days.
After going winless in Day 2, OG went 3-1 in Day 3 by tying with Soniqs Esports and soundly sweeping RNG.
OG even managed to score the quickest victory of the Major thus far against RNG, winning game two of their series in just 12 minutes and 34 seconds.
OG now have a 5-5 record in Group A, putting them in a good position to make the Playoffs from the lower bracket and still contend for an upper bracket berth. The Stockholm Major champions will next face Thunder Awaken, Outsiders, and Talon Esports.
EG have pulled themselves from the brink of another early exit in a Major after going winless in Day 1.
The North American stalwarts were held to a 1-1 draw by Tundra Esports before sweeping Natus Vincere (Na'Vi) to finish Day 3 with a 6-6 record.
EG only have one match left to play against Entity on Day 5, with a 2-0 win there guaranteeing them a spot in the Playoffs. Whether or not they will start in the upper bracket or the lower bracket remains to be seen.
On the brink of elimination
But while most teams are jostling for Playoff position, others are trying to stave off early elimination.
Southeast Asia's Talon Esports have a 3-7 record and will most likely be the first of three teams eliminated from Group A.
Soniqs Esports, who have a 4-8 record, as well as Team Liquid and Thunder Awaken, both with 4-6 records, will be fighting to avoid being the other two teams to make an early exit from their group.
Over in Group B, Tundra Esports hold the worst record of the Group Stage thus far with an abysmal 3-9 line.
It's a disappointing showing for the top seed of Western Europe, who were looking like one of the favourites to win the Arlington Major based on their dominance in the regional league.
With Tundra most likely doomed to make an early exit, Beastcoast and Na'Vi, both with 5-7 records, will be looking to avoid becoming the second team to be eliminated from Group B.
Arlington Major Day 3 results:
PSG.LGD 2-0 Team Liquid
Thunder Awaken 1-1 Fnatic
Royal Never Give Up 2-0 Talon Esports
OG 1-1 Soniqs Esports
Evil Geniuses 1-1 Tundra Esports
Team Spirit 1-1 Entity
Natus Vincere 0-2 BOOM Esports
Team Aster 1-1 Beastcoast
Royal Never Give Up 0-2 OG
Team Liquid 0-2 Fnatic
PSG.LGD 1-1 Soniqs Esports
Outsiders 1-1 Thunder Awaken
Natus Vincere 0-2 Evil Geniuses
Team Spirit 1-1 BOOM Esports
Entity 1-1 Beastcoast
Team Aster 2-0 Tundra Esports
Here are the standings after Day 3 of the Arlington Major Group Stage:
PSG.LGD: 9W, 1L
Royal Never Give Up: 7W, 5L
Outsiders: 6W, 4L
Fnatic: 6W, 6L
OG: 5W, 5L
Team Liquid: 4W, 6L
Thunder Awaken: 4W, 6L
Soniqs Esports: 4W, 8L
Talon Esports: 3W, 7L
Team Aster: 9W, 3L
Entity: 7W, 5L
Team Spirit: 7W, 5L
BOOM Esports: 6W, 6L
Evil Geniuses: 6W, 6L
Beastcoast: 5W, 7L
Natus Vincere: 5W, 7L
Tundra Esports: 3W, 9L
The Arlington Major is the second and final Dota 2 Major of the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season.
The tournament features 17 of the best Dota 2 teams in the world fighting for their slice of the US$500,000 prize pool and 4,570 DPC point pool.
More importantly, the Arlington Major is the last chance for teams to secure a coveted direct invite to The International 11 (TI11), Dota 2's marquee million-dollar world championship tournament.
The Arlington Major begins with the Group Stage, featuring the 17 teams divided into two groups battling through a round-robin format where all matches will be a best-of-two. Group A will feature nine teams while group B will feature eight.
At the end of the Group Stage, the Top 4 teams in each group will advance to the upper bracket of the Main Event.
While the fifth and sixth-placed teams of each group will still advance to the Main Event, they will have to start in the first round of the lower bracket.
Meanwhile, the remaining teams of each group will be eliminated.
For everything you need to know about the Arlington Major, check here.
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