The final day of the group stage for the ESL One Stockholm Major ended on Sunday (15 May) with much excitement and drama.
Group A saw North American powerhouse Evil Geniuses (EG) becoming the first team to get eliminated from the Major (not counting Mind Games who were disqualified due to visa issues) while Group B concluded with an action-packed four-way tiebreaker.
It has been a sad story for EG, who has failed to live up to their reputation. In the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season, EG finished second in both of the season's two Majors.
Despite fielding a revamped roster for the 2021-2022 season, EG looked to be steadily improving as they finished third during the Winter Tour regional league, second at the Winter Tour Regional Finals, and first in the Spring Tour regional league.
But that form didn't carry into the Stockholm Major. The North American squad had a 1-9 record entering their last day of the group stage, though there was still a slim chance for the team to make it to the playoffs.
The uphill task was ahead — EG needed to defeat Beastcoast 2-0 in the group stage and then defeat them again in a tiebreaker.
Things started on a positive note for EG as they convincingly took the opening game against the South American squad. Unfortunately for the North American squad, that was all the success they had, as Beastcoast won the second game of the series without breaking a sweat.
It was a sobering result for a team with so much star power.
In the post-game interview, two-time The International winner Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka shared his thoughts on which team in the tournament caught his eye.
"I feel like the games are so different against these teams. Like T1 for example, I was very curious with how they played Dota, watching those games I got the feeling that they had discovered something for themselves," said JerAx.
With their elimination at this stage of the Stockholm Major, EG won't receive any prize money or DPC points. The team currently have 650 DPC points from the first two Tours and need 940 to make it to The International 11 (TI11).
A strong performance during the upcoming Summer Tour should net EG all the points needed to make it to TI11, though that seems debatable considering their performance in Stockholm.
It was a short day in Group A as only two other matches were played. OG took down BetBoom Team 2-0, while Tundra Esports did the same to T1.
Tundra had an incredible showing throughout the group stage, taking the top seed of Group A by winning 11 games, only dropping a single one against BetBoom.
Group B runs a four-way tiebreaker
While Group A had the shortest day of the group stage, it was a different story in Group B.
Two matches were scheduled to be played, Fnatic vs Gaimin Gladiators and Thunder Awaken vs TSM.
If both matches went 1-1, then Group B would have a six-way tiebreaker. If either match was 1-1, then there would be a four-way tiebreaker, but if both matches were clean sweeps then there would be no tiebreakers.
Gaimin Gladiators managed to do their part to keep the day short, sweeping Fnatic, but on the other hand Thunder Awaken and TSM traded wins.
This result put the Gladiators in the first place while dropping Fnatic in the sixth spot, still good for a lower bracket start in the playoffs.
That left Team Spirit, TSM, Thunder Awaken, and Team Liquid in a four-way tiebreaker for the remaining three upper bracket spots. The tiebreakers were a round-robin best-of-one, with each team playing a total of three games.
Thunder Awaken emerged victorious in all three of their matches. The Peruvian team continue to impress as they defeated the TI10 champions as well as the apparent strongest team in North America.
That meant that Thunder Awaken finished second in Group B with a 7-5 score in the group stage and a 3-0 tiebreaker victory.
TSM took the third spot in Group B as they secured two wins in the tiebreakers. After competing with Quincy Crew and EG for the top spot in North America, the players of TSM are proving themselves on the International stage. If TSM can win one series in the playoffs, they will secure enough DPC points to qualify for TI11.
The final spot in the upper bracket went to Team Spirit. While the TI10 champions haven't had the same dominating performance in Stockholm as they did in the Winter Tour and Regional Finals, they will still be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.
Considering the current political situation in their home countries, it's understandable that the team made of three Russians and two Ukrainians haven't had the same amount of time to prepare for the tournament as the remaining teams.
That said, Team Spirit still managed to make it to the upper bracket and will face off against Tundra Esports next.
Here's how every match on day four of the Group Stage went down:
Evil Geniuses 1-1 Beastcoast
Tundra Esports 2-0 T1
OG 2-0 BetBoom Team
Gaimin Gladiators 2-0 Fnatic
Team Liquid 2-0 Mind Games (Forced forfeit by Mind Games)
TSM 1-1 Thunder Awaken
Group B tiebreakers:
TSM 0-1 Thunder Awaken
TSM 1-0 Team Spirit
TSM 1-0 Team Liquid
Team Spirit 1-0 Team Liquid
Team Spirit 0-1 Thunder Awaken
Team Liquid 0-1 Thunder Awaken
Here are the standings at the end of the group stage of the Stockholm Major:
For everything you need to know about the Stockholm Major, check here.
Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.