Only one Southeast Asian team remains standing at The International 11 (TI11) in Singapore after Fnatic fell to Western Europe's Gaimin Gladiators in their best-of-one elimination match at the lower bracket of the tournament's Main Event.
Both Fnatic and Gaimin Gladiators had to start the Main Event from the lower bracket after mixed performances during the Group Stage.
Gaimin Gladiators were the seventh seed of Group A with a 8-10 record while Fnatic was the fifth seed of Group B with a 9-9 standing.
Fnatic opened the match with an early Sniper pick for Armel "Armel" Tabios, a risky opening as the hero can do a lot of damage but is very fragile when caught. They then paired it up with a Templar Assassin for Marc Polo "Raven" Fausto.
It was quite a greedy draft, as both cores needed a couple of items to come online. There was a lot of pressure on the remaining three Fnatic players to make space in the mid-game.
Gaimin Gladiators picked Snapfire for Erik "tOfu" Engel, a perfect hero to remove Refraction charges from Raven's Templar Assassin and counter the Tombstone from Jaunuel "Jaunuel" Arcilla's Undying. Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard's Primal Beast would be responsible for isolating Armel's Sniper while Anton "dyrachyo" Shkredov dished out the damage as Morphling.
The Gladiators claimed three Bounty Runes at the start of the game, but it was Fnatic that managed to win the last hit battle across all three lanes. Things got even better for the Southeast Asian team as they brought down Miroslav "BOOM" Bičan's Storm Spirit to draw First Blood.
Fnatic came out ahead at the end of the laning stage, taking down the mid tier one tower to secure Armel and Raven's farm. As a result, the two Fnatic carries were significantly ahead in net worth compared to everyone else.
The two teams were notably conservative in their plays and unwilling to go for aggressive dives. However, the Gaimin Gladiators managed to land a solid hit on Fnatic when they took down Armel in the top lane.
Both teams were content to farm in the mid game, but Fnatic decided to take down Roshan at the 16-minute mark and made it even riskier for Gaimin Gladiators to fight them.
Once the Aegis expired, the Gladiators tried to go for a quick kill in the mid lane but they ended up biting off more than they could chew and lost three heroes while only bringing down Jaunuel's Undying.
Both teams continued to play it safe but it was Fnatic that came out ahead. The Gladiators were too spooked to commit to a big teamfight and had less access to the jungle, leading to them falling further and further behind in networth.
Djardel "DJ" Mampusti's Clockwerk forced the issue at the top lane gave Fnatic a great teamfight win, with Raven even claiming a Triple Kill.
Fnatic secured the bottom barracks after that but weren't able to go for more, as the Gladiators mounted an impressive high-ground defense and forced both Fnatic supports to buyback.
Roshan then became the main objective for Fnatic, as they were unwilling to go high ground without it. Once Armel claimed the third Aegis of the game, it was looking like game over for Gaimin Gladiators.
But Gladiators were notorious for fighting until the bitter end and BOOM proved that by landing an incredible four-man Electric Vortex. That turned the game on its head and gave the Gladiators the networth advantage for the first time in 30 minutes.
After winning another major teamfight in the top lane, the Gladiators took down their first set of barracks and focused on growing their networth advantage. The Gladiators then forced the GG call from Fnatic and completed their comecback victory after 50 minutes of action.
With their victory, Gaimin Gladiators are guaranteed a 9th-12th place finish and now move on to the second round of the lower bracket. They will next face the loser of the upper bracket match between Tundra Esports and OG.
Meanwhile, Fnatic bow out of the tournament in 13th-16th place and will take home over US$250,000 in consolation. BOOM Esports is the only remaining Southeast Asian representative in Singapore after they pulled off a massive upset over Team Spirit in their own lower bracket match.
TI11 will be hosted in Singapore from 15 to 30 October and features a revamped format and a longer schedule.
The tournament will begin with a Group Stage from 15 to 18 October, where 20 teams will fight to become among the 16 squads to advance to the Main Event.
TI11's Main Event will be a double-elimination bracket and is split into two phases, the first being held from 20 to 23 October while the second will take place from 29 to 30 October.
For everything you need to know about TI11, check here.
Gaimin Gladiators roster:
Anton "dyrachyo" Shkredov
Miroslav "BOOM" Bičan
Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard
Erik "tOfu" Engel
Melchior "Seleri" Hillenkamp
Marc Polo "Raven" Fausto
Armel "Armel" Tabios
Anucha "Jabz" Jirawong
Djardel "DJ" Mampusti
Jaunuel "Jaunuel" Arcilla
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.
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