Singapore Major Day 8 recap: EG reach finals, Secret, Thunder Predator, OB.Neon out

(Photo: Evil Geniuses Twitter)
(Photo: Evil Geniuses Twitter)

Only three teams remain after the penultimate day of the ONE Esports Dota 2 Singapore Major. Evil Geniuses (EG) are the first team to reach the grand finals, with Invictus Gaming (IG) and PSG.LGD set to face off in the lower bracket finals to see who will challenge EG for the first Major championship of the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC).

EG secured the first spot in the grand finals and at least a Top 2 finish — alongside the US$100,000 and 450 DPC points that comes with it — after defeating PSG.LGD in a thrilling three-game upper bracket finals.

The two Cinderella stories of the Major have also ended today, as both Southeast Asian team OB.Neon Esports and South American squad Thunder Predator have been eliminated. OB.Neon were defeated by Secret in what is arguably the best series of the tournament thus far while Thunder Predator fell to IG.

Both OB.Neon and Thunder Predator bow out of the Singapore Major in 5th-6th place, with US$25,000 and 300 DPC points for their efforts.

OB.Neon had to play in the Major with two substitutes. The team's carry player, John Anthony "Natsumi" Vargas was unfit to travel to Singapore, with Rafael "Rappy" Palo being his initial substitute. Following a 1-5 start in day one of the Group Stage, Rappy was also ruled out for the remainder of the tournament and Yang "Deth" Wu Heng became his replacement.

One of OB.Neon's achievements was to upset the top team of their region, Fnatic, and top Chinese team Vici Gaming before they were eliminated by Secret.

Thunder Predator were the only South American team in the Major after Beastcoast had to withdraw from the tournament due to coronavirus infections within the team. Despite being the second-best team of what many consider to be the weakest region in the circuit, Thunder Predator finished the Group Stage atop the standings with a 12-2 record.

While Secret sent them down to the lower bracket in the first day of the Playoffs, Thunder Predator dominated Chinese squad Team Aster and top CIS team before falling to IG.

Finally, IG ended the day by eliminating Secret, the last remaining European team and previously the favourites to win the Major. They now advance to the lower bracket finals against fellow Chinese team PSG.LGD. Meanwhile, Secret exit the Major in fourth place with US$50,000 and 350 DPC points in consolation.

Here's a recap of all the matches in Day 8:

Team Secret 2-1 OB.Neon Esports

OB.Neon opened the series with one of their signature fast-paced, aggressive line-ups, with Andrei "skem" Ong on Leshrac, Erin Jasper "Yopaj" Ferrer on Puck, and Yang "Deth" Wu Heng on Legion Commander. Secret countered with a tanky, teamfight-heavy tri-core of Bristleback for Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen, a mid Mars for Michal "Nisha" Jankowski, and an offlane Death Prophet for Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg.

OB.Neon were aggressive early on as expected, but Secret were able to keep them in check and force a stalemate heading into the midgame. Both teams then proceeded to trade fights, with Yopaj and Matumbaman leading their respective teams, but Secret got the better of those exchanges thanks to the power of Bristleback. Despite a spirited defence from OB.Neon, Secret were able to claim game one after almost 44 minutes of action.

Matumbaman notched a series-high 16 kills against two deaths in game one, as his Bristleback dominated the fights and gave Secret a much-needed win to open the series.

OB.Neon looked to bounce back in game two with skem on Gyrocopter, Yopaj on Batrider, and Deth on Leshrac while Secret had Monkey King for Matumbaman, Nisha on Queen of Pain, and zai on Pangolier.

Secret dominated the laning stage but OB.Neon were able to get multiple pickoffs to keep things even heading into the midgame. OB.Neon caught Secret off-guard and demolished them in consecutive team fights, which allowed the last hope of Southeast Asia to take the game after 26 minutes and force the series to a deciding game three.

In the decider, Secret went with Matumbaman on Troll Warlord, Nisha on Death Prophet, and zai on an offlane Lycan. Meanwhile, OB.Neon pinned their hopes on skem's carry Nature's Prophet, Yopaj's Windranger, and Death's offlane Pugna.

OB.Neon were aggressive early but Secret countered every move they made to enter the midgame with the lead. Howeer, OB.Neon struck back hard behind Yopaj's Windranger, who repeatedly landed incredible Shackleshots and dished out a lot of damage with Focus Fire to put Secret on the back foot.

While Secret were able to maintain a gold lead as the game wore on, OB.Neon still held the edge in the team fights thanks to the absurd damage output Yopaj and skem had. However, Secret struck back by taking advantage of some of Neon's mistakes in their engagements, eventually forcing one last decisive clash as the game neared the hour mark.

Everything came down to one last fight for Roshan as the game reached an hour. In that decisive clash, Matumbaman and Yopaj found themselves separated from the main engagement with both of them having no buyback. If one kills the other, they will give their team the win.

In what was definitely the best moment of the Major thus far, Clement "Puppey" Ivanov on Keeper of the Light came in clutch as he used his Scythe of Vyse on Jaunuel "Jaunuel" Arcilla's Spiritbreaker just before he was able to stun Matumbaman with Charge of Darkness.

If Puppey wasn't there in time, Jaunuel would have stunned Matumbaman, who would have been killed by Yopaj, meaning Secret would have lost. Instead, Matumbaman survived, killed Yopaj, Jaunuel, and skem who later teleported in, ultimately delivering Secret the victory.

Matumbaman finished that thriller of a game with 14 kills while Nisha and Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat on Earth Spirit both added 11 of their own. Meanwhile, Yopaj had 14 kills and 11 assists against four deaths. He arguably played the best game of his career thus far despite OB.Neon losing in the end, as he achieved the rare feat of ending a game with 100 per cent kill participation and almost single-handedly eliminated Secret from the Major.

Invictus Gaming 2-1 Thunder Predator

Thunder Predator opened the series with a strong midgame tri-core, with Alonso "Mnz" León on Juggernaut, Leonardo "Leostyle-" Sifuentes on Death Prophet, and Frank "Frank" Arias on Mars. Meanwhile, IG drafted a slower lineup with Jin "flyfly" Zhiyi on Gyrocopter, Zhou "Emo" Yi on Ember Spirit, and Thiay "JT-" Jun Wen on Pangolier.

Both teams spent much of the early game skirmishing, though neither were able to gain much separation. However, Thunder Predator's line-up came online much faster ran over IG in consecutive fights, forcing the Chinese squad to call GG after just 28 minutes.

Thunder Predator veered away from their fast-paced style in game two, as Mnz had Medusa while Leostyle was on a mid Nature's Prophet and Frank was on Timbersaw. Meanwhile, IG had flyfly on Troll Warlord, Emo on Puck, and JT on Beastmaster.

IG flipped the script and were the ones to be aggressive from the get-go, with Thunder Predator unable to fight them early on. The Chinese squad then proceeded to dominate the map, going up by 10,000 gold and 18-4 in kills, and eventually force the series to a decider after 27 minutes.

Thunder Predator looked to take things late again in game three, with Mnz on Wraith King, Leostyle on Void Spirit, and Frank on Pangolier. Meanwhile, IG had a faster line-up with flyfly on Troll Warlord, Emo on Storm Spirit, and JT on an offlane Kunkka.

IG utterly dominated the laning phase, shutting down Frank's Pangolier in particular to neuter any team fight potential Thunder Predator had heading into the midgame. Emo was left unchecked in the ensuing engagements as a result, allowing flyfly and the rest of IG to finally overwhelm a spirited resistance from Thunder Predator to claim the series after 35 minutes.

Evil Geniuses 2-1 PSG.LGD

EG started the series strong with a 28-minute stomp, as they heavily countered PSG.LGD's draft anchored by Wang "Ame" Chunyu's Monkey King with a carry Razor for Artour "Arteezy" Babaev, Puck for Abed Azel "Abed" Yusop, and Viper for Daryl "iceiceice" Koh.

EG's dominant showing was fuelled by an absurd showing by Abed during the laning phase, who had seven kills and one assist in just the first eight minutes of the game. The North American squad proceeded to dominate the midgame fights, even diving into PSG.LGD's base, to force the GG call.

Game two was a classic battle between two hard carries, with Arteezy on Alchemist and Ame on Phantom Assassin. While EG had an excellent laning phase, with Arteezy notably getting a quick 9-minute Battle Fury, PSG.LGD won the midgame fights as Ame's Phantom Assassin simply mowed through their opponents. Even a desperate Divine Rapier pickup by Arteezy was not enough to stop PSG.LGD from tying up the series after 36 minutes.

PSG.LGD went back to the Phantom Assassin for Ame in game three, with Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang on Death Prophet and Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida on Pangolier. However, EG hard-countered their line-up with Arteezy on Bloodseeker, Abed on Storm Spirit, and iceiceice on Beastmaster.

EG was in total control of the laning phase, with Faith_bian in particular getting shut down. The North American squad proceeded to snowball and dominate the midgame fights, forcing PSG.LGD to withdraw back to their base. While an EG dive gone awry gave the Chinese team a small window towards a comeback, they lost their chance after Ame got picked off twice in quick succession and had to concede the series.

Invictus Gaming 2-0 Team Secret

IG opened the series with a carry Io pick for Emo, with flyfly on Ursa and JT on an offlane Windranger to back him up. Secret looked to finish things in the midgame before the Io came online with Matumbaman on Alchemist, Nisha on Kunkka, and zai on Venomancer.

While Matumbaman's Alchemist topped the net worth chart after the early game, Secret were unable to stop IG's Io from coming online. With Emo's farmed Io empowering flyfly's Ursa, IG overwhelmed Secret in the ensuing clashes and forced them to call GG after 41 minutes.

In game two, Secret opted for Matumbaman on Weaver and Nisha on a mid Monkey King to go against IG's tri-core of Phantom Lancer for flyfly, Void Spirit for Emo, and Mars for JT.

Secret were in control after the laning phase and were looking like their core duo would end up outscaling the enemy Phantom Lancer. However, IG was able to outlast them in the team fights, with flyfly repeatedly withstanding Secret's onslaught long enough for his teammates to respawn and turn the tables on them.

Secret were eventually forced to concede and bow out of the Major after 30 minutes.

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