Team Nigma and PSG.LGD have emerged as the biggest favorites to win the WePlay AniMajor after they put on dominant performances in the first day of the Playoffs. Nigma took down top CIS team Virtus.pro (VP) even after their midlaner, Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi, was struck by food poisoning while PSG.LGD made short work of Alliance.
Meanwhile, top Southeast Asian T1 pulled off a huge upset over Chinese powerhouse Team Aster while the battle between the top teams of the Americas ended with Quincy Crew outlasting NoPing Esports.
Here's how the matches for the first day of the WePlay AniMajor Playoffs went down:
T1 2-0 Team Aster
The WePlay AniMajor Playoffs kicked off with a match between T1 and Team Aster, the top teams of the Southeast Asian and Chinese regional leagues, respectively. Despite being considered as heavy underdogs coming into the series, T1 pulled off a massive upset over Aster and swept them 2-0.
T1 completed their upset over Aster in the second-fastest game of the Playoffs thus far, forcing their Chinese opponents to concede the series after just 24 minutes and 18 seconds.
PSG.LGD 2-0 Alliance
The second series of the day saw Chinese powerhouse and one of the tournament favourites, PSG.LGD, absolutely demolish top European team Alliance. While Alliance looked in control early into game one, PSG.LGD were able to come back late to take their first win of the series after 36 minutes.
Game two was a very one-sided affair in contrast, as PSG.LGD dominated the laning phase and cruised to a 33-minute victory to secure the 2-0 series sweep.
Quincy Crew 2-1 NoPing Esports
Due to unforeseen circumstances, what was supposed to be the last match of the day between Quincy Crew and NoPing Esports — the top seeded teams from North America and South America, respectively — ended up being the third series to be played. Despite being heavily favoured coming into the series, Quincy Crew only managed to win the series, 2-1, by the skin of their teeth.
Quincy Crew easily took game one in just 20 minutes, the fastest game of the Playoffs thus far. However, NoPing Esports bounced back in game two to force the series to a decider. A crazy, back-and-forth game three culminated in both teams hitting each other's Ancients all within the span of a minute. However, Quincy Crew were somehow able to repel one last ditch attempt by NoPing Esports three-versus-four to emerge victorious from the series.
Team Nigma 2-0 Virtus.pro
The marquee matchup between Team Nigma and VP was supposed to be the third series of the day, but it was postponed after Nigma midlane Miracle was incapacitated by food poisoning. However, Miracle was able to recover from his illness and put on a stellar performance to lead Nigma to a huge 2-0 win over VP.
With today's results, T1, PSG.LGD, Quincy Crew, and Nigma all advance to the upper bracket semi-finals and secure at least a Top 6 finish, US$25,000, and 300 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points. Those DPC points also guarantee T1, PSG.LGD, and Quincy Crew will be receiving direct invites to The International 10 (TI10).
Nigma will take on PSG.LGD while T1 will face Quincy Crew on Friday (11 June) to determine the two teams that will advance to the upper bracket finals on Saturday (12 June).
Meanwhile, Aster, Alliance, NoPing Esports, and VP all drop down to the lower bracket. The first round of eliminations for the WePlay AniMajor Playoffs on Thursday (10 June) will see Aster take on TNC Predator, Alliance face Team Spirit, VP go up against Vici Gaming, and NoPing Esports battle Evil Geniuses for the right to stay in the tournament.
The WePlay AniMajor, the second and final Major event of the 2021 DPC, will run until 13 June as the remaining teams battle for their cut of the US$500,000 prize pool and 2,700 DPC point pool. For everything you need to know about the WePlay AniMajor, check here.
The WePlay AniMajor also serves as the final chance for teams to earn DPC points in order to secure a direct invite to TI10, which will be held in Stockholm, Sweden this August and features massive US$40 million prize pool.
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