Favourites claim first round wins in One Esports Singapore Major's upper bracket play-offs

SINGAPORE – It may have been the first Dota 2 Major in 14 months, but when the upper bracket play-offs of the One Esports Dota 2 Singapore Major presented by PGL kicked off on Wednesday (March 31), it was business as usual for the world’s top teams.

A clinical performance by North America’s Evil Geniuses in the first match of the day saw them sweep aside South-east Asian side Fnatic 2-0.

On what it was like playing in an offline tournament again, Evil Geniuses’ Daryl “iceiceice” Koh said: “It’s a bit weird to be playing, but it’s also nice.”

His team next face Invictus Gaming, who opened with a 2-1 victory over fellow Chinese team Vici Gaming, in the second round of the upper bracket on Friday.

On the most notable difference between this offline tournament and those in the pre-Covid era, Invictus Gaming’s Thiay “JT-“Jun Wen said: “This time we have to do things more safely, there are more things that we need to be careful about.

“Safety is really the priority so we have to take care of it. In the past, we could just go wherever we wanted to.”

The US$500,000 (S$672,850) tournament, which started last Saturday and will end on Sunday, is held behind closed doors at Fairmont Singapore.

While foreign teams that flew in for the competition were not required to quarantine for 14 days, they had to undergo regular Covid-19 tests, including ones before leaving their countries and upon arrival in Singapore.

Players are required to follow a pre-approved itinerary, with staff assigned to ensure that the coronavirus protocols are followed.

Teams that are eliminated from the tournament will also have to leave Singapore immediately.

Tournament favourites Team Secret also secured their spot in the next round of the upper brackets after beating South America’s Thunder Predator 2-0.

Thunder Predator had entered the upper bracket on the back of an impressive run in Monday and Tuesday’s group stages, which saw them finish with a 12-2 record.

But Team Secret’s tactics proved superior and its member Clement “Puppey” Ivanov said: “The relationships between their drafts are really similar so breaking the patterns is the best way to go with this team. We broke a lot of things.

“They have obviously been very strong in the group stage. They are a good team – we almost lost the first game out of nowhere.”

The European side will next face China’s PSG.LGD, who beat the Commonwealth of Independent States’ Virtus.pro 2-0.

The teams that lost on Wednesday will now play in the lower bracket’s first round on Thursday.

Fnatic will play against OB.Neon, while Vici Gaming will take on Team Liquid.

In the other two matches, Thunder Predator will face Team Aster and Quincy Crew will be up against Virtus.pro.

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