On the first day of the Boston Major, eight teams fought for their metaphorical lives in Boston's Wang Theatre. After a heated group stage filled with upsets and surprises, Wednesday's elimination matches were set to be dramatic, with rivalries and rematches set to play out on the main stage.
The series between Evil Geniuses and Wings Gaming was the highlight of the day; it was a matchup most expected to see in the semifinals or later. Both expected to take first in their groups, but upsets for both teams matched the former International champs against each other early in the bracket.
EG struck first in the series, with Sumail "Suma1L" Hassan's Alchemist farming up almost 1200 gold per minute, buffing his supports with Aghanim's upgrades and rebuffing Wings Gaming from the high ground to push back and secure the win. Wings responded in Game 2 with a surprising Lycan pick for Zhou "bLink" Yang, but the minus-armor composition struggled against EG's aggressive Shadow Demon/Luna composition. Wings Gaming, winners of The International 6, were eliminated from the Boston Major with an unceremonious 2-0.
OG would face a familiar foe in MVP Phoenix, the team who knocked the mean green into the lower bracket at TI6. MVP's rough group run didn't bode well, but the Korean team held its own against OG in Game 1, going blow for blow with the European top seed. OG's composition held out on the back of a last-pick Ember Spirit for Anathan "ana" Pham, securing the first game for OG. MVP Phoenix struck back hard in Game 2, with Lee "Forev" Sang-don putting up impressive numbers on Mirana, but OG's Gustav "s4" Magnusson made huge plays for his team, controlling teamfights and setting up OG's high-impact ultimates. Winning key fights, OG shut down MVP Phoenix and pushed into the ancient, securing the team's livelihood in Boston 2-0.
Looking for another shot at Evil Geniuses, Complexity would have to take on Warriors Gaming Unity, a team that had also nabbed its share of upsets in the group stages. The two underdogs faced off, with WGU taking an early lead with a Shadow Demon/Luna draft complemented by some great Timbersaw play from Kam "NaNa" Boom Seng. Complexity banned the Demon in Game 2, trying to avoid a similar situation, but Kam's Timbersaw slipped through the draft once again, ensuring the SEA qualifier team a top 8 berth in the major and a date with OG in the quarterfinals.
Virtus.Pro, coming into the major on a hot streak and securing a top seed in Group B, looked confident against Group D's bottom seed Invictus Gaming Vitality. A wipe of VP in Game 1 looked to swing the game in IGV's favor, but Virtus.Pro played back from the deficit and took Game 1 for themselves. A longer Game 2 saw early advantage shift back and forth some more, but Agh's pickups on Pavel "9pasha" Khvastunov's Centaur Warrunner and Ilya "Lil" Ilyuk's support Weaver secured teamfights for VP and ensured a Game 2 win, advancing the team onwards to face EG in the quarterfinals.