It was quarterfinals day at the Boston Major, where a single series meant the difference between doubling your prize earnings or watching the grand finals as a spectator. Friday started with a match between two of the best teams in Dota 2, and Evil Geniuses tested its mettle against the momentum of Virtus.Pro.
VP came into the playoffs a top seed, hot off a win against OG at The Summit 6. Evil Geniuses was the team's first true test in the playoff bracket, though, and EG looked to make a statement in Game 1. Drafting an Ursa pick for Sumail "Suma1L" Hassan in the mid lane, the American boys in blue closed out the first game in a short 19 minutes, handing VP their first loss of the tournament. With their backs against the wall, Virtus.Pro drug out Game 2, using a combination of Bloodseeker and Vladimir "No[o]ne" Minenko's Sniper to hold back EG, but Hassan's Alchemist farmed up a storm and started passing out Agh's upgrades, overwhelming VP in the prolonged match. After nearly 54 minutes, VP called "good game," and Evil Geniuses secured a top 4 spot at the Boston Major.
Two other North American squads met in the bracket on Friday, with Digital Chaos and Team NP competing for a spot in the semifinals. Clever drafting in Game 1 stole away NP's Naga Siren for DC's Roman "Resolut1on" Fominok, and Martin "Saksa" Sazdov made impressive rotations as Rubick, participating in 11 of 12 kills in Digital Chaos' Game 1 victory. One game from elimination, NP turned to Kurtis "Aui_2000" Ling's tried-and-true Sven, but David "MoonMeander" Tan's Axe and more impressive support play from Sazdov secured the early game. Digital Chaos eliminated Team NP from the major in two 20-minute matches, and advance 2-0 to the last day of the tournament.
Warriors Gaming Unity established themselves as an underdog to watch with wins over Wings Gaming and Complexity in the group stage, and facing OG in the quarterfinals, Unity came out swinging. WGU took a 56-minute Game 1 victory, thanks to offlaner Chua "KaNG" Soon Khong's explosive Legion Commander. OG avoided the upset in Game 2, thanks to another stellar performance from Anathan "ana" Pham on Alchemist, and the European squad would have to fight for their lives against the upset in Game 3. A last-pick Pugna for WGU caused problems for OG's lineup initially, but Pham's Alchemist once again rose above, assisted by the team's support Lina pick for Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka. OG closed out the series 2-1 and avoided the upset, advancing to face EG for a spot in the grand finals.
One of the popular storylines during the playoffs has been the Greek squad of Ad Finem, attending their first Valve event. In the top 8, AF faced LGD Forever Young, the last Chinese team in the tournament after securing a major upset against sister squad LGD Gaming on Thursday. Ad Finem took the first match, with carry Omar "Madara" Dabachach putting up another impressive performance on Morphling. LFY came back in Game 2 though, with captain Zhang "xiao8" Ning participating in all of LFY's 19 kills and putting the series on match point.
For Game 3 LFY turned to an intimidating draft of Alchemist, a hero that has been very successful in Boston, and AF responded by putting playmaking support Verros "Maybe Next Time" Apostolos on a roaming Mirana. The Greeks put on the pressure and despite LFY's best attempts, the Chinese squad could not repel the constant aggression of Ad Finem. In the team's first appearance at a Valve major, Ad Finem have secured a spot in the top 4, and are one series away from the grand finals.