The group stage of the Dota 2 Asia Championships wrapped up Wednesday in Shanghai, setting up the bracket for the main event. With upper bracket seeding still on the line entering the final day of group stage competition, there was plenty of motivation for the last round of matches.
With its top spot in Group A secured on the second day of competition, Europe's OG went for two experimental drafts in its game against Chinese team VG.J (which is endorsed by Jeremy Lin). OG drafted a very unusual Nyx Assassin middle for Anathan "Ana" Pham in Game 1, predictably losing its only game of the group stages. OG drafted a much more comfortable lineup for themselves in Game 2 and came away with the victory to split the series.
The second-place spot in Group A came down to one of the final scheduled matches of the day, CIS' Team Empire vs. Chinese TI6 champions Wings. Empire only needed one win to lock down its spot in the upper bracket. It lost Game 1, but came roaring back in Game 2 with a strong draft centered around a Rostislav "fn" Lozovoi Slark, sending Wings down to a lower bracket seed. Despite losing out on the CIS invitation to the Kiev Major, Empire has secured itself a challenging match against Invictus Gaming in the upper bracket of the DAC main event this Friday.
In Group B, China's Invictus Gaming won two very convincing games against North America's Evil Geniuses, both cementing its first-place spot in the group and ensuring that EG will start the main event in the lower bracket. So far iG has looked extremely impressive in offline events. The team's drafting has been excellent, and in-game every position has been delivering.
Group B came down to a battle for second place between China's Newbee and North America's Team NP. In order to take second place, NP only had to win one of the two games, while Newbee had to win both to secure an upper bracket spot. Newbee proved itself as the more capable team, sweeping the series to set up difficult match against OG on the opening day of the main event.
The final battle for seeding came down to a best-of-one between Europe's Team Liquid and NP. The winner of this match would get to choose its opponent in the cutthroat first round of the lower bracket, which will feature best-of-one elimination matches. Both teams went for classic comfort carries: Anti-Mage for NP and Naga Siren for Liquid. The game ended in spectacular fashion with NP's Divine Rapier Anti-Mage facing down mega creeps, but in the end Liquid won out and took third place in Group B.
The Dota 2 Asia Championships continue on Friday, March 31 starting at 10:00 p.m. EST.