The Dota 2 Kiev Major began Monday in Kiev, Ukraine with the first day playing host to the Swiss-style group stages. Sixteen of the best teams from all over the world joined up to compete for a $3 million prize pool. While the reigning king of the Valve Major title, OG, got off to an up-and-down start against the likes of Invictus Gaming and Evil Geniuses, the Thunderbirds and Team Random, both recently separated from its organizations, will need to prove themselves worthy of new sponsorship. Each team played two best-of-3 series Monday to determine its opponents Tuesday.
After the first day of competition, only four teams came away with 2-0 records: Invictus Gaming, Team Secret, Virtus.pro and TNC Pro Team. After an extremely commanding performance at the Dota 2 Asia Championships in early April, iG entered Kiev as one of the favorites to win. It managed to live up to the expectations on Day 1, finishing its day with a 2-0 win over OG, a rematch of the DAC grand final. Team Secret and Virtus.pro both had relatively easy games Monday, and will be put to the test Tuesday against the other two top teams. The major surprise would be TNC's 2-0 record, upsetting both Evil Geniuses and Thunderbirds. In the volatile realm of SEA Dota 2, TNC usually finds themselves chasing the coattails of Faceless, but against international competition this team seems to shine. In the third and final game of TNC's day, Marc Polo "Raven" Luis Fausto managed to break the record for most kills at a Valve event ever, with 33 on Spectre against Thunderbirds.
Eight teams finished the day 1-1: Thunderbirds, Team Random, Digital Chaos, OG, Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, Newbee and Team VGJ. With a broad spread of talent among these teams, OG stood out but gave up a game in its first match against SG e-sports. OG's loss to iG wasn't surprising, but it does potentially put OG in the position to face a strong opponent in the first round of the main event. Evil Geniuses once again struggled in its group stage matches, a repeat of its performance at DAC where EG finished fifth out of six in its group. EG now needs to win both of its matches tomorrow in order to avoid a difficult opponent in the first round of the main event.
SG e-sports, Faceless, mousesports and Invictus Gaming Vitality sit at the bottom of the standings. These four teams have a rough road ahead of them, since they are already guaranteed to be on the low end of the seeding. This was another disappointing showing from Faceless, who has consistently struggled at events against international competition. Faceless' hopes at making it deep into the main event are already slim; it must win the rest of its games in order to avoid facing a top seed in Round 1. Mousesports, known at the time as Ad Finem, shocked everyone at the Boston Major when it finished in second place. Now the team already appears poised for an epic letdown after losing its first two games of the competition. Since the Boston Major, mousesports has struggled to perform on the same level. It failed to qualify for DAC, and things are now looking grim for their future.