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Digital Chaos upset, Virtus.Pro cruises at Kiev Major

Vladimir "No[o]ne" Minenko of Virtus.pro's Dota 2 team is a powerful mid lane player. Provided by PGL Esports

After a day of much needed rest, the Kiev Major resumed Thursday, this time on the stage at the National Palace of the Arts in Kiev, Ukraine, for the first day of the Dota 2 main event. With all of the teams seeded based on their finish during the group stages, everyone entered the arena knowing that their next game could be their last. At the end of Day 1 at least four teams would be eliminated while their opponents moved on to the quarterfinals.

Invictus Gaming vs. mousesports

The first match of the day pitted the top team in the East, Invictus Gaming, versus the crowd-pleasing runners-up from the Boston Major, mousesports. Mousesports' Kiev Major performance was indicative of the activity disparity between the two teams since Boston. While Mousesports was very quiet since its Cinderella run in the fall, Invictus Gaming was hard at work at the Dota 2 Asia Championship 2017 and in the Dota 2 Professional League, steeling itself for Kiev. Though Mousesports did not go quietly, taking one game off of Invictus Gaming, it did eventually fall 2-1 to become the first team going home from Kiev.

Liquid vs. Newbee

Team Liquid and Newbee both stumbled their way to even records at the end of the group stage, but overall performed well below expectations. Whether or not both squads were saving strategies for the main event is purely speculative, but one thing is for certain; two completely different teams showed up for this main event showdown. After going down one game and looking as though it would suffer a swift defeat in Game 2, Team Liquid rallied behind incredible plays by mid laner Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi. After finding its footing, Team Liquid looked every bit the team that won Starladder in February as it pushed past Newbee 2-1 to keep its tournament hopes alive.

Digital Chaos vs. Vici Gaming J

With its only wins coming against the two weakest teams in the group stage, VGJ entered its matchup against Digital Chaos looking to prove itself. Digital Chaos, fresh off a loss to TNC Pro Team at the end of the group stage, appears to be in the midst of an identity crisis. The former Team Onyx, in an over-correction to its earlier loss, abandoned its usual draft strategy that brought it through the American qualifiers, in favor of more unconventional heroes. Unconcerned with the dilemma experienced by its opponent, VGJ was content to play within its comfort zone and topple Digital Chaos in a brutal 2-0 sweep.

Invictus Gaming Vitality vs. Virtus.pro

Despite finishing in the top 4 at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017, Invictus Gaming Vitality finished in the bottom two during the group stages and hoped to turn its luck around in the main event. Tasked with overcoming the de facto home team, Virtus.pro, the youthful Chinese squad found itself in over its head. Virtus.pro tore through iGV in both games and made it look effortless. Drafting comfort heroes and sticking to its standard hyper-aggressive strategy, Virtus.pro swept Invictus Gaming Vitality 2-0 in one of the fastest series of the entire tournament.