Newbee overcame the odds and took home the title at ESL One Genting with a 3-2 victory over Team Liquid in the grand finals.
Newbee's biggest thorn in its competitive history was Team Liquid. With nine past matchups and zero victories for the Chinese side, Newbee was already on a mental tilt. Each side relied on its signature heroes and playmakers to carry the team to victory. For Team Liquid, it was Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi who made the gasp-inducing plays and garnered his team's highest priority and net worth. On the Newbee side, the pair of Xu "Moogy" Han and Song "Sccc" Chun proved too disruptive to handle.
In a set that went down to the absolute wire over five incredibly close games, it was the draft from Zeng "Faith" Hongda and the immaculate support play of Hu "Kaka" Liangzhi that put Newbee over the top. The final conclusive edge in Game 5 was the clutch Sccc buyback on Outworld Devourer that turned an average fight into a team wipe. The subsequent Roshan-aided push ended the tournament hopes for Team Liquid.
The Chinese juggernaut stuck to its tried and true drafting style and played to its strengths. Newbee was insistent on comfort heroes for its drafts that featured plenty of Naga Siren and Disruptor regardless of its opposition's picks. Newbee's tournament-defining game was in a comeback victory over Team Secret. With over a 25,000 deficit and a two-barracks hole staring at the team, Newbee snowballed behind a Divine Rapier Medusa to win decisive teamfight after teamfight to qualify for the grand finals.
Every team in the Top 5 rank was in attendance. Virtus.Pro exited early, but its two losses were to a rejuvenated Evil Geniuses and resurgent Team Secret. Evil Geniuses made a claim that it absolutely should stay among the best teams with its Top 4 finish. Behind the inspired play of superstar Sumail "Suma1L" Hassan and the best performer of the tournament Clinton "Fear" Loomis, the North American squad looked refreshed and ready for consistency.
Team Secret was still a threat despite the relatively new inclusion of offlaner, Khoo "Ohaiyo" Xin. The team catered to Ohaiyo's picks rather than just sticking to the rotation-heavy, comfort hero and teamfighting strategies of old. This all-star team, behind the star power of Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard, will need little work to iron out the wrinkles before it competes for tournament victories again. And the two teams that made the grand finals, Team Liquid and Newbee, looked pristine and in mid-season form.
ESL One Genting provided a litmus test of what heroes and strategies might be considered strong in the future with its lineup of top teams. There were plenty of creative and aggressive offlane combinations (Tinker and Zeus), excellent support heroes (Naga Siren, Disruptor, Rubick, Bane, and Earth Spirit), and plenty of teamfighting combinations.