The International Day 1 recap - Team Liquid, EG kicked to lower bracket

Team Liquid v Invictus Gaming Upper Bracket Game 3 (2:24)

Stop the Chronosphere, stop Team Liquid. (2:24)

After a day of respite, the remaining 16 teams moved from their practice rooms to the main stage at Key Arena for Day 1 of The International 2017 main event. With Fnatic and Hellraisers eliminated at the end of group stages, the rest of the pack has been left contending for an undefended Aegis of Champions.

Upper bracket

Starting the day Invictus Gaming gave the crowd its first shock of the tournament by knocking off Team Liquid 2-1. The Chinese squad played like a completely different team from how it has been over the past several months. Crisp timings and effective rotations highlighted iG's upset of Team Liquid. Liquid was outdrafted in Game 1, taking Lycan and Alchemist, ensuring an advantage in all stages of the game. After a desperate struggle by Liquid, Game 1 ended shortly after Ou "Op" Peng caught Liquid in the river and turned a triple kill into a full team wipe. Liquid led for the entirety of Game 2 and evened the series to force a Game 3. In Game 3, the contest remained close until just after the 25-minute mark when Lin "Xxs" Jing helped iG to start pulling away from Team Liquid with an impressive double kill on Amer "Miracle" Al-Barkawi and Ivan "MinD_ContRoL" Borislavov. iG sealed its victory shortly after by teamwiping Liquid in the Dire offlane jungle.

Evil Geniuses vs. Newbee was expected to be a close match, and though Newbee swept EG 2-0, both games of the series could have resulted in a victory for either of the two teams. Despite taking an early lead thanks to well-timed ganks and efficient laning, Evil Geniuses never managed to break the game open. A short ways into mid-game, Newbee flipped the tables on Evil Geniuses, trading three for one in the Dire jungle. Not long after, Song "Sccc" Chun's double kill on Sumail "SumaiL" Hassann and Andreas "cr1t" Nielson along with Damien "kpii" Chok's killing of Ludwig "Zai" Wahlberg opened the way for Newbee to go straight for the throne; with no buybacks Evil Geniuses crumpled. In Game 2, it once again appeared as though Evil Geniuses had the victory firmly in its grasp, but several hasty engagements gone awry put Newbee in the driver's seat. After a four for three trade under EG's top tier 2 tower, Newbee put the game away for a second time sending Evil Geniuses to the lower bracket.

Lower bracket

The lower bracket best-of-one matches saw four more teams eliminated from The International 2017. The matches varied between horrendous routs and absolute, edge of your seat nailbiters.

Team Secret kicked off the lower bracket best-of-ones by crushing Execration. Despite struggling to finish off kills during the early portions of the contest, Secret was always in control and ended the game with a kill lead of 31 to 8.

Cloud9 lost a heartbreaker to Empire in a back-and-forth match that put fans on edge. Kills and towers alike were traded evenly throughout the match. Cloud9's Arc Warden, played by Jackie "EternaLEnVy" Mao, took most of the resources on Cloud9's side of the map, leaving the rest of the team with little. Empire was eventually able to win the war of attrition thanks to Roman "Resolut1on" Fominok's Faceless Void; his damage output dwarfed most other players and his Chronosphere enabled him to keep EnVy away from his teammates while Empire massacred them.

OG easily handled its business against Infamous, ending the game in a little over 33 minutes and never losing the lead. After a recent string of disappointing results, OG can now breathe a sigh of relief to be in the best-of-three portion of the bracket from here on out.

Digital Chaos finished off the day by routing Invictus Gaming Vitality in a somewhat shocking display, as the game was expected to be quite close. DC played masterfully in the opening of the game, forcing iGV around the map at whim. Because of these early game tactics DC was able to keep iGV from recovering and keep its foot on the pedal, rushing down lanes, turning tower to rubble and taking the throne to hand the Chinese region their first loss on the day.