The Arlington Major advances to the highly anticipated Playoffs stage today. While there will not be any eliminations in the first round of Playoffs, the Upper Quarterfinals will determine which team stays in the upper bracket, and which team heads into the do-or-die scenarios.
Three out of four matches will show us which regional favorite reigns supreme. Sadly, Outsiders and Team Spirit will have to play out their own inter-regional rivalry out on the big stage.
PSG.LGD vs BOOM Esports
LGD seeks to continue their unstoppable spree after going on a seven-win streak in group stage. What’s interesting is that they managed to defeat RNG, the team they lost to in the DPC China Tour 3, and reaffirmed their standing as strongest from China.
On the other side, BOOM Esports isn’t too shabby themselves for managing to secure a spot in the upper bracket. Considering they did give Team Spirit, the International 10 Champions a run for their money. Additionally, snatching a match off Team Aster is worth commending since Chinese powerhouses at Arlington Major looked phenomenally strong in their first major debut this DPC season.
Although the odds are against BOOM, we can count on BOOM to deliver an even match against LGD. That said, it is important to note that BOOM seems to be very reliant on picking Dawnbreaker, as it is the current meta and heavily banned.
Entity vs Team OG
Entity’s debut into Arlington Major is a shocking success for the “underdog” team. Despite having Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek as their stand-in as hard carry, they are conforming well to accommodate his playstyle. Speaking of which, Entity’s quick-witted combo of damage seems to be their trademark, where they often play well with high magic damage and sustainable drafts, such as Batrider, Alchemist and Chen.
As hyped as OG is right now with Sébastien “Ceb” Debs on the playing field, OG doesn’t live up to their name as Stockholm Major champions.
I will give Entity the edge going into this match as they are playing fast-paced Dota, which many opponents struggle to counter. Naturally, that means OG will have to prolong the match as long as possible to get Entity out of their prime timing. Else, playing the same aggressive draft would result direly for OG since that’s up Entity’s alley.
Outsiders vs Team Spirit
Arguably the most uninteresting match one can have in the first round of upper bracket. Outsiders and Team Spirit are regional rivals, with the former having the better edge in recent encounters.
Spirit is a great team, has a massive bandwagon of fans, and the defending champions, that’s for certain. However, they are definitely not in their prime, especially after losing to LGD at Riyadh Masters 2022, and Evil Geniuses in group stage.
Couple that with Outsiders’ outlook as a rebranded team revolving around Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev, and Spirit looks like the challenger in this match-up. With three wins in the book versus Spirit, chances are the TI10 champs have already been figured out.
Team Aster vs Fnatic
We have yet another surprising outcome from Fnatic, which managed to secure a spot in upper bracket. Fnatic played with 3 stand-ins from TeamSoloMid, so everyone has low expectations for the Southeast Asian team going into Arlington. Yet, Fnatic proved us wrong when they held their own, drawing a tie in most matches against OG, Outsiders, and RNG.
Nevertheless, facing Aster is a tough obstacle as we have seen how the Chinese powerhouse deliver flawless executions in their group stage matches. Aster’s versatility in drafts certainly put them in a spot, where it’s difficult to counter. However, it is their prowess in ensuring they have a balanced draft of sustainability and teamfight-winning combo, which serves as deterrent against opponents hoping to have a jump on them.
Unfortunately for Fnatic, this is one outmatched fight they cannot hope to win against, not without their complete line-up.
With the Upper Bracket Round 1 matches creeping closer to the grand finals this weekend, here’s to a thrilling clash of the top twelve teams at Arlington Major 2022.