Chinese powerhouse PSG.LGD is the first team to reach the grand finals of the WePlay AniMajor after they defeated Southeast Asian squad T1 in an intense 2-1 showdown in the upper bracket finals.
PSG.LGD emerged as the heavy favourites to win the AniMajor after a blazing start in the Group Stage, where they topped the standings with a stellar 11-3 record. That earned the Chinese squad an upper bracket berth in the Playoffs, where they continued their dominance by knocking EU/ Western European teams Alliance and Team Nigma down to the lower bracket en route to the upper bracket finals.
Meanwhile, T1 earned a direct seed to the upper bracket of the AniMajor Playoffs as the top team of the Southeast Asian regional league. Despite being pegged as one of the weaker Playoff-seeded teams, T1 defied expectations by taking down Team Aster and Quincy Crew — the top teams of the Chinese and North American regional leagues, respectively — to face off against PSG.LGD for a spot in the grand finals.
PSG.LGD crushed T1 in game one but threw away their chance to sweep the series late into game two. However, the Chinese team were undeterred heading into game three and proceeded to dominate their opponents to claim the 2-1 series victory and claim their spot in the grand finals.
Read on for a breakdown of the WePlay AniMajor upper bracket finals:
The upper bracket finals opened with T1 going with their tried-and-true four-protect-one strategy anchored by star carry player Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon's Medusa.
Meanwhile, PSG.LGD countered with a fast-paced, hard-hitting lineup led by a tri-core of Spectre for Wang "Ame" Chunyu, a mid Leshrac for Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang, and an offlane Dragon Knight for Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida. The support duo of Zhao "XinQ" Zixing on Hoodwink and Zhang "y`" Yiping on Winter Wyvern brought up the rear and provided crowd control.
PSG.LGD took control of game one early, as NothingToSay's Leshrac and Faith_bian's Dragon Knight demolished enemy towers and took map control for their team to give Ame's Spectre the space he needed to free farm. The Chinese team's early lead allowed them to hit their timings early and strike before 23savage's Medusa was able to come online.
With 23savage far from being able to solo carry and the rest of T1 essentially neutered, PSG.LGD dominated the team fights and took game one after 31 minutes. Ame and XinQ notably combined for 22 of their team's 32 total kills without giving up a single death between the two of them.
PSG.LGD went with Ame on Spectre and NothingToSay on Leshrac again for game two. However, their lineup also featured a lot of burst damage with Faith_bian on Axe, XinQ on Skywrath Mage, and y` on Enchantress.
T1 looked to bounce back with a more balanced lineup headed by a tri-core of Monkey King for 23savage, Puck for Karl "Karl" Jayme, and an offlane Doom for Carlo "Kuku" Palad.
T1 put up a much better fight in game two as they led 12-9 in kills held a narrow gold lead by the 20-minute mark. However, PSG.LGD were able to win crucial midgame fights to take the lead heading into the late game, where their lineup was much stronger than T1.
Knowing they were in the driver's seat, PSG.LGD amped up the aggression and tried to force one last decisive engagement. However, T1 punished their opponents' over-aggression and were the ones to win that crucial clash and the second game of the series after 47 minutes of action.
Karl's Puck was the difference maker for T1 as they forced the series to a deciding game three, as he provided crucial crowd control and burst damage en route to a game-high 12 kills against three deaths.
T1 put Karl on Puck again in game three then took the Spectre-Axe duo for 23savage and Kuku. Xepher on Winter Wyvern and Whitemon on Warlock rounded out the line-up by providing huge team fight ultimates.
Meanwhile, PSG.LGD countered their opponents' slower line-up with a fast-paced tri-core of Wraith King for Ame, Leshrac again for NothingToSay, and Doom for Faith_bian. XinQ on Nyx Assassin and y` on Phoenix comprised the Chinese team's support duo.
PSG.LGD took control of game three from the get-go and never looked back. The Chinese team built up a 10-4 kill lead and a 8,000 gold advantage by the 20-minute mark which only ballooned up to a 16-6 kill lead and 20,000 gold advantage ten minutes later. Despite T1's best efforts to defend, their line-up simply failed to get off the ground and could do little to stop PSG.LGD from claiming the 2-1 series victory after 35 minutes.
With their victory, PSG.LGD guarantee themselves at least a Top 2 finish in the WePlay AniMajor along with US$100,000 and 450 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points. Of course, they will have their sights set on being crowned as Major champions on Sunday (13 June) and claim the lion's share of US$200,000 and 500 DPC points.
Meanwhile, T1 drop down to the lower bracket finals, where they will take on North American giants Evil Geniuses (EG), who were the finalists of the ONE Esports Singapore Major. Those two squads will be facing off before the grand finals for the right to challenge PSG.LGD for the championship of the WePlay AniMajor.
Wang "Ame" Chunyu
Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang
Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida
Zhao "XinQ" Zixing
Zhang "y`" Yiping
Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon
Karl "Karl" Jayme
Carlo "Kuku" Palad
Kenny "Xepher" Deo
Matthew "Whitemon" Filemon
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