ESL One Manila 2016: Team Empire Reverse Wombo Combo (0:43)KingR"s Reverse Wombo Combo completely devastates Team Secret. (0:43)

After two intensive days of Dota 2 action, the dust is cleared for the playoffs for ESL One Manila. The final four teams, to lớn the surprise of many, are Fnatic (FNC), Team Liquid (TL), Wings Gaming, & Team Empire.

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Two of the direct invitees, Team Secret and EHOME, did not qualify out of the group stage. Both lineups were recently revamped and loaded with promise, but were placed in the same pool as the other và ultimately fell khổng lồ the pressure. Despite the additions of world-class players like Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang & Lu "Fenrir" Chao (EHOME) và the combination of Artour "Arteezy" Babaev và Saahil "UNiVeRsE" Arora (Team Secret), the adjustment in strategy và acclimation of new talent looked to lớn hinder synergy rather than enhance it.Editor"s Picks
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The hightlight: Team Empire against Team Secret

This was the best series of the day. While Team Empire lacked the star power of Team Secret, it came in with the edge: taking the win in the first matchup on day one. The stakes were high with the winner advancing forward to lớn the final day. In the over, both teams exchanged blows and showcased just how beautiful DOTA 2 could be played.

The first game was a battle between Team Secret"s Jacky "EternaLEnVy" Mao"s Clinkz & Roman "Ramzes666" Kushnarev"s most-played nhân vật, Gyrocopter. To gain the lead, EternaLEnVy"s Clinkz, with the aid of Arteezy "s Invoker, picked off hero-after-anh hùng while the rest of his team farmed & climbed the income ladder. Team Empire could only respond with forced fights around Gyrocopter until its pick-off heroes (Beastmaster and Batrider) picked up key items. By then, Team Secret mounted an incredible gold & experience lead and outmaneuvered the opposition with superior bản đồ control. If Team Empire went for a Roshan, Team Secret would trade with a barracks" push. If a solo pick-off was made, Team Secret split the maps. Eventually, Team Secret snowballed its control into lớn the mix lead.

Team Empire"s victories were a work of art, though -- perfectly-executed team fights, incredibly fast rotations, & a priority on at least one hero that showcased superior vision. While Team Secret took the first game in signature hit-and-run style, Team Empire crashed into lớn its usually elusive opponent and took care of business. The highlights between game two & three were numerous, but they"re all worth watching again & again; it"s Dota 2 team fighting at its very best. Perhaps the best game of the day, game two of the series, was a battle of absolute perseverance, highlight Rubichồng plays from Team Empire, & the magnificent "wombo comboes."

All in all, Team Empire exited its series victory over Team Secret with contender status. This team is absolutely legitimate.

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Team Liquid, shown here taking on Team Secret at the Shanghai Major.Tyên Franco for

The other qualifiers

Fnatic (4-0, Group B)

The surprising & dominant team to lớn emerge from Group B was Fnatic. It crushed through EHOME, but also ran through the stout Team Empire in a variety of ways, including late game play, constant early rotations và fights, và team fighting execution. The tape is out on Fnatic và it"s around the star player, Zheng "Miduan" Yeik Nai. He gathered 52 kills, 12 deaths, và 49 assists over its four games with just two heroes (Invoker and Pugna). While the hero selection may seem limited, Miduan is versatile -- he"s excellent with Templar Assassin, Puông chồng, và even Batrider. And just lượt thích its middle-laner, Fnatic is not just an early-game snowball team. It can play a pushing strategy, late-game execution, rotation và pick-off, or just a straight individual skill game. They team is primed for a tournament victory.

Team Liquid (4-0, Group A)

The runner-up team from the last Major showed its usual razor-sharp play during day one. The playbook for this team is out: aggressive supports and two top-heavy cores. Their strength could also be considered a weakness; shut down one of their cores và the rest of the lineup crumbles too quickly to recover. It"s good news for Team Liquid fans that both Adrian "FATA-" Trinks và Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen are incredibly consistent và rank amongst the top-half of damage-dealers và net worth in each game. Group A was a breeze for the powerhouse lineup with only one real game against Wings Gaming that truly posed as a threat. It could be considered the favorites with Team Secret out and for good reason.

Wings Gaming (4-4, Group A)

It was a tumultuous couple of days for Wings Gaming. It looked svào in their losses & flashed dominance throughout the sự kiện. When matched up against an execution-heavy team in Team Liquid, it fell only because of bản đồ control, but its defense, stalling ability, & overall resilience was admirable Team Liquid claimed six Aegis"s. And against compLexity Gaming, it showcased incredible versatility in drafts. The team played snowball heroes lượt thích Slark and Queen of Pain và then switched it up lớn a core Venomancer và converted the offlaner inkhổng lồ another carry player. If anything, Wings Gaming is everything that a dark horse defines as: unpredictable và the ability to lớn take a game from any team.


The bottom line for ESL One Manila is Team Liquid and the rest of the pachồng. It"s the team with the most success in recent history & presents little reason to lớn be bet against. It could be a tough road with all the opposition in scorching khung, but this is the favorite & it"ll prove sầu it on finals day.