ESL One Manila, Day 1: Epic clashes and wild crowds
There’s no doubt about it now. Filipinos are some of the fiercest and most passionate gamers in the world.
Proof of the pudding is this weekend’s ESL One Manila. On Saturday, thousands of Filipino fans marched to SM Mall of Asia’s Arena, an event venue usually reserved for concerts and traditional sports. All of them were more than eager to watch their favourite teams and pro players duke it out for the lion's share of a prize pool worth $250,000 (P12 million).
Prior to the weekend, ESL Pro Gaming Vice President Ulrich Schulze stated that ESL One Manila is the fastest selling tournament, and the biggest one they’ve made in Asia. As expected the Filipino crowd practically shook the entire arena with their deafening roars and applause all throughout the day. They were not at all deterred by the fact that the games lasted way beyond midnight.
Battling for the grand prize were Team Liquid, EHOME, Team Empire, compLexity, Wings, Team Secret, Fnatic, and Mineski.
Missed watching the tournament or livestream? Here are Day One’s highlights.
Mineski vs compLexity: The Filipino's final stand
Filipino team Mineski fought tooth and nail for their spot at the elimination rounds against compLexity.
In game one, proving to be a team not to be underestimated, Mineski over-performed at the early game lead with an incredible 21-7 kills before the game even hit the 20-minute mark. Unfortunately, the game went to a standstill for a while after that, with the gold and kills going even around 46 minutes into the game. The breather was all that compLexity needed to prepare for the late-game and take it home after a brief team fight at the top.
By game two however, Mineski made sure to drive the nail into the coffin. While things were pretty even in the early game, the Filipino team made a slow and steady march towards victory. After taking down Roshan for the first time in the series, Mineski dove into compLexity’s base without any hesitation. Giving the team another chance in continuing into the tournament.
Sadly, it was early into game three that things turned for the worse. compLexity proved to be craftier in terms of picks and bans. The team switched things up by selecting Tiny and Io. Their Tiny pick made a huge impact early game and ensured that compLexity dominated the game from start to finish. This ended Mineski’s ESL One Manila run.
Team Secret vs EHOME: A favourite’s comeback
After a rocky start in day one of the tournament, Team Secret made an incredible comeback beating EHOME 2 – 0 in their Best of 3 series.
Being the favorites in the tournament, every kill made by Team Secret was met by a deafening cheer by the audience. In game one, Puppey and Arteezy led the entire roster into an incredible victory, leading the kill score with 22 – 3.
The fast and ruthless skirmishes quickly forced EHOME to surrender after 25 minutes.
EHOME tried to fight as much as they could though and in game two, after a bold early fight near the river, they earned their first kill. Sadly, this did not amount to much, and Team Secret started a bloodbath match that ended with 35 – 9.
Despite the heavy defeat experienced by EHOME, one light and slightly embarrassing moment within the game was when EHOME’s iceiceice suddenly paused the game, and quickly typed “a cockroach on my mousepad” before unpausing and returning to the fight.
At the end of the match, when asked what aided Team Secret’s comeback, captain Puppey simply said that it was different experience playing on a stage in front of a crowd over just playing in a room.
Wings vs compLexity: Kills vs Objectives
After compLexity’s win against Mineski, they faced a tougher challenge in the guise of Wings. The tempo was a little different when they battled Wings. Most of the time it was a neck-and-neck battle to their Ancients.
In game one, Wings pulled in an early lead due to a few mistakes made by compLexity. However, compLexity quickly course-corrected and closed the gold gap between teams.
In the final moments of the game, despite the relatively large gap in kills, compLexity’s focus on objectives pushed them closer to Wings’ Ancient, thus securing the win.
It was another close fight between Wings and compLexity in game two, however Wings gained the upper hand coming into the mid game by taking down Roshan first. Wings chose to close out the game in a slow and steady pace, making sure that compLexity always stayed a few steps behind.
The third game took a while to finish, as both teams seemed to be gunning for the late game. Both teams had different strategies again, with Wings taking a lead in terms of kills, while compLexity chose to take down objectives instead. Despite compLexity’s steady move to get into Wings’ base though, it was Wings who came out on top at the very end.
Team Empire vs Team Secret: The best of the west
As another crowd favourite match, Team Empire vs Team Secret definitely did not disappoint. It was a battle that had the crowds’ roaring and jumping from their seats as each team brought out their best to earn a seat into the playoffs.
In game one, Empire wanted to start out strong with aggressive plays. However, after an action packed team fight 10 minutes into the game, Team Secret gained the lead. Empire was not willing to end up like EHOME and made sure they kept the lead gap close. Things may have evened out from mid to late game, but the game was far from a standstill. A single mistake could have been costly and this was proven after Empire failed to match Secret in a clash near Dire’s secret shop.
Game two proved to be another close and intense game, with both teams duking it out right from the start until the very end. While Team Secret gained the early lead, Team Empire did everything they could to push back against the crowd favorite.
Clash after clash, blow after blow, wombo combo after wombo combo, Team Empire did their best to match and even go beyond Team Secret. By 40 minutes into the game Team Empire had the lead but for a long time it wasn’t enough to end things.
The game extended past an hour and the crowd was still going crazy despite their obvious exhaustion. Team Empire and Team Secret had an insane, game-changing clash in the river where no one knew who was winning until Ramzes666, using Spectre, came knocking down Secret’s base. The entire match lasted 72 minutes and 30 seconds, and is arguably the most epic battle of Day 2.
Despite the long and arduous battle in game two, it was obvious that the two teams were still giving their all in game three. Team Empire and Team Secret were practically even in the first 30 minutes of the game. Again, skirmish after skirmish, the two teams refused to back down and give up a significant lead. By the 40th minute in the game however, a clash near Team Secret’s base empowered Team Empire enough to do significant damage to their opponents and force Team Secret to give up the game.
It was a remarkable match that will go down in history. And while Team Secret lost, it was not because they were underperforming. The two teams totally stepped up and gave their everything for the last game and in the end Team Empire proved that they deserved the last slot for the playoffs, and that they were a team to watch out for.
Much love for the Filipino fans
As the matches went on, there were of moments for the DoTa 2’s most eager fans. Fans were given a chance to meet and greet – as well as ask for signatures and photo ops – their favorite teams and players all throughout the day. Luckier fans even got to hug the team captains of the first winning teams on the stage.
The players, commentators (who were wearing barongs), and even team staff members, were very open to signing autographs and having quick chats with the fans during the short commercial breaks.
While experts broke down previous games, casters generously stepped down from their platforms to sign autographs and take photographs with their fans.
The heart-stopping clashes and fan moments will continue on ‘til Sunday evening where only one team will make it to the top. Who do you think will win the grand finals? – Rappler.com