The third competitive week of China’s Upper Division is about to start and so far, the battle’s been exciting to watch. As you probably know, four teams will qualify for the second Major of the circuit and four of the eight participants have yet to play their first match.
EHOME, Elephant, and RNG seem to be of roughly the same strength at this point. Each of them managed to beat one of the other two and got defeated by one, completing a perfect circle. And all three of them defeated Sparking Arrow Gaming, but that was expected to happen.
So overall, we have three teams sitting at the top of the standings table with 2 wins and 1 loss, and one sitting at the bottom with 0 wins and 3 losses. Practically, SAG’s fate is sealed. The only question is: who will join them? I expect Aster to be the one. Both of them will be relegated and spend the first half of 2022 in the Lower Division. Unless of course, Valve decides to change the competitive format again.
Week three of China Upper Division will have six exciting matches that only involve three teams. So practically, each of these teams will play one match against each of the other two. I’ll take a look at these matches below.
Invictus Gaming versus Aster
Invictus Gaming really needs no introduction at this point. First they won the first season of China’s Dota Pro Circuit Upper Division and then they won the Singapore Major after being crushed by Evil Geniuses in the first two games of the Grand Final. Even though most of the team’s members are not regarded as superstars, Kaka has proved that he’s a formidable captain.
Aster finished the first season in 2nd place. Their score was identical to iG’s, but the team lost the tiebreaker. At the Major, LaNm and his crew finished 9th – 12th. Based on these results, it’s quite obvious who is the favorite here.
Vici Gaming versus PSG.LGD
These two teams met each other quite a few times over the past six months and in the vast majority of cases, PSG.LGD proved to be stronger. In addition to that, Ame’s squad finished 3rd at the Singapore Major while Vici Gaming finished 7th – 8th. In almost every way, PSG.LGD is stronger than VG at this point in time.
Invictus Gaming versus Vici Gaming
This should be an easy victory for Invictus Gaming, for the reasons mentioned above. In a Bo1, VG would have had a decent chance of causing an upset. But in a Bo3 it’s really hard to beat a stronger opponent. Because you have to surprise them twice. We already saw what happened to EG in the Grand Final of the last Major. Even though they looked like they would easily win the match, iG ultimately figured them out and just outplayed them with superior tactics.
Aster versus PSG.LGD
This will most likely be a very close match, because both of these teams are highly skilled and of roughly equal strength. I expect a 2 – 1 result in favor of PSG.LGD, but the match could go either way.
Aster versus Vici Gaming
Until I see something impressive from Vici Gaming, I think they’re no longer at the level of some of their regional rivals. And Aster is one of them. I expect this match to end with a defeat for VG.
PSG.LGD versus Invictus Gaming
This will be the big derby of the week. May the best team win. And I think that team is going to be iG.