After four days of action, the group stage of The International 8 has ended, and the playoff bracket at the main event has begun to take shape.
After just a day of rest, 16 of 18 teams will move on to the main stage at Rogers Arena in Vancouver to battle for the honor of lifting the Aegis of Immortality and claiming nearly $11 million in prize money.
For Invictus Gaming and paiN Gaming, the journey ends here. Despite a disappointing early exit, both teams take home $61,710 and the pride of having made it to the pinnacle of Dota 2 tournaments.
Group A comes down to the wire
Outside of one large exception, the final matches of Group A played out as expected.
PSG.LGD took down the shaky Mineski squad 2-0, while Liquid and Evil Geniuses did the same to VGJ.Thunder and Fnatic, respectively. In a surprising upset, OG split its series against Winstrike but still managed to finish in the top half of the group.
Despite being up by 15,000 gold at one point in Game 2, Winstrike managed to let it slip away to OG for a critical and demoralizing loss. Had Winstrike taken the series 2-0, Invictus Gaming would have been immediately eliminated, and Winstrike would have advanced straight into the main event. Instead, things were forced into a best-of-three tiebreaker with elimination on the line.
Game 1 was a nail-biter for Winstrike. After taking an early lead, it began to look like Lin "Xxs" Jing's Alchemist was going to run it back for iG. Winstrike manage to recover its lead four times and was finally able to close out the game thanks to Bogdan "Iceberg" Vasilenko's Necrophos and the massive death timer from Aghanim's Scepter Reaper's Scythe.
Game 2 was a heartbreaking loss for Invictus Gaming. After starting out with a decent lead, the team lost a pair of terrible fights to Winstrike's lineup of Tiny, Lycan and Weaver. In what felt like the blink of an eye, Winstrike completely dashed Invictus Gaming's hopes.
Winstrike advanced through to the lower brackets, where it will face a best-of-one elimination round.
Crucial day for Group B teams
Virtus.pro became the second team to secure a guaranteed upper bracket spot along with VGJ.Storm. Virtus.pro did end up dropping a surprising sweep to Vici Gaming, though, which put Team Serenity in a head-to-head battle for elimination with paiN Gaming. With Serenity taking both games convincingly, paiN was knocked out of competition early.
After a grim Day 3, OpTic Gaming managed to bounce back and take all four of its scheduled games on Saturday, skyrocketing up the group rankings from last place into contention for an upper bracket berth with an 8-8 record. OpTic joined two other teams with the same record, forcing the group into a three-way tiebreaker.
The three teams entered into in a single-game round robin group, with the top two teams advancing through to the upper bracket and the third moving forward in the lower bracket. OpTic took the first game over Newbee thanks to a devastating last-pick Broodmother played by Neta "33" Shapira. Newbee went on to bring the tiebreakers to a swift end, losing out to Team Secret and a Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard Meepo. OpTic and Secret both advanced to the upper bracket, while Newbee will move on to play for elimination in the lower bracket.
The main event will begin at 1 p.m. ET on Monday.