Manila Masters Day 1: This Is Esports
It's not Dota without hype, drama, and memes
The show has kicked off with some of the biggest narratives at this tournament, and so far everyone is delivering. From the teams giving us exceptional and exciting Dota to the talents with their charm (and memes), alongside a healthy serving of that oft-mentioned Pinoy hype, it looks like it's going to be an incredible weekend here at the SM MoA Arena.
But don't cheer yourselves raw yet -- it's only day 1. Welcome to the Manila Masters.
Team NP vs Team Secret: EE's squad shows no mercy
The first matchup of the day was not only charged story-wise but had audiences on the edges of their chairs. Game 1 saw Secret winning against an almost 20k gold deficit, as NP fans' worst fears came true with NP's risky high-ground sieges. For a moment it seemed to all watching that EE's ability to lose unloseable games was going to manifest. But then then the comeback music started playing and the scene must have cut to a dramatic flashback because in games 2 and 3 Team NP demolished Secret. Team NP played perfectly, and seem to be in top form.
With that, Team Secret are eliminated from the Masters and Team NP are one step closer to what could be their first premier LAN title. This victory must also have felt especially sweet to captain and founder Jacky "EternaLEnVy" Mao, who has finally gotten to face Team Secret caprain and founder Clement "Puppey" Ivanov in a LAN for the first time since the start of their feud.
Battle of the Rages: Eri Neeman pulls no punches
On that note, it looks like Puppey has also won back the heart of the community by playing along with the memes.
Host Eri Neeman unveiled his new segment today, called Battle of the Rages, where audience members compete to see who can throw the most authentic (and emphatic) gaming fit -- a humorous recreation of the original Puppey rage. The contest was judged by a panel of three experts: Jake "SirActionSlacks" Kanner, David "LD" Gorman, and -- wait for it -- Puppey himself (with Guile’s Theme entrance music no less).
The crowd went wild. Eri Neeman was not kidding when he said he was going to push the meme game.
The contestants go by the names Puppey Jr. (“You are not my son.” - Puppey), Mark (a self-delcared LC jungler), and Henry and their task was to sit at a keyboard-monitor-headset setup and simply give in to their inner rager in line with the music's crescendo. Though each contestant gave it their all, Henry from the province of Tuguegarao won the contest getting a nod of acknowledgement from the man Puppey himself.
Team Faceless Still Guards SEA
The battle for Southeast Asian Dota 2 supremacy ended with the sole Filipino contender getting eliminated. The international LAN debut of Clutch Gamers ended rather on a sour note as the revamped Team Faceless proved to be too much for them.
Dominik "Black^" Reitmeier was phenomenal in the mid lane as he was able to shut Armel Paul Tabios down twice in the series. His mid lane Tiny in the second game secured an 8-minute Blink Dagger after killing Armel’s Ember Spirit twice before the game’s 5th-minute mark.
The sweep against the hometown heroes gave Team Faceless another shot to claim the LAN trophy for themselves. Tomorrow, however, Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang will lead his team against the four-time Major champion Team OG and we’ll get to see whether or not they can take down one of the actual scariest teams at this tournament.
Newbee books first Grand Final slot
The last series today was a showdown between Dota 2's best team-skill-oriented squads. Newbee and Evil Geniuses went head-to-head at the Upper Bracket Finals to fight for the first Grand Final slot.
The first game of the best-of-three series saw Newbee's wonderful demonstration of orchestrated team fights led by Xu "Moogy" Han's Sven and Song "Sccc" Chun's Queen of Pain. Not even the slippery Puck plays of Syed Sumail “Suma1L” Hassan were able to stop them from rampaging, as he failed to carry his team off a 21k gold deficit.
With EG's confidence shaken, Newbee made quick work of their opponents. Sccc continued his dominance using his famed Outworld Devourer, finishing the 24-minute game with a 13/1/6 score line. Their 2-0 sweep against the Boys in Blue just earned them the first Grand Final slot. EG, meanwhile, will fall down to the lower bracket.