Secret, Liquid, Aster and Tundra remain at TI11 as favorites falter early

The International 11 (TI11) is down to its four remaining teams as we count down to this weekend to crown the Champions.

Over at the Upper Bracket Finals, Team Secret and Tundra Esports battle for the first Finalist slot, where the winner will be at least top two. Meanwhile, Team Aster and Team Liquid are playing for tournament life, where loser earns a commendable fourth place at TI11.

Regardless, let’s take a trip down memory lane to recap what happened over the past week of intense TI11 Playoffs.

The early days of TI11 Playoffs started off with astounding surprises, as we saw multiple powerhouses drop like flies. Most notably, Team Spirit got the short end of the stick when they lost the best-of-one series vs BOOM Esports, ending the defending champion’s dream of becoming a two-timer.

Royal Never Give Up came into TI11 as a massive favorite, featuring the remnants of TI8 PSG.LGD roster. Unfortunately, our predictions RNG’s on performance came true, as COVID-19 crippled communications on the main stage, but not before giving the audience a whopping 100-min game. Yap “xNova” Jian Wei was the only RNG player who was healthy and played on the main stage alongside four dummies while the rest of his team played under quarantine.

Although xNova ultimately walked out of that game alone and disappointed, the fans had the player’s back and cheered him on.

The Uncrowned King of TI

Any TI11 True Sight fan can sympathize with Wang “Ame” Chunyu, whose documentary featured his pro career throughout the years. Ame has been first runner-up in two TI Championships, notably TI8 and TI10. Despite the hard-fought grand finals, Ame never truly got his crown as TI Champion.

Going into TI11 as a massive favorite, many fans rooted for Ame and PSG.LGD to win TI11. Unfortunately, their run was inevitably halted by Team Aster in a clean 2-0 victory. Regardless, LGD passed the torch to Team Aster as the only Chinese team in the run to become TI11 Champions.

Upsets by South America at The International

North America’s greatest, Evil Geniuses tumbled out of TI11 in two consecutive losses by none other than their South American rivals.Thunder Awaken showcased their underdog energy that overwhelmed EG, before beastcoast down in the lower bracket dealt the finishing blow on EG’s TI run.

While it may seem like EG flopped in TI11 Playoffs, the truth is EG hasn’t been in shape since the DPC season, as admitted by Kanishka ‘Sam’ “BuLba” Sosale in the loser’s interview.

Cr1t- after EG’s elimination at the International 11

If anything, this highlights the dominance of SA candidates at TI11, notably Thunder Awaken, which placed fifth. A fifth-place finish at TI is considered the highest accomplishment any SA team has reached thus far, surpassing its rival, beastcoast (formerly Infamous), and their seventh-place finish at TI9. However, due to the poor sales of Battle Pass 2022 and shorter prize pool contribution period, the winnings were $200K lower in comparison.

Thunder Awaken wins fans’ hearts

The last match between Liquid and Thunder Awaken left fans in awe of the clutching moments throughout the match. At some point, it was anyone’s game to win the match by one team fight. The defining moment was when Matu’s lucky save on Michael “miCKe” Vu when he got stuck in Blackhole, surviving at only 1HP.

Team Liquid players hug it out after winning against Thunder Awaken at TI11

Unfortunately, that also meant the end of TA’s TI run, and for the most part, the young squad’s debut at TI surpassed everyone’s expectations. However, it certainly is still heart-wrenching to lose like that.

Matumbaman and Team Liquid with a statement

Like the three remaining opponents at TI11, Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen’s TI11 run is emotional. Matu shared that this is his last TI, so whatever the results, it’s the last hurrah for him and his lucky shorts.

Backstories aside, Team Liquid alongside Team Secret are the TI11 Last Chance Qualified teams, which made it this far. They have earned their worth to be on the main stage of TI11 by playing their utmost best despite the sloppy DPC season.

The four-day hiatus until TI11 resumes on October 29. Matu and Liquid are playing to become a two-time champion. While Tundra Esports and Team Aster will be newly-crowned Champions if they win TI11. Then, there’s Team Secret, which would be a new TI Champion, except for Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, a former TI1 Champion himself.

Alternatively, we can view this regionally, as China has one candidate against three of Western Europe’s candidates with a chance to win TI. Regardless, the Aegis of Champions will have a new region to call home, as they move out of Eastern Europe.