The Playoffs stage of ESL One Birmingham 2018 is starting today and only 6 of the initial 12 teams are left in the tournament. The stakes are high for at least 2 of these teams (Fnatic and OpTic Gaming), who have a real chance of climbing into the top 8 within the Dota Pro Circuit rankings. All they need to do is reach the Grand Final and their direct invite to The International is almost assured.
The Playoffs stage of ESL One Birmingham 2018 is scheduled to take place between May 25th – 27th and the 6 matches it features will no doubt offer a great show.
Analysis and predictions
paiN Gaming vs. Mineski
The very presence of paiN Gaming in the Playoffs of ESL One Birmingham 2018 is a miracle. PaiN Gaming entered this tournament as a complete outsider who had 0 points in the Dota Pro Circuit rankings. And it had to get a top 2 finish in a group with 3 theoretically stronger opponents: Team Liquid, Vici Gaming and OG. Shockingly enough, the group was won by OG and paiN Gaming finished 2nd after 2 victories against the TI 7 champions, Team Liquid.
Mineski got 2nd place in group C by losing to OpTic Gaming and defeating LGD.Forever Young twice. Overall, Mineski is sitting at number 5 in the Dota Pro Circuit rankings table with 3150 points. That alone should make them clear favorites to win this match. However, based on what we’ve seen so far from paiN Gaming and given the disproportionate odds, you should definitely consider rooting for the underdog in this match.
Match prediction: paiN Gaming to win given a +1.5 maps advantage.
OG vs. Fnatic
OG started to show signs of recovery at the previous tournament, MDL Changsha Major, where it got 3rd place in group A by defeating teams like Mineski. At ESL One Birmingham 2018, OG won group B with victories over paiN Gaming and Vici Gaming. And even though it failed to qualify directly for the Semifinals by losing against both Virtus.pro and OpTic Gaming in the first place decider matches, OG is still much stronger than most people anticipated before the event.
Fnatic has everything to play for in this match which it will very likely win, considering its great recent form and its formidable roster. The Southeast Asian team is currently sitting at number 12 within the Dota Pro Circuit rankings with 1040 points. At ESL One Birmingham 2018, Fnatic finished 2nd in a difficult group A, defeating Evil Geniuses and Team Spirit but losing against Virtus.pro.
This may turn out to be a very close match, although the odds clearly indicate that everyone expects Fnatic to win. No doubt, Abed and his teammates have a high chance of doing that but they will most likely need 3 games to get the job done. A 2 – 0 result in their favor seems quite improbable.
Match prediction: Fnatic to win.