Neon dominated tournament favorites, Fnatic, in the biggest upset of the league so far.
Arguably the most action-packed day of the ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League Group Stage began with Neon Esports stunning tournament favorites Fnatic 2-0, followed by Geek Fam tying with both Fnatic and TNC Predator.
Neon Esports 2 – 0 Fnatic
Neon opened their series against Fnatic with another one of their signature hyper-aggressive drafts featuring an unusual support hero. Andrei “Skem” Ong was on a carry Nature’s Prophet, Erin Jasper “Yopaj” Ferrer had Tiny, while Jaunuel “Jaunuel” Arcilla ran with a support Legion Commander.
Fnatic was notably missing the services of star offlaner Daryl “iceiceice” Koh Pei Xiang for game one — as he was voting in Singapore’s general election — and they were utterly blindsided by Neon’s hyper-aggressive lineup. The Filipino squad were left virtually unchecked as they rampaged across the map and forced the GG call after 32 minutes.
Yopaj led the way for Neon with 14 kills against three deaths, Skem pitched in with 10 clean kills, while both Rafael “Rappy” Sicat Palo on an offlane Pugna and Prieme Ejay “PlayHard” Banquil on a support Queen of Pain had nine kills. While Jaunuel only had one kill to his name, his support Legion Commander was still able to win multiple Duels and get 118 bonus damage.
Iceiceice returned to play in game two as Doom, serving as the frontliner for Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon’s Drow Ranger. But that didn’t stop Neon from fielding their tried-and-true strategy, this time with Skem on Bloodseeker while Yopaj had Tiny once more.
Yopaj pulled off the play of the day when he baited out iceiceice’s Doom on an illusion then proceeded to get a Triple Kill as Neon bulldozed through Fnatic again. Skem and Yopaj combined for 30 kills and zero deaths to complete the dominant 2-0 sweep over the tournament favorites.
Fnatic 1 – 1 Geek Fam
Fnatic looked to bounce back in their next series against Geek Fam, going with a four-protect-one strategy headlined by 23savage’s Alchemist against their opponents’ tri-core of Ursa for Marc Polo “Raven” Fausto, Ember Spirit for Karl “Karl” Jayme, and Slardar for Carlo “Kuku” Palad.
Geek Fam held the lead early, but Fnatic was able to claw their way back once 23savage’s Alchemist came online. A back-and-forth slugfest ensued, but it was Fnatic that emerged victorious after 48 minutes, with 23savage finishing with a game-high 17 kills against just three deaths.
Fnatic opted for the four-protect-one with 23savage’s Alchemist again in game two, while Geek Fam ran a strong teamfight lineup featuring Karl on Queen of Pain, Kuku on a core Earthshaker, Kenny “Xepher” Deo on Phoenix, and Raven as the designated damage-dealer with a core Mirana.
Geek Fam led after the laning phase once more, but this time they made sure to not relinquish it. Fnatic kept getting caught out by Geek Fam’s teamfight combos, which allowed Raven to swoop in for clean-up kills.
Geek Fam eventually forced the series to a 1-1 tie after 44 minutes, with Raven finishing with a clean 14 kills, while Karl and Kuku had 13 and 12 takedowns of their own, respectively.
Geek Fam 1 – 1 TNC Predator
For their next match against TNC Predator, Geek Fam opted for a four-protect-one lineup with Raven on Morphling flanked by Karl on a mid Doom and Kuku on Vengeful Spirit. TNC ran with a Gyrocopter-Io combo for Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte and Park “March” Tae-won, with Armel Paul “Armel” Tabios on Kunkka and Damien “kpii” Chok on Nighstalker.
TNC dominated the early game with their aggressive lineup, but Raven’s excellent plays on Morphling allowed Geek Fam to turn things around. Despite holding the gold lead for much of the game, they were in dire straits and were forced to have Gabbi pick up a Divine Rapier for a chance to win. However, they still lost the game-deciding clash and called GG after 41 minutes. Raven notched a game-high 13 kills against zero deaths.
TNC stuck with the Gyrocopter-Io combo in game two, with Armel on Tiny as the playmaker while kpii on Ogre Magi provided buffs. Geek Fam countered with a hybrid pushing and teamfight with Raven on Luna, Karl on Dragon Knight, and Kuku on a core Earthshaker.
TNC’s decision to stick to their guns paid off, as they dominated the early game as expected but this time didn’t concede any ground. While Geek Fam were still able to punch back, Gabbi’s decision to go for a Divine Rapier again gave TNC the win at just under 36 minutes.
Gabbi led the way with 12 kills against just one death, while Armel pitched in with eight kills of his own as TNC ended the day with a 1-1 tie.
With their upset over Fnatic, Neon Esports leapfrog BOOM Esports for a spot in the Upper Bracket and force them to start the Playoffs in the Lower Bracket.
Despite losing to Neon and tying with Geek Fam, Fnatic maintain their hold over the top spot of the standings. TNC are hot on their heels and will be looking to contest the top seed in their highly-anticipated matchup in Day 3. Both teams have locked up Upper Bracket berths as well.
Meanwhile, Geek Fam claim their own spot in the Upper Bracket after tying with Fnatic and TNC. They only need to win one more match to secure it against Team Adroit, who are on the brink of elimination.
Here are the full standings after Day 2 of Week 4 of the ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League Group Stage: