FURIA and Ninjas in Pyjamas became the first two teams to crash out of the WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020 after failing to stack up with the competition in the group stage, and are now sent home packing with $12,000 each.
WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020 took off on Thursday, January 9, featuring eight teams from six regions including Gambit, Team Spirit, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Fighting PandaS, Nigma, Royal Never Give Up, Geek Fam and FURIA Esports. All eight teams travelled to Bukovel hoping they can rise to the top and punch their ticket for the Leipzig Major, yet the dreams of doing so came crashing down early for two of the participants.
FURIA entered the tournament as one of the underdogs, and they failed to convince us otherwise with what they have shown. The Brazilian quintet, which consists of Leonardo "RdO" Fernandes, Henry "murdOc" Felipe, Felipe "NS-ART" Costa, Lucas "Hyko" Morais and Heitor "Duster" Pereira got seeded into a tough group B, where they got paired with Nigma, Gambit and Fighting PandaS which made their chances to advance look slim from the get-go.
In game one, of the group stage, FURIA met with ESL One Hamburg runners-up and ONE Esports World Pro Invitational bronze medalists - Gambit. The said match was expected to be fairly one-sided, and that was exactly how it went down. The CIS giants took the reins of the match in their own hands early on and won both maps in just 55m3s, which only goes to show how outmatched the Brazillian squad were.
After losing their opening match against Artiom "fng" Barshack and co., FURIA were set to meet with Nigma in the elimination match later that day. Nigma entered the tournament as undisputed favourites, yet they failed to deliver to the expectations in the opening match against PandaS, who outclassed their southern neighbours and won 2-1. Suffice to say, Nigma were entering the elimination match hungry for blood, as another loss would earn them a ticket back home. Unfortunately, it was FURIA who had to feel the wrath of the North American powerhouse.
As it was expected, Nigma were able to take the first game of the series, however, not without putting up a tough fight. We must give FURIA some praise for their performance, as they were fighting their hearts out for almost 50 minutes in a bid to upset the NA giants but ultimately fell flat.
Game two was much more straight-forward, as it was Nigma who took over the match early and completely decimated their adversaries. Despite showing some glimpse of weakness in game one, Nigma were on fire in game two and gave FURIA no chance of tieing the series. Even when FURIA were in a position of getting themselves back into the game, they failed to take their chances which ultimately led to their demise and sendoff from the tournament.
Joining FURIA as the second departure from Bukovel Minor were Ninjas in Pyjamas, who just like their Brazillian counterparts failed to impress with what they have shown.
NiP started their Bukovel venture in Group A, where they got paired with Team Spirit, Royal Never Give Up and Geek Fam. While arguably much weaker group compared to Group B, NiP ended up achieving the same result as FURIA i.e. 0-2 record with no maps won.
In game one, where NiP faced off against Geek Fam, their new addition in the mid lane Connor "TANNER" Weedon put up a very solid performance with Templar Assasin, which helped him dominate the early-mid game. NiP used the small lead they gained in the early game and grew it further, but failed to utilize their advantage to full potential. Geek Fam on the other side showed immense determination, as they pushed back despite trailing by up to 10k gold. Their determination and willingness to push for a win, in the end, paid off, as they managed to turn the game around thanks to Kenny "Xepher" Deo, who played a pivotal role in GF triumph.
With one game in hand, Geek Fam entered the second match of the series with momentum on their side, which helped them take control of the bout early on. Despite TANNER's phenomenal performance in game one, this time it was GF's new mid laner Karl "Karl" Jayme who took all the spotlight. He ended the match with 18-1-6 and played a crucial role in GF's dominant display which earned them the second win of the series.
After suffering a crushing defeat in game one, Peter "ppd" Dager and co. got ready for their clash with Team Spirit in the Group A elimination match. Despite high ambitions, NiP looked very shaky right off the bat. They managed to grab a small lead but were unable to do any serious damage against Spirit, who entered the match with a much better team composition, which allowed them to finish ahead of NiP.
NiP had better luck in the draft ahead of game two, which allowed them to start the map strong, but this once again counted for nothing as NiP started to make a few too many mistakes. With their questionable strategy and greedy dives for kills, NiP handed Spirit a chance to catch up to, and before they got a chance to realise what's happening, the CIS team were in a lead and charging towards NiP's base. Team Spirit closed out the series at 32m21s and earn their spot in the decider match.
Due to their inability to take advantage of their chances, NiP became the second team to exit the Bukovel Minor and while it was hard to expect them to contest the top spot, many Dota 2 fans were hoping to see more from NiP, especially with all the hype surrounding their 2020 roster.
Joining the footsteps of NiP and FURIA were Team Secret, who lost to Geek Fam in the Group A decider match and PandaS who lost against Nigma in Group A decider match.
On the other side, Gambit Esports, Royal Never Give Up, Geek Fam and Nigma made it through the group stage and are now set to compete in the playoffs, which will kick off this Saturday, January 11. There we will see RNG take on Nigma, while Gambit are set to lock horns with Geek Fam a couple of hours later.
Written by KrajnikT
Tit Krajnik (KrajnikT) is an esports writer for onlineesports.com, where he reports news, features and writes other content related to the players, teams, industry and the esports scene as a whole.
He has previously worked as a news and betting-related articles writer in the "traditional" sports scene but later opted to turn his attention to esports, where he managed to combine his love for video games and the growing esports industry with his work.
Krajnik has started his journey as an esports writer by covering Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, which he also played since its launch, but later broaden his skill-set to include other major esports titles including Dota 2, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Overwatch, Rainbow 6 Siege and Call of Duty.