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The Kyiv Animajor Group Stage is underway, and there are already many exciting games and storylines. Team Nigma continued their gauntlet of games after a fighting through tiebreakers in yesterday’s Wild Card Stage, Chinese teams are on the rise and the Southeast Asian teams faltered.

Nigma fights through obstacles

The end of the first day of group stages left a four way tie for the top half of the group between Team Nigma, Vici Gaming, PSG LGD and Evil Geniuses, with three wins and one loss each. Despite playing a gauntlet of games in the wild card stage yesterday, including a rough remake due to a server crash, they have come out looking strong in the group stages. They drew with one of the tournament favorites, PSG LGD, and took a commanding series against Team Spirit. While analysts cited the number of games Team Nigma have played as a possible detriment to the team, it seems the gauntlet has steeled them for the competition to come in the group stages.


Kyiv Animajor Group Stage Standings
The current standings at the end of today’s Group Stage matches. Provided By: Liquipedia

Tomorrow Nigma will face the likes of Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid and TNC Predator. Evil Geniuses will likely be their toughest opponent and getting a series win against them will be their primary goal.

With the way the groups are turning out, it seems tie breakers are on the horizon. At some point, fatigue could become a larger and larger factor to Team Nigma’s success in the Kyiv Animajor.

Chinese teams a step above the rest

Despite Invictus Gaming’s early exit from the Kyiv Animajor, China is still looking to make a strong mark on international competition right before The international. Vici Gaming continued their strong performance from yesterday’s Wild Card Stage. Their reliance on Spectre has brought them a long way; Vici Gaming picked it up both games in their win against Team Liquid and LGD played it once in a win against Team Nigma. When Chinese teams pick the hero, they have only lost one time in the tournament so far.

The Chinese teams at the tournament have been executing better than any other teams so far. They were the first to really popularize picking Lion in the Wild Card stage, and the hero was picked or banned in every game but one in today’s group stage matches. China seems to set the meta game for the rest of the teams in the tournament and are ahead of the curve compared to the rest of the field.

Southeast Asia might have no direct invites

Over the course of the wild card and group stage, Southeast Asian teams have lagged behind. As of right now, T1 and OB.Neon are set to get direct invites. However, the situation could change depending on how other teams do at the Kyiv Animajor. OB.Neon will not gain anymore points, as they were close to relegation this season. Additionally, the cut off for a direct invite to the international will definitely increase, as a lot of the teams in the upper echelon of the standings will earn more points over the course of the Kyiv Animajor. Alliance, Quincy Crew, Team Aster and Virtus Pro are all playoff seeds in the current major and it would be unlikely that all of those teams gain no points.

The direct invite spot will depend on how TNC Predator do over the course of tomorrow’s group stage games and how T1 perform during the playoff bracket. However, there is a world where every single Southeast Asian team will have to fight through the regional qualifier.