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Epicenter 2017 playoffs preview: Event plus season on the line

Every team needs to be in top shape to survive the single-elimination bracket.

Evil Geniuses during the group stage of Epicenter.
Epicenter media

The live LAN playoffs for the Epicenter 2017 tournament, held in Moscow, are about to begin, and every match keeps the stakes high for the teams involved.

The Playoffs are being held in a single-elimination format, meaning that the losers of each match are sent home without another shot. While the format coupled with no-elimination round-robin Group Stages has proven controversial for Valve events, it’s found a more agreeable format here in Russia.

The top seeds of each of the Group Stage’s matches have been sent directly to semifinals, where they will face the winners of the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals bracket consists of each group’s second place team playing against the third place team of the other group (A’s third vs B’s second, and A’s second vs B’s third).

Meanwhile, four teams have already been sent home for under performing prior to the playoffs: Na’vi and OG in Group A, and Planet Odd and Clutch Gamers in B. The rest continue on to their respective groups in the playoffs.

In regards to the bracket, this all means that EG and LGD.Fy are left waiting for the winners of the quarterfinals: respectively, Invictus Gaming versus Team Secret, and Team Liquid versus Virtus Pro.

These matches will be best of three, and the grand finals, held on Sunday, will be best of five.

Other than the grand prize, a $250,000 USD slice of a $500,000 USD prize pool, the tournament ends extremely close to an important time of the year: invites for The International, whether direct or to the regional qualifiers.

While well-performing teams including Newbee, NP and TNC.Pro are absent from this event’s roster, present teams such as Virtus.Pro, Team Secret, and Invictus Gaming are likely performing to improve their image before the invites go out. OG likely dropped to the bottom of Epicenter with the hope that their Majors streak overrides their poor performance here. Evil Geniuses remains the top-performing team in North America, but a team without a recent Valve victory needs to remain cautious.

The playoffs, held live in Moscow, will be streamed June 9th, 10th and 11th beginning at 12:00 CEST (6AM EDT, 3AM PDT) on Epicenter’s official English stream.

The first match of Friday the 9th will be the quarterfinals of Invictus Gaming versus Team Secret, followed by Team Liquid versus Virtus.Pro. The next day will be semifinals, beginning with Evil Geniuses’s match, and the final day will have solely the finals best of five.