The Veterans PrevailDay 4 was very much under the auspices of the regional clashes and the upstarts challenging the established. While MVP.Phoenix kept the Korean hope alive by dispatching Fnatic in the SEA-clash, the other matches were all in favor of the veterans. EG first took down compLexity in dominating fashion before dealing the same kind of blowout to Korea, living up to their reputation as the “Kings of the Lower Bracket” and booking themselves a meeting with Team Liquid, who fell to Secret in the Upper Bracket. As the Old Guard is poised to shut out the last of the upstarts challenging them it seems that at least for now order has been restored to the Dota 2 universe.
“We fear nothing!” (but Fear himself)
Out for revenge after their group stage loss to ppd’s squad, hungry for the crown of NA Dota and a chance to make it further, compLexity were ready to take on the TI5 champions. Being a domestic matchup, both sides seemed to know their opponents very well as we had a plethora of unusual bans specifically tailored to each team’s needs.
With the first game underway and an even laning stage coL looked in control as their draft emphasising sustain with strong scaling towards the mid and lategame seemingly came out with little more than bruises against EG’s more aggressive lineup. That however quickly changed as coL tried to capitalise on Arteezy overextending only to get absolutely demolished as Dark Seer and Earth Spirit’s teamfighting capabilities counterinitiated perfectly to make it a 4 for 1 exchange in favor of EG with a tier 1 tower on bottom lane following.
Trying to recover from that slipup col wanted regain the initiative and tried pushing EG’s bottom tier 1 tower in return, the resulting fight however was even worse for swindlemelonzz & co. as they got teamwiped with only 2 kills to show for. From that moment on EG never lost control of the game even as Chessie’s Sven topped the net worth charts. His team just kept melting around him time and again as their sustain failed to keep up with the sheer amount of AoE damage EG dealt out. And after 34 minutes and a staggering 25k networth advantage compLexity had enough and GG’ed.
In Game 2 compLexity pulled out a support Warlock and tried their best to disrupt the rhythm of EG right from the beginning as they invaded EG’s jungle before the creeps spawned to stop Fear’s Enigma from having a good start. However their excursion proved to be fruitless as Fear dewarded one of the sentries and the other unfortunately did not block the camp. Going into the laning stage it seemed as even as in Game 1 but the gamechanger this time was Universe’s Nyx assassin. While he gave away the first blood he more than made up for it as soon as he hit level 6 and enabled EG to find three pickoffs in quick succession. While coL remained competitive as their lineup this time around was able to take fights early on, EG was in the driver’s seat with more efficient farming and map control. Taking a quick Roshan at minute 13, EG proceeded to push further with a seemingly effortless teamwipe on coL and a minute 14 bottom-lane raxxing to boot. Suddenly staring down a 14k networth deficit, it went from bad to worse for compLexity as EG took another barracks two minutes later and forced out buybacks, widening the gap to over 20k. With their base in shambles and EG diving them at will compLexity finally called it quits two minutes later and were eliminated in maybe the most one-sided game the Major has seen so far.
Korea is on Top
The two surprise teams from Shanghai met up in the Lower Bracket to decide who would continue on as SEA’s representative. With a Lifestealer picked up by Mushi, Fnatic already made sure to turn heads at the drafting stage, but MVP.Phoenix were unfazed and picked a much more standard lineup. Game 1 started rather passively. By focusing on Ohaiyo’s Tidehunter mainly, MVP managed to pressure Fnatic’s offlaner heavily during the early game (even stealing his ancient stacks) and made sure that the initiative firmly was in their hands. Once MVP got the ball rolling, they kept finding pickoff after pickoff, rendering the strong teamfighting of Fnatic in the form of OD, Tidehunter and Chen rather useless, especially with Forev’s Void getting three-man Chrono after three-man Chrono. It certainly did not help that Mushi’s ancient creep harrassment was mostly useless. Retaliating somewhat, Fnatic stabilised in the midgame as they found the kind of fight they were looking for around minute 26, but they were unable to do lasting damage to MVP. With the Koreans being able to reliably initiate onto Fnatic, Mushi & co. just could not find enough teamfights on their terms and conceded Game 1.
With Game 2 the SEA region showed their eccentric side yet again with unusual lanes, including a Furion vs Sven mid lane matchup. The resulting game however was a rather messy affair. Fnatic took the lead first on the back of their lineup’s strong early game, but with a Spectre in QO’s capable hands MVP held on and took a massive advantage as Fnatic failed a highground push minute 23 (including two terrible Sprouts) and were wiped off the map. After a rather long pause as Net’s keyboard was added to the long list of issues during the Major, Fnatic struck right back taking down four heroes and the mid barracks of MVP. From then on the game swung back and forth, but as the game progressed further and further MVP’s draft showed much superior scaling and in the end took Fnatic down after a series of pickoffs and teamfights.
Rapiers All Around
The first game in the Upper Bracket clash between the two EU powerhouses saw both drafters digging deep as Kuroky drafted a support Legion Commander and Puppey took a support Doom into his hands. Besides those two outliers, however, the draft was very much on signature heroes for both sides. Matumbaman on Gyro, Jerax on Tusk and Fata- on Invoker met the equally fearsome combinations of w33ha on Windranger, Pieliedie on his Lion and Misery on the Dark Seer. The early game seemed even enough with w33ha pulling slightly ahead in the mid lane matchup while Matumbaman enjoyed absolute freefarm on the safelane. As Liquid began its usual early rotations Secret managed to hold firm, trading evenly with the aggression as w33ha hit some fantastic Shackles. As minute 12 rolled around, a strong counter initiation on the top lane by Secret with a three-man Vacuum+Wall combination got Puppey & co. four kills and gave Secret firm control of the match. While a Roshan kill and the occasional pickoff on one of Secret kept Team Liquid in the game, Secret managed to wipe Liquid yet again minute 19 with their far superior teamfighting lineup. Designed to play from a position of advantage with high pickoff potential, Liquid’s lineup had difficulty holding on and kept falling behind. Banking everything on a Hail Mary push, Liquid bought a rapier on their Gyrocopter, but to no avail as his backline crumbled to Secret’s lineup, letting Secret take game 1.
Game 2 started off with both sides trying to set the pace with early rotations and ganks, but Liquid took the lead this time with all tier 1 towers claimed and Matumbaman and Fata- taking the net worth lead compared to their counterparts on Secret. With Midases on Envy’s Slark and w33ha’s Invoker, though, Secret continued to stall the game, avoiding fights and preferring to trade. Splitpushing and finding the occasional pickoff, Secret looked quite comfortable in delaying Liquid’s timing window until they were ready to fight. Once Secret actually engaged, they evaporated Liquid’s highground push at minute 22, destroying four heroes and all the momentum Team Liquid had had until then. Being far from done, however, a well placed Sentry Ward gave Liquid the chance to take two key pickoffs on the Invoker and the Slark, proceeding to suddenly take two lanes of barracks. Secret managed to take four kills as Liquid tried to retreat but found themselves in a peculiar position now. As engagements went back and forth, Secret, while behind strategically, were very much still in the game. Roshan being the key point of contention now, the turning point was the minute 37 fight around the pit. Owing to exceptional play by Pieliedie and w33ha, TL got wiped, giving Secret the Aegis, the momentum, and the chance for Envy to go for a Divine Rapier. Losing all semblance of map control, Liquid were forced to huddle in their base even though they were 2 lanes up. Trying to break out of the deadlock they were put in, Liquid engaged Secret in their jungle at minute 43 but it turned out to be the wrong idea as they got wiped yet again and lost two barracks, equalising the barracks count. As Mind_Control got caught out by Pieliedie and w33ha trying to splitpush and got killed after buying back, Liquid were forced to a last stand in their base, but the damage from Slark was too much and Secret secured their spot in the Grand Finals.
EG derails the Hypetrain
In the Lower Bracket EG found themselves challenged by MVP.Phoenix for the spot in the Lower Bracket finals against Team Liquid. Both teams focused on individual players to shut down from the get go as MVP tried to bully Universe’s Lone Druid and EG extended the same courtesy to QO’s Ember Spirit. While both teams seemed to be successful in their aggression, Universe made a much faster recovery than QO did and EG were already ahead by minute 9, taking down Roshan and earning themselves a 3k net worth advantage. Building upon their lead, EG took firm control and largely set the pace with superior map control and the resulting higher efficiency in farming. While MVP’s Spectre managed a respectable 18 minute timing for his Sacred Relic in addition to Phase Boots and Drums, Universe easily one-upped him by having the completed Radiance just 2 minutes after and abused pickoffs on Lion, Spectre and Enchantress respectively to take a Tier 2 Tower and threaten Highground. By this point MVP.Phoenix simply looked outclassed as they were unable to stabilise their situation or stop EG from taking advantage of their greater control over the map. Dropping Pickoffs again and again and losing barracks to follow, MVP GG’d out of the first game after 32 minutes
The second game started off just as bad for MVP as the last one ended. Losing the laning stage due to well-executed ganks, the Koreans were already on the back foot right from the start. MP’s invoker only managed to farm up his catch-up Midas at the same time as Universe’s Brood finished his own. While MVP were hanging on and somewhat successful in prolonging the game, EG’s control was never really questioned until they failed a highground push at minute 28, giving MVP.Phoenix the opportunity to push down mid and find yet another good fight. While they were not breaching the base, momentum seemed to have switched decisively into their favor. Korea’s hope only lasted for 5 minutes, however, as the Americans quickly recovered their poise and took a good fight near the top lane, forcing the Slark to buyback. With their options limited, MVP decided to throw caution to the wind by sneaking a Roshan, but they were scouted out. In the fight, QO died without buyback, and the resulting push from EG proved to be irresistible as the TI5 Champions made it to yet another Lower Bracket final.
While the two teams have not met each other yet during this tournament, both have proven that they belong to the elite by making it this far in a tournament full of upsets and surprising results. Unfortunately for Team Liquid, EG go into this series as the clear favorites. Since the Main Event, EG have looked dominant against all opposition save for Team Secret and even against them it was a closely contested 1-2 loss that dropped them into the lower bracket. In comparison, Liquid looked strong against Alliance and destroyed MVP.Phoenix handily but faltered against Secret. While their 0-2 loss was not crushing and Game 2 could have easily gone either way, the inability to close out that second game shows exactly why TL still has a ways to go before they are able to take a championship at a Valve-sponsored event. Additionally, counting the sheer amount of experience EG have on their roster for all-or-nothing situations, it is difficult to see TL having a fighting chance, especially keeping in mind the stage-issues they have had in Minsk when elimination was on the line.
Secret are finding themselves in a familiar situation to Frankfurt: comfortably waiting in the Grand Finals for their challenger and being favored against whoever emerges the victor from the Lower Bracket. Both the potential opponents were sent into the Lower Bracket by Secret, and those results of course speak for themselves. However, Secret should not be complacent and we do not expect them to be, especially keeping the outcome of Frankfurt in mind. Should EG challenge them again, we can be more than sure that ppd will have prepared his team with every single lesson he managed to extract from their previous losses to Secret, and the TI5 Champions are certain to bring their best game to the table. Even if TL, the underdog, should be the one to issue the rechallenge, Secret should do anything but underestimate them. Being a somewhat momentum-based team, a potential win in the first series of the day over EG might just fire them up enough to snatch the crown away from Secret. Secret will surely want to avoid a repeat of their fate at Frankfurt.
Whatever the matchup will be, with the games we have seen so far from the final three, we can be sure that this is going to be a championship day full of quality Dota.
Secret vs Liquid Upper Bracket Finals Game 2
Fnatic vs MVP.Phoenix Lower Bracket Round 4 Game 2