Focus Mode Off
Day 3 - 5: Down to threeIn the last three days we’ve seen some amazing storylines both start and end in Manila. Digital Chaos didn’t manage to keep their groupstage momentum going in the bracket stage of the tournament, but that can easily be blamed on the fact that they had to play two of the best teams at the tournament back to back. Nevertheless, DC went the way of compLexity Gaming in TI5, as they were eliminated from the tournament in two straight games, and tied with coL as the highest placing NA team. In the same round, we also saw Team Empire get sent home, as LGD proved to be a much greater opponent than Team Secret. With that win, the Chinese juggernauts started their lower bracket run that would take them all the way to the top 4, eventually losing to Liquid. Just like Liquid, LGD were demoted to the lower bracket in the first round by a SEA team and then went on an impressive run in the lower bracket. On their way to their eventual demise, LGD - who we severely underrated coming into the tournament - showed us that you can never count out Xiao8, as they took out both VG.R and MVP Phoenix, two teams with very different strengths and playstyles. And with a result like this, LGD should be in the running for one of those golden tickets to TI.
So now 13 out of the 16 teams who started their road to glory have been sent home and we’re left with the last 3: OG, Newbee, and Team Liquid. Having these teams in the final day is no big shock to Dota fans and - whether you’re a fan of them or not - we should expect some ridiculously good Dota tomorrow.
The Path to the Finals
OGThe Frankfurt Major champions are back in force in Manila, after a slump in the last patch, and are planning to become the first organization to win two official Valve events. And so far so good: OG has been playing some incredible Dota over the last week and showed their ability to adapt in the upper bracket finals against Newbee, who had beat them 2-0 in the groupstage. OG reacted and managed to turn things around, beating the best China has to offer 2-1.
On their way to the grand finals, OG also met MVP Phoenix and served them one of the biggest smackdowns Dota 2 has ever seen. The series was over in less than an hours worth of gameplay and, maybe more importantly, OG won game 2 in 25 minutes with a score of 24-0. All in all, OG have found their way back to the absolute top in Manila and no matter who they face off against in the finals, Fly, Cr1t-, MoonMeander, Miracle-, and Notail will be the favorites.
NewbeeNewbee recently went on one of the most impressive runs we’ve ever seen in professional Dota, going 29 straight games without losing, eventually being defeated by none other than OG. For a team like Newbee, who a year ago had almost become a joke in the scene, regaining the respect they’ve lost is huge. Winning Manila would not only mean that Newbee would once again be considered the best team in the world, as after their TI4 victory, but it would also mean the stamp of being a washed up organization could be washed off them once and for all.
Newbee was, as previously mentioned, sent to the lower bracket finals by OG, the team they beat to win their group earlier in the tournament. For Newbee it looked like the winner bracket finals would go the same way, a 2-0 victory, as they took the lead after game 1, thanks to an incredible early and early-mid game. As everyone who has read this far knows, the series didn’t end well for Newbee. OG made adjustments on the fly (no pun intended) and beat back Newbee in the next two games.
Team LiquidTL started the bracket stage off with a big dose of the humble pie from MVP Phoenix. Coming into the tournament with their recent Epicenter victory in the bag, Team Liquid was the favorite in all the polls and, who knows, it might have gotten to their head. Liquid lost in the first round of the upper bracket and had to reboot their mindset. And that they did. Since being relegated, Liquid has gone on an OG-esque run, but unlike OG in Frankfurt, Liquid hasn’t lost a game. Let me reiterate that: Liquid hasn’t lost a single game in the lower bracket. TL’s strength really lies in their trust in one another. In several of their games, Liquid has been behind after the early game, but they’ve always clawed their way back. Where other teams would panic, Liquid’s players patiently wait for their timings and then explode onto the map with beautifully coordinated teamfights and aggression so controlled that even a general would be impressed. Just ask coL, NaVi, Fnatic, and LGD.
Due to being in the lower bracket, Liquid has not yet played OG or Newbee in Manila. Even though they recently beat both the teams to win Epicenter, I would still hesitate to call the Europeans the favorites in any of the matchups. TL has - as previously mentioned - sometimes looked shaky in the early game and against teams like Newbee and OG, there is no room for mistakes.