Table of Contents
How did the teams get to the main stage?
Defeated, but not out
Close to the main stage
More on Liquipedia
Note from the editor: This was written before the invites to TI6 was announced.
ESL Frankfurt draws to a close after three intense days of upsets, disappointments, and some very interesting games and strategies. We got to see Kuroky play a mid PA, Vega take the top spot in their group, Na`Vi make their way into the grand finals of yet another tournament, and a rematch between Liquid and OG. We saw compLexity continue to struggle, Alliance narrowly miss out on getting out of their group, and potentially their TI invite, and Fnatic finish in last place along with VP. With TI6 invites coming out shortly, it would be hard to imagine that these placements wouldn’t affect Valve’s decisions on some of these teams and might have doomed some to miss out on The International should things not go their way during the qualifiers. For teams like Na`Vi, however, it might be just what they needed to have a shot at getting a direct invite to TI. For Vega Squadron, their fantastic run gives them potentially game changing momentum heading into the main qualifiers.
In the same group, Alliance and Fnatic were in a heated back and forth exchange which went on for three games. The last game of the series involved MidOne picking up a Divine Rapier on Slark, both teams getting mega creeps, and some strange decisions during do-or-die moments that lead to Alliance triumphing and going up against Vega Squadron to see who would come out on top in their group. Vega Squadron started off a little bit shaky, dropping the first game to Loda’s Terrorblade, but in game 2 they rallied around Solo’s Axe as he dunked his way to victory. Alliance struggled in game 3 and couldn’t find an answer to the 5th pick Alchemist from Vega which eventually allowed Vega to secure their spot as the top team from group A.
Group B went much more as we expected; OG 2-0’d both Na`Vi and compLexity to take the top spot in their group. compLexity had gone up against VP, where a dominant game 1 for compLexity boded well for the North American squad, but VP had other plans and forced compLexity to a game 3. VP’s uncommon picks of Wraith King and Axe would ultimately backfire to the much more stable tricore of Lifestealer, Slardar, Alchemist from compLexity and VP was sent to the elimination match.
In group B it became evident that Na`Vi’s match against OG helped to get them in the right mindset going forward in the tournament. Although they lost, Na`Vi looked calm and collected and at some points they were even slightly ahead in their games vs OG. Going into their match vs VP it was clear Dendi in particular had come out of his games against OG with some confidence in his own abilities as his mid Juggernaut in game 1 and Invoker in game 3 looked on point. Na`Vi vs VP game 3 itself was a desperate fight for Na`Vi; VP had a strong position, but a poorly placed chrono in one fight and a last second Force Staff + Berserker's Call from General’s Axe kept Sonneiko’s Supernova alive long enough to go off and secure Na`Vi’s win over VP.
In game 1 FATA’s Timbersaw had an absolutely fantastic showing as he created a massive amount of space to get MATUMBAMAN’s Slark back into the game after many failed pick off attempts with his Shadow Blade. Alliance made a couple of slip ups around the Roshan pit- even abandoning it entirely at one point early on in the game- which turned the game entirely into Liquids hands.
Game 2 started with Liquid winning all 3 lanes, but Alliance fought back after getting multiple pick-offs and having s4’s Brewmaster control FATA’s Timbersaw for a couple of fights in a row. A few over commitments from Liquid gave Alliance gold and experience on all 3 of their cores. However, the team fight and coordination of Liquid with Chronosphere and Phoenix egg, in combination with the items Liquid managed to acquire, proved to be too much for Alliance to handle. Group A ended in a somewhat surprising way with Vega Squadron on top, but Liquid did make it through into the semi-finals to face off against OG in a rematch.
Na`Vi vs compLexity started off with compLexity taking a decent lead in game 1 with an extremely farmed Tiny with backup from Tide, Lich, Crystal Maiden, and Lifestealer. Going high ground, however, proved to be fatal as Artstyle’s Vengeful Spirit swapped Tiny out of position where a Roar from General’s Beastmaster and Amplify Damage from Ditya Ra’s Slardar proved too much for Tiny to handle. Dendi finished Aghanim’s on Timbersaw and used it to great effect in fights, slowing down Tiny, and killing off the squishier heroes on compLexity’s side while maintaining great positioning, Timberchaining in and out of the fray as needed. compLexity called gg at 51 minutes after being caught after taking Roshan and losing too many heroes in the retreat.
Game 2 was Sonneiko’s show, always being in the right place at the right time to stop ganks or pick off heroes with his Sand King. Na`Vi used the advantage he gave them well, as Dendi’s Tinker combined with General’s hawks from Beastmaster gave Na`Vi the vision advantage and allowed them to take fights that would be advantageous to them while pushing. While Chessie’s Chronospheres were placed well, the follow up just never seemed to be there and so Na`Vi took a 2-0 win over compLexity and advanced to the top 4 at ESL One Frankfurt.
Game 2 started with FATA on Bristleback and Miracle on Lycan trading blows mid, where FATA slowly gained an advantage with quill spray spam. OG and Liquid continued to trade kills; however, Liquid were picking off cores while OG was only getting kills on supports, allowing Liquid’s cores to continue to farm and gain slight advantages over their counterparts. OG began to recover, won a fight around the Rosh pit, and with the strength of their pushing heroes, and Cr1t’s Elder Titan in particular, forced Liquid into a game 3. Game 3 quickly turned into a game of pick-offs for OG as they found Liquid around the map with Miracle’s Tiny and punished nearly every movement Liquid tried to make. Even with MATUMBAMAN’s Slark keeping up in farm with n0tail’s Naga, OG proved to be too much to handle as the game went into the later stages.
Na`Vi vs Vega Squadron started off with an offlane Abaddon from Vega in an attempt to counter the Batrider, Slardar, and Bounty Hunter coming from Na`Vi. We were immediately told what type of game we could expect between these two teams as just 30 seconds into the match General died trying to pull a creep wave while Sonneiko stole a salve in the middle lane that was on the ground next to the T1 tower. The two teams traded blows back and forth but with a Bounty Hunter on Na`Vi’s side, they benefited greatly from Track gold, and soon it was fn’s Slark vs all of Na`Vi. While Fn did look untouchable throughout the entirety of the game, the rest of his team most certainly did not. Fn eventually died for the first time 53 minutes into the game; that was the sign that Na`Vi finally had the game. Fn ended the game 23-2 while Dendi’s Timbersaw was 28-1, both players delivered standout performances. The next game, however, showed that without Fn having that kind of dominating performance, Vega Squadron just couldn’t keep up with Na`Vi as they ran over Vega in a dominant 30 minute game.
With confidence high, OG went into game 2 with with a mid Kunkka pick for n0tail along with a Anti-Mage for Miracle in the safelane. OG was able to farm well in all 3 lanes. Na`Vi had nearly no kill potential to punish any of the lanes, and OG’s early rotations caught Dendi and Ditya Ra unprepared. A great early game allowed Cr1t to pick up a 13 minute blink dagger on his Lion, which in turn allowed OG to get even better initiations. Na`Vi put up a bit of a fight, but it was only while OG’s key spells were on cooldown; when the two teams were at even strength, OG’s teamfight was far superior to Na`Vi’s even without Miracle’s AM contributing. When Miracle finally did come in to fight, Na`Vi quickly fell as OG took a larger and larger lead as the game went on.
Game 3 showed exactly how much respect OG was willing to give to Na`Vi, as they put Miracle on support as Lion, Cr1t on a safelane carry Riki, and n0tail mid on Dragon Knight. OG truly felt invincible as they were punished quite heavily early game for their lanes, but recovered nicely with some great team fight execution and capitalizing on many of Na`Vi’s mistakes. A fantastic Aghs Phoenix save on Moon’s Dark Seer cemented OG’s 3-0 victory over Na`Vi.
OG claims another championship at ESL One Frankfurt, but perhaps more importantly, they have shown even more potential for growth in their roster. If they can successfully role swap to take full advantage of an even wider hero pool, they will be almost impossible to draft against. Fly’s months of hard work have clearly paid off for OG here in Frankfurt. The green dream will now have to show that their dip in performance after the Frankfurt Major was a one time thing, as they now have their sights set on the biggest trophy of them all: The Aegis of the Immortal.
Alliance vs Fnatic Game 3
Team Liquid vs OG Game 3
Na’Vi vs Vega Squadron Game 1
OG vs Na’Vi grand finals Game 3