If we were to go back to January 21st we would see a similar match being played in front of our eyes. EG vs VGJ.Thunder in the finals of a tournament. However, unlike the dominant 3-0 victory VGJ.Thunder earned at the start of the new year, EG would claim revenge and in an even more brutal fashion. In only 46 minutes EG claimed first place over VGJ.Thunder in an impressive 2-0 win. For EG this is their first championship since the Manila Masters nearly a year ago and it comes with some much needed qualifying points. In fact three of the top four teams that earned points; VGJ.Thunder, EG, and Na`Vi all earned are lined up at 6th, 7th, and 8th respectively on the DPC leader board. For them each point earned is another step away from the teams behind them breathing down their necks.
A New Hope
For Na`Vi who now sit 8th they look to increase their lead of 299 points over Mineski at every opportunity they can. Lil and Lebron’s addition to the team started off fairly rocky but their 2-1 victory over Fnatic, while not enough on its own, is still impressive. There were plenty of games during the event where they still looked a little lost but during the times when it mattered Dendi and Crystalize stepped up big be it with a Divine Rapier pick up on Lina or just reliable carry play on heroes like Gyrocopter and Morphling.
Against EG that wasn’t enough though as Arteezy, Sumail, Fear, Cr1t, and Misery have all proven to be formidable in their new environments. While EG was always a favourite to win the tournament, the way they did it was somewhat surprising. At no point did it feel like Na`Vi or VGJ.Thunder had a chance to win a game against them. EG’s flawless tournament run brings answers to a lot of previously unanswered questions. The team, under the leadership of Misery and coached by Bulba proved they could handle themselves quite well with a multitude of strategies and heroes played during the event.
EG Strikes Back
While Fear may have been thrust into the mid lane after years of playing as a support he has quickly caught up to players who have never taken a break from the role. His Viper, Visage, and Dragon Knight, while at times unstable, provided the tanky team fight and push EG needed to take advantage of their early game success. Not much else can be said about the games EG played at GESC because of how straight forward most of their wins were. They went into the early game with a plan, executed it well, and ended the game before giving their opponent a way back into the game. Where only a month or two ago we may have questioned EG’s position as the best team in North America they have rebounded back to being one of the best teams in the world.
EG’s performance in Jakarta follows their unfortunate knock out in the Bucharest Major at the hands of Team Liquid after a 3-0 swiss group stage. Even in their match against Team Liquid which ended 2-1 they looked like they might clinch the series multiple times. While EG had been struggling earlier in the season they seem to be coming out of their funk just in time for the run up to TI8. Their 3-0 loss to VGJ.Thunder at Galaxy Battles is now a distant memory.
The Return of DDC
The runner-ups were once again VGJ.Thunder in their 2nd tournament in a row. While they once again couldn’t win a single game in the grand finals they have moved themselves into a strong position in the competitive field of Dota 2. The addition of DDC to the team turned them from a non-existent threat in China’s qualifiers to one of the strongest teams in the region. Of course it is not only DDC that deserves credit but the team as a whole for coming together and turning their fortune around in another a month after DDC joined them. While seeing Sylar return to form as a carry is a treat to watch, the more unknown players on his team also stand out as some extraordinary new talent from China. Freeze, Yang, and Fade don’t have much exposure when it comes to competing at lan events but they certainly proved they belong there with their play. VGJ.Thunder went from having no qualifying points at all to 6th in two tournaments proving that claiming one of the final TI8 invites will be a fight to the finish.
Current DPC rankings can be seen here
Semifinals Na`Vi vs Fnatic Game 3
Group Stage Na`Vi vs EG Game 1