The Starladder/I-League Dota invitational kicked off today on April 14th with quite shocking upsets and surprises. The tournament was set to run on day 1 with 4 best of 3 match ups and what came out of it were some of the best Dota 2 games played in a while.
The first match up of the day was Chinese gaming organization LGD Gaming who had recently changed their roster drastically with the addition of carry player “Aggresif” from CDEC Gaming, vs the strong newly updated Russian squad of Vega Squadron. Vega who haven’t won a tournament since ESL One New York played a very aggressive strategy running Ursa in their first game against the Chinese titans which was strongly countered with an infamous ghost scepter buy on Xiao 8 causing the bear to become nearly useless. After a hard-fought 2 games LGD swept Vega ending the series at 2-0 and sending Vega to the lower bracket of the main event.
The next game of the day was set with the Swedish giants Alliance who within the past few months had staged their comeback to the pro scene with the revival of their former ti3 squad, against yet another strong Russian organization, Virtus Pro. Although it the games seemed at first going in favor of the Russians, the Swedes were able to pull the game back with their comfort heroes including “Admiral Bulldog’s” Beastmaster, “Akke’s” Chen, as well as the infamous “s4” QoP. The series was dominated by Alliance ending in a 2-0 with Virtus Pro being sent to the lower bracket. The captain of Virtus Pro, Artsiom “Fng” Barshak, commented on the series with strong distaste:
Lack of discipline
— Artsiom Barshak (@Fnggshka) April 14, 2016
The next series of the tournament was the newly created Vici Gaming Reborn squad who were currently playing without their star mid lane “NoNo”. Replacing him was legendary pro player and well known coach “Mikasa”.
NoNo was unable to secure his passport, so coach Mikasa will be filling in for him.
The team is en route to Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/L3WAh2egls
— ViCi Gaming (@ViCi_Gaming) April 12, 2016
However this did not deter the squad as they were able to take a convincing 2-0 victory over Dota Pit League Season 4 Champions MVP Phoenix. VG.Reborn sent the SEA giants to the lower bracket where they will face either elimination or hope to continue on in the tournament.
The day concluded with the final series which had ti1 victors Na’Vi vs Frankfurt Major Champions OG. The series was action packed with NaVi taking game 1 on the back of Dendi’s Death Prophet. Navi were able to claim several rosh fights and eventually broke the base of OG ending game 1. The second game however showcased a strong draft from OG with the pick up of Spectre for BigDaddyNotail. Making use of the strong pub picked hero, OG were able to gain core items on Notail fast and with the addition of Miracle’s Puck it was only a matter of time before Na’Vi’s base fell. Game 3 was the deciding factor for both teams and the drafts showcased signature heroes for both sides. Ditya Ra on his Lycan gained strong early game farm and advantages through early roshan fights while slowly sieging the outer towers of OG. However the most crucial factor of the game was the huge farm difference between both teams. By the end of the game, notorious for his usually high networths, Miracle on his Puck had the 3rd lowest net worth in the game. It was only a matter of time before OG fell and were sent to the lower bracket by the Ukranian squad.
With day 1 concluded, day 2 will commence with the first lower bracket game of Virtus Pro vs Vega Squadron. The action packed game between the two Russian squads will be a sight to behold. The upper bracket will also continue tomorrow with Alliance vs LGD. Both games will be quite interesting to watch and we look forward to the surprises, upsets and glorious moments that will occur as the tournament continues.