It’s the second-to-last day of the tournament, and there was still a lot of things to be decided when I woke up this morning. MVP Phoenix and Fnatic played to finish the 5th/6th Round, then we saw Evil Geniuses and the wings gaming slug it out in the Winner’s Bracket Final. Rounding out the day was Digital Chaos playing the winner of MVP and Fnatic to decide who gets to place 4th and who plays in the Loser’s Bracket Finals tomorrow.
MVP wanted to play their in-your-face style, forcing miss plays out of their opponents by never leaving them a second to think. In the first game, they had MP play Timbersaw, QO on Slardar, and FoREv as Dark Seer, and spent all 47 minutes running at Fnatic. MuShi-‘s Tinker and MidOne’s Slark had a grand old time racking up the kills, and Dj played out of his mind as a support Crystal Maiden, ending with a total net worth of over 21,000 Gold and an impressive 8-5-15 record. MVP couldn’t piece together the successful skirmishes and pickoffs they would have needed to keep Fnatic from taking control of the game, which led to their concession after just over three quarter hours of true SEA Dota, final score 36-13.
Game two had Fnatic play Juggernaut for MidOne and Medusa for MuShi-, while MVP opted for a slightly later strategy than before, with MP’s Sven and FoREv on Faceless Void. It was a real brawl of a match, with the longest gap between kills barely over four minutes. The standouts were MuShi- and MidOne, as the former kept himself safe and sound while the latter made sure his deaths were hard fought and well worth it. MVP had spent the whole tournament playing early aggression Dota, and eventually, the other teams would catch on and have answers. When it came down to their last hurrah, they didn’t bring anything new to the table and have to accept the very good 5th/6th place result. Fnatic moved on to play DC after the Winner’s Bracket Finals.
EG’s signature thirty-minute game plan was rooted around Fear on the Anti-Mage and Universe on Weaver, with Suma1l’s Sand King rounding out the crowd control and team fight damage. wings went very heavily into a team fight oriented strategy, relying on Faith_bian’s Tidehunter and iceice’s Enigma to carry the engagements and letting shadow on Razor and iceice’s Demonic Conversions take objectives in the aftermath. Fear never got to bring his farming potential to bear, as a delayed Battlefury meant he couldn’t get his items early enough to overwhelm wings. Instead, bLink’s Timbersaw and shadow were able to stack up their damage outputs during team fights controlled almost completely by Faith_bian and iceice. Universe couldn’t carry his team without the heavy control he had as Faceless Void a few short days ago, and EG had to concede in the 38th minute at 17-11.
The second game had some great plays come out from wings, but was decided fairly early when ppd picked Mirana first, a Suma1l hero through and through, before last picking an Alchemist for Suma1l to take mid and pushing Fear onto Mirana instead. Whatever the normally omniscient captain was trying to do, it didn’t work out, as Suma1l opted to skip a farming Radiance and only just pushed over 600 Gold Per Minute. Alchemist needs a significant gold advantage to be relevant at almost all stages of the game, and the successful Alchemist players win by posting up >1,000 GPMs. Fear went into the Aghanim’s Scepter for Mirana, forgoing any right click potential and leaving Universe as Nightstalker to be the team’s only real physical presence in fights. He went straight for an Aghanim’s as well, trying to fill the utility role that had no carry in sight. Whether miscommunication, mistimed power windows, or just miss plays in general, wings had no trouble steamrolling. With shadow’s Huskar and Faith_bian’s Beastmaster taking care of heroes and early tower pushes to enable bLink’s Medusa to farm up for the late game assurance, EG were losing at every moment of the match, even with Suma1l’s work to keep them up in the net worth advantage. The American team called “GG” after only 23 minutes of play, final score 15-12. wings secured themselves one last round of Dota, playing in the Grand Finals tomorrow, while EG has one more round of Dota to get there, playing against the winners of DC and Fnatic earlier in the day.
Fnatic was coming off of a 2-0 victory, and the momentum was expected to carry them past DC, the team most people thought would finish 16th if not for Escape Gaming and TNC Pro Team. It’s been win after win for SUNSfan’s squad, and MISERY busted out a unique draft for game one. Ursa was drafted mid, for w33, and had a surprise last pick Dark Seer for Moo in the off-lane, making the first pick Slardar the fifth position support for the captain himself. Fnatic had a slightly more traditional draft, with Phantom Lancer and Mirana for MidOne and MuShi- and an off-lane Legion Commander played by Ohaiyo`. EG’s twist went awry, but this one turned out to be a good choice for DC, as Resolut1on’s Slark and Saksa’s Keeper of the Light proved to be too much for Ohaiyo` to handle, and after his poor start he did not manage to get a single kill. MidOne couldn’t get going either, a problem that was not present for w33, and DC was able to overrun Fnatic with mega creeps after 49 minutes, at 30-13.
Game two had more standard choices from DC, while Fnatic went with a safe-lane MuShi- Huskar and opted to have MidOne face w33’s Invoker with an Ember Spirit. Moo played very well on Beastmaster, playing somewhat of a sacrificial lamb to ensure his team won the fights, but Ohaiyo` was just plain sacrificed on Faceless Void. All that aside, this game was an absolute masterclass of what heights Invoker can reach. w33 is better than anyone on the hero, and if there was any doubt about that fact before this game it has been surely put to rest. His 23-4-13 record, 714 Gold Per Minute, and over 25,200 Hero Damage was among the best performances of the tournament for any hero, and probably ranks in the top three Invoker games of all time. If you or someone you love plays Invoker, you absolutely need to either watch this match from w33’s perspective in the client or have that other poor bastard do it themselves, because it will elevate your play. Even if you have no desire to get better and are thrilled to keep ruining my pubs, even if you have never seen a replay of anything before in your life, please just watch this one match from his perspective. His team didn’t need to be carried to victory, but w33 put them up on his shoulders anyways, taking the game in the 47th minute, final score 38-26. With the win, DC extend their “surely that’s it” streak to the Loser’s Bracket Finals against EG, to be played tomorrow, for the chance to meet wings in the Grand Finals shortly afterward.
After the final series, Icefrog announced a new hero, Sun Wukong the Monkey King (based on information from Dota 1, back when it was a Warcraft 3 mod), who has a staff and uses illusions to do amazingly cool stuff. He’s coming out in the New Journey update during Fall of this year. More information will surely follow, but also it’s important to note that TWO NEW HEROES were announced at this event. Icefrog and Valve are usually rocketing along at glacial speeds, but even this is well above what we can expect from them. It’s been an amazing tournament so far, with heartbreak and joy and newfound heroes fighting above their so-called weight class, but the pinnacle of the whole thing is tomorrow when we’ll learn whether Juggernaut won the Arcana vote or if memes really can be more than just dreams.
This article was written by a past writer, Daniel Giroday.