The penultimate series, pushing teams into third place or towards the Aegis of Champions. Both teams have a lot to play for: Evil Geniuses are the returning champions in a sport where perennial success isn’t just rare, it’s literally non-existent. Zai wants to prove he belongs as the odd man out from last year’s team, and Fear wants to win in spite of his history of arm injuries. On the opposite side, Digital Chaos are the meme team, the joke team, the team who have SirActionSlacks listed as a sub. They weren’t supposed to be here, and only got through because NA is the weakest region. They weren’t supposed to place second in their group. They weren’t supposed to make it out of bottom half. MISERY has been to every International, and has been the underdog every year. He and w33 were kicked from a premier team after winning a Valve Major, and were written off by many as a result. It’s NA Dota versus NA Dota, fighting for the chance to prove themselves as being better than they are. And that this region isn’t just the meme one (shoutouts to 7ckngmad, one EU team in Top 8).
EG led off with a last pick Queen of Pain for Suma1L to play against w33’s Mirana. Fear was on Luna, a late game presence for when EG (hopefully) survives the mid-game oriented Tidehunter-Razor on Moo and Resolut1on. Unfortunately for the blue bleeders, w33 seemed driven to greater and greater heights and led his teammates upwards, crushing EG in 35 minutes and 21-9. None of the EG cores got enough in their pockets to start climbing back up their net worth disadvantage, and ppd and Zai had even worse times as Shadow Demon and Kunkka. Conversely, MISERY didn’t die at all on Naga Siren, and Saksa only dropped one as Oracle. EG looked like they got hit by a truck.
They came back strong in the second game, with Suma1L on Medusa making sure that w33’s Jakiro and the support combo of Ogre Magi-Witch Doctor for MISERY and Saksa couldn’t push high ground. Universe’s Beastmaster kept EG ahead in the vision competition, and Fear’s Sven had an excellent game, even blink-snatching the last hit on Roshan and the Aegis of Immortals out from under the slimy nose of Resolut1on’s Slark. Eventually, the single core lineup ran out of steam for DC, and EG were able to storm the high ground on the backs of two separate damage dealers that DC struggled to lock down. 45 minutes later, with the score at 25-12, DC called “GG” and the series went to 1-1.
The final game of the Loser’s Bracket Finals, the vital fork in the road for both teams between “only Top 3” and one more chance, was essentially a Best of One after the 1-1 draw so far in the series. DC went for a w33 Ursa and Resolut1on Slark, backed up by Moo’s Beastmaster. EG picked a Brewmaster mid for Suma1L, a Tidehunter for Universe, and a Terrorblade for Fear. This game was wild, with EG’s superior five-man up against DC’s split-push and kite. In the early game, w33 made some much needed pickoffs to get Resolut1on the space to farm up his items. By the time Resolut1on got started, Fear and EG were ready to contest a Roshan at around seventeen minutes, which they successfully took. Moo was nowhere to be found at that fight, though, because he was kicking in the Ranged Barracks on EG’s top lane. A similar pattern continued, where Resolut1on and w33 would require all of EG’s resources at wherever the fight was taking place, and even if DC lost, Moo was pressuring high ground on the opposite side of the map. This one came all the way down to the wire, with Fear’s illusion army knocking on the exposed Radiant ancient before DC outplayed and dismantled the EG team. They took the “GG” push all the way down mid and played objective gaming by ignoring EG’s heroes and focusing on the throne. 48 minutes later, DC took the game out from behind, 22-29. EG has to take the third place finish, and DC get to play wings later today to fight for all the marbles.
This article was written by a past writer, Daniel Giroday.