Interesting story lines abound at this yearâ€™s TI.
Yesterdayâ€™s matches were some for the ages â€“ interesting upsets, all out aggression, and a bit of nostalgia as well.
In LGD.Forever Young vs. TNC Pro Team, we saw our boys play their hearts out in a thrilling back-and-forth, Game 1, where Carlo â€œKukuâ€ Palad pulled off some amazing plays on the Alchemist, stretching the game out to little over an hour. He â€œInflameâ€ Yongzheng on the Natureâ€™s Prophet ensured LGD of a favorable splitpush the longer the game went, and TNCâ€™s heroes couldnâ€™t find enough farm as they lost map control and devoted resources to the Alchemist, eventually falling to LFY. In Game 2, the ninth-pick Broodmother for Kuku struggled to take over the game as it was countered by Du â€œMonetâ€ Pengâ€™s Bristleback who purposefully changed lanes to match him.
The second series of the day was LGD Gaming vs. Virtus.Pro saw the CIS squad rise up as the Westâ€™s last hope in the upper bracket, taking out the Chinese side in two quick games â€“ both under 30 minutes. The first game saw Ilya â€œLilâ€ Ilyukâ€™s Night Stalker and Alexei â€œSoloâ€ Berezinâ€™s Crystal Maiden set up kills all over the map while Pavel â€œ9Pashaâ€ Khvastunovâ€™s Omniknight had a very strong laning phase. Vladimir â€œNo[o]neâ€ Minenkoâ€™s Lina negated Yao â€œYaoâ€ Zhengzhengâ€™s Lich, nuking down LGDâ€™s heroes left and right â€“ earning himself a 10/1/7 KDA by the end of the game. In game 2 VP drafted a strong offlane with a Chen and Sand King, contesting Wang â€œAmeâ€ Chunyuâ€™s Troll Warlord on the safelane and scoring multiple kills on the Yaoâ€™s Keeper of the Light. Roman â€œRamzes666â€ Kushnarevâ€™s bloodlust-powered Faceless Void took over the game and not dying even once â€“ ending with a 10/0/8 KDA.
The series between Team Liquid and Team Secret went all the way to three games â€“ with Secret taking the first game with a fast aggressive Drow Ranger strategy, while Liquid was able to pull off a comeback by taking the next two games, ultimately eliminating Secret from the tournament. Game 2 saw Alchemist in the hands of Amer â€œMiracle-â€ Al-Barkawi ensuring an early lead. Interestingly, Lasse â€œMATUMBAMANâ€ Urpalainen led the assist counter with 13, only taking one kill to his name. Game 3 was the opposite, with MATUMBAMAN taking the lead count this time with 13 kills on the Necrophos, and Miracle- got an impressive 7/0/18 KDA. Maroun â€œghâ€ Merhejâ€™s Keeper of the Light made plays that were integral to the teamâ€™s success.
The final series of the day between Evil Geniuses and Team Empire saw the biggest upset of the tournament so far, with the CIS squad taking out the NA favorites in an impressive 2:0. Rostyslav â€œfnâ€ Lozovoiâ€™s Ember Spirit impressed by racking up kills on EGâ€™s heroes and pulling off some nice escapes, while Artour â€œArteezyâ€ Babaevâ€™s Phantom Lancer struggled against Vladimir â€œRodjERâ€ Nikogosianâ€™s Earthshaker and Roman â€œResolut1onâ€ Fominokâ€™s Sven. In game 2 we saw Resolut1on shine on the Sven once again, along with fnâ€™s midlane Mirana. The game was an exciting back-and-forth that lasted over 50 minutes, with Empire taking the edge only at the last moments thanks to phenomenal play from Andrii â€œGhostikâ€ Kadyk on the Venomancer.
Day 3â€™s matches are also set to form some interesting storylines â€“ Invictus Gaming will be facing their local rivals in Newbee, with some of Chinaâ€™s legacies vying for a winnerâ€™s final spot: TI2 winner Zhang â€œFaithâ€ Hongda the only previous TI winner left in the upper bracket, and Xu â€œBurNIngâ€ Zhilei, a legendary player in his own right, looking for the one championship to crown all his past achievements.
Meanwhile, Virtus.Pro stands as the last hope of the West in the upper bracket, carrying the dreams of the CIS region to bring the Aegis back to them after years of struggling to field a team that can truly contest for the championship. They will be facing the strongest team to come out of the group stages, LGD.Forever Young. Itâ€™s a nostalgic clash of CIS versus China, and with both teams playing at such a high level, this series is sure to bring out some very good Dota.
We will also see a rematch of last yearâ€™s TNC Pro Team versus OG â€“ this time with TNC starting from the upper bracket, and not quite as underdogs anymore. Will the struggling OG squad fall once again to TNC in the match that separates the top and bottom half of TIâ€™s 16 teams? Will our nation once again stand on its feet and prove that we can stand toe-to-toe with the Dota sceneâ€™s titans?
LGD Gaming versus Digital Chaos will be the second match-up from the lower bracket, and will see NAâ€™s last hopes in DC face one of Chinaâ€™s strongest teams here at TI â€“ will DC be able to pull it off? Will Abed Azel â€œAbedâ€ Yusop finally be able to play his signature Meepo, here where it counts the most, in a series that will decide their elimination?
Letâ€™s tune in to find out.