Our second round of the Playoffs kicked off today in Singapore, and there were plenty of surprises in store.
It’s the cream of the crop in our Playoffs, and we’ve certainly been treated to some top tier Dota as a result. Today’s games saw more than a few upsets! Let’s take a look and see how our remaining teams are faring at Major.
Our first round of the Upper Bracket had plenty of spicy moments, and today was just as exciting. With the best teams in EU, NA and China duking it out for a chance at the Grand Final and a $200,000 USD prize.
Evil Geniuses vs Invictus Gaming
Things were looking for Invictus out of the laning phase. Thanks to a nice laning phase for Thiay “JT-” Jun Wen’s Alchemist they’d managed to secure themselves a 1k gold advantage. And EG were only up by one in the kill count. Things were looking good for the Chinese team.
Invictus were pushing out their gold lead toward the 3k mark, when a team fight at 17-minutes let Evil Geniuses pull some advantage back their way. They pushed into the Rosh pit, and the resulting skirmish around it proved to be the real real tipping point for the NA boys.
Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen looked peerless on his Pango, rocketing in to help Abed “Abed” Yusop’s Puck secure a vital kill on Zhou “Emo” Yi’s Void Spirit.
Invictus had no choice but to flee back to their high ground and lick their wounds. But EG were not about to slow down the pace now the momentum was on their side. They took down four on the side of IG, bringing the kills 14-9.
Invictus did their best to hold out, but EG were relentless. They closed out Game 1 at the 30-minute mark, 25-13 in the kills.
Game 2 saw EG take the Alch pick this time, for Artour “Arteezy” Babaev of course. They came in hard and fast, securing first blood.
Chan “Oli” Chon Kien got absolutely deleted coming up out of the river at 11-minutes. EG were playing this game with a vicious streak. Still Oli was avenged in a nice skirmish a minute later, which saw IG take down three of EG’s heroes. Bringing the kills 5-8.
But Evil Geniuses were still leading the kills as the mid game approached. They pushed into Rosh at 18-minutes, taking the aegis for Arteezy.
Invictus just couldn’t seem to land a kill on EG’s cores. It was an especially rough game for Hu “Kaka” Liangzhi on Shadow Shaman. He went 0/6/4. But flyfly didn’t do much better on the Bloodseeker with a final score of 0/6/3.
Emo’s Morphling pick needed to hit late game to really become effective. Something EG just wasn’t going to let happen. Arteezy had him well out farmed. A difference of 15.7k between the net worth of the two carries in this game. And that gave them the power they needed to push. They took the series 2-0 with a final team wipe at 30-minutes and a 28k lead.
Invictus were falling to the Lower Bracket.
Team Secret vs PSG.LGD
Our next series of the day was the head-to-head battle between Team Secret and PSG.LGD.
Clement “Puppey” Ivanov is known for his unorthodox drafts, while LGD tend to prefer the tried-and-tested combos. So, this series was sure to be interesting to say the last.
LGD’s draft looked very strong coming into Game 1. With Wang “Ame” Chunyu on Monkey King and Cheng “NothingToSay” Jin Xiang on a Death Prophet in mid. LGD’s bans also did a good job of limiting Nisha’s hero pool in mid.
Still, Secret took out first blood before the game had hit 1-minute. But first blood alone isn’t enough to own your lanes, and that’s exactly what LGD did. With NothingToSay taking control of mid and Ame and Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida’s Bloodseker drawing against Secret in top lane.
At 10-minutes, there was still a slight gold advantage for Secret, but a pick off at 15-minutes on Troll Warlord (Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen) let LGD put Secret on the back foot.
LGD pushed in for a Rosh attempt just before the 20-minute mark, and then took the fight straight to Secret. Wiping out Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg’s Pango twice with a dieback. It was 14-5 in the kills and the Wild Card entrants were putting on a dominant showing against EU’s top seeded team.
A push for Dire’s top rax at 31-minutes didn’t go perfectly as planned for the Chinese team, with 3 falling to Secret’s defense. But this was not enough to turn the game around though. At 41-minutes, LGD finally wore the European team down. Game 1 was theirs.
We saw a much stronger draft for Secret in Game 2, with Matu taking an Alchemist and an Oracle for Puppey. But it was Zai’s Venomancer pick which made their side look so dangerous. He took out first blood for Secret with a tower dive on Captain Zhang “y`” Yiping’s Elder Titan.
Still, NothingToSay was looking nice on his Void Spirit, starting his Agh’s build almost immediately.
The kills were 5-3 at 13-minutes as the game moved out of the lanes. Secret had a 3k gold advantage, and Matu was 3k ahead of Ame in the farm.
A skirmish at 18-minutes turned the way of Secret, letting them take down four on the side of LGD. By now, the net worth advantage had ballooned to 6k. LGD were finding themselves outpaced.
Secret pushed in for the Rosh at 20-minutes, securing it for Matu. Then, as they were headed for the high ground, LGD abruptly called it. Obviously unwilling to face a team with a 12k net worth lead and an Alchemist with over 20k farm in his stash.
It was 1-1, and our series was headed to a third game.
Secret came in aggressive again for the third map. They took first blood before the bounties even spawned and the kills were one apiece by the time the first minute started ticking.
Still, this was a strange draft on the part of Secret. The last pick Bane for Puppey didn’t seem to have the synergy they were hoping for. By 11-minutes, LGD had a 3k gold lead and were 4 up in the kills.
And from the end of the lanes, it was just a slaughter. Matu’s Phantom Assassin had nowhere to farm. By 20-minutes, there was 4 levels between Ame’s Monkey King and Matu’s PA.
Poor Zai also found his Windranger an easy target for LGD’s pick offs. He fell 9 times in this match. With Faith_bian snatching 4 of those kills for his Lycan, who was more than beefy by the time the game neared 30-minutes.
LGD pushed for the high ground at 34-minutes and the series was theirs. An unexpected upset for many fans, who saw Secret coasting through the Upper Bracket to the finals. But undoubtedly a spectacular showing from our Wild Card team, who more than earned their victory.
Our Upper Bracket matches done for the day; it was time to look to the Lower Bracket. With two teams set for elimination, there was plenty riding on the line.
Vici Gaming vs OB.Neon Esports
The first series in Round 2 of our Lower Bracket saw another of our Wild Card teams, Vici Gaming, go head to head with OB.Neon; the last hope for SEA at the Major.
And it was a very nice start to the game for Neon. With a solo kill by Erin “Yopaj” Jasper Ferrer on Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang’s Puck in the first minute.
Neon held their own through the lanes, but as the game neared the midpoint, Vici’s draft started to come online. A skirmish just before 21-mintues saw them bring three of Neon’s heroes down pulling the gold lead back their way.
Yang “Poyoyo” Shaohan was well and truly ready with his Aghanim’s Scepter in the stash by 25-minutes. It was a phenomenal performance for him, running 14/0/9 on his Juggernaut by game’s end.
Vici just ran over Neon during the last 10-minutes of the game. Putting away kill after kill to give themselves a lead of 13. It was 16-29 when Neon finally fell. The first map belonged to Vici Gaming.
However, things didn’t look so simple on our next map. Neon drafted an extremely mobile line-up. With Rolen Andrei “skem” Ong taking a Nature’s Prophet, Prieme “PlayHard” Ejay Maque on a Pango and stand-in Yang “deth” Wu Heng on Timbersaw.
But Neon’s agile draft was playing into an Alchemist pick for Ren “old eLeVeN” Yangwei, something which had the potential to turn things toward Vici’s favour. It was a slow start to things, with Vici nabbing first blood past the 5-min mark.
But it was Neon who were holding the net worth lead. A 2.5k advantage at 10-minutes, with a massive team fight going their way. Ori’s Void Spirit fell twice in the span of a minute, and Poyoyo’s Gyrocopter was not faring much better. What Vici needed to get back into the game, was for Alchemist to get fat, so they were holding for the late game as best as possible.
Another skirmish at 32-minutes saw Neon wipe 4 of Vici’s heroes off the map as they moved in to take a second rax. Vici were throwing everything out to hold the line. But with Neon up by 40k, there was just no stopping this train.
Alas, eLeVeN’s Alch farm didn’t take off fast enough. While skem’s NP ended up earning a massive 832GPM.
At 36-minutes, Neon took the game, 11-39. It was going to be another three-game series.
If the last map of this series was anything to go by, Neon seemed to have Vici’s number.
While the laning phase started out with some give and take, things were not looking good for eLeVeN’s Pango pick. Neon took him out just before 2-minutes to snag first blood, and then again toward the end of the lanes.
While Ori did manage to find a couple of pick offs on PlayHard’s Tusk, the kills were still close. But then, a skirmish at 14-minutes in the Dire jungle saw three on the side of Vici fall.
Neon were picking up the pace. By 17-minutes they had a solid 3k gold lead and were 6 up on Vici in the kills. Things were looking rough for China.
As the game pushed on, Neon kept looking stronger. Stand-in deth had his BKB by 20-minutes, and then the Nature’s Prophet was almost impossible for Vici to pin down.
A beautiful Dream Coil from Poyoyo’s Puck at 24-minutes just sealed Vici’s fate. With just 6-kills on the board, and their cores well behind in the farm, there was no coming back from this bloodbath.
Neon took the win in Game 3, and the series 2-1. While Vici found themselves eliminated.
Virtus.pro vs Thunder Predator
It was a thrilling series between the bears from CIS; Virtus.pro and SA’s dark horse, Thunder Predator to wrap things up at Day 7 of the Major.
Virtus.pro had a nice draft with a Death Prophet for Dmitry “DM” Dorokhin and Danil “gpk” Skutin on Mars.
However the Snapfire pick from Joel “MoOz” Mori Ozambela was certainly going to make things interesting.
It was a very even start to our map with the kills only at 2-2 by the end of the lanes and a 1k advantage in the gold for Thunder Predator. But Virtus.pro were still in the game at this stage, finding a few pick offs to keep the net worth close.
However, TP pushed into the Rosh early, taking it at 17-minutes with the aegis on Alonso “MNZ” León. At 20-minutes, they shut down four of VP’s heroes, including both Mars and Death Prophet. Leaving Egor “Nightfall” Grigorenko’s Phantom Assassin alone to farm and fend for themselves.
Thunder Predator rolled down the mid, taking the T2 and forcing VP out of their own jungle. They had an 8k lead at 24-minutes, and were pushing for the Rosh again by 26.
Witn MNZ’s the aegis once again on MNZ’s Weaver, who was sitting pretty with both a BKB and MKB by this point. TP started making moves. They took an all team wipe on Virtus.pro in the mid at 30-minutes. Two-minutes later the bears had to call GG as TP shut down all three of their cores.
Game 1 belonged to South America.
Much like our first map, we saw a conservative start to the lanes. Virtus.pro took out first blood at 4-minutes with a kill on VP’s captain, Vitalie “Save-” Melnic.
However as the laning phase finished, Thunder Predator were clearly dominating. The kills were even at 5-5 at the 15-minute mark. But TP were leading the farm race.
MNZ had won his lanes, and his Troll Warlord was getting fat fast. He had a Battle Fury done by 11-minutes, and a BKB on the way. Their
Thunder Predator looked dominant on this map, and the longer VP played it, the better the boys from SA looked against them. A full team wipe at the 29-minute mark gave TP a 19k net worth lead as they pushed into the mid rax, taking it and then riding that momentum straight into another Roshan attempt.
But it was MoOz on his signature Earth Spirit who really stole the show in this game. He hunted Nightfall’s Monkey King persistently. Lopping down trees left right and centre to help his team find a pick off on the fleet-footed core at 34-minutes.
It was their third Rosh attempt, close to the 40-minute mark, when Thunder Predator decided it was time to put VP out of their misery. At 42-minutes, Thunder Predator closed out the game with 28k and 15-kills up on the CIS team.
They’ll now go on to face Invictus Gaming in Round 3 of our Lower Bracket tomorrow. But it’s goodbye for the bears, as Virtus.pro is eliminated from the Singapore Major.
We’re just two days away from the end of all the excitement! Be sure to tune in for all the Upper and Lower Bracket action tomorrow on Twitch!
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