Game two saw several heroes get through the draft that really haven’t been in this event. VP was able to get the Naga Siren again, and this time around paired it with the Silencer and Earthshaker. CompLexity were able to secure the Broodmother and paired it with several popular heroes in Queen of Pain, Winter Wyvern, and Anti-Mage, but also the less popular Chen. Despite compLexity taking a strong lead throughout the middle game, Virtus Pro was able to take over the team fights with strong control via the Naga Siren and Broodmother, eventually taking the game.
In game three, compLexity saw their value to take the team fights in the previous game, and banned out the Naga Siren, taking the Undying for themselves. CompLexity let the Broodmother through again and Virtus Pro took it up -- and they absolutely made compLexity regret letting them have the spider, as it was used it to control the entire game. The Europeans had complete control of the lanes, and compLexity’s carries were never able to get the gold and experience they needed. VP won game three and almost made it look easy; this game shows exactly why Broodmother has been banned so many times in TI this year.
Team Secret vs. Invictus Gaming
Perhaps one of the most anticipated matches going into TI5 was Team Secret vs Invictus Gaming -- but it was played in a surprising location: the lower bracket. Both teams gained attention before the event -- IG for picking up one of the most legendary carries in the game’s history, BurNIng. Team Secret, on the other hand, is notable for containing some of Alliance and Natus Vincere’s best players paired-up with another highly rated carry -- Arteezy. Team Secret did not disappoint in the group stages, but shockingly lost 2-0 to EHOME, a team that people were expecting so much from. IG performed miserably in the group stages.
Game one between the two would-be giants started with a bit of a mind game in the draft. IG picked up Gyrocopter early in the draft, sending the signal to Secret that they wouldn’t be picking BurNIng’s signature hero -- Anti-Mage -- because they would be too greedy in combination. In a twist, last-pick IG did pick up the Anti-Mage.
IG’s start in game was slow, and Team Secret took advantage of it. Rather than pushing aggression, Team Secret were content to just keep their advantages and, by 42 minutes in, they had a 25,000 gold lead. With this, Secret tried to push IG’s base. Despite their massive lead, BurNIng’s amazing control combined with the rest of his teams meticulous engagement meant they barely managed to turn the fight against Team Secret. Then IG did it again. Then they took Roshan. Soon after, they were the ones pushing down Team Secret’s base, it was there carry that was single-handedly knocking down Team Secret’s. As for the 25,000 Gold deficit -- they turned it into a 3,000 gold lead. This game became the second biggest comeback in TI history (behind LGD vs DK last year). A few engagements later, Team Secret was forced out of the game, and were one game away from elimination in an event many people were expecting them to win.
In game two, IG didn’t go for the sneaky Anti-Mage pick, taking Phantom Lancer for BurNIng this time. For his part, Arteezy picked up Luna. Again, Team Secret took control of the game very early and piled on their advantages, but they learned their lesson from the last game. They didn’t give IG any time and Team Secret started pushing IG’s base incredibly early, at 25 minutes. It only took the one push. Team Secret was too far ahead and IG had no way to engage them even in their own base, and conceded the game after their second set of barracks fell.
In the third and final game of the match, Team Secret got the Shadow Shaman and Bounty Hunter in the draft, two heroes that would be critical for them to win the game. Just like the last two games, Team Secret got the advantage early in the game and were able to use Bounty Hunter to build it up even further. The ultimate of the Shadow Shaman allowed Team Secret to do what they struggled to do in game one -- break IG’s high ground. This time around, they were able to do so and, with the massive lead they already had, Team Secret won the game and match. With Invictus Gaming leaving the tournament, they are the last of the former TI-winning teams to leave the event this year.
LGD vs. CDEC
The third match of the third day showcased two teams known for precise and meticulous play -- LGD Gaming and CDEC Gaming. Coming out of the group stages, LGD Gaming looked like one of the strong favorites to take the event. CDEC -- who were actually the LGD “youth” team before splitting off on their own -- showed some good games in the group stage and looked even stronger in the first main event match. Both teams are known for very similar strategies, with CDEC being perhaps a little more aggressive; these qualities showed in the first game. LGD drafted a team that they thought would be strong in the team fights, but CDEC’s draft also proved to be strong in practice. Even though most the game was close, CDEC won the last two team fights in dominating fashion -- largely through their Phantom Lancer control and some excellent plays from their Dark Seer.
CDEC decided to start game two with a curveball, drafting Phantom Lancer as their second pick, and responding to LGD’s Ember Spirit counter with a Storm Spirit. This left LGD in awkward positioning, taking a very greedy Anti-Mage to try and counter. CDEC was able to leave the draft satisfied, having been able to pick up Silencer as well. A solid start in the draft followed by their airtight play, CDEC very quickly gained a lead in the game, taking the first team fight with five kills and only one loss 13 minutes in. They tried it again two minutes later, getting a four-for-one trade this time. It snowballed from there -- 20 minutes later and they solidified their position into an unlosable one, winning the game.
Evil Geniuses vs. EHOME
Everyone expected the last match of the night to be a head-turner between Evil Geniuses and Team Secret. Unfortunately, the wish was not granted and EHOME forced a huge upset by taking down Team Secret 2-0 and taking their place in tonight’s match. Coming out of the draft, neither side looked heavily advantaged -- both sides got picks they liked. Going into the game, things looked evenly matched in the lines and early trades. Right around the 12-minute mark, EHOME started the smoke-ganks that are becoming their trademark. All three of there of their early Smoke of Deceit ganks went according to plan, getting one or two kills and a tower. They easily got an advantage in the game and the rest was a matter of ensuring EG’s Anti-Mage didn’t get out of hand. EHOME accomplished this and their first base push ended the game.
Game two started with an exciting draft: Aui_2000 -- on EG -- drafted a hero everyone loves to see, Techies. EG’s draft was also made interesting by the presence of Bloodseeker, a hero that hasn’t had the greatest success at TI5. In the game itself, the early game was heavily dominated by SumaiL on the Ember Spirit, who got 6 kills for Evil Geniuses in the first ten minutes of the game. The game continued and so did the ganks by EG, the Techie mines also never let up. EG let the game go into the mid while they just kept farming, especially Aui_2000, who got the bottom lane to himself for 15 minutes. Ultimately, SumaiL was just too well-fed, and EG were able to close out the game.
For the third game, EHOME didn’t try any drastic changes to their draft, emphasising Storm Spirit on Cty, a pairing we’ve seen a lot in this event. EG picked up one of their personal favorites -- Razor -- a hero who has not been nearly as popular as he was last year. Their real surprise in the draft was Windrunner on SumaiL. One of EG’s big advantages last game was SumaiL’s ability to win the middle lane so easily, and the Windrunner pick enabled him to do it again here. By the mid-game, EG had forced EHOME back into their base with only tier two top and mid towers left outside. EG’s ability to gank with Bounty Hunter, Windrunner, and Spirit Breaker, combined with the pushing ability of Razor and Dark Seer, was too difficult for the Chinese team to counter. The game lasted a bit longer as EG wanted to make sure they couldn’t possibly lose when they went into the base. EG’s invasion of the EHOME was absolutely flawless. Evil Geniuses was able to live-up to expectations after a shaky first game, and will move on to face CDEC in the upper bracket finals.
EHOME showed some great play in the upper bracket and showed just how absolutely ruthless they could be in their match against Team Secret. Today’s games start in the lower bracket. The first match will be MVP Phoenix continuing their march, but they’re up against one their most fearsome opponents yet -- Vici Gaming. This will be followed by Virtus Pro -- who have only just managed to cling to life -- up against Team Secret; following their match today, Team Secret’s Arteezy said that he still feels good about winning the event and that dropping down was good for their mental game. We’ll have to see if he’s able to say that later today as well. After this, EHOME will be playing against the winner of MVP Phoenix and Vici Gaming -- this will be the first time in the main event that a team has had to play twice in the same day.
The last match of the day will be one of The International’s exciting annual spectacles -- the All-Star Match. Team captains BigDaddyN0tail and Chaun drafted their team of pros to play in a special exhibition match. I have to favor BigDaddy’s team of SumiaL, iceiceice, BurNIng, xiao8, and Arteezy -- but these are the best players in the world; Chaun’s team -- Mushi, Puppey, Fear, Ferrari_430, and Hao are not so bad themselves. This should be a very entertaining match to watch.
Remember that the Dota 2 International goes through the 8th and you can watch it here.
- Keegan "HornetSting" Gallick.