The International 2017 is now officially in full swing as we head into the second day of group stages. Tensions are high as yesterday’s victors are pitted head to head, and even higher for teams who are trying to climb up from the bottom of the standings.
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Newbee (1) v. OG (1)
With both teams starting out the day with a 3-1 score, fans knew they were going to be in for a wild ride when OG and Newbee took to the lanes. As per usual, Newbee did a significantly better job at laning than their opponents, racking up significant net worth advantages while picking off OG’s members one by one, but it by no means implies that they weren’t given a hard time. Even while Newbee continued to stack up kills, OG consistently pushed back against Newbee’s aggression and did everything they could to lay the pressure onto the Chinese team.
This is especially true for game 1, when OG came close to making a total comeback in the late game by spinning the game on its head and charging up the steps of Newbee’s base. While they were eventually pushed back into their own territory, Newbee had to fight with everything they had to tear through OG’s defenses and call GG after an hour of intense gameplay. In the end, the game was ultimately decided by Newbee’s superior draft and a number of micro misplays from OG that OG couldn’t afford to make.
Game 2 ran in a similar manner, with Newbee steadily taking the lead with OG doing what they can to hold their own until they could turn the tides in their favor. OG made their first attempt at a push when they were maintaining a 7k gold advantage and 5 kill lead at 24 minutes, a which could only be described as a cocky decision to make, as they were quickly pushed back into the lane. However, OG had found their momentum and we’re about to lose it, making a number of blitzes into Newbee’s base until closing out the game at almost 37 minutes.
Virtus.pro (0) v. LGD.Forever Young (2)
Virtus.pro’s first match of the day was against yesterday’s undefeated team, and things started out rather odd when No[o]one chose Bloodseeker as a presumable counter-pick to Monet’s Lycan in the first draft. It was a shaky pick, but LFY’s final pick was shown to be Super on Medusa so the overall one-on-one engagement in their lane was scrappy at best. Meanwhile, the first game progressed as one would expect it to, with both teams nabbing kills off of one another between bouts of farming. LFY lost the laning phase, even with ddc on Lich, but were able to turn the game around by 25 minutes and snatch Virtus.pro’s advantage from their hands. Virtus.pro put up a fight in a desperate attempt to regain some ground, but LGD.Forever Young was able to close out the game at 43 minutes.
The start of game 2 wasn’t promising for Virtus.pro, who were down five kills and 3k gold seven minutes in, and this is partly to do with LFY taking a new strategy into the laning phase that had them mostly traveling together as a team. The game only continued to spiral out of control as LFY completely dominated VP on every front, ending the game in record time at 15 minutes and 39 seconds.
Digital Chaos (0) v. Invictus Gaming (2)
In another questionable draft pick, Invictus Gaming’s lineup of Nyx Assassin, Disruptor, Dark Seer, Weaver, and Alchemist made it clear that they were ready for a long game, but fans were left scratching their heads when IG started out their day with Op on Alchemist against mason’s Drow Ranger. And, for a long while, it looked like the risky pick wouldn’t pay off. At 18 minutes Digital Chaos was able to cream IG in a team fight and whittle down IG’s towers to seven, claiming the Aegis for themselves just a blink of an eye later. Things were looking grim for Invictus Gaming, but they were somehow able to find the synergy needed to push DC out of their base at 25 minutes and slowly turn the tables. In just s few minutes, IG was tied in kills and holding a massive gold advantage thanks to well-timed combos. Digital Chaos had missed their window for victory and, even if it took time for IG to take complete control, the game was over at 39 minutes.
Digital Chaos sacrificed high ground advantage during the drafting phase with Batrider, Earthshaker, Night Stalker, Templar Assassin, and Timbersaw, but IG was again looking for a slow game with Nyx Assassin, Weaver, Rubick, Tidehunter, and Shadow Fiend. In comparison to other picks during the tournament, the drafts felt almost awkwardly risky, Even so, Invictus Gaming was quick to establish an advantage over Digital Chaos. While it was too early to say if DC had been totally shut out, they were down by 6k net worth and four kills at 19 minutes and things didn’t appear to be looking up any time soon. At 28 minutes DC upped their aggression to engage in skirmishes in the lanes and on IG’s door, but not even a well thought-out team fight that wiped out four of IG’s members was enough to put IG down for the count. Invictus Gaming decided that they had put up with enough, and pushed for GG at 40 minutes.
HellRaisers (1) v. Execration (1)
Execration’s first draft seemed to focus more on stuns and long range attacks and less on objectives with Tusk, Queen of Pain, Witch Doctor, Earthshaker, and Faceless Void. At a glance, it looked like HellRaiser would have an advantage over them in terms of general game speed, with Clockwerk, Dragon Night, Venegeful Spirit, Pugna, and Earth Spirit. Both lineups were heavy, though, and both teams were more than ready to run in with guns blazing. A total of 15 kills had been claimed between the two by 12 minutes, but neither HellRaisers nor Execration seemed able to gain an edge over the other. Just when it looked like one team had gained some sort of control, it was quickly snatched away by the other. It made for an exhausting back and forth game that was full of team fights both teams walked away from with a limp. It felt almost impossible to determine who would walk away the victor of game 1 until 49 minutes in when Execration was pillaging HellRaisers’ base and it was absolutely certain that HellRaisers would be unable to claw their way out of the terrible situation they had found themselves in. at 50 minutes in, Execration destroyed HellRaisers’ Ancient with an almost 20 kill lead and a 28k net worth advantage.
For game 2, HellRaisers very clearly wanted to shoot for damage and higher mobility with Night Stalker, Batrider, Ancient Apparition, Ember Spirit, and Sven; all in all, it was an even balance of magic and physical damage. Of course, Execration countered Swiftending’s Sven by putting Nando on Razor, rounding out the lineup with Witch Doctor, Spirit Breaker, Legion Commander, and Queen of Pain. Similarly to their first game, both teams tugged the rope back and forth, the flag never staying on their side for too long. HellRaisers had a habit of overextending in early team fights, however, which would hand over kills and raw numerical advantages to Execration more often than not. Eventually, their team composition and individual builds worked in tandem with a strong draft that would push Execration back. The game was soon in HellRaisers’ favor, and Execration could do little more than delay their imminent victory. It took 53 minutes but, eventually, Execration’s defense crumbled.
HellRaisers (0) v. OG (2)
OG’s draft was very combat-oriented with Nyx Assassin, Phoenix, Phantom Lancer, Enigma, and Ursa, while HellRaisers aimed for a Clockwerk-Shadow Fiend combo with Ancient Apparition, Earthshaker, and Lifestealer to back them up. OG was quick to start their early game offense, but backed off in favor of farming before they could risk overextending too early. 10 minutes in, they had a minor advantage over HellRaisers with a four kill and 2k gold lead, and it was clear that OG was comfortable with the way the game was progressing. By 14 minutes, HellRaisers had no tier 1 towers to speak of, and were falling behind in farming, while OG was playing a very clean textbook game of Dota. All in all, while it wasn’t a total walloping, it was no surprise to anyone when OG took game 1 after a patient 32 minutes.
Despite the break between games, OG had no trouble with finding the same momentum they had during game 1.At 16 minutes they had a rather overbearing lead over HellRaisers, who lost the laning phase without much of a struggle on OG’s behalf. At no point did OG try to engage in fights when they didn’t have a solid position, which kept a heavy pressure on HellRaisers from the very start. HellRaisers was totally outplayed, and the game was over in just under 22 minutes.
Newbee (2) v. Execration (0)
There was a standard start to game 1 with Newbee unsurprisingly winning the laning phase, and Execration hot on their heels heading into the mid game. It was the mid game that Newbee truly established their dominance, frequently winning the team fights they engaged in and boasting a 10 kill and 5k gold lead by 27 minutes. While Execration was able to take out a couple of tier one towers, Newbee’s skill, superior draft, and team synergy made it clear who the winner would be. In an almost clinically precise game on their part, Newbee won at just under 36 minutes with no difficulty.
Newbee decided to mix things up during the drafting phase of game two, rounding off their lineup with Sccc on Mirana. Execration countered the pick, as well as Legion Commander, by putting Cartman on Lina. Overall, things didn’t look terribly promising for Execration based solely on their compared draft picks and, unfortunately for them, the game remained grim. Newbee’s draft acted as a boost for their usual coordination and advanced team fighting, and they consistently remained one step ahead of their opponents to close out the series 2-0 in their favor.
LGD.Forever Young (2) v. Invictus Gaming (0)
LFY went into their first game with Night Stalker, Batrider, Terrorblade, Dazzle, and Medusa versus IG’s Sand King, Lycan, Death Prophet, Oracle, and Legion Commander, leaving them with a little less draft synergy than their opponents. With that said, they found themselves getting through the laning phase with a shaky lead. In spite of an arguably questionable draft, LFY was able to put some distance between them and Invictus Gaming during the mid game and, by 30 minutes, both of IG’s top and mid lane towers were reduced to rubble; this was largely helped by ddc on Dazzler, which turned out to be an exceptional draft pick. LGD.Forever Young closed out the game less than six minutes later.
For game two, IG took a different approach to their draft with Earth Spirit, Tinker, Shadow Shaman, Legion Commander, and Bloodseeker while LFY placed a largely safe bet with Earthshaker, Ancient Apparition, Puck, Lifestealer, and Sniper. It was clear that they felt comfortable with their position in the tournament, so much so that they didn’t feel it necessary to pull any tricks during the second game. This was not without good reason, and it was not baseless overconfidence; they had already established a lead over IG 10 minutes in. LFY played typical to the way they have been playing through the tournament so far, regularly winning team fights and maintaining a raw numerical lead for the entire game. Again, they did take their time and played the game safe, but they continued their undefeated streak by winning game two at 39 minutes.
Virtus.pro (1) v. Cloud9 (1)
Virtus.pro aggressively drafted game one, choosing to run with Dark Seer, Earth Spirit, Witch Doctor, Death Prophet, and Anti-Mage. While Cloud9’s lineup Lich, Doom, Puck, Drow Ranger, and Medusa was a good draft, on paper, they were going to have to gain a lead very quickly if they wanted to best VP. Amazingly enough, that’s what happened. Cloud9 walked out of the laning phase with a six kill and 8k gold lead, tearing down Virtus.pro’s towers as they pushed their way towards VP’s base. Their team synergy and overall plays were very different from what they had presented so far, forcing VP to use buybacks at 19 minutes to force a retreat when Cloud9 was knocking on their door. For as mean as VP’s draft was, they couldn’t stand up to their opponents. At 32 minutes, C9 wrenched their first victory of the tournament out of Virtus.pro.
Maybe it was because they underestimated Cloud9 going into their first game, but Virtus.pro had learned their lesson. While Cloud9 took oddly risky picks with Bristleback and Treant Protector, Virtus.pro was building another solid lineup with Night Stalker, Dark Seer, Crystal Maiden, Sven, and Necrophos. Cloud9 held their own for the first few minutes but, once Virtus.pro had managed to gain momentum, they rapidly fell behind in both XP and net worth as they approached the mid game. The distance between the two teams only continued to grow as Virtus.pro played hard and fast, tearing down towers and players alike and reaping the rewards of both. Cloud9 may have been able to push VP off of their tier three towers at 27 minutes, but the game was already over. Cloud9 wiped in one final team fight, and Virtus.pro closed the series at 1-1.
HellRaisers (0) v. Digital Chaos (2)
HellRaisers started game one with uneven footing, and Digital Chaos took full advantage of it to gain a strong lead towards the end of the laning phase. By 12 minutes, DC was ahead 3k in net worth and had swiped seven kills and two tier one towers off of their opponents. Their consistent lead over HellRaisers came down to a show of team coordination and individual skill, both of which HellRaisers seemed to lack. With little to no fanfare, Digital Chaos moved in to take a well deserved win after 40 minutes of gameplay.
With a well-rounded draft that covered all of their bases, including Silencer, Timbersaw, Enigma, Sven, and Earth Spirit fans were prepared for another Digital Chaos win when HellRaisers settled on a lineup of Lich, Clockwerk, Razor, Legion Commander, and Queen of Pain. The biggest problem with HellRaiser’s draft was the lack of strength in the team fight department, when team fighting has been the only reason HellRaisers survived for as long as they did. Maybe they decided they would try a new tactic, a desperate move to keep their heads above water, but, whatever it was, it worked. The early game was very, very slow, but HellRaisers managed to finally gain some traction by nine minutes with three kills and a 3k gold advantage, and they managed to maintain the momentum in a total role reversal. That is, until Digital Chaos decided that they were done playing around. It was a slow burn, but a switch flipped in DC’s heads and they were able to finally put up a proper fight that pushed HellRaisers back into their base. HellRaiser’s Keyser made a mad dash for DC’s base to sneak in damage to their Ancient while his teammates were trapped in 100 second respawns, but Digital Chaos moved just fast enough to beat him to the punch. After 63 agonizingly long minutes, it was Digital Chaos’s name in the victory splash.
LGD.Forever Young (2) v. Cloud9 (0)
Against the undefeated team in their group, it was ironic to see Cloud9 find a game that they could stabilize somewhat before it spiraled too out of control for them, having snatched four kills off of LFY and keeping their net worth disadvantage to just 1k. For a mindboggling moment it looked like Cloud9 might be able to hold their own, that they would finally step up to the plate, but their efforts were just that: efforts. LGD.Forever Young remained in control of the game, and stayed one step ahead of their opponents, until the very end. By 20 minutes, LFY had a 10k gold and 12 kill lead that made it clear that Cloud9 wasn’t going to be able to pull off an upset. After 30 minutes of clean, textbook Dota, LFY took the first game of the series.
Game two almost felt like an experiment on LGD.Forever Young’s behalf, making strange ban decisions as if opening themselves up for practice against other heroes, and putting Monet on Monkey King with Inflame’s Clockwerk. Experimental or not, it was clear that LFY didn’t have respect for Cloud9 as their plays became sloppy and unnecessarily aggressive in a way that practically handed Cloud9 first blood and gold advantage. LGD.Forever Young soon realized the error of their ways and backpedaled before they could actually risk losing more than just the laning phase. They eventually turned the tables and, while it still wasn’t quite the LFY we had seen up until that point, they traded aggressive tower diving for more precise gameplay. Once LFY gained their momentum, the rest of the game went as expected and Cloud9’s Ancient was destroyed after 31 minutes.
Execration (1) v. Invictus Gaming (1)
Game one was too close for either team’s comfort. Neither Execration nor IG seemed capable of getting a major lead over the other, and any lead taken was quickly lost. A team fight outside of Execration’s base at 21minutes finally got the ball rolling, an Echo Slam marking the moment IG upped their aggression and cleared the bottom lane of towers. Execration wasn’t about to roll over, however, and claimed Roshan for themselves after annihilating IG, who made the mistake of trying to interfere with the claiming of the Aegis. As it was, Execration had the lead and was ready to take full advantage of it. Nando destroyed the final tier two tower, and Execration made their first push into Invictus Gaming’s base at 28 minutes. Five minutes later, and GG was called.
Comfort was the name of the game for game two’s draft picks and bans, neither team willing to risk playing outside of their comfort zone after such a close game one. That same mentality transferred to the laning phase, itself, which progressed at an almost agonizingly slow pace as both IG and Execration carefully danced around each other while farming, only four kills to speak of between the two 10 minutes in. Slowly, though, Invictus Gaming found their footing and started to pull ahead of their opponents. The poor decision to engage in a team fight before they were ready at 19 minutes sent four of Execration’s players back to the Radiant’s fountain, and Execration had completely lost control. It took some bullying and carefully thought-out engagements but, Invictus Gaming destroyed Execration’s Ancient and finished the series in a tie at 44 minutes.
OG (0) v. Virtus.pro (2)
With both teams drafting in preparation for team fights, we all knew that this would be a bloody game. Early game was full of death trades and relatively even gold farming, as if OG and Virtus.pro wanted to skip the laning phase entirely and jump straight into the part of the game where they get to beat each other up. This, ultimately, was where OG fell short. By drafting a team that didn’t leave room for farming potential, Virtus.pro found it relatively easy to secure a lead by the 10 minute mark. By failing to farm properly, and being unable to match Virtus.pro’s relentless aggression, OG may as well have handed the game over before it even started. As it was, they could only defend their base, which eventually fell at just shy of 43 minutes.
The final game to wrap up for the day, game two was an exhausting one. It started out with Virtus.pro choosing an angry lineup with Ogre Magi, Sand King, Death Prophet, Enchantress, and Ursa in the drafting phase. OG selected Winter Wyvern, Brewmaster, Earth Spirit, Pugna, and Morphling, giving themselves strong high ground defense but, again, lacking in laning. As a result, Virtus.pro was able to establish an early lead, OG hot on their heels but unable to totally catch up. 14 minutes in, VP was boasting a 7k gold lead and 15 kills. As they moved out of the farming phase, the gap between the two teams only continued to grow, despite OG’s best efforts. For as hard as they pushed back against Virtus.pro, VP was ready to shove back twice as hard; it was a level of aggression familiar to Virtus.pro fans, and it was one that OG slowly crumbled under. It was a long-fought fight that ended after 64 minutes and six Roshan deaths, with Virtus.pro holding a 38 kill and 46k gold lead as testament to the borderline bullying that the game was composed of.
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