It’s very, very early but this series will be one of the best three games in the first round. Both teams absolutely played their hearts out here. Invictus Gaming came out on top 2-1 and Team Liquid make an early exit from the upper bracket. Let’s break down this series;
Team Liquid had a great showing in the group stage, their drafting was solid and they played well in the Group Stage. Invictus Gaming lacked consistency, four of their series were split. Going into today Team Liquid were the favorites from most of the analysts at the Key Arena. An easy lesson to learn from this is that Group Stage performance doesn’t have too much bearing on the Main Event.
Game One; He Who Picks Last, Pick’s Best
I cannot express how happy I was to finally see a team draft Nightstalker and Lycan in tandem. At least one team decided to learn from the many, many other teams who made the mistake of picking Nightstalker in the first phase only to watch their opponents draft Lycan. I’m not a huge fan of drafting Tusk so early and I think his lack of effectiveness in this game really came from Invictus drafting to avoid Tusk. Team Liquid must have been blindsided to see Alchemist get drafted in this game, I refuse to belive anyone whom thinks that Liquid thought Alchmist was a possibility. Miracle- had an awful time in the mid lane for a few minutes, at around 2 minutes Alchmist had more denies than Invoker had last hits. MinD_ContToL had a bad game, he died early and often. Game one snowballed out of control very quickly and Liquid never quite recovered after the draft phase.
Game Two; Ursa Equals Control of Roshan
This draft was a gigantic improvement from game one. Liquid probably felt a lot more confidant after Keeper of the Light escaped the first ban phase, they locked him in with zero hesitation. Invictus cannot be faulted for picking what works, they even banned a lot of heroes to try and give alchemist a better time. Forgetting to pick or ban Ancient Apparition is a flaw in their draft but in general it was fine. Team Liquid slowly built up a lead and executed their draft really well. Liquid stumbled starting at about 26 minutes and Invictus comeback kept going until 35 minutes. Liquid deserve recognition for this game, gh and MinD_ContRoL had a number of masterful escapes individually and together with thier teammates. I love that Liquid’s draft allowed them to showcase their individual talent. It’s unfortunate that Keeper is usually a first phase ban as a result. Invictus great flaw in game two was leaving Lycan to the wolves. They really abandoned him and his impact on the game was negligible as result. Watching Team Liquid teamfight was beautiful.
Game Three; Disruptor Strikes Back
I hated Liquid’s draft. I understood the logic behind Ancient Apparition and Faceless Void as first rotation picks. What they picked after that first phase makes no sense to me, not now and not as I saw them draft them. Slardar was fine I suppose; the problem with that pick was gh’s execution in-game necessarily picking Slardar in the first place. Lone Druid is where I begin to question Liquid’s plan. Granted, Lone Druid was picked before Invictus revealed any of their core heroes. Seeing what was still available to select, I do not understand why Liquid felt Lone Druid was a good pick there. The Ember Spirit pick at the end is really what elevated this draft from questionable to bad outright. There was no synergy with Chronosphere in this draft. Invictus killed Faceless Void whenever they could, and even when Chronosphere was cast it was always a prelude to a bloodbath. At about 13:17 Liquid lost four heroes and got nothing in return, at this point both teams were about even. Liquid would even get back into the game at one point but they never stopped bleeding kills in this game. Invictus whole roster played well this game, Xxs Earthshaker even got a kill on Slardar early in the game when gh wanted to gank. Xxs just executed gh with an echo slam and walked back to his tower. I understand that it’s not entirely a carry player’s fault when they fail to have an impact. Having said that, Miracle- had no impact on this game. Ember Spirit never got going and he spent a large portion of the game waiting to respawn like the rest of his team.
Team Liquid (1) vs Invictus Gaming (2); Now What?
Team Liquid should be fine in the lower bracket. If they can shake off game three and play like game two they can still make a solid run in TI7. They should really sure up their drafting strategy for tomorrow. Invictus Gaming looked fantastic today. Their game one draft was inventive enough to give their next opponents pause. They won’t play again until the Upper Bracket Second Round and that’s plenty of time to prepare for their next series.