Day one of Dota 2‘s The International 2017 has concluded, and the series results have been recorded. While they don’t definitively set the pace for the rest of the event, the teams’ performances at the start of the group stages can be telling, so let’s look over today’s events in Group B.
Virtus.pro v Digital Chaos
If I were to use one word to describe VP’s and Digital Chaos’s early game, I would use “cautious.” Neither team looked ready to step on each others’ toes too early, content with farming their way into a position where they would be comfortable with more frequent clashes. Every couple of minutes resulted in a death or two, but neither teams displayed any kind of unnecessary aggression.
However, once the speed began to pick up, the game rapidly turned in Virtus.pro’s favor. Virtus.pro played a clean game that threw Digital Chaos on their heels and shut them down before they could regain their footing. The pressure was on by the 15 minute mark, with three of DC’s five members down for the count and VP running forward with a 3k gold lead. One by one DC’s towers fell and, in fewer than 25 minutes, VP steamrolled Digital Chaos and destroyed their Ancient.
Fans were presented with another clean start from both teams. International favorites Virtus.pro did not allow their clean victory to make them overconfident, and Digital Chaos wasn’t discouraged from putting up a strong fight. Both teams were careful not to overextend during the farming phase, a clear display of the talent and skill that led them to Dota 2’s most prestigious event.
Again, it was Virtus.pro who gained traction, first. By the 11 minute mark they were up 5k gold and three kills, and Digital Chaos struggled to maintain their stance through scrappy fights even as VP’s advantage continued to steadily grow. Things progressed in a similar manner throughout the mid game, with DC only barely fending Virtus.pro off as they were picked off in team fights and slowly pushed back.
When the gap between them couldn’t have been bigger, not with the way both teams were playing, Virtus.pro decided that their high ground push would be made at 32 minutes. Digital Chaos was able to defend their borders, but not before losing buildings. Not five minutes had passed before VP made their return, chasing DC back into their base and forcing Forev to purchase a buyback and chase them out before they could make too much progress. Of course, things were too out of hand for Digital Chaos to have any hope to walk away from this series with a victory. After one final failed team fight at 37 minutes, Virtus.pro closed out the game at 38 minutes.
Newbee v Invictus Gaming
The first game between IG and Newbee was a very, very slow one. Every player involved remained focused on minding their own business and farming, Newbee not securing their second kill until 10 minutes in. The slow pace of the game was shown to be working in Newbee’s favor, as they easily secured an early gold lead that they were able to build on throughout the match.
Then, to put it simply, a switch was flipped. Once they were confident in their team state, Newbee started laying on the pressure. That pressure is what pushed IG into engaging in a team fight they couldn’t win at around 17 minutes, a team fight that they limped away from on broken legs while Newbee allowed them to retreat. The game continued to escalate as Newbee continued moving forward with no concerns to speak of, though they never took unnecessary risks that could hand Invictus Gaming an opportunity to turn the tables.
Moving slow and steady, Newbee claimed their first victory at just over 25 minutes.
Invictus Gaming had a message to send during game 2, and that message was that they were at The International with the intention to win. Invictus Gaming was quick to turn things around, claiming a 1k gold lead and six kills before the six minute mark.
The mid game was neck in neck, both teams charging head-on with a newfound aggression. IG’s lead dwindled, but they always managed to remain one step ahead of Newbee at nearly every turn. Both teams brought their a-game, with kpii on Puck returning from the brink of death in a phenomenal play to claim a double kill against Op and Q at 26 minutes, and IG wiping Newbee at the last second to snatch the Aegis at 28 minutes, and fans were on the edges of their seats. At this point, it was anyone’s game.
In the end, it would be Invictus Gaming that would walk away from game 2 as the victor. It took several vicious team fights, and a constant push and pull for what felt like ages, but Invictus Gaming started pushing into Newbee’s base at 37 minutes after a dismal team fight that put four of Newbee’s players out of commission. After backing off for some time to recoup, IG made their final push to destroy Newbee’s Ancient at just shy of an hour.
OG v Cloud9
There was an awkward start to the first of Group B’s matches when both Cloud9 and OG suffered the same bug that forced a brief pause until it could be fixed, but it wasn’t long until the ball got rolling. While OG’s members were quick to farm their way through the first few minutes, it was Cloud9 who brought the early-game aggression, with MSS’s Batrider reaching level six before the five minute mark and the team achieving a six-kill and 2k gold lead over their opponents at eleven minutes. OG attempted to return the pressure that was rapidly being put on them by coordinating a push back against C9 at sixteen minutes, but three kills from C9 ended their assault and send OG returning to their side of the arena.
Cloud9 soon lost their momentum by the 20 minute mark, having lost all of their tier 1 towers to OG and on the moments away from losing their first tier 2. The gap between the two teams soon came to a close as OG moved as a team to pick off C9’s players one-by-one, cornering Aui and PieLieDie for easy kills. With a 4k gold lead at 24 minutes and two of Cloud9’s tier 2 towers having fallen, it was clear that the tides had turned. Despite winning a critical team fight at 25 minutes that granted Cloud9 much needed time, tearing OG to pieces to erase them from the arena, they were still unable to regain their lost footing. OG defeated Roshan by 34 minutes, had every advantage they could need, and waited for their opening to make the first push into C9’s base.
That opening came at 36 minutes, after picking off EternalEnvy in the bottom lane. OG pushed into the base to deal enough damage to Cloud9’s barracks for it to fall to their creeps after safely withdrawing. It took short, in-and-out blitzes to keep the pressure on C9, who could only defend their turf and poke their heads out every now and then, but OG eventually claimed their victory by destroying Cloud9’s Ancient at 43 minutes.
Cloud9 fared no better in their second game. While it appeared that they would be able to hold their own against OG and tie out the series, OG maintained a level of consistency as a team that their opponents couldn’t match. It was another push and pull between the two that eventually led to an almost clinically precise push on OG’s behalf. Cloud9 could do little more than hold off their defeat for as long as possible, throwing their all into defending their Ancient even as they continued to lose building after building.
With a monstrous 26 gold lead, but only 3 kill lead, OG secured a 2-0 win that will set the pace for the rest of their The International 2017 tenure.
Execration v LGD.Forever Young
With a textbook early game to Execration’s match against LGD.Forever Young, things were very back-and-forth between the two. Neither team seemed willing to push any farther than they had to while farming, though no one was above claiming easy kills. It wasn’t until around 10 minutes into the match that the game finally started to pick up steam, when LFY’s kill lead hit four and their gold advantage bumped up to 2k. Both teams continued to play cautiously and by the book, but it gave LFY the confidence they needed to put their arguably better team draft to use.
Unfortunately, that confidence didn’t translate to effectiveness. LGD.Forever Young moved into the mid game carelessly. While they moved into the mid game by wiping Execration at 24 minutes, not without their own sacrifices, it was largely due to Execration failing to utilize their draft to the best of its ability and Monet’s Faceless Void damage output. Numerically, they were leading the game, but it was a shaky lead.
But, at the end of the day, a lead is a lead. By 35 minutes, LFY managed a twelve-kill and 7k lead over Execration. They made their first push into Execration’s base at 38 minutes, taking advantage of the opening presented to them by a disastrous team fight for Execration, and destroyed a tier 3 tower and the first barracks that would mark the beginning of Execration’s defeat. With a 24 kill and 30k gold lead at 46 minutes, LGD.Forever Young demolished Execration’s Ancient in their first victory of The International 2017.
After losing their first game, Execration made it clear that they weren’t going to sit on their hands and allow LFY to take the series. The game had a fast and aggressive start as both teams lunged for one another’s throats, intent on pressuring their opponents into making mistakes even while farming. Meanwhile, it seemed that LGD.Forever Young realized their mistakes from the last game. This time around, they moved as a cohesive team that thought about their movements, and they goaded Execration into overextending until they fell on their own sword.
By 35 minutes, it was clear who would be taking the game. LFY had a 13 kill and 11k gold lead over their opponents, having destroyed several tier 1 and tier 2 towers standing in their way. It was only a matter of time before Execration admitted their defeat, but they continued to fight back and force LGD.Forever Young to earn their win even as it spiraled out of control. At 36 minutes, Execration wiped and LFY claimed the series.
Newbee v Cloud9
Cloud9 and Newbee took their time to build into the mid game, steadily nabbing kills as they presented themselves between farming, but it was Newbee who built up a solid net worth advantage first before taking out Roshan. Overall, the laning phase progressed as expected for the two teams, especially considering Cloud9’s draft was a rather greedy flex lineup of Sand King, Zeus, Puck, Night Stalker, and Naga Siren.
As the game progressed, Newbee steadily applied more and more pressure on Cloud9 until C9 was pushed back into their base. Newbee was quick to squash Cloud9 in a team fight on the steps of their base, and used the time bought by the respawn timers to deal significant damage to their barracks. Although Newbee played things safe and pulled back once Cloud9’s fallen teammates had returned to the arena, the game was over when Cloud9’s Ancient collapsed at 28 minutes.
Cloud9 attempted to approach their draft from another angle with Bounty Hunter, Lina, Batrider, Lich, and Faceless Void, but Newbee’s heavy but easily managed lineup of Sand King, Dazzle, Puck, Drow Ranger, and Medusa was ready to give them a run for their money. At first, the draft picks seemed to be what Cloud9 needed to put themselves ahead of their competitors, helping them secure a five kill and 1k gold lead at 20 minutes.
However, although they took their time, Newbee slowly crept their way back from what looked like an unpromising game start. They took their time, waiting C9 out in the lanes and approaching their doorstep to deal bursts of damage to their buildings to chip away at towers and barracks. At 31 minutes they made their first proper push to dismantle Cloud9’s base and their pride. It was clear by their hectic plays and lack of synergy that Cloud9 couldn’t handle the pressure being put on them, and Newbee closed out the series at 37 minutes.
OG v Digital Chaos
In typical OG style, the early game was busy. OG had the kill lead, but Digital Chaos was boasting a slight gold advantage by nine minutes in. The teams danced around one another almost tauntingly, with OG ready to throw a punch at any moment like a school bully ready to steal your lunch money. Unfortunately for them, Digital Chaos was willing to take a moment from farming to knock them back into line before they could get too haughty.
After 20 minutes of tough-and-go between the two, it was clear that this was going to be a long game. It wasn’t until 25 minutes that Digital Chaos finally gained headway in the match, securing a 2k gold lead and claiming three kills in a team fight that propelled the game forward. With OG sent reeling, Digital Chaos was quick to keep the pressure on, especially with Forev on Batrider. Wipe after wipe, OG fell to DC in the following team fights and it was clear that OG had been thrown off their game. Even so, DC played patiently and never overextended, claiming a tier 3 turret and backing off to wait for their next opening. At 36 minutes, DC ran down mid and claimed the first game in the series.
Neither team wasted much time before jumping into the action, especially with Digital Chaos. Both OG and DC were looking for blood after just a few minutes of laning, but DC was still riding the energy from game 1 and quickly set themselves ahead of the competition.
OG did what they could to fend Digital Chaos off and hold their ground, but they were unable to match their opponent’s aggression and synergy until finally closing the gap between them around the 47 minute mark. A critical team fight at 48 minutes is what finally put them back on the board, where s4 used a well-timed Echo Slam that would help his teammates take out the entirety of Digital Chaos’s roster. Once grabbing the Aegis from Roshan, OG used a newfound coordination to step up to the plate and turn the tides in their favor.
At 54 minutes, OG had an enormous 14k net worth lead and were taking out another barracks. Moments later, Digital Chaos’s Ancient had fallen.
VP v Execration
The start of game 1 was close, almost uncomfortably so, and slow. Both teams seemed too hesitant to commit to anything that may be deemed risky, only engaging in a fight when they were sure they could win. After 38 exhausting minutes, it felt like the game was finally picking up when Virtus.pro engaged in some scrappy skirmishes with Execration that would leave them with a four kill and 7k gold lead. All it would take was the right play to finally tip the scales in their favor.
Then, in the blink of an eye, VP had lost a team fight and were forced to use buybacks when Execration immediately stormed their base. It was a dangerous play with almost childish zeal that resulted in almost all of Execration sitting out in respawn, which VP used as an opportunity to run for the Aegis. However, Execution had just enough of that zeal left to snatch the Aegis out from under Virtus.pro’s noses. It did them little good, as they wiped only a minute later, as Virtus.pro continued to punish Execration for their overconfidence and overextending.
Then, in a massive upset, it looked like the tables were flipping at 49 minutes when Execration shoved back against Virtus.pro’s bullying. In an unexpected turn of events, with a doubtful draft, Execration steamrolled Virtus.pro on their own turf and destroyed their Ancient after a tiring 56 minute game.
Game 2’s start was a bloodthirsty one. Virtus.pro, with a fire lit under their rears, threw themselves into their second match with Execration with a fervor that gave them a six kill and 3k gold lead less than ten minutes in. Even so, Execration wasn’t about to let themselves be pushed around. They were quick on their feet and matched Virtus.pro’s aggression with their own to close the gap that had quickly formed between them.
Coordination won out over sheer willpower, though. 17 minutes in, and a savage team fight between VP and Execration was nothing less than a show of strength from VP as they sent over half of the team to the bench. This would set the pace for the rest of game 2, with Execration consistently falling short before VP’s team synergy just 36 minutes in.
LGD.Forever Young v HellRaisers
Game 1 had a slow burn to it, but HellRaisers were sure to steer a lead in their direction with a three kill and 2k gold lead before 10 minutes had passed. They were taking full advantage of the laning phase to gather as many resources as they could before moving into the mid game.
It wasn’t long before things started to look like the game would play in favor of HellRaisers, who used their draft’s team fight composition to the best of its ability to handle team fights in a way that had LFY running for the hills, and it looked like LFY wouldn’t have the chance to make their comeback. In fact, it took over 20 minutes for LGD.Forever Young to pick themselves back up; whether or not this was a part of their plan, fans will never know.
The game took a slow swing into LFY’s favor as they applied gradual pressure on HellRaisers into the late game. By 30 minutes, things were looking grim for HellRaisers, who had just lost a team fight and one of their barracks. LFY, ever patient with their 16k gold lead, were biding their time and making careful decisions to ensure their impending win. After a handful of pushes into HellRaiser’s base, LGD.Forever Young took the first game of the series.
The beginning of game 2 ran in a similar vein to game 1, with HellRaisers holding an easy lead thanks to their laning skills and team fight composition. However as opposed to waiting until 20 minutes in to turn the tables, LFY was quick to recoup and gain a kill and gold lead before destroying HellRaisers’ tier 1 towers.
The two ran neck in neck for the start of the mid game, but LGD.Forever Young refused to cower when HellRaiser attempted to lay on the pressure. They chipped away at HellRaisers’ defenses, taking down towers one by one, while maintaining a cushiony lead. It wasn’t long before HellRaisers’ began to feel the heat, and they masked their hesitance with overextending and engaging in fights they couldn’t finish. Like game 1, there came a point where it was clear that LFY would be snatching another victory from their opponents, having established a solid 10 kill and 14k gold lead at 42 minutes. The game ran long, but it was due to little more than HellRaisers having just enough gusto to slow LFY’s imminent victory.