This recap covers the third day of The International Main Event.
The third day of The International has concluded with some absolutely spectacular displays of skill. Today was the dreaded “elimination day” where all of the teams, save the two in the Grand Finals, were to be eliminated. Without further ado let's get into our recap of the third day of competition at The International.
Match One - Games Two and Three: Cloud 9 vs. Vici Gaming
Game Two: The clear drafting advantage went to Vici Gaming, who seemingly had the pushing power and team fight advantage going into the match; although the surprise of the draft came with Cloud 9 picking Meepo to be played by WehSing “SingSing” Yuen. Vici seemed to have everything going for them and won out the laning phase with relative ease. The teams then began to trade team wipes between the twelve and fifteen minute marks.
As the game progressed Vici was storming down middle lane and eventually took the barracks in that lane, yet the brilliance here is that it was a bait from Cloud 9 as they jumped on Vici as they attempted to disengage. A base race ensued which saw Cloud 9 victorious, evening the series at one game apiece. The Meepo pick was a brilliant decision and allowed SingSing to effectively put the team on his back to victory.
Game Three: The draft went equally for both teams. Cloud 9 went for a precarious level one Roshan kill, which resulted in three of their players being killed off by a scouting Venomancer from Vici Gaming. There were multiple exchanges in the early game that left Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao well behind in farm on the carry Luna; this in conjunction with Liu “Sylar” Jiajun farming well on Morphling spelled mid-game disaster for Cloud 9. Off of many successful team fights Vici Gaming took two lanes works of barracks, this left Cloud 9 at a serious disadvantage. Soon after, Vici wiped out Cloud 9 and sent them packing from The International.
Match Two - Games Two and Three: LGD Gaming vs. Team DK
Game Two: Both teams' drafts are seemingly balanced going into a tense game two. The most surprising pick was LGD Gaming picking up a carry Sniper for Wang “Rabbit” Zhang to play. This game got out of hand early for LGD as Daryl “iceiceice” Koh Pei Xiang hit clutch Ravages playing as Tidehunter. This allowed Team DK to have great map control and they economically choked out LGD. Not prone to making the same mistake twice by stalling, Team DK stormed into LGD's base for a quick game two that was decided at the 27 minute mark.
Game Three: Team DK did a great job of disguising their draft early, forcing LGD into an awkward drafting situation. LGD was forced to pick “umbrella picks” (or picks that can do a wide range of in-game tasks) in order to compensate for Team DK's ambiguous draft. This proved to be their downfall as LGD's team composition lacked any real cohesiveness.
Team DK led for the entirety of the game once again and forced LGD to buyback, stifling their economy while Chai “Mushi” Fung tore a swathe through them with Shadow Fiend. LGD held for as long as they could be were forced to GG after 41 minutes of play. This effectively knocked LGD out of The International and set up a match between Vici Gaming and Team DK.
Match Three - Vici Gaming vs. Team DK
Game One: Drafts for both teams are geared for pushing hard; it all came down to in-game execution rather than drafting. The surprise pick in this game was a throwback Anti-Mage pick for Xu “Burning” Zhilei. Team DK was hoping to create enough space to allow Burning to farm Anti-Mage to the point that they could out-teamfight Vici. A costly death by Mushi on Tinker at the 25 minute mark opened the door for Vici Gaming to push down middle lane and take the first set of barracks. Vici then took another fight and take out Team DK's top lane barracks. Eventually Vici pushed through Team DK and an under-farmed Anti-Mage to take a third set of barracks and force the GG from Team DK at the 39 minute mark.
Game Two: Vici Gaming's draft is seemingly superior to Team DK's draft and Vici is expected to have a better laning phase. Mushi had early game problems finding farm and kills on the Queen of Pain pick. The game soon became a back and forth affair and this lead to fifteen kills well before the laning phase had concluded. The back and forth continued until Vici found an opening, and took a fight and Roshan. Their push was repelled by Team DK, who stood strong at their middle barracks. At 38 minutes the game was still back and forth. Finally at 41 minutes the first set of barracks were taken and Vici Gaming begins to overpower Team DK forcing the GG call at 44 minutes, ending Team DK's run at The International.
Match Four - Vici Gaming vs. Evil Geniuses
Game One: The draft seemed even from both teams, it was in the game where Vici found the execution. From the get go the game got out of hand as Mason “Mason” Venne on Brewmaster was completely shut down while in a defensive tri-lane. Sylar recorded the fastest built Orchid Malevolence in professional Dota 2 history, clocking in the item in about nine minutes. The game didn't last much longer than that as Vici pushed their advantage straight down the middle lane and forced Evil Geniuses to call GG only sixteen minutes into the game.
Game Two: The early game and laning phase started out almost completely equal as both teams looked to gain any semblance of an advantage. Vici Gaming appeared to be gaining the upper hand heading into the mid-game, farming up much needed items on their core heroes. Then the fights began. Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora began landing near perfect Chronospheres as Faceless Void every chance he got. These Chronospheres were followed up by black holes coming from Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg on Enigma. This combo proves too much for Vici Gaming to handle as Evil Geniuses fight back to even the match at one game apiece.
Game Three: Vici Gaming drafts another push heavy lineup while Evil Geniuses pick a rather odd middle lane hero in Alchemist for Artour “Arteezy” Babaev. The game began to get out of control for Evil Geniuses early on and Arteezy tried to farm with a greedy Hand of Midas, but the towers began falling too quickly. Evil Geniuses attempted a last ditch effort, downing Roshan, but losing their team and base in the process. Evil Geniuses was forced to GG at fifteen minutes, effectively ending their stint at The International.
On Monday, the 21st, the Grand Finals are to be held between Vici Gaming and Team NewBee at 9am PDT. The winner of this best-of-five match will be crowned this year's International champions. This will net the winning team a cool $5 million and the second place team is guaranteed nearly $1.5 million. I'm pulling for Vici Gaming, as they are my favorite Chinese team in the tournament. Who do you think will win?
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With Contributions By: Andres Greer