Day two of the world’s biggest Dota 2 tournament is done and favourites have fallen. Here’s how it went down—for individual highlights, check the sidebar.
Upper bracket: Evil Geniuses vs. compLexity
Game one was a game of two halves in the most literal sense as another DDOS attack (thanks, jerks) mandated a long pause right in the middle. coL had a great start off the back of an unusual draft, coordinating beautiful kills on SumaiL's mid Lina with combined force from Chen, Clockwerk, Tusk and Queen of Pain.
There's no doubting their communication or teamwork. But their strategy relied on shutting down Fear's Anti-Mage and that's the one thing EG simply refused to concede.
Unlike a few of the other players to play Anti-Mage in this tournament, Fear is enormously patient and makes very few mistakes. As EG's defense rallied, he was already split-pushing tier 3 towers. Eventually his farm lead became unsurmountable, and a beautiful run of teamfights secured the win for EG.
Despite first blood going to coL, game two was far more one-sided. SumaiL's midlane Ember Spirit had a good start and an even better midgame, delivering an extraordinary performance on a sometimes-underestimated hero. Dodging Sven and Lina stuns left and right, he ran rings around compLexity in fight after fight.
Cracks started to show later one, including two overconfident deaths by SumaiL and a few mistimed Naga Siren ults by Aui_2000, but Universe's rock-solid Tusk ensured that EG never lost too much. A commanding kill and gold lead saw EG progress to the semi-finals.
Upper bracket: Team Secret vs. EHOME
I know, I know, another Rubick. But VG.fy is peerless on the hero, and his play in game one of Vici Gaming vs. C9 was inspiring. There’s no spell this man can’t steal and use better than the guy who cast it. Watch the whole game.
(At the time of writing, Valve haven't added a VOD link. When they do, it'll be on this page.)
Runner up #1: QO’s amazing Templar Assassin in game 1 of MVP Phoenix vs. Empire.
Runner up #2: Cty’s great Storm Spirit in game 1 of Team Secret vs. EHOME.
Runner up #3: SumaiL’s brilliant Ember Spirit in game 2 of EG vs. coL.
Easily the series of the tournament so far. After a bloody start that saw both teams trading kills in the river, a series of misplays by EHOME saw Secret take a confident lead—the type of confidence they've earned with the long history of supreme decision making and skill. They underestimated rOtk's draft, however, particularly the impact of Winter Wyvern when combined with Gyrocopter and Bounty Hunter when combined with Storm Spirit. A run of brilliant teamfight turnarounds—including a clutch Winter's Curse around the 30 minute mark deserving of its own writeup. This gave Cty the space he needed to get out of control on Storm Spirit. Spirit Breaker chases. Courier snipes. Deep, deep dives. EHOME pulled off a 10k gold swing, and took the game.
rOtk's drafting magic delivered again in game two. With an aggressive lineup including a surprise Night Stalker, EHOME placed themselves in a position to punish Secret's early Shadow Fiend and Anti-Mage picks. S4 on the former had a terrible time, struggling to leave the game at all against a second astonishing Cty performance (this time on Templar Assassin.) Arteezy kept Secret in the game with an elusive split push on Anti-Mage, but EHOME outplayed Secret in every single teamfight. Zai's Axe managed a few heroic Berserker's Calls, Puppey landed his clutch Shallow Graves, and Kuroky's Witch Doctor pulled off his full-duration Death Ward ults, but it wasn't enough. A dieback by Arteezy confirmed Secret's fate. The unthinkable happened: this undefeated, world-beating dream team is going to the lower bracket. With the hype surrounding PPD, Puppey and xiao8, rOtk's standing as one of the world's best captains might have been overlooked. It won't be again.
Arteezy slips away from a fight gone south in the Radiant jungle in Team Secret vs. EHOME game 2.
Lower bracket: MVP Phoenix vs. Empire
MVP opened this set up with a combo they're very fond of—Io and Bristleback. Yet this was the pairing that fell first, losing the offlane badly to Empire's defensive trilane while Empire's own offlane Queen of Pain picked up solid farm. Yet it didn't matter. Slowly but surely, then quickly and dramatically, the wildcard team outplayed Empire. Febby's Io was the vital core of a team that each had their dramatic moments: March's Bristleback getting a double kill by taking an entire Death Ward to the rear, QO's Templar Assassin going 1 vs. 3 with an Aegis, getting a double kill, and escaping. Empire badly underestimated just how good the South Koreans are, and they paid for it.
The cliffs were quiet on day two, although a highground Tombstone in game 2 of MVP Phoenix vs. Empire helped yoky- open the game back up for his team.
Momentum is a real thing. MVP Phoenix stormed into game two with a commanding early and midgame. Their 'just keep punchin' strat saw Febby's Bounty Hunter chase Resolution's bootsless Templar Assassin all the way through his jungle while March's Spirit Breaker stood up to Silent's Anti-Mage and got the bashes (and experience) he needed. They came ahead in every fight they took, with no weak links—NutZ's Witch Doctor is the most impressive this tournament, with a run of perfect Death Wards. And all the while kpii was farming on Phantom Lancer, giving them the lategame to compete with Silent. Empire hit back hard when they challenged MVP in the Rosh pit, with yoky- picking up an ultra kill on Undying with a great highground Tombstone. Once again, however, over-aggressive blinks got Silent into trouble, and as soon as kpii was able to hunt him down with Phantom Rush the game was MVP’s to lose. They didn’t. What an incredible result for this underestimated team, and for South Korean Dota in general.
Lower bracket: Cloud9 vs. Vici Gaming
I often feel for the guys in the C9 t-shirts. Not just the players, I mean—the fans. Game one against Vici was right out the C9 playbook, in that it was seventy minutes long, incredibly exciting, and they lost. It opened with constant aggression from both teams and maintained that pace, with bOne7's Phoenix and Misery's Bane helping Envy to push fights in C9's direction—even to the point of sieging Vici's base. But Vici steadily outplayed them, with fy delivering another tremendous Rubick performance that warranted the respect ban he'd receive in game two. This was a game that came down to nerve and execution, and C9 had the nerve but Vici had the execution. Amazing Dota, if not what C9's fans might have wanted from them.
"Nutz with the finger! It's the global finger!"
Owen 'ODPixel' Davies, MVP Phoenix vs. Empire game 1
For the second day in a row, Lion’s ultimate takes ODPixel to some silly places. Yesterday it was Banana; today, Nutz.
“That skeleton. That value skeleton.”
Toby ‘TobiWan’ Dawson, EG vs. coL game 1
Game two was far shorter and far more one-sided. C9’s strange draft lacked either reliable supports or reliable disable, revolving around two dual lanes—Bloodseeker and Pugna top, Queen of Pain and Undying bottom—that both struggled despite a few early skirmishes keeping C9 in the game. Vici had their own weird pick in Super’s Sniper, but the difference was that it worked: in a return to the dark days of 6.83, the hero’s supreme range and nuke potential turned every fight he participated in Vici’s way. Vici’s far less greedy support picks, Earthshaker and Winter Wyvern, worked extremely well: it felt as if C9 had forgotten that they were up against some of the very best, most coordinated support players in the world. Vici ended C9’s International at a strident pace, a return to form that will have their own fans hoping that their recent disappointing run is finally at an end.
On day 3: Secret, compLexity, Virtus.pro and IG fight for survival; the upper bracket determines its final two. Don’t miss out!