The last day of group B matches has come and gone, with the standings now finalized at the Dota 2 Arlington Major.
As Group B only had 8 teams as opposed to Group A’s 9, its matches are now over. The biggest surprise of the group was undoubtedly the miserable performance of Tundra Esports, who will be beating themselves up for having the worst results of any team in the entire tournament. That being said, our commiserations go to Natus Vincere, who was near the top of the table at the end of the second day only to lose three straight series to crash out early.
On the other hand, props to Beastcoast for squeezing through ahead of the Ukrainian team, and BOOM Esports for making the top 4 over Evil Geniuses. Credit also goes to Team Aster, who topped the group without losing a single series — a feat only surpassed by PSG.LGD in the other group.
The final day of Group B results saw Entity and Team Spirit 2-0 EG and Na’ Vi respectively, while Beastcoast vs Tundra and Aster vs BOOM ended all square. Let’s take a look at the best matches from Day 4.
Natus Vincere vs Team Spirit
The CIS rivals on the opposite ends of the group faced off at last, with Na’ Vi fighting for their lives and Spirit looking to secure a good seeding for the playoffs. Both teams have very aggressive playstyles, so this was always going to be an intense battle.
The first game featured Na’ Vi focusing on a split teamfight style with Templar Assassin, Ember Spirit, Rubick, Dawnbreaker, and Dazzle. Spirit, on the other hand, focused on a more grouped-up approach with a Warlock and Enigma combination complemented with Snapfire, Tiny, and Juggernaut.
Despite a relatively quiet early game, Na’ Vi soon took the lead with some important pickoffs. By the 38th minute, they had a decent 9k gold lead and although it wasn’t decisive, it looked as though they might just take the game.
One good teamfight later, however, Spirit was right back in it. Shortly afterward, a brilliant play from Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk coupled with some luck saw the enemy Ember fall. With the gold lead now in Spirit’s favor, one more teamfight was all it took for the TI champs to end the game.
Spirit’s lineup in Game 2 was a lot more about blowing up quickly, with Tiny and Morphling heavily involved. They also had Mars, Marci, and Rubick to set up and disrupt these fights. Na’ Vi focused more on drawn-out fights, with a Clockwork for catch, Zeus and Snapfire for magical damage, and Razor and Dawnbreaker for DPS.
This game was going heavily in Na’ Vi’s favor early on. The TI1 winning clan was putting heavy pressure on Spirit and the latter were unable to answer. They maintained a massive kill lead throughout, but Spirit somehow hung on and didn’t let the gold lead become unassailable.
Once their Morphling got too strong, however, all Na’ Vi could do was watch. Yatoro chewed through everything and everyone with the incredible scalability of the hero, and despite Na’ Vi still being ahead in kills, they had to tap out.
Team Aster vs BOOM Esports
The Chinese squad was undeniable favorites going into this matchup, but everyone knew BOOM wasn’t going to go down without a fight. In the end, they had a share of the spoils.
BOOM had a brilliant lineup for teamfights at the expense of strong pickoff potential. Their lineup featured Keeper of Light, Winter Wyvern, Snapfire, Mars, and Juggernaut. Aster, in a similar fashion, went teamfight-heavy with Faceless Void, Death Prophet, Earth Spirit, Void Spirit, and Phoenix.
This was one of the most exciting back-and-forth games in the tournament so far. Neither team was willing to let the other get something for nothing. Aster had developed a bit of a lead by the mid-game, but a brilliantly executed fight in and around the Roshan pit saw the balance shift back to neutrality.
After another fight in the Dire jungle went BOOM’s way, however, it was only a matter of time before they finished things off. In both decisive battles, it had been Aster’s Du “Monet” Peng who got caught out. This was especially bad the second time around, as he had plenty of time to pop his Black King Bar, which would have saved him.
Once again, BOOM went with Mars and Snapfire, but this time they picked Ember, Bloodseeker, and Mirana alongside. Aster also had great teamfight heroes in the form of Puck, Earth Spirit, Death Prophet, and Winter Wyvern, with a Bristleback along for the ride.
As was the case in Game 1, it seemed that neither team wanted to let the other get too far ahead. Topsy-turvy, back and forth fights took place all across the map, with the teams exchanging the gold lead every few minutes.
However, a few small misplays and misused buybacks by BOOM put the game firmly in the hands of Aster, who didn’t need any further persuasion and took the chance by the throat.
Evil Geniuses vs Entity
This game could have been EG’s ticket into the upper bracket or at least a tiebreaker with BOOM, but Entity have been looking extremely powerful throughout this tournament. It was going to go down to the wire.
Entity had a strong, all-around lineup featuring Chen, Zeus, Brewmaster, Tiny, and Faceless Void. EG on the other hand was a little more teamfight-heavy with a Puck and Phoenix combo, an Ursa for DPS, and a Dawnbreaker and Tusk to save that Ursa.
Early on, EG was able to mount a decent lead, but it wasn’t long before Entity showed why they were near the top of the group. With some excellent teamfights, they took control of the game.
EG kept losing fights by greater and greater margins, and Entity eventually closed the game out in the 45th minute.
EG’s lineup looked much stronger on paper this game — Bloodseeker, Beastmaster, Queen of Pain, Dawnbreaker, and Snapfire. Entity, on the other hand, had a seemingly bizarre lineup of Chen, Batrider, Razor, Nyx Assassin, and a carry Doom.
That being said, it wasn’t long before Entity used their relatively early-game lineup to great effect, pressuring EG and taking away their map control. Soon, EG’s cores couldn’t farm in peace and were forced to live on crumbs.
That pressure never really relented, and it wasn’t long before Entity squeezed the little life the Americans had left in them. It was a devastating moment for fans of North American Dota as their Group B team ended up in the Lower Bracket while their Group A team was on the verge of elimination.
Join us tomorrow as we recap the last few group stage games before the playoffs begin.