With the tournament entering its second round, we round up the best games from Day 1 at the Dota 2 Arlington Major.
Few things in gaming can equal the excitement of the playoff stage of a Dota tournament. The skills, the strategy, the excitement, and the casting all reach fever pitch as teams duke it out for the crown. These matches produce some of the most iconic and memorable moments in the fabled history of the game, with a plethora of Twitch clips and YouTube Shorts being created from them.
The Arlington Major’s playoffs have been no different. The top 12 teams from the group stage took their places in the playoff brackets, and Day 1 saw four matches from the Upper Bracket. Chinese giants PSG.LGD destroyed SEA powerhouse BOOM Esports, OG and Team Spirit reverse-swept Entity and Outsiders respectively in all-European brawls, and in another China vs SEA matchup, Team Aster dominated Fnatic. Without further ado, then, let’s see the two best matches from Day 1 of the Arlington Major playoffs.
Arlington Major Entity vs OG
OG has had a strained relationship with Entity since the latter’s formation, and the fact that the latter was now using TSM’s Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek as a stand-in didn’t help. With big money and OG’s confirmation of a TI11 slot on the line, the match would unquestionably be a hard-fought battle.
While most of OG’s picks — Windranger, Keeper of Light, Vengeful Spirit, and Tiny — were conventional, an offlane Huskar changed things up. Entity on the other hand went for a tanky lineup with Bristleback, Visage, Batrider, and Chen with a chunky army, along with Winter Wyvern for added sustenance.
Early on, OG took advantage of their burst damage and took a bit of a lead. As things usually do with OG, it seemed as though they would capitalize on the lead and go haywire. However, Entity had other plans.
After taking a teamfight near Roshan, Entity simply didn’t look back. They dominated the entire map and closed the game out before OG could put up anything of a comeback.
In Game 2, it was Entity’s turn to go unconventional as they picked up a carry Doom and offlane Visage supported by a mid Batrider and supporting Abaddon and Winter Wyvern. The idea obviously was to outlast OG’s teamfight. OG’s lineup was far more practical, with Puck, Elder Titan, Bloodseeker, Shadow Demon, and Viper.
It was Entity’s turn to have a better early game as they enjoyed a strong kill lead for a while. Some good pickoffs and teamfights helped them achieve this. With their Upper Bracket lives on the line, it was a difficult situation for OG.
However, as the game progressed, OG’s heroes scaled better, and after a couple of strong team fights they took the lead. Although their opponents successfully struck back once or twice, the two-time TI-winning clan kept their cool and closed the game.
The third and final match saw Entity opt for a more conventional focus-down draft with Templar Assassin, Night Stalker, Clockwork, Winter Wyvern, and Visage. OG’s reply was to pick a carry Alchemist with a Puck mid, with an offlane Slardar and Enchantress and Phoenix for extreme healing support.
Unlike the two previous games, OG simply outclassed their opponents this time around. The Alchemist meant that gold was always in OG’s favor, but some brilliant teamfights boosted this effect.
By the 30th minute, OG was over 20k gold up, and racing up the enemy high ground. A minute later, it was all over for Entity.
Arlington Major Outsiders vs Team Spirit
The all-CIS clash was undoubtedly the series of the day. Every single game was back-and-forth, with the victor only being determined very late in the game. What’s more, the regional rivalry between the two teams added to the flavor of the match.
The two aggressive teams went for drafts that matched their play style. Outsiders went with Terrorblade, Kunkka, Timbersaw, Tusk, and Skywrath, while Spirit opted to get Dazzle, Ursa, Void Spirit, Marci, and Viper.
The match oscillated between tight teamfights and long periods of farming. Outsiders maintained a decent gold lead for most of the match, but it wasn’t enough to be decisive. However, some incredible play from Dmitry “DM” Dorokhin and Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarevsaw Outsiders power through and outlast their TI-winning opponents, finally finishing things off almost an hour in.
Game 2 was another ballistic affair, but it should really have been shorter than it turned out to be. Outsiders went for a relatively unconventional draft with a Nature’s Prophet carry aided by Batrider, Darkseer, Marci, and Jakiro. Spirit, on the other hand, had a much more meta-friendly draft with Dazzle, Pangolier, Tiny, Razor, and the ace up their sleeve, Phantom Lancer.
Spirit maintained a decent kill lead throughout most of the match, but the gold was somewhat balanced by the NP’s fast farming. Outsiders did extremely well to hold the game together, but it wasn’t long until the PL began exploiting the lack of a direct counter, and soon they were facing Mega Creeps.
They weren’t giving up just yet, though, as some wily backdooring saw them within touching distance of a comeback. However, Spirit held their nerve and finished the game after an insane battle in the Radiant top triangle 56 minutes in.
With both teams within reach of TI qualification, the deciding game was always going to be beastly. Outsiders picked Dawnbreaker, Beastmaster, Skywrath, Templar Assassin, and Dazzle for fast pickoff plays. Spirit’s answer came in the form of Clockwork, Terrorblade, Puck, Snapfire, and Razor.
Despite still being competitive, this was perhaps the most one-sided game of the series. The early to mid-game featured plenty of competition, but soon the Terrorblade was just too big.
Additionally, some of Outsiders’ players inexplicably chose to continue farming instead of defending their Barracks. This was reminiscent of Artour “Arteezy” Babarv’s Anti-Mage play in Game 3 of EG vs OG in the TI9 Upper Bracket Semi-Final, and this game followed the same trajectory, with Outsiders losing.
That was just Day 1 of the playoffs, so join us again for the Day 2 recap tomorrow!