Dota 2 Arlington Major Playoffs Final Day Recap

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Dota 2 Arlington Major Playoffs Final Day Recap

All the action from the last day of the Major, bite-sized.


The Arlington Major is finally over, and the final day brought with it as much scintillating Dota action as anyone could have hoped for. Some hearts were obviously broken, but it’ll be hard to find any true Dota lovers who can criticize the quality of the games. 

The day began with Team Spirit knocking out Team Aster in the Lower Bracket Final, and ended with the CIS squad putting an end to PSG.LGD’s dominance by defeating them in more games than the latter had lost in the entire tournament up till that point. 

Dota fans around the world witnessed an incredible display of skills in their beloved game, and we’re here to give you a brief taste of the action.

Team Spirit vs Team Aster 

The Chinese squad had made it past mighty OG the day before, but they still had to defeat the TI10 champs before they could take a crack at the juggernaut that’s PSG.LGD. Spirit meanwhile were no strangers to the Lower Bracket, and were ready to bulldoze anyone in their path to the trophy.

Game 1 

Team Aster came out swinging with a relatively early-game draft with Brewmaster, Bristleback, Tiny, Winter Wyvern, and Zeus — a lineup which also provided plenty of burst damage. In reply, Spirit opted for Rubick, Juggernaut, Puck, Snapfire, and Doom in a rather mixed bag approach. 

Aster naturally took a sizable early lead, but it wasn’t long before Spirit struck back strong. After being down 14 kills to 2 at 17 minutes in, Spirit brought things back to have a gigantic 46k gold lead 30 minutes later.

By that time, Aster were simply too far behind to have a reasonable impact in the game, and having lost their chance, gave up shortly after with all of their heroes dead without buyback.

Game 2 

Aster’s picks in the second game had a mix of heroes that covered several aspects of the game including teamfights, saves, pickoffs, and heal. Their picks were Faceless Void, Tiny, Dawnbreaker, Death Prophet, and Dazzle. To be fair, Team Spirit’s draft wasn’t very different, and they also had their bases covered with Chen, Juggernaut, Storm Spirit, Zeus, and Mars.

However, it was clear from the get-go that Aster was ready for revenge. They kept a lead almost throughout the match, and showed Spirit just how powerful they were. Try as they might, the reigning TI champs couldn’t find their footing. 

With some amazing pickoffs and imperious map control, Aster were able to close the game out in the 40th minute with the kill difference standing at 33-7. 

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Game 3

With their backs against the wall, both teams pulled out all the stops. Aster’s picks of Chen, Earthshaker, Troll Warlord, Timbersaw, and Storm Spirit were decent, but extremely greedy. Spirit, on the other hand, went for heroes that required relatively less farm to activate with Tiny, Phoenix, Mars, Io, and Templar Assassin.

Unlike the two previous matches, the start of this game was much more competitive. Kills went back-and-forth, and while both teams showed plenty of respect for the other, neither held back. 

One good teamfight for Spirit, however, gave them a sizable lead, and they didn’t need telling twice. Over the next few minutes, that gold lead ballooned and Spirit looked more and more likely to close the game out, dealing the final blow in a teamfight in the 38th minute. 

PSG.LGD vs Team Spirit

For the first time ever, the final of a Dota 2 Major featured the same teams that had played the final of the TI the year before. Needless to say, both teams were armed and ready to take the other down. PSG.LGD were unquestionable favorites, but as everyone knows, Team Spirit are at their best when they aren’t expected to win.

Game 1 

PSG.LGD focused on a magic damage lineup with no pure DPS heroes. Their Puck, Viper, Rubick, and Chen had a carry Pudge alongside to round things up. Spirit on the other hand went for a more conventional lineup that needed more time to come online — Phantom Lancer, Dazzle, Tusk, Tiny, and Enigma.

Spirit’s chances against such a powerful lineup from an aggressive team were never the best, but the CIS giants showed just why they are one of the best teams in the world with some serious resistance and resilience.

It wasn’t to be, however, and by 36 minutes, PSG.LGD were 23k ahead. After a terrific teamfight in the top Dire jungle, the Chinese team pushed Spirit’s Tier 4 towers and forced a surrender.

Game 2 

If one was to guess by draft alone, they would almost certainly have favored PSG.LGD for this game. This isn’t because Spirit’s Queen of Pain, Bane, Viper, Marci, and Monkey King weren’t good, but because PSG.LGD’s Dazzle, Tusk, Keeper of Light, and Razor were joined by a dreaded Naga Siren with the deadly Wang “Ame” Chunyu at the wheel.

Spirit were off to a great start, putting immense pressure on the Naga Siren and not letting the dangerous carry farm up. However, PSG.LGD proceeded to take some good fights and create space for Ame, who went leaps and bounds ahead in net worth before long. At 47 minutes in, It looked as though the game was all but out of Spirit’s hands as they had all 5 heroes down, 3 without buyback, and PSG.LGD were in the former’s base with full HP, Aegis and Cheese.

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This is Team Spirit we’re talking about, though, and they seem to gain some sort of unearthly energy when they’re ruled out. With one Melee Barracks remaining, they fought back hard, taking the fight back to the Chinese masterminds. After 75 grueling minutes, a Divine Rapier, Tier 5 Neutral Items and countless buybacks, Spirit, miraculously, emerged victorious in what was arguably the game of the tournament.

Game 3

As though annoyed by their shock defeat, PSG.LGD made the mistake of picking Naga Siren again, except with Bane, Death Prophet, Earthshaker and Timbersaw. This time around, PSG.LGD were ready with Tiny, Shadow Demon, Beastmaster, Zeus, and Sven.

Spirit knew they had to control the tempo of the game if they wanted to win, and that is precisely what they did. They didn’t allow the Chinese team any breathing room and kept hitting them hard every chance they got.

Even though their Naga was well-farmed, it became obvious to the Upper Bracket champions that the game was out of their hands, and after getting teamwiped in the 28th minute, they bowed out somewhat prematurely.

Game 4

Arguably in disbelief about the way the series was turning out, PSG.LGD played to their strengths, picking Chaos Knight, Io, Razor, Kunkka, and Earth Spirit. In response, Spirit mixed the meta Chen, Bristleback, and Rubick with niche picks Axe and Queen of Pain.

Spirit had a shaky start, going down 7 kills to 0 within the first few minutes of the game. Undeterred, they fought back slowly but surely. With their faster farming abilities, they began focusing on building up a lead and taking charge of the map. 

They say wards win games, and it was certainly Spirit’s vision game that made the difference for them. The CIS boys were behind, but they refused to let the Chinese squad get too far ahead. Some absolutely brilliant teamfights followed, and while things were far from over, Spirit took the lead and focused on increasing it. After causing the enemy carry to die back in the 43rd minute, they pushed, and within minutes, had won their second Valve-sponsored trophy in less than a year.

That’s all for our daily coverage of the Arlington Major. Be sure to read our recap of the entire tournament, analysis of the hero meta, and of course, coverage of the Open Qualifiers for TI11. 

Dota 2 Arlington Major Playoffs Final Day Recap
The Old One
When he's not sighing at sub-standard teammates in Dota 2 and CS2, The Old One is writing about those two games (among other things). If you see his name around the site too many times for your liking, well, the guy just never stops writing. Yes, we've tried an intervention.