We take you through all the battles in the Upper and Lower Division of China's DPC.
As DPC Season 2 crosses the midway, standings are starting to show the most probable winners. We take a look at what happened in Week 4.
The Lower Division were originally scheduled to play four series this week. But as Dragon were disqualified due to a player violation. Their opponents both received default wins, progressing onto Week 5 without facing anyone.
The remaining series were Aster Aries against Demon Slayer and LBZS vs Phoenix Gaming. Aries snatched first blood early in Game 1 and came out on top in the laning phase. Although DS did manage a few pickoffs, it was Aries who were setting the pace. They closed the map against DS in 31-minutes with a 19k net worth lead. Game 2 was an even swifter stomp for Aster.Aries, as they snowballed to a 28-minute victory to take the first win of the week.
Phoenix ranked number one in the standings last week, while LBZS held the number two spot. Making this series a clash between the LD's two strongest teams.
LBZS defeated Phoenix by 2-1 to tie the first place in the standings of Lower Division. Even though Phoenix lost the series, their performance was worth watching. In their first match, they had an incredible lead of 18k net worth in the late game. Unfortunately their draft didn’t counter the enemy's Phantom Lancer. After several back and forth team fights, Phoenix ran out of buybacks and surrendered after losing all of their heroes.
Game 2 saw LBZS ban Phantom Lancer, in spite of having a great time on the hero during their first match. Phoenix picked Terrorblade as their carry, while LBZS picked up a Slark as a counter. But LZBS Phoenix won the game as their opponents didn’t have enough damage to burst down Terrorblade before he could use his ultimate.
LBZS surprised everyone with their position one pick in Game 3; Doom. The early game was completely in favor of LBZS in which they were successful in shutting down enemy Ursa with the help of an aggressive tri-lane. Until 16 minutes into the game, LBZS had 13 kills, 0 deaths and a net worth lead of 8,000. It was a failed smoke gank by LBZS that helped Phoenix turn the game around for a while. The biggest problems for LBZS were that their lineup was neither able to push for towers nor win 5v5 team fights during the mid game. But in the end, with the help of Aegis LBZS were able to control the map, secure a good net worth lead and then win the final team fight.
The Upper Division had six series this week. Aster won against Sparking Arrow Gaming by 2-0 when they faced off on our first day of play. It was two quick stomps that brought Aster the victory. Game 2 was over in just 13-minutes as Aster snowballed straight to the win. SAG were forced to play with a stand-in this series, with Xue "September" Zhichuan stepping in for Sun "Srf" Runfa this week. The win brings Aster to the first place in our standings this week, knocking Elephant down from the top rung.
Our first day of play also brought us one of the week's three-game series. PSG.LGD and EHOME, two of the region's top seeds, went head-to-head. It was an unconventional core pick for Wang "Ame" Chunyu in Game 1, he played a Riki, which is a little out of his usual hero pool. LGD ended up taking the series against EHOME 2-1. We'll break this one down in more detail in this week's highlight series.
LGD played their second series against Sparking Arrow Gaming, and SAG fell yet again as LGD cleaned them up, taking both games in under 20-minutes. Sparking Arrow Gaming are still yet to take a win this Season. They're currently sitting at 8th place right at the bottom of our standings.
Invictus Gaming and Royal Never Give Up gave us our other three-game series this week. The two battled it out on May 7 across three maps with plenty of twists and turns along the way. While IG took Game 1 with minimal resistance, RNG came back in Game 2 with vengeance. The lanes saw some back and forth, but RNG took control from the 15-minute mark. Zhong "圣子华炼" Liushuai had an especially nice game on Medusa, going 8/0/7 across the 38-minutes.
As the final map opened, it certainly looked like RNG had the game in the bag. They came out on top in the landing phase and were holding a 12k net worth advantage until a successful Rosh attempt for Invictus flipped the script. After taking a full team wipe IG had the advantage on their side and they pushed their advantage beautifully, running over RNG in Game 3's final minutes to take the series, 2-1. The loss leaves RNG tied for 4th position at the end of Week 4, alongside EHOME and Vici Gaming.
It was a two-series week for Invictus, who also clashed against Elephant in what was perhaps the week's most shocking defeat. Elephant took control in Game 1 right from the outset, nabbing first blood with a nice pick off on Thiay "JT-" Jun Wen's Nightstalker in the bottom lane. Lu "Somnus丶M" Yao looked unstoppable on his Ember Spirit this map, he took control through the lanes easily and turned into a killing machine after he got his BKB on his belt at 21-minutes. He went 14/1/11 by the end of the game. Elephant shut down the first map at 37-minutes and IG were looking very shaky.
Game 2 saw Elephant take an Ursa pick for Zhang "Eurus" Chengjun which didn't serve them so well in the lanes. But the early hiccups weren't enough to throw Elephant off. By 21-minutes they had secured themselves control of the map and they rolled to a second victory at 39-minutes. Invictus did not look like their usual selves in either of their series this week. They're currently right at the bottom of the ladder in 7th place. The loss against Elephant is a big blow that could put them at risk of missing out on a slot at the next Major.
Elephant's other series against Vici Gaming didn't go quite as well for them. Vici easily overran Elephant on the first map. Taking control from the 10-minute mark and holding the gold lead well into the mid-game. They ended Game 1 at 40-minutes, 10-kills up on Elephant. The ride in Game 2 was not quite as smooth for either team. The Dragon Knight for Somnus in mid caused some problems for Elephant in the lanes. But Ren "eLeVeN" Yangwei didn't have the easiest early game on his Mars either, giving up first blood to Elephant as the game passed 5-minutes. The net worth lead swung back and forth over the course of Game 2, but Vici established themselves as the dominant force on the map after a series of brutal skirmishes just past 25-minutes. They shut down Elephant's ancient at 33-minutes, taking the series 2-0.
Also Read: DPC Weekly Recap — SEA May 3-May 8
Highlight Series: PSG.LGD vs EHOME
Our highlight series this week was the three-game blitz in the Upper Bracket between LGD and EHOME.
Game 1 saw the unexpected Riki pick for Ame. Which turned out to be a huge win for the LGD side. But there was also plenty of crafty initiations thanks to a Magnus pick for Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang in mid and a Mars for Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida.
EHOME picked a weak draft by comparison. Especially in terms of team fights. Yang "Chalice" Shenyi looked flimsy on the Broodmother. And although we've seen plenty of good Ursa games this season, Liu "Sylar" Jiajun didn't have much luck on the hero this map. The poor team comp no doubt played a large part in EHOME's decision to surrender the game — before even losing any tier two towers. Most of the heroes in EHOME's draft were suited to win the laning stage. Their plan was likely to dominate the early game and then snowball towards a quick win. But sometimes Dota doesn't turn out the way we plan.
Things were looking up for EHOME on our second map, however. Guo "Xm" Hongcheng caused plenty of trouble in the mid lane on Razor. Both he and NothingToSay's Windranger came out even in the lanes.
But one of the bigger problems LGD faced in Game 2 was their inability to control the Rosh area. Losing a couple of team fights around the river which cost them their lead. Ame's Sven pick didn't pack the punch it needed to, and Faith_bian's Legion Commander failed to really secure any duels. Sylar snapped up the aegis after EHOME's first successful attempt at Roshan just before the 20-minute mark. Then, with a second life on the Jug EHOME secured map control, taking the game just before the clock hit 37-minutes.
With the series pushed out to the full three maps, both teams were hungry for the win in Game 3. EHOME had a great laning stage, achieving a 5k lead in the net worth by 17-minutes. But, their draft yet again let them down. Lacking a durable hero prevented them from converting this lead into a victory. EHOME picked Doom for Chalice in the offlane, and that's where their draft failed. Normally the offlaner should be a tanker, but the last few patches have seen Doom lose strength gain per level. That's why EHOME's Doom failed to be the frontliner the team needed against the burst damage of Ame's Morphling and NothingToSay's Tiny.
Still, it wasn't a complete cakewalk for LGD. They finally seized control of the lead at 28-minutes, riding the momentum to a 35-minute win. Despite some fantastic plays from EHOME, LGD came out on top to secure themselves the series 2-1.