Dota 2: DreamLeague Major Day 9 Highlights

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Dota 2: DreamLeague Major Day 9 Highlights

It was the second last day of the DreamLeague Major, and the competition was fierce. We saw three of our four series go to three games, and lots of back and forth brawls between our top teams of this DPC season.

PSG.LGD vs Virtus Pro

LGD start out strong

Our first series of the day saw China’s PSG.LGD face off against Virtus Pro. We saw LGD playing at full form, with a draft built around Ame’s Spectre pick and the late game carry.

The strategy paid off. Although VP were leading in the early game, LGD began to turn things around as the game hit 25 minutes. They started to pull ahead in the kills, executing great map awareness to find pick offs and perfect control in team fights, prioritising kills on No[o]ne and Ramzes.

GG was called as the game approached 40 minutes, and LGD took the first victory in game one.

It seemed like LGD were gearing up for a similar strategy in game two, with a second Spectre pick for Ame. But Virtus Pro had no intention of letting them get away with it a second time.

It was the start of an aggressive laning phase for VP. By 11 minutes they had a 6 kill-lead on LGD and a 2k net worth advantage.

There were some real clutch plays in this game. A beautiful blackhole with Fy’s Enigma at 25 minutes brought down 3 on the side of VP. Another perfect blackhole for Fy in the river at 43 minutes turned a team fight in LGD’s favour, cutting VP’s kill-lead to 10. But this wasn’t enough to stop VP. The took game two at 47 minutes.


The Virtus Pro come back

LGD came in strong again in our third game. They took first blood this time and were setting a much faster pace in the laning phases than the two previous games. We saw xM having a great time in mid, with plenty of space to farm, dealing Solo’s Nature’s Prophet a lot of punishment.

As the game neared 10 minutes LGD were leading the net worth and had secured themselves some early game objectives. But Virtus Pro were not about to stand back and let LGD run the map.

Ame’s Naga Siren pick had a lot of potential, but it never got enough farm to really come online and threaten. While the line-up from VP provided plenty of trouble for LGD in team fights, thanks to the rolling thunder/primal split combo provided by their Pango and Brewmaster picks.

A mistake by Chalice swapping Fy back into the chase of VP also proved to be costly for them.

Despite a valiant fight, LGD finally fell to Virtus Pro at 48 minutes.

Team Secret vs Keen Gaming

Team Secret captain, Puppey, celebrating a win in game

Team Secret play it cool

Next up in our lower bracket Bo3’s, Keen Gaming met Team Secret to fight for their chance at a place in the lower bracket finals.

Secret picked Outworld Devourer for Mid0ne in both games. We’ve seen this strategy work out very well for them throughout this Major. Mid0ne has proven he is a force to be reckoned with on the hero.

Our game one went to 38 minutes, with Secret securing mega creeps and shutting down Keen’s defense to take the game.

Game two saw Keen trying to bring the pressure early. They seemed to be over-running secret as the laning phase ended. Punishing any over extensions and giving themselves an 8 kill lead before 10 minutes.

Although Keen did bring some great plays to the table, this seemed like an easy game for Secret. They never appeared threatened. Instead focusing on methodical plays, rotating to secure objectives and pick offs until Mid0ne’s OD was too powerful for Keen to fight into.

GG was called at 31 minutes, with every rax still standing.

This was our fastest series of the day, with Secret securing themselves a spot against Virtus Pro in the last lower bracket match of the day.

 Virtus Pro vs Team Secret

Our final lower bracket elimination match also went to three games. This series played out like a finals event of its own. Both Secret and Virtus Pro were pulling out all the stops to earn themselves a place on the stage tomorrow and treating us to some of the most exciting Dota 2 we can expect to see at a Major.

These three games were close and intense, and it seemed like the series could go either way at any point.

A nail-biting game one

Game one was a real back and forth brawl right from the get-go. There were 31 kills on the board in the first 10 minutes; 20 kills to Secret and 11 to VP. Secret seemed to have the advantage thanks to them shutting down No[o]ne’s farm on Alchemist in mid very effectively in the laning phase.

But excellent control by Rodjer on Pango, especially in fights around the Rosh pit, gave VP the edge they needed to turn game one back to their advantage.

Using their momentum to take objectives and keep pushing their advantage, VP marched up the top lane all the way to the high ground, taking the rax and then pulling back to also take Secret’s shrine at 32 minutes.

There didn’t seem to be any coming back for Secret, who were unable to contest the map to secure any building objectives of their own, despite keeping quite close to VP in the kills.

At 43 minutes, Virtus Pro took the win for game one.

Secret still fighting

Virtus Pro tried hard to zone out Secret’s farm in the laning phase. They brought plenty of early kills to the table. But the openings of game two looked like a repeat of Secret’s earlier match against Keen. They refused to be tilted by the kills coming out from VP, and instead focused on the push and farm.

At around 20 minutes, a perfect blackhole from Zai’s Enigma, combined with Nisha’s song on Naga Siren, helped Secret clean up Ramzes and Solo.

There was some blisteringly fast Dota 2 being played in this game, VP worked hard to quickly shut down every advantage Secret gave themselves.

But the turning point came with another clutch blackhole/siren’s song combo from Zai and Pasha at 32 minutes that gave Secret the momentum they needed to push for Roshan and secure an aegis on Nisha.

Secret took game two at 38 minutes, with 31 kills to VP’s 19.

Another advantage for Secret in game two was Mid0ne’s OD. Again, we saw what a powerful asset he can be for his team on this hero.  His ability to affect the timing of fights was an advantage for Secret that VP’s draft had no way to deal with.

Virtus Pro player No[o]ne celebrates a victory

The Virtus Pro pub show

Our third game saw Virtus Pro come in with a five-core draft; Razor, Weaver, Enigma, Tidehunter and Doom. It was a greedy and risky line-up, but Virtus Pro proved they knew how to make it work.

There was no doubt that even though VP’s draft was demanding, it was the stronger of the two. Secret needed to set the pace for this game and shut it down quickly. With an Ursa pick for Zai, this seemed to be their plan in the laning phase. Zai punished an overextension by Ramzes’ Weaver for first blood, and then took a second kill, catching Solo out.

But once Rodjer’s blackhole was online and Pasha had ravage on the tide, we saw combo after combo executed flawlessly by the pair. The control they provided over Secret’s heroes meant that even with a speedy bear to initiate, Virtus Pro still had plenty of time to cut them down one by one.

By 30 minutes, VP had a clear lead, forcing out buy backs from Secret as they pushed for Roshan. With a second aegis on Ramzes, Virtus Pro led the stomp straight up to Secret’s top T3 tower. Taking the fight to the high ground and punishing Secret’s attempts to defend with another blackhole from Rodjer, forcing diebacks.

GG was called just before 37 minutes, and after their second three game series of the day, Virtus Pro advanced to the finals.

Fnatic vs Vici Gaming

Our game in the upper bracket saw Vici Gaming face Fnatic.

Vici Gaming have been on fire throughout this Major. They knocked Secret down to the lower bracket earlier in the tournament and have consistently performed well in the upper bracket of the competition.

A favourable start for Fnatic

Our first game in the upper bracket was set to be a stomp for Fnatic. We saw Abed’s signature Invoker come out as last pick for Fnatic, and iceiceice also managed to secure himself the Pango pick.

Fnatic’s draft provided them with so much control in team fights. With Jabz on Wynter Wyvern able to provide plenty of lock down to allow set up’s for Abed’s sunstrike.

Abed had his Aghanim's Scepter by 20 minutes. Vici’s mistake in not shutting down the farm on his Invoker early, would prove to be their undoing.

It was not a quick stomp for Fnatic though. Vici Gaming were not planning on giving up until they had exhausted every option available to them. But the later the game went, the more lock down Jabz and iceiceice were able to provide.

There was no way for Vici to hold out forever, and after 60 minutes, Fnatic finally took the win in game one.

Vici bring it back

As game two opened, we saw a strong draft from Fnatic that seemed like it would outperform Vici’s picks.

The game seemed to be firmly in Fnatic’s favour, with great map control and a trilane top that caught Vici off guard and earned them three kills in the first minute.

14 minutes saw a fast-paced split fight on the dire side that ended in Fnatic’s favour. But Vici came back with a successful smoke gank that took down Abed’s OD. Fnatic remained ahead in the kills, with the score 19-11 as the game approached 20 minutes.

A clumsy push for the Ancient mid at 30 minutes seemed like it would cost Vici the game, as Abed bought back and punished the aggression with a triple kill.

But Paparazi was still top of the net worth. His Terrorblade was quietly farming away, becoming a bigger and bigger threat.

The kills were 43 -38 at 42 minutes and it really looked like GG for Vici. But this was the start of their glorious comeback.

Paparazi was ahead of Fnatic’s cores, with a 10k gold lead. There was just no taking him down now, as Vici turned their defense into an offense. Taking the game at 43 minutes.

Team Vici celebrate their win in the upper bracket

Slow and steady wins the race

It was another three-game series. The draft saw Vici Gaming take an unorthodox Bloodseeker pick for Paparazi. It wasn’t just a surprise choice though, it was a winning choice.

Much like in game two we saw Fnatic pressing hard and dictating the pace from the early game, racking up the kills against Vici. But like in game two, Vici had their eyes set on the late game.

As it pushed past thirty minutes, we saw the Medusa pick from Ori fully come online. Bolstered by the synergy from Bloodseeker and Vengeful Spirit to create an impenetrable fortress in Vici’s high ground. Fnatic could not close out a push.

Once again Vici turned this strong defensive draft into an offensive nightmare in the closing moments of the game. Shutting down Fnatic with no buy backs.

Vici Gaming took the series 2-1.

We saw some beautiful Dota 2 on the stage in Stockholm yesterday. There’s no doubt our finals will be just as exciting! The last day of the DreamLeague Major gets underway soon on Twitch. Who will we see facing off for our top spot? Will Vici meet Virtus Pro, or will we see Fnatic back for a rematch? Follow us on Twitter for all the latest Dota 2 news and highlights.

Images via DreamHack

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Eliana Bollati
Eliana is a freelance editor & journalist from Australia with a passion for esports and video games. An avid player of video games for the better part of three decades, she began following professional esports circuits during the 2010s. She brings both a player and longtime fan perspective into her commentary on the professional scenes.