Today’s main event at the International 9 began today in Shanghai. Our playoffs are double elimination, which meant we saw four teams go home. While another two fell to tough it out in the lower bracket for a chance at this year’s aegis and their cut of the massive $32 million US dollar prize pool.
The first of our Bo3’s in the Upper Bracket saw China’s titans, PSG.LGD face off against CIS powerhouse, Virtus.pro in our opening series of the day, and then followed it up with a gruelling 3 game series between TNC Predator and Vici Gaming.
LGD vs VP
Ame caught out Solo to claim first blood for LGD within the first 2-minutes. Fy was playing aggressively at the outset of the lanes, cutting a creep wave and getting caught out. He was forced to deny himself to the T3 tower in top to avoid giving VP the early kill.
As the game passed the 10-minute mark, it looked like VP were going to overrun LGD. They were 5-kills up at 12-minutes in. They pushed for Roshan at 20-minutes and though LGD tried to contest, the aegis went to RamzeS.
But LGD were not going to be intimidated. They kept the pressure up. Taking some valuable kills that helped them earn themselves a slight gold advantage despite VP’s strong offense.
LGD took themselves three of the four 25-minute bounty runes and started to close the gap in kills. It was 10-10 when the game hit 30-minutes, with LGD forcing out a triple buy back from the side of VP.
Virtus.pro tried to push for a second Roshan, but LGD were not letting it happen. At 39-minutes the kills were now 16-12. They took out the mid rax at 42-minutes and took the game at 45.
Game one went to LGD.
Things didn’t look much better for the bears in game two.
LGD again played aggressive through the laning phase. Securing themselves an early lead in the net worth as the game shifted to the mid phase. They shut down all of Virtus.pro’s attempts to mount a comeback. They had a 7-kill lead at 22-minutes and Ame’s Phantom Assassin was getting farmed.
VP managed to claim themselves a Roshan at 37-minutes, but it wasn’t enough. LGD maintained control this whole game, closing it out with a Divine Rapier on Ame, who went 9/2/12 on Phantom Assassin this game.
At 45-minutes, LGD knocked Virtus.pro into the lower bracket in a 2-0 series.
TNC vs Vici
We saw a very assertive start from both teams as game one opened. There were 9-kills on the board total in the first 8 minutes, with TNC one up on Vici for 5-4.
But things were just getting started, both in this game and in this series. Vici were focusing the objectives, hitting towers by 14-minutes in. A team fight at 17-minutes gave Vici the opportunity to close the kill gap. The slow game was about to begin with both Vici and TNC looking very evenly matched as the game shifted to the mid stage.
The kills were staying even. The net worth was bouncing back and forth. Just when it thought one team had the lead, the other would snatch it back.
Both teams were using everything at their disposal to stay one step ahead. But the team in the lead kept bouncing. Despite being a real rollercoaster ride, game one had something of an anticlimactic ending.
Vici’s greed over the 75-minute bounty runes is what cost them the win. As TNC took a team fight and pushed their advantage to secure victory at 76-minutes.
It was another long and vicious battle for our game two. TNC had some slight control in the early game. But much like game one this was a very even fight.
A great ravage by Dy’s Tidehunter at 22-minutes helped Vici gain a 7.5k lead in the net worth. Then the 30-minute Roshan went to TNC, with the aegis on Gabbi’s Bristleback. But Vici burned that second life within 5-minutes. Unphased by the pressure the SEA team were trying to apply.
With the kills at 20-14 at 46-minutes and the gold advantage shifting their way. It looked like TNC were going to bring the series home.
Both teams were hungry for this win and neither was going to give up. The turning point came for Vici when Ori grabbed a Silver Edge on Kunkka at 49-minutes.
At 54-minutes they marched up to TNC’s high ground for what looked like the final push.
But TNC held out, not once, but twice Pulling out some clutch lockdown plays to stretch out the game, eking out every second, searching for their come back moment.
But the moment was not going to come as Vici took TNC’s heroes down, one by one. With no buybacks, Vici finally finished their push and took the win at 61-minutes.
We were headed to a three-game series.
Now Vici had tasted victory, they weren’t about to sour it with a defeat.
TNC took first blood, and again they led the kills in the laning phase. But Vici were focused on that win. The kills were 4-8 at 11-minutes in. Vici were hitting back against TNC’s early lane aggression.
Armel’s Broodmother pick was nicely farmed, but it was not going to be enough to carry them through. It was 6-16 at 27-minutes, there was an aegis on Paparazzi and Vici were going in for the kill.
At 34-minutes they sent TNC to their fate in the Lower Bracket in the quickest game of this series.
Four teams said goodbye to their TI dreams in Shanghai today, as our Lower Bracket series began.
Alliance vs RNG
Our Bo1’s kicked off with EU’s Alliance against China’s Royal Never Give Up.
Alliance came into the game looking in fine form. They took first blood and maintained a healthy lead in the kills up until the 13-minute mark. But RNG managed to secure themselves some much needed gold and kills thanks to a pick off gone wrong for Alliance.
RNG were closing the kill gap, and 10-minutes later, Monet’s Anti Mage had finally overtaken Micke’s Gyrocopter in the net worth. The game was beginning to turn in the Chinese team’s favour.
Despite being down in both kills and net worth, RNG closed this one out at 43-minutes GG was called and Alliance’s run at TI9 came to an end.
Liquid vs Fnatic
Next up on the main stage was Liquid vs Fnatic.
We saw a slow start to this game, but as we came out of the laning phase Fnatic had a 1k gold advantage and a 3-kill lead over Liquid. They pushed that gold advantage out to 2k and were trading kills nicely at the 17-minute mark.
But this was when Liquid started to get serious. They took over the kills at 22-minutes; 8-6. Beginning to wear away at the net worth lead Fnatic had been starting to build.
Ten minutes later that score was 16-9. A triple-kill for Miracle gave Liquid the opportunity they needed. They pushed to secure bottom rax at 32-minutes.
Fnatic did their very best to turn the game. But Liquid would not be denied. A tidy Roshan at 38-minutes took them into their final high ground push, where they went straight for the T4’s, instead of mega creeps.
Fnatic fought back as long as possible, a beautiful blackhole from Dy’s Engima almost turned it around. But Miracle managed to slip his spell, closing out the game for Liquid at 40-minutes with a score of 25-16.
They fought their hardest for this one but couldn’t best the new Liquid line up. Fnatic were headed home.
Infamous vs Keen
Our next series brought along with it some truly record breaking Dota. As Infamous and Keen faced off for a chance to continue to tomorrow’s Bo3 matches.
The SA scene has not had a team break through this early stage of the tournament before. But the 34-minute Bo1 today changed all of that.
A savage fight for first blood showed how hungry both teams were, but Infamous would soon prove hungrier. Despite a very greedy draft, Infamous managed to take the gold lead in the laning phase. Rendering Keen’s early game kills pointless once the timer ticked past the 20-minute mark.
From here on in, Infamous played a flawless game. Exploiting every attempt by Keen to try and take control.
At 33-minutes they took mega creeps, exposing the Chinese teams last line of defence and going hard. StingeR was the real MVP for his team this game on Batrider, he and K1 were equal on assists and kills this game. But Hector died twice, while StingeR soared through without a single death for a KDA of 1/0/15.
With a score of 21-12 Infamous made SA Dota 2 history. Knocking out Keen and becoming the first SA team to break through the Bo1 phase of a TI event.
Mineski vs Na`Vi
Our final Lower Bracket series saw Mineski meet Na`Vi on the main stage to decide who would stand and who would fall.
Na`Vi took three of the first four bounty runes, and Mineski took first blood to begin another long game at the playoffs today. The kills were only 3-1 at 11-minutes in. With both teams playing cautiously, aware of exactly what was on the line.
Mineski seemed to be in control, despite the game’s slow pace. But Na`Vi began to push back at 15-minutes, challenging for bounty runes and making a nice recovery.
As the game neared 30-minutes Na`Vi mounted what looked like a game winning assault through the bottom lane. Taking both rax and starting for the throne.
But miraculously, Mineski not only held against this push, they profited from it. Forcing Na`Vi out and wresting control of the game back to press their own offense.
Now it was a race for the Roshan, which Na`Vi won at 37-minutes. But they were unable to make anything happen, and the aegis timed out.
10-minutes later it was Mineski’s turn to in the Rosh pit. They pressed their aegis advantage much harder than Na`Vi had, securing themselves the bottom lane of rax and going for mega creeps, and the throne. At almost 61-minutes, the win went to Mineski and Na`Vi’s TI9 hopes were over.
Moon and Nikobaby both had a great game, with 11-kills each. Bimbo was also an invaluable asset to Mineski, with a total of 21 assists.
Image Credit Valve