The end of The International 9 is just around the corner. Our second last day of competition today saw our first team locked in for our Grand Final tomorrow, while two more of our teams said goodbye to the main stage at Shanghai.
Round four of our Lower Bracket today gave us a swift opening series between two teams who have had an outstanding season this year. But with the DPC behind them, Team Secret and Vici Gaming were now fighting for a chance to stay on the main stage.
Team Secret vs Vici Gaming
Vici Gaming have put on a fantastic performance at this year’s TI. They stormed the group stages, falling to LGD in round two of the Upper Bracket. Now they were fighting their first match in the Lower Bracket against Secret.
If you were expecting game one to be an even affair, Secret were here to disappoint you. Sorely.
They never even gave Vici a look in. Snatching the net worth right at the laning phase and snowballing to an 11k gold lead and a 23-minute victory with Secret slaughtering Vici, 23-4 kills. Nisha went 8/0/15 on Io this game. YapzOr had an amazing showing on Rubick as well, 8/0/12.
Vici showed a little more life in game two. They had a small gold advantage during the laning phase and it looked like a better start for them this time around.
But as the game left the lanes, things started looking a lot harder for Vici. By 15-minutes, Secret were well into the lead. By 20-minutes they were destroying Vici’s base.
At 21-minutes Team Secret eliminated Vici from the tournament in a blistering 2–0 series.
Puppey managed to involve himself in nearly every engagement, racking up 32-assists over the two breakneck games.
If you had a feeling of Deja vu watching today’s Upper Bracket finals, no one could blame you. Our two teams, OG and LGD, faced off against each other this time last year at TI8. But who would walk away the victor this time?
OG vs PSG.LGD
Game one started close. Both OG and LGD made good use of the laning phase and there were plenty of kills being traded. It was 6-5 at 10-minutes in, with OG in the lead. There were a few latency issues for the players in this game, resulting in some long pauses to resolve the problems.
But once the game was going again, things look to be travelling well for OG. They’d secured a 1k net worth lead by 22-minutes in and were managing to stay one-up on LGD in the kills.
But a failed attempt to take down Ame saw OG waste two chronospheres on Ana’s faceless void and gave LGD an opportunity to turn a team fight, stealing OG’s gold lead for themselves.
OG tried to reset by going for Roshan, but LGD had no intention of giving that objective away. Some long and drawn out fights around the pit bought them enough time to let Somnus push for it. A quick chronosphere from Ana tried to put a stop to LGD claiming the aegis, but it wasn’t quick enough to stop Somnus. He snatched it up before the spell landed, giving LGD the advantage they needed to push for the high ground.
GG was called at 44-minutes as LGD secured themselves the first win of the series.
LGD came in strong in game one, they took first blood plus a second kill before the 2-minute mark. But strong aggression at the start would not be enough to shut down the combination of Alchemist, Chen and Dark Seer.
Ana had secured himself a radiance by 10-minutes on his Alchemist pick. With all the speed and heals that Ceb’s Dark Seer and N0tail’s Chen were providing, there was just no way for LGD to catch him.
It was 9-6 at 14-minutes in and Ame was just getting popped time and time again. His Sven pick just did not have the damage to deal with Alchemist. At 18-minutes it was 15-8 and OG had a 12k net worth lead. They were taking over this game.
At 22-minutes, LGD’s defense finally broke. The series was equalized, we were going to game three.
We again saw OG with an Alchemist pick in their draft. This time, Ame was on Slark and LGD seemed confident the hero could go toe to toe with that greedy Alchemist.
Their strategy seemed to be working through the early game. They managed to keep up the kills and stop Ana from becoming enabled so quickly. There was no 10-minute radiance this match. The score was 6-10 at 15-minutes, LGD were 4-kills up.
But what they needed were objectives, and they just couldn’t seem to take any. As the game pushed past the 20-minute mark, things began to fall apart for LGD. Another fight around the Rosh pit let OG turn the tides in their favour.
LGD threw everything they had at their defence. But OG were fearless, sweeping lane after lane of rax until they finally secured mega creeps at 40-minutes.
It was all over a minute later. The throne belonged to OG. They would be defending their title in the Grand Finals tomorrow as they took their series against LGD 2–1.
For our final series of the day we returned to the Lower Bracket where we saw Team Secret and Team Liquid battle it out for the final spot in tomorrow’s semi-final against PSG.LGD.
Team Secret vs Team Liquid
Our game one saw Liquid take a last pick Meepo for w33. While Nisha tried out the carry Io that had gone so well for him against Vici earlier in the day.
Secret took first blood in the first minute, as well as three of the four bounty runes. They maintained a slight gold advantage during the laning phase, but the kills stayed fairly even. 3-3 until the 10-minute mark.
Liquid broke the drought with a pick off on Puppey at 11-minutes, and then followed up with a successful engagement that got them another two kills and allowed them to start applying pressure to the mid T2 tower.
It was a snowball from here. Liquid were overrunning Secret with a 5k lead in the net worth at 12-minutes. By 19-minutes they had swept a full lane of rax in mid and the kills were 5-15.
This was a quick, brutal stomp. Secret had no way to come back as Liquid’s kills kept climbing and their gold lead kept growing. It was 8-26 when GG was finally called at 27-minutes.
Liquid had taken game one.
This was an insane game for w33, he went 12/2/7 on Meepo and his aggression played a huge part in Liquid locking down this win so quickly. GH also had a great game one, he went 3/0/18 on his Earth Spirit pick, providing plenty of control in fights to swing engagements his team’s way.
Game two saw yet another Alchemist pick on the main stage, this time with w33 on the hero.
But it was a much slower start to game two. Our first kill didn’t make it on to the board until the game had reached 5-minutes. Secret took the first blood. But Liquid were quick to take two kills in return. The pace was starting to pick up by the 10-minute mark. Secret snatched all four bounty runes to give themselves a gold boost and try stay even with the w33’s Alchemist.
But it wasn’t going to be enough. Secret needed to find ways to shut Alchemist down, and quickly. Because w33 was punishing them. Finding pick off after pick off on Secret’s cores, getting fatter and fatter. It was 5-10 at 22-minutes and Secret still hadn’t even brought down the mid T1 tower.
They hadn’t had a kill on the board for ten-minutes. Liquid owned this game; they took the mid rax at 37-minutes with a 20k net worth lead. But Secret weren’t giving this one away for free. They pulled themselves together to contest Liquid’s attempt on Roshan, securing themselves some much needed kills and forcing out buybacks.
But it was just delaying the inevitable. Liquid ran through Secret after they bought back. Liquid took the win at 39-minutes, 10-25 kills. Ending the series with a 2–0 victory.
Tomorrow we’ll see our final games on the main stage. Will we have a two-time winner at TI9? Or will LGD take the aegis on their home ground? Tune in to the official Twitch and don’t miss a moment of the action. Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter for all the latest news from TI9.
Image Credit: Valve