| Tags: Dota 2
| Author The Old One
TI11 Finals Weekend Day 1 Recap
Missed the stellar Dota action from the penultimate day of TI11? We've got you covered
The International 11 is back 5 after an action-packed first part of the playoffs. Four teams remained at the end of Day 1 of the Finals Weekend, and in the course of the day's play, one of them was eliminated while another dropped down to the Lower Bracket Final for one more battle before the Grand Final.
There were only two games today, but both of them went all three games and had plenty of hype moments. Here's a brief recap of each of the games to get you up to date before the games resume.
Team Aster vs Team Liquid
The hopes of an entire region rested on Aster's shoulders after they knocked out fellow Chinese side and tournament favorites PSG.LGD. The team has shown incredible improvement in the course of the last year, and they had dealt with some serious heavyweights on their way to this stage. Liquid also seem to have ascended to a whole other level since the start of the Last Chance Qualifiers, and with their talismanic Position 1 player leaving the pro scene after the tournament, they had everything to play for.
With Sniper, Spiritbreaker, Underlord, Leshrac and Crystal Maiden, Aster went for a draft with plenty of catch, tanking ability and map mobility. However, they lacked any natural heals and the Sniper was their only source of sustained physical DPS. Liquid on the other hand didn’t opt for any traditional tanks, but had their offlane Broodmother build items to tank with while leaving the damage up to Bloodseeker, Lina, Marci, and Lich.
This game was a roller coaster in the truest sense of the word, with the net worth chart looking like something out of an amusement park. Both sides constantly vied for control and although Liquid had the advantage for the most part, Aster kept coming back every few minutes to snatch the lead away momentarily.
This went on for about 42 minutes, but a decisive teamfight at that point went Liquid’s way, and they marched into the high ground to finish the game in one fell swoop. The game ended with Aster players desperately clawing at them to prevent the throne from falling, but failing to do so.
Liquid went for what looked like a well-rounded lineup consisting of CM, Lesh, Storm Spirit, Tusk and Morphling, but it was an extremely greedy draft with no real tank other than the Morphling, which, as Position 1, technically should not be in that role. Aster went for a Mid Pudge combined with an Offlane Marci, Carry Sniper, and Jakiro and Omniknight for support.
Unlike Game 1, this one was completely and utterly one-sided. Aster kept getting pickoffs ever since their Mid killed Liquid’s early on in the laning phase, and they just simply didn’t let Liquid’s Heroes farm up the way they desperately needed to.
Although Liquid did make some decent moves that threatened to shake Aster’s dominance, they never lost their composure or their advantage. The Chinese outfit’s gold lead kept mounting, and although the game went on till 37 minutes, it seemed like it was over from around the 30-minute mark.
If Liquid went for a greedy draft the previous game, Aster went for a greedy idea in this one. They picked Beastmaster, Drow Ranger, Naga Siren, Crystal Maiden, and Primal Beast, but they tried to get the Position 4 Naga to farm up and play as a semi-carry. Liquid’s draft of Undying, Pangolier, Lina, Tusk, and Night Stalker was fast-paced and dangerous, jumping from Hero to Hero and knocking people out of the fight in the blink of an eye.
Liquid initially struggled in the lanes, with their Offlane struggling especially hard against the powerful Drow-CM combination. However, once the night came around, they started getting pickoffs and soon developed a strong advantage over their opponents.
By mid-game, their advantage had swelled and they won teamfight after teamfight without losing much on their side. Before long, they had crushed their opponents and were running riot in the latter’s base when GG was called.
Team Secret vs Tundra Esports
The Upper Bracket Final saw the battle between a legacy of failures and near-misses that spanned almost a decade and the new, promising kids in town — with a clear-cut shot at the greatest glory in Dota on the line. Secret were undoubtedly the crowd favorites with their dynamic playstyle and star players, but Tundra have gained plenty of new fans by virtue of their own brand of fiery, devastating Dota. The only question was, who would hold their nerves better?
Secret went for a mega teamfight wombo combo draft with Disruptor, Tusk, Ember Spirit, Monkey King and Magnus, with a little bit of everything except healing. Tundra went for a much more hit-and-run, disjointed teamfight style of play with Mirana, Naga, Outworld Destroyer, Brood and Tiny.
Secret may have taken and retained an advantage early on, but that changed with a massive teamfight in the mid-game that saw three of their Heroes die in quick succession. This handed the lead over the Tundra, and although the game was an absolute bloodbath, they never lost that lead.
Despite their massive gold advantage rising continuously, Tundra just couldn’t finish things off until they got Tier 5 items. Finally, after 65 minutes and a ridiculous 60k gold lead, they closed the game.
After their wombo combo draft failed, Secret opted for a more global, ganking strat with Silencer and Dawnbreaker. Nyx, Drow, and Pango made up the rest of the cast. Tundra’s response was to go mega tanky with Visage, Primal Beast, Clockwork, and Terrorblade holding their ground around a poor little CM.
The kill difference might suggest otherwise, but the game was much closer than one might think. It was initially a war of attrition that seemed like it could go anyone’s way. Tundra even developed a sizable gold lead that ballooned to around 10k in the mid-game, and it looked as though Secret might be in trouble.
The team held on, and bounced back with a huge teamfight win to take a decisive advantage. The next few minutes were absolutely bloody for the side of Tundra, and they called GG in the 45th minute after realizing there was no way back.
Secret went for a combination of their previous two strats in Game 3, picking CM, Earth Spirit, Gyrocopter, Zeus, and Dawnbreaker. In reply, Tundra went with a disable-heavy lineup with Mirana, Chaos Knight, Tusk, Enigma, and Tiny.
Secret took advantage of their strong early game by taking a bit of a lead, but after Tundra pulled off a fantastic teamfight in the 15th minute, they just never let go of their upper hand. Try as they might, Secret players just couldn’t stop dying as their opponents’ net worth and experience lead skyrocketed.
Shortly after 30 minutes, Tundra’s gold lead seemed insurmountable at over 20k and they had already taken out two sets of Barracks. Although Secret’s Gyro tried to go for a big play with a sneaky Divine Rapier, it wasn’t in his hands for more than a few seconds as Tundra crushed any faint inkling of remaining hope to seal the series and a spot in the Grand Final.
Join us tomorrow when we recap the much-awaited Lower Bracket Final as well as the Grand Final.