The first day of action at ESL One at New York Super Week saw tons of refreshing new Dota 2 strategies on the new 6.85 patch. Check out what went down in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Quarterfinal #1 - Team Secret vs Fnatic
Both Team Secret and Fnatic have changed a lot since TI5, with only Puppey remaining with Team Secret and Fnatic retaining just Mushi and Ohaiyo. So a lot of eyes were on the new additions to the respective teams and especially DJ, Fnatic’s new offlaner, immediately put his stamp on the series in game one with his tone setting Tusk. And while the first game gave us a lot of well known 6.84 meta heroes like Leshrac, Phantom Lancer, Shadow Fiend and of course Tusk, we also got a taste of fresh air in the picking phase thanks to Fnatic picking up an unusual Omniknight. Paired with the Tusk, the combination proved highly effective in Fnatic’s game one victory over Team Secret, which was set in motion by a timely Rosh snatch, swinging the favor towards Fnatic, ultimately leaving Team Secret unable to recover.
On the brink of elimination, Team Secret opted for some 6.85 experimenting for game two. Io, Necrophos, Nyx, Bane, Meepo. What else can you say about that lineup aside from “Thank you Icefrog”? Thanks to the newest patch, Team Secret went back to an old strategy of theirs, the aggressive Io - Necrophos combo while giving w33ha his signature crowd-pleasing Meepo. The unkillable Necro and stack-stealing Meepo just straight up overran Fnatic, who opted for questionable cores with a position one Leshrac and mid Outworld Devourer, both of which had next to no impact on the game. With map control completely in Team Secret’s favor, Fnatic was quickly pushed into their own base and had to call GG early on, tying up the series 1-1.
In the spirit of the new patch, game three also had a few surprise picks in tow for us, including Alchemist, Broodmother and Venomancer for Team Secret while Fnatic went for the second Necrophos pick of the series. But Mushi and company were not prepared for EternalEnvy’s selfless Alchemist, who ended up handing out two Aghanim’s Scepters and a bottle to his teammates, propelling Puppey’s support Venomancer to highest net worth in the game. In the face of this huge gold deficit, Fnatic lost all grip on the game, allowing Team Secret to run away with their lead, eventually securing the series in their favor.
Final Score: Team Secret 2-1 Fnatic
Quarterfinal #2 - Team Archon vs CDEC Gaming
Our second quarterfinal of the day saw Team Archon (formerly Team Fire) face up against TI5 second place CDEC Gaming. A tough matchup for the North American who were the clear underdog coming into the series. Game one proved to be a clear clash of styles. While CDEC remained true to their 6.84 draft strategies aside from a Sniper pick, Archon aimed to utilize the element of surprise by drafting a team Nyx, Doom, Medusa and most interestingly of all, a roaming support Chaos Knight. But what sounded exciting on paper only truly yielded results in the early game. The longer the game dragged on, the less effective the CK smoke ganks became, while CDEC amassed a huge gold lead on the back of their Bounty Hunter track kills. With no real pressure on them, the Chinese used their advantage patiently, slowly breaking down Archon’s high ground without taking many risks and thereby securing game one for themselves.
It was more of the same for CDEC in game two, who remained faithful to their Lina - Gyro - Bounty Hunter lineup while Archon tried to get creative with a Drow aura strat with four ranged heroes plus and Earthshaker. Team Archon got off to an aggressive start, jumping ahead in kills quickly, but just like in game one, CDEC had a Bounty Hunter to fall back on, which allowed them to be behind in total kills but stay level in farm nonetheless. With Archon not being able to press their early advantage, it was CDEC who managed to breach high ground and win successive team fights, leading to easy objective which would allow them to close out the series after just two games.
Final Score: Team Archon 0-2 CDEC Gaming
Quarterfinal #3 - Virtus.Pro vs Invictus Gaming
Taking a page from some of the earlier games, we got to see another Chaos in game one, but this time as a one position for Virtus.Pro, while iG picked up yet another Alchemist. But be it support or carry, Chaos Knight still comes off as pretty underwhelming at this level of play. Essentially, Chuan as a Rubick was able to get more use out of CK’s abilities than Illidan himself. In the end it was pretty much the Chuan show, who managed to even steal Bounty Hunter’s track to turn the tables on VP. On the back of patient team fights and objective gaming, Invictus Gaming closed out game one without much trouble.
Game two was pretty much the completely opposite and a complete runaway game for Virtus.Pro. The role one Slardar and Undying core did not work out at all for iG, while Illidan’s Luna was able to snowball out of control. Thanks to strong ganks on Ferrari_430’s Shadow Fiend, the CIS squad took an early item advantage and bullied all the team fights from that point on, never letting up with their aggression and perfectly pushing their advantage. After a one sided game in which VP completely outmaneuvered iG, the series got pulled back to even terms.
Those hoping for a more even game between these teams were about to be disappointed yet again, as game three was as much a snowballing affair as the previous two games. iG’s Brewmaster and Night Stalker set the tone for game three and never took the foot off the accelerator, baiting Virtus.Pro into drawn out teamfight where the Chinese managed to pick them off one by one. The advantage got so big that iG even dove past tier four towers to team wipe VP and came out completely unscathed. Thus Invictus Gaming cement their spot in the second semi final against the winner of Evil Geniuses vs Vega Squadron.
Final Score: Virtus.Pro 1-2 Invictus Gaming
Quarterfinal #4 - Vega Squadron vs Evil Geniuses
It would almost be an understatement to say that everybody was waiting to see Evil Geniuses perform in the final series of the day, in the wake of their TI5 victory and re-acquiry of Arteezy. But it would be Vega Squadron who would seize the opportunity on the big stage of Madison Square Garden Theatre to make a name for themselves. The CIS team that barely missed out on TI5 stayed together nonetheless and it payed off against a lackluster EG. Two games in a row, Vega drafted themselves an offlane Broodmother and two games in a row, Mag caused boundless issues for the North Americans, who consistently lost the battle for map control against the aggressive Vega Squadron. According to this series, consistency trumps roster changes and we can’t wait to see Vega go up against iG in the semis.
Final Score: Vega Squadron 2-0 Evil Geniuses
What will Sunday have in store for us? Tune it at 11:00 EST (17:00 CEST) to check out the semi finals!