iG.Vitality vs. Virtus.pro
Going into the matchup, iG.V was largely regarded as the heavy underdog. A poor group stage performance and two stand-ins certainly didn’t help their case. The Chinese started out quite well and were able to keep Virtus.pro from running over them. Their Treant Protector pick ensured that iG.V wouldn’t lose towers as quickly and they were able to keep Virtus.pro at an arm’s length.
A single pick-off however ensured VP a Roshan and an Aegis, which they then used to gain more map control. Pressured by the CIS squad, iG.V were forced to engage in team fights that they ultimately lost. VP pushed their advantage and quickly took the game.
Game 2 turned out to be a much closer game than anticipated. Virtus.pro was unable to keep iG.V in check and the Chinese even gained the upper hand through pushes and timely objectives. Their double core of Luna and Alchemist proved to be difficult to deal with for Virtus.pro who couldn’t take a fight head-on.
A back and forth ensued and iG.V was close to securing mega creeps but impatience got the better of them and a dieback from Alchemist opened up the map and the throne for Virtus.pro to take, securing a 2-0 finish.
EG vs. Wings
The most anticipated match-up of the day could not live up to its expectations as instead it turned into a very one sided endeavour.
Wings opted for a very push heavy line-up and even brought out a Shadow Shaman. The TI champions successfully executed their strat for the longest time, as they were able to take out all outer towers within 20 minutes. Yet, EG’s line-up allowed them to pick off heroes individually and SumaiL’s Alchemist farmed well enough to keep them in the game and his net worth and map presence intimidated Wings enough for EG to retain map control.
Evil Geniuses was able to take favorable team fights that secured them multiple objectives, including Roshan. Wings was unable to trade even and slowly but steadily lost their base. A strong team fight from EG forced Wings to gg out.
Game 2 saw a much more aggressive EG take a lead with early and effective rotations from their [heri=leshrac] + Shadow Demon combination. The North-Americans kept applying pressure and as a result were able to take control of the map. Wings attempted to push, but EG would continue to deter them and Wings were unable to trade, resulting in a staggering 20 kill lead 30 minutes into the game. Wings kept farming however and an eventual BKB pick-up on their cores ensured Wings a team fight win against EG which allowed Wings to take off the pressure.
The Chinese looked to take back the game, but Arteezy’s Luna proved to be too strong. Wings pushing line-up could not deflect the highground sieges from EG and the North-Americans took the throne with ease.
CompLexity Gaming vs. WG.Unity
WG.Unity impressed the world by beating Wings in the groups but most parts of the community still regarded the SEA representatives as an early exit. CompLexity was very well aware of WG’s push potential in game 1 and opted for an early Winter Wyvern pick. Their draft looked to be aggressive in both early and midgame, but coL was unable to stop Unity from pushing. Once the SEA squad got their key items, they decided to push and there was only little coL could do but gg out.
Game 2 started out much better for the North-Americans. Their lanes were stable and rotations from Mirana at least caused WG.Unity to be on alert. Both teams traded equally in kills but a teamfight at the bottom lane gave the Malaysian team the edge to take the game. A well executed fight with superior vision ensured that Warrios Gaming could take the first set of rax and from there on out there was only little coL had to offer. CoL decided to force the next fight but WG was too far ahead at that point and finished the series 2-0.
OG vs. MVP.Phoenix
OG was the undoubted favorite going into the match. MVP has looked shaky both online and offline, but their history of strong tournament performances gave them a glimmer of hope. The first game did show some promise as MVP was very well able to keep up with farm. S4’s Dark Seer and Jerax’ Slardar carried OG through the early and midgame, but MVP’s line-up allowed them to keep fighting despite an item deficit. OG knew about the strength of their line-up however and slowly but steadily wore down MVP’s map and ultimately their base. Luna + Shadow Demon proved to be yet again a devastating combo that secured OG game 1.
Game 2 saw MVP attempting to play as aggressively as people have come to know them with Febby taking on a Pudge. MVP succeeded in getting kills early on, but failed to prevent OG’s cores from farming. Worse than that, MVP couldn’t grab a decisive advantage through engagements alone and eventually lost their lead towards OG. OG quickly caught up and decided team fights in their favor. Together with their Terroblade, OG proved to be unstoppable yet again and MVP had no choice but to concede defeat.
Shadow Demon reigns supreme at Wang Theatre
The playoffs have just started, but one hero already stands above all. Picked in 6 games, Shadow Demon showcased why he is probably the most noteworthy support of this patch. A 100% winrate is staggering and it is not necessarily because of the Luna combination, as he has been picked without her.
Luna fields a 66% winrate while also being picked in 6 games so far. At the other end of the spectrum, Drow Ranger has been banned in every game so far, closely followed by hero=outworld-devourer. Going into tomorrow’s games, the question arises whether or not these trends will continue, or whether teams will put an end to Shadow Demon’s reign of terror.