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    Dota 2 – Main Event Day 1 Recap: the Flips and the Flops

    The first day of the tournament started off with some very unexpected results. The clash of the East and the West in the upper bracket was a beauty to watch, with lots of action and chaotic teamfights. The lower bracket matches were even more tense, with some of the fan favorites on the brink of elimination. After an amazing group stage and the first day full of surprises TI6 is already shaping up to be the best tournament of the recent past.

    OG vs. MVP Phoenix

    As the Group A winners, OG had a choice between MVP Phoenix and Newbee. At the time the choice seemed obvious—the former barely made it into the winners bracket with 0 wins and 6 ties, the latter finished with a 3-2-2 record. Yet something, somewhere went horribly wrong for OG.

    MVP is known for their aggressive, almost CIS-esque playstyle and they came into the series turning this to 11. Unconventional Phantom Assassin picks and constant, chaotic pressure on the enemy were too much for OG in Games 1 and 3. Both of these games are definitely worth watching, as they are incredibly action-packed, fast paced and highlight the amazing mechanical skills of both teams.

    Game 2 was a lot more by-the-book and OG definitely thrived under more typical conditions. The game was a testament to patience and the importance of positioning, with high-impact Naga Siren ultimates by Cr1t-. It also featured a series of very uncharacteristic mistakes by MVP players and they have eventually crumbled under the methodical OG onslaught.

    MVP Phoenix will advance in the upper bracket to face the wings gaming, while OG have been dethroned into the lower bracket and will fight for their life against TNC Predator

    DC vs. Wings Gaming

    A very interesting series with very unconventional drafts by the wings gaming, which have further broadened the active hero pool of TI6. The viability of these picks in Game 2 is still highly questionable, however.

    The first game of the series started off with a dominating performance by DC. With quickly farming Alchemist and tempo controlling Axe by Moo, DC managed to get a lot of momentum, which they couldn’t quite translate into meaningful objectives. The game certainly highlighted that despite immense talent, the team is still rough around the edges and prone to misplays in crucial situations. One of such misplays created a window of opportunity for the Chinese squad to win a fight and finish off the opponent in one swift strike.

    The second game was interesting for the wrong reasons. It is very unlikely that the Techies pick by Wings was a sign of arrogance—chances are it was a surprise strategy the team has practiced, but they really weren’t able to execute it too well. Usually disciplined squad severely lacked proper coordination in the laning stage and DC managed to close the game in 27 minutes, with both Pudge and Techies remaining non-factors until the very end.

    Third game started off with a very impressive performances by iceice on Chen and Faith_bian on Centaur Warrunner. At 10 minute mark it was almost clear that the Chinese team will take the series—they had map control, massive Net Worth advantage and a rampaging ganking squad. There were only two teamfights DC managed to break even in, but it was not enough to get them back into the game.

    Wings will face MVP for the maximum chaos and unpredictability match in the upper bracket, while DC will play an elimination match against PSG.LGD

    Elimination Match TNC vs. VG.R

    A horrible start for TNC with multiple LFT deaths in the offlane was somewhat counter-weighed by Tinker winning his lane from 友善对待每一局 Storm Spirit with the help of e Elder Titan. Despite that, both Misaka and Sam H managed to recover and come mid game, the match was incredibly equal. Both teams were extremely cautious, however, to a point where it could be considered a mistake.

    By the time VG.R decided to start applying pressure, the Terrorblade of TNC got so incredibly farmed, there was simply not enough damage on the side of VG.R to deal with him. Teamfights were following one simple scenario—VG.R would initiate, maybe even get kills on supports and Tinker, but Raven‘s Terrorblade would simply not go down and would usually get most of the VG.R killed in the process. After several unsuccessful teamfights and two lanes of barracks lost VG.R called “gg”.

    TNC are going to face OG in the LB Elimination match, while VG.R are unfortunately eliminated from the tournament.

    Elimination Match LGD vs. Team Secret

    It is unfortunate that two extremely experienced teams with a long history behind their players had to face-off in a bo1 match, but such is the reality of the Internationals. xiao8 vs. Puppey, Somnus vs. Arteezy, East vs. West, EternaLEnVy vs. the world—this match couldn’t be more exciting.

    Both teams have drafted incredibly greedy lineups, with multiple cores and aimed for the mid-late game timings. The game started with massive pressure on mid Arteezy Alchemist, which resulted in a very early first blood for Somnus‘s Juggernaut. It was quickly followed-up by LFY.Banana‘s Kunkka rotation to top lane and two extra kills for LGD.

    10 minutes into the game the well-oiled machine of LGD was already leading 6:0 in score and had a sizable Net Worth lead. The game looked extremely grim for the Secret fans, yet with the help of Alchemist and Beastmaster vision they managed to find some farm and almost equalize the economic graph. They even managed to sneak a Roshan kill with the help some smart “tactical feed” by pieliedie. That significantly slowed down the LGD onslaught and gave Secret time to farm some more.

    After an unsuccessful attempt at taking highground, LGD decided to slow down and farm up a little more. This allowed Secret to get a little bit more aggressive, however it only led to them losing two of their core heroes, a lane of barracks and Roshan. After this point, there was almost no hope for a comeback, despite amazing plays by most of team Secret and some of the best highground holds in the history of Dota. Slowly but surely LGD have pressured them out and ensured their stay in the tournament for at least one more day.

    Elimination Match Escape vs. Fnatic

    An exceptionally calm game with Escape failing to apply the amount of pressure expected from their draft in the early game. Fnatic played the laning stage with extreme caution, yet still managed to secure first blood on the dual lane of Escape.

    With a more late-game oriented lineup, Fnatic nonetheless decided to capitalize on Ohy` getting an early Ravage and got severely punished by several quick TP rotations of Escape, immensely boosting Qojqva‘s Axe with a triple kill. This allowed Escape come into the mid-game on more or less equal terms.

    Mid game was nonetheless dominated by the Malaysian team. Tempo control offered by MidOne Templar Assassin allowed the team to pull ahead further and further, even despite the initiation power of Escape with Blink Daggers on both their Axe and Slardar. Lack of damage was also evident in Escape’s draft. Elusive heroes such as Phantom Lancer and Templar Assassin, even after good initiations, rarely got brought down. This advantage promptly translated into a lane of barracks taken from the European squad 22 minutes into the game.

    After that the siege has never ended and the second lane of barracks has fallen at 25 and the “gg” was called 26 minutes in. Fnatic will advance further and will play against the loser of the EHOME/[A]lliance match.

    Elimination Match Team Liquid vs. Na’Vi

    Probably the most expected match of the day. Two of the fan favorites on the brink of elimination. The last hope of the CIS scene against one of the most stable EU teams of the past year, who seemingly lost some of their magic during the group stage.

    Na’Vi draft revolved around early aggression and tempo control, with Queen of Pain, Nature’s Prophet and Enchantress. Team Liquid went for a more conservative lineup, with Naga Siren and Death Prophet cores.

    The early game went as chaotic as was expected from a Na’Vi vs. Liquid game. Early rotations by artstyle secure Na’Vi and early lead and a good transition into a mid game. However, after the laning stage, the power of Bounty Hunter allowed Liquid to stay economically stable. What was even more important, is the ability to Liquid to dodge all fights and never allow Na’Vi to capitalize on the power level of their heroes in the mid game.

    This gave Liquid enough time to fully come online and start applying pressure themselves, forcing several buybacks from Na’Vi and putting a massive dent in their economy. With a massive Net Worth advantage and a better late-game lineup they forced themselves through the first series in the lower bracket to face the loser of EG/Newbee match.

    Closing Thoughts

    As said previously, this TI is shaping up to be filled with surprises, great plays and heartbreaks. It paints a great picture not only for the following days, but also for the next year of Dota. Teams seem to be in great shape and play out of their mind, especially with their backs to the wall. In this environment only the best can thrive and it will take a lot more to win this TI compared to all the previous ones.

    As seen on Dotabuff

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