Image by Wykrhm Reddy on Twitter
So many traditions have been broken in The International 2019. There was no Chinese team in the Grand Finals, for the first time since The International 2013. We have our two time Champion and we had a team making it all the way to the Grand Finals through the lower bracket.
Lower Bracket Finals
Team Liquid started Main Event in the lower bracket and with every single series they were looking better and better, regaining the confidence they had in their The International 2017 run.
In their game against PSG.LGD, for the first time during the tournament, Team Liquid showed some cracks in their composure. They lost their first game against Ame’s last pick Spectre, who continuously jumped on w33’s Tinker and never allowed him to fully realize the potential of the hero.
PSG.LGD ended their draft in the second game with a last pick Huskar and gained a lot of momentum in the early and mid game. They took two lanes of barracks, but this tournament has highlighted how trivial the barracks advantage can be.
Liquid found one good fight, which opened the map for them and they could participate in the Roshan standoff around their top Shrine, the one PSG.LGD did not destroy and the one that ultimately cost them the game, allowing Liquid to win yet another fight through multiple buybacks and reengagements. This teamfight was one for Liquid to make a full comeback and close the game with their superior late game lineup.
In the third game PSG.LGD looked really confident, going for signature heroes on all of their players and even picking Shadow Fiend for Somnus against Templar Assassin. But confidence only gets you so far, if you can’t back it up with the plays. Team Liquid simply looked better at every step and moved on to play in the Grand Finals.
The Grand Finals
We could go into trying to analyze what we witnessed in the Grand Finals of The International 2019. We could talk about carry Io, Radiance+Aghanim’s Monkey King, Diffusal Blade Gyrocopter and all the amazing plays in the most important esports series of the year, but we won’t, since it doesn’t compute, at least not in our regular human brains.
OG is the most dominant team in the long history of our game. The level they played at transcended all reasonable expectations. It looked like they broke the game apart and reassembled it in their heads in a way that is different from what most players are used to.
In a sense, OG have learned everything from all the previous champions and developed on it further, pushing the game forward.
There was a bit of Natus Vincere, with their constant aggression and the confidence to dive the enemy towers.
There was a bit of INVICTUS GAMING, with the ability to never give up hope and always find an opening.
There was a bit of Alliance, with unparalleled understanding of the map and momentum.
There was a bit of Newbee, with the objective-oriented mindset and willingness to make sacrifices when needed.
There was a bit of the wings gaming, with unbelievable player synergy and immense hero pools.
There was a lot of Team Liquid, with discipline, efficiency and individual skill.
There was a bit of Evil Geniuses in them, but not anymore, but most importantly, there was a lot of OG in them, with their creativity in drafts, willingness to give experiments a chance and the team coordination to execute even the craziest of hero combinations.
OG came into the tournament not caring about what the meta is, what the normal skill and items builds are, how heroes should be laned or how the game should be normally played. From their games it looks like the only thing they cared about was having fun and playing their best.
Maybe there is a lesson in it for every player out there?