posted by Olucaron,
One final battle…
Four teams, one last chance to make it to the biggest event in Dota 2. This day in 2016 saw the Wild Card tournament take place, where four teams desperately fought to claim the remaining two spots at The International 2016.
In the North American corner, we had compLexity Gaming, who had narrowly missed out to eventual TI runners-up Digital Chaos in their qualifier, while from Europe Escape Gaming had been disassembled by Alliance. Southeast Asia provided Filipino side Execration, and finally, from China we had EHOME.
A slow start
With two series to negotiate to book their spot in Seattle, things didn’t quite start well for EHOME. Despite being considered favourites and a squad featuring Singaporean star Daryl 'iceiceice' Koh, Execration took Game 1 of their opening series thanks to a dominating performance from Fernando 'Nando' Mendoza and EHOME throwing away a 10k net worth advantage.
They stepped up in Game 2. Sensing their chances were slipping away, midlaner Wang 'Old chicken' Zhiyong ripped through Execration, dealing 17.3k damage in the process — exactly 50% of what Execration themselves managed all game.
Game 3 was a drawn-out affair. The 53-minute match saw a disciplined performance as they maintained a net worth lead throughout, allowing Execration just a brief moment of being ahead and peaking at over 20k. They closed out the match to move on and keep the dream alive.
In a straight shootout for a TI6 spot, EHOME then took on Europe’s Escape Gaming, a side featuring Troels 'syndereN' Nielsen and Yazied 'YapzOr' Jaradat. A steady win in Game 1 saw them take a giant leap towards qualification, with toplaner Yang 'Eleven' Wei Ren leading the way and iceiceice finishing with a perfect 3-0-13 KDA.
Game 2 was a similar affair. The net worth lead changed hands several times in the opening minutes, before a scrappy teamfight saw EHOME finally seize the advantage. With old chicken again leading the way, the Chinese side finished off the Europeans in just under 50 minutes to earn their chance at claiming the Aegis.
What happened next?
In Seattle, EHOME came alive. They stormed through the Group Stage, finishing 12-2 and not suffering a single series loss — ties with both Team Liquid and Digital Chaos accounting for their two game losses. The Main Event beckoned.
Things got even better for the side as they swept Alliance 2-0 in the first round of the Upper Bracket. However, those were to be the finals games they won, suffering consecutive sweeps to third-place finishers Evil Geniuses (including one of the greatest comeback games in Dota 2 history) and runners-up Digital Chaos.
However, while EHOME missed out on TI glory, 5th-6th place and just under a million dollars in prize money were reward enough for an epic run that had begun months before at the very bottom of the ladder.
Do you remember a run this long? Could they have gone further?
Header image © EHOME