Game one began with both teams playing very passively. After five minutes of play, Alliance had gained an early gold lead by being more efficient in their lane-play, but the kill score still sat at 0-0. With Loda and EGM taking on the Chaos Knight and Wisp, respectively, casters and viewers alike expected the passive play to stop at any moment. But any early aggression from EGM and Loda was inhibited by the strong defensive duo of Fnatic's Necrophos and Shadow Shaman.
Six minutes in, some early movement by Fnatic's Shadow Shaman and Enchantress lead to both being caught out, and in two separate skirmishes, Alliance took the first two kills in a matter of seconds, giving Alliance a 2K gold advantage at the eight-minute mark.
CK-Wisp combo effectively secure Firstblood on N0tail in the Radiant Jungle
Midgame GraphsA few minutes later, Alliance--playing on the Radiant side--would send their Wisp/CK combination into the Dire jungle looking for kills, but Fnatic was ready and the overcommitment from Loda and EGM led to an easy kill on the Wisp.
However, Fnatic may have gained a false sense of confidence from their first kill and Alliance quickly grabbed two more kills on Fnatic's Dragon Knight and Shadow Shaman.
Alliance would ride this continued momentum into a 50% gold lead--16K to 11K--by the 10-minute mark. The next five minutes were marked by Alliance dominance, with the Swedes grabbing an Aegis still along the way. By the 20-minute-mark, the stomp had become so ferocious that Fnatic conceded the GG without losing even one Tier 2 tower. Alliance's players were glad to take the quick win and were ready to move on to game two.
Alliance Dominate in Game 1; 27 to 5
Game two began with the same pattern of passive play that opened game one. Just before five minutes had elapsed, Fnatic's Alchemist and Crystal Maiden made a well-timed rotation to mid, and along with their Shadow Fiend, they grabbed first blood from Alliance's Dragon Knight.
An aggressive extension from Fnatic ensure the Firstblood at mid
After alternating kills for the next ten minutes, Fnatic grabbed a big teamfight win near the Alliance's Dire-side Top Tier 1 tower, taking three kills without losing a single hero. That fight would become perhaps the pivot point of the entire series, with Fnatic rolling their way to a relatively easy win in a game whose early stages had been filled with momentum swings from both sides.
10 Minutes in Fnatic tilt the graphs to their favour and keep it there for the rest of the match
Fnatic make a surprising comeback in Game 2
Game three began with Alliance's Akke, playing Crystal Maiden, moving into the jungle. After a couple minutes of farming the Radiant jungle, Akke moved to the offlane to join EGM's Abaddon in supporting Loda's Nerubian Weaver. Fnatic had Aui_2000's Luna in the lane and supported by Fly's Rubick and NoTail's Venomancer. This tri-lane vs. tri-lane matchup would bring forth the first blood just a few minutes later, with Akke's CM taking down NoTail's Venomancer. Alliance did not take this momentum for granted, seizing the advantage and taking a 9-2 kill lead by the 10th minute.
Crystal Maiden Kill Secures as N0tail tray to juke through the sideshop.
As dominant as Alliance's first game was, their lead at the 10-minute-mark in game three was even bigger--a 16k-11k lead in both experience and gold. This big deficit set the stage for Fnatic's exciting comeback in a game that would last longer than the previous two combined.
Over the next ten minutes of the game, Alliance made minimal mistakes, further increasing their advantage in this deciding game. s4 overcommitted on a gank of Aui_2000's Luna, but
EGM and Loda quickly regained any lost momentum with kills on Fly's Rubick and Trixi's Slark, followed by s4 getting a quick revenge kill on Luna (Akke's CM secured the kill).
The action wouldn't slow down, with the game's first 5 v 5 fight taking place at Fnatic's Direside Bottom Tier 2 Tower. Fnatic went on to win that fight, taking two kills including a crucial kill on Loda's Weaver, only losing a support Venomancer in the process. After dying early in the fight, Venomancer quickly bought back and was an important part in helping secure the two kills.
Even after that fight, Alliance had the top three farmers in the game and a 10K gold lead, and any real chance of Fnatic fighting back seemed highly unlikely. And if that lead wasn't enough, s4's Night Stalker grabbed a quick kill on Fnatic's carry Luna.
Midgame GraphsJust moments later, the comeback would be on. Alliance would get caught out of position in Fnatic's Direside jungle and would lose three heroes without killing a single player from Fnatic.
Not even two minutes later, Fnatic would take yet another three-for-nil teamfight.
At this point, fans of the Swedish side must have begun to feel nervous. Was it possible the 2013 Team of the Year could throw such a crucial game?
The five-figure gold lead had dwindled to a measly 4K, and their experience lead even smaller. Alliance seemed to realize this and they eliminated their risky behavior, resulting in a significant lull in the action for the next 14 minutes, with each side grabbing a couple towers and Fnatic getting an Aegis pickup during that period.
At the 42-minute mark, all five Fnatic players moved towards Alliance's bottom Tier 3 tower to set-up what would become the game deciding skirmish. On the strength of Aui_2000's aegis, they pushed up-hill, unencumbered by the Tower's attacks, and took down Loda's Weaver as well as s4's Night Stalker. Akke's Crystal Maiden would fall as well, and Fnatic pushed through, taking down the tier 3 tower and both bottom barracks. With all five heroes still at full strength, and Alliance licking their wounds, Fnatic pushed deeper, taking down both tier four towers and drawing the GG concession from the Swedes.
Unexectedly, Alliance are eliminated from D2L by the handicapped Fnatic
Fnatic moves on to face the loser of ViciGaming and LGD.cn in the Loser's Bracket Final, while Alliance heads home to figure out how to rebound from such a heartwrenching loss.
Alliance does not need to wait long for a chance at redemption, with next weekend's StarLadder Season 8 LAN Final in Kiev looming.