posted by Meliora.Infinitum,
The first ever competitive Captains Draft tournament, XMG Captains Draft Invitational, wrapped up with an exciting Bo5 finals with ua Na’Vi taking on eu Fnatic earlier today. The clear underdogs going into the match, Fnatic, was able to wrestle yet another impressive win against Na’Vi after dispatching se Alliance in the Semi-Finals. The match ended in a clear cut fashion with Fnatic eliminating Na’Vi 3-1 and claiming their first title in quite a while.

Captains Draft is a game mode in which teams pick from a random pool of heroes featuring 8 of each type (STR, AGI & INT). Two heroes will be banned at the start of each draft and afterwards the teams will be picking heroes in a 1-2-2-2-2-1 order until both teams have five.

Both teams looked formidable coming in to the Bo5 Grand Finals with convincing victories under their belt. While ua Na’Vi crushed their Semi-Final opponent eu, eu Fnatic had to battle it out in a 5 game thriller against se Alliance, securing the victory in game 5 on the back of a filthy rich Ogre Magi (and, not to forget, a dk n0tail Meepo).

The first game went to Fnatic rather convincingly as Na’Vi were unable to catch Fnatic off guard with their unconventional carry Sand King pick. The dual core lineup with both Alchemist and Sniper got too big too fast and Na’Vi was left with no other choice than to tap out and call the GG. With il Fly demonstrating some brilliant Black Holes and fi Trixi playing on top of his game on Elder Titan, there seemed to be no weak link in team Fnatic as the Game 1 drew to a close.

While Na’Vi was able to bounce back and equalize the series, they were once again at the receiving end in the Game 3. With the combination of Slark, Dark Seer & Tinker tossed in together with Treant Living Armor, Fnatic managed to pick apart Na’Vi’s lineup and force out a quick GG with only 19 minutes in the clock. While the farm was almost even all the way to the 10 minute mark, Fnatic were able to push the envelope racking kill after kill on the baffled Na’Vi and finished the game 3 strong, only one win away from the grand prize.

Trixi be hookin'

The game 4 was a struggle back and forth for almost 20 minutes until it clearly tipped in to Fnatic’s favor. Na’Vi, drafting an early-/mid-game centric lineup with Necrophos & Nightstalker, failed to find their window of opportunity and capitalize on their mid-game power, whereas the opponent was making the most of their farm preparing for the late game. While Fnatic showed us some brilliant team play throughout the game 4, it was Na’Vi who was getting caught one after the other never securing the foothold they needed. With superior farm and levels as well as an Aegis in their pockets Fnatic pushed high-ground, and Na’Vi was left no other choice than to surrender and call the GG.

The Captains Draft format offered us an endless amount of entertainment and featured some of the many heroes that we don’t see every day. It’s one of the unique ways to pitch the masterminds of Dota against one another and see who can make the most out of a handful of good heroes. While the XMG Captains Draft Invitational was the first tournament to give a Captains Draft a shot in a competitive environment, it most certainly won’t be the last. Do you see a future for the Captains Draft format? Leave a comment below.

Prize Distribution:

1st Place: eu Fnatic | $20,086
2nd Place: ua Na'Vi | $10,043
3rd/4th: se Alliance | $5,022
3rd/4th: eu | $5,022