posted by Malystryx.GDS,
The first-ever season of the joinDOTA MLG Pro League concluded moments ago with a best-of-3 between us Evil Geniuses and ru Team Empire. After recovering from unlikely defeats yesterday, EG came back strong and fended off stiff opposition MVP.Phoenix and Ninjas in Pyjamas in the playoffs to reach the Grand Finals where Empire and Funn1k awaited them.
EG were in high spirits throughout the playoffs

It's all over. After an online stage which featured 35 teams we have wittled down the competitors to crown the first-ever championship title of the jD MLG Pro League! The Final was emotionally intense, and with no Grand Final advantage for either team, they started the best-of-3 series on equal terms.

The baby-faced Assassin struck again
The opening match witnessed Tiny and Io combo snatched up by Empire, who finished off their draft with a crowd pleaser pick in Spirit Breaker.

Empire on the other hand gave pk Sumail 'SumaiL' Syed Hassan the Magnus with Fear on the Juggernaut and Aui_2000 playing Undying, an interesting choice in the first game of the Grand Finals.

First and second blood went to EG, as did third and fourth, with the opening 5 mins witnessing 5 kills. In the minutes that followed Empire focused on taking out SumaiL and succeeded in taking him down twice just 8 mins in.

From that point on the action slowed down, with Empire's Tiny and Io farming the jungle whilst Universe played safe in lane and Resolution and Fear raced for farm. At 16 mins was the first major team fight of the mid-game, with EG sniping two of Empire's heroes in their own jungle before regrouping to take down the other 3 as they walked down towards the river.

By this point Empire were trailing and they knew it, but had belief in the Tiny + Io combo if the game went late. Empire decided to play safe and were painfully patient avoiding any major encounter up until the 27 minute mark. At this point a smoke from EG's Radiant jungle into their bottom tier 1 tower ended in tears as a failed gank on Fear's Juggernaut led to a 2-man RP from SumaiL followed by a beautiful Sonic Wave on Empire's would-be assassins. A clutch mek kept AUi_2000 long enough to drop his grave and ultimately Empire lost 4 in exchange for 2.

The gamble had not paid off and Empire would pay the price. They resorted to a sneakier approach with Tiny going for tier 3 top tower and rax, and did so with some success. However, whenever the teams clashed Empire would come out the losers. A mindblowing fight at the 40 minute mark near dire Secret Shop saw an opportunity for both sets of players to pull of some silky moves, but once again it was SumaiL's RP which proved decisive and led to a rampage as well as the game.

Funn1k of Navi stood in for Empire for LAN finals

Empire hit the ground running in the second game going up 4-0 on the scoreboard with a YOLO hunting crew of ua Ilya 'AlohaDance' Korobkin on Treant and ua Andrey 'alwayswannafly' Bondarenko on Vengeful Spirit. The kills top lane started a party, and EG's Spectre haunted in and Skywrath tped in to join the fray and trade-offs ended witha 7-4 kill score in advantage of Empire and ua Roman 'Resolut1on' Fominok soaked up crucial experience. With Silent farming uncontested on Juggernaut bottom lane, it was a great start for the CIS team.

Mid-game came and Silent had a 8.5K networth at 15 minutes, and a nice double kill mid led to the EG's middle tier 1 tower crumbling. Empire looked solid. However, a gank on Roshan by EG saw that advantage last less than 30 seconds. Silent stole the Aegis and survived because of it, but the rest of Empire met their makers. A stroke of bad luck for Empire, but Silent still kept his team slightly ahead. EG's combined networth at 17 minutes of 21K versus Silent's 10K+ was a clear indication of just how significant Silent was to his team.

Empire started to swarm over the EG side of the river, and kept the DAC champions contained and Silent completed a 24 minute Eye of SKadi to add alongside his Manta Style. Fear also added a crucial item in Radiance around the same time but a death shortly after in mid-lane alongside the EG Skywrath let Empire take their second tier 2. What is more the situation got even worse for EG as AlohaDance finished his Aghanim's Sceptre for Treant Protector at 27 mins improving Empire's map control even more.

Resolut1on made the most of the space created by team-mate Silent

Some next level bait by Universe saw Empire split up sensing blood but ended up in a pool of their own, with EG jumping on two of Empire's players and then taking Roshan. Empire were now on the backfoot and EG were gathering momentum. PPD also did a cheeky Rubick steal on Treant, managing to nick Eye of the Forest, part of the Aghanim's Sceptre upgrade to give his team their own map control.

EG's main struggle was reaching the Sniper with Treant's ultimate and Vengeful Spirit's swaps major hindrances to stopping the continious rifle fire. Empire still relied heavily on Silent's Juggernaut, but 41 minutes a fight at EG's bottom tier 2 proved it didn't matter as only Fear's Spectre and SumaiL's QoP made it out alive.

Empire once again in the series went for a Roshan but a HUGE play by SumaiL saw EG steal the Aegis of the Immortal once more. A huge Sonic Wave in the pit allowed Fear to take the aegis and a delightful Universe hook results in four of Empire being wiped out. At this point EG were definitely in the driving seat and the individual plays by them were too much for Empire to handle. The scoreline was tied at 27-27 but for the first time EG lead in experience.

At 50 mins EG led by 6K in gold and experience with a Skadi for Fear but Empire still got some hold on the game with Juggernaut close to maxing out and good control thanks to A Refresher on their Treant Protector. At 53 mins Empire decided to risk it and managed to pull of a super fast Roshan putting them and then went high ground forcing buyback and putting them back in the lead.

The final fight went down near bottom rune, after a Universe hook into Hex on Silent came so close to taking Empire's main man before he could deal any damage but a priceless Vengeful Spirit swap turned the tides. Amidst the chaos of trying to kill Juggernaut it left AlohaDance and AlwaysWannafly room to pull off the Treant and Phoenix ulti combo and waste EG, ultimately killing four and triggering EG's surrender.

Mimicking the habits of C9 to fallback on trademark heroes in the final games of a series, EG went with what they know picking Storm Spirit, Void and Clockwerk. Empire on the other hand were not fussed and went CIS style aggression. The early game saw EG trying to catch Empire offguard by using an unorthodox laning phase, with EG deciding to starve their Void instead of farm him. The final game of the series started out slowly, with only 10 deaths 17 minutes in, and only two tier 1 towers down (both for EG).

Characteristic play from EG splitting the map and taking farm from safe areas of the map, while Empire were looking to group up and force the fight and make use of their item window timings, given that Empire's Razer was itemised heavily for the mid-game with Mekansm and Drums of Endurance for mid game power. SumaiL struggled to make an impact due to the Disruptor instant response pick from Empire during the draft paying off.

The game was a farcry from the previous two, with Empire being patient and picking their fights carefully. By 30 minutes the game had only seen 19 deaths, but one awkward team-fight for Empire could give EG the window of opportunity. However, it was an EG slip that sealed their fate with a Chrono on Disruptor backfiring as EG did not have the firepower nor the damage to fight, and Empire picked off EG and charged up to highground. That was the last act of the game, and the moment Team Empire became jD MLG Pro League Season 1 champions!

Final Standings

The joinDOTA MLG Season 1 Championship LAN came after an intense online groupstage across three regions featuring 35 teams which decided the six finalists. ro Balkan Bears* and pe Not Today* were the first to fall once the tournament hit the LAN stage after a 5th and 6th place in the groupstage. However, the four remaining teams who made it to the playoffs in Columbus, all put up a fight but it was Empire who slayed the dragon.

  • Malystryx.GDS


    Lawrence Phillips
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      Bristol, United Kingdom