posted by kipspul,
A week of fantastic Dota. A phenomenal stage. Half a million dollars on the line. In the end, it took Team Liquid five full games to overcome Newbee and take their first big LAN win.

eu Team Liquid had basically breezed their way through the event. They had dropped only two games, one to Complexity and one to OG. Both were in the groupstages. cn Newbee, meanwhile, had come into the tournament both proven and hungry for more. They extended their winstreak to [b]29 games in a row[/b], proving that they could stand with the best of the world. Only eu OG took a series off the dominant Chinese squad--only for Newbee to come back in the Losers' Bracket final and take a 2-1 revenge.

There was no doubt that the two strongest teams of the moment were facing off against each other. It would make a grand final to remember.

An eye for an eye...

The first map started out rough for upper bracket winners Liquid. Both their Beastmaster and de Kuro S. 'KuroKy' Takhasomi's surprise lastpick Riki kept getting picked off on the offlane, and Newbee comfortably pulled into a 7 to 3 kill advantage.

[Quote]"Liquid win this in 23, 24 minutes." - Kyle "Swindlezz" Freedman[/quote]It seemed like the panel might have been wrong in their predictions. But Liquid has never been much interested in the laning phase. They had kept equal on tower kills, and at 22 minutes they pushed the pedal to the metal. Newbee had gathered in front of the Roshan pit and were caught by surprise by their sudden aggression. Liquid got a teamwipe going in their favor, and then spent the remainder of the game running rough-shod over their opponents. At 27 minutes, two sets of rax down, Newbee threw in the towel.

The stage in full championship glory.

While Newbee had looked to be aggressive as ever during the first game, they were everything but in the second. cn Zhang 'Mu' Pan was farming away on the last-pick Alchemist. Liquid seemed to accept their challenge, as fi Lasse 'Matumbaman' Urpalainen's Lone Druid went for a just-as-fast Hand of Midas. Newbee still managed to turn the early game engagements in their favor, however.

The Team Liquid line-up nonetheless did their thing: they pushed highground at 18 minutes, forcing Newbee all the way back into their base. But this time the Chinese squad weren't about to let the game slip out of their hands. cn Chen 'Hao' Zhihao's slippery Weaver kept catching Liquid's heroes off guard. Soon, Liquid were desparately behind in networth and kills, and there was no way for them to defend their highground.

... a tooth for a tooth.

Game three only really started out at 5 minutes, when the two teams both struck at once. Jerax' Rubick helped set up a firstblood on his former teammate au Damien 'kpii' Chok, while the first Beastmaster Roar of the game took out bg Ivan 'MinD_ContRoL' Borislavov's offlane Lifestealer. It was a scrappy game. Both teams fought into one another, always trading kills. But the trades were always in favor of Newbee. There were no great plays--just a slow grind of kills that slowly crushed Liquid into the ground. They conceded, and the games were now 2-1 in Newbee's favour.

So to summarize: Newbee have spent all the tournament learning, while Liquid have just cruised through the upper bracket. So perhaps Liquid are kind of out of their comfort zone now. - Austin "Capitalist" Walsh

Now it was Championship Point, and Newbee were hungrily eyeing the trophy. But Liquid were not about to let it go without a fight. Their last-pick Slardar enabled them to quickly build up a 3-0 lead. Newbee pulled back in, going equal on kills, blow for blow... until they got caught in Roshan.

😱 @LiquidMinD_ctrL & @LiquidJerAx... #TLWIN!— TeamLiquidPro (@TeamLiquidPro) May 15, 2016

Now Liquid had the game by the throat. They were the ones with the unstoppable Alchemist. Newbee's window to deal with Liquid's cores had suddenly passed, and as soon as the European squad broke highground the gg was called.

One Game to Rule Them All

I don't think Liquid have a big draft advantage, I just think Newbee will shy away from picking the doom again. - Capitalist

Newbee, however, were not done with the Doom. Their surprise pick was a safelane Venomancer; Liquid's, a return of the Matumbaman Slark. And in the early game it was Liquid that showed dominance. fi Jesse 'JerAx' Vainikka' famed Earth Spirit and Matumbaman's Slark ripped through Newbee's heroes. The Finnish duo seemed oblivious to the idea of risk, killing anything that came close.

You heard the man! @LiquidJerAx is here! #TLWIN -— TeamLiquidPro (@TeamLiquidPro) May 15, 2016

In the end, there was nothing to do for NewBee but try and defend highground. But the European squad was patient. They knew they the game was theirs. And in the end, when they went highground, there was no way for Newbee to do anything but fold.

Team Liquid are your Epicenter Grand Final Winners!

Een foto die is geplaatst door TeamSecretDOTA2 (@teamsecretdota2) op 15 Mei 2016 om 7:19 PDT

Final Standings
Outside of the top 3 the big stories of Epicenter were the high place finish for us compLexity Gaming who finished 4th after their first ever LAN win against us Evil Geniuses (read more), and the early exit for eu Team Secret, who were one of the first two teams to be eliminated from the main event.

1. eu Team Liquid - $256,400
2. cn Newbee - $102,560
3. eu OG - $61,535
4. us compLexity Gaming - $30,767
5-6. us Evil Geniuses- $20,511
5-6. se Alliance - $20,511
7-8. ru Virtus.Pro*- $10,256
7-8. eu Team Secret- $10,256
9-10. Int Fnatic - $5,128
9-10. eu Ninjas in Pyjamas* - $5,128

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