posted by Sun_Tzu,
After two days of riveting LAN action in Fuzhou, China - in which there were surprise picks and upsets aplenty - it all boiled down to two of the most experienced teams to take each other on in the grand final for the G-1 Champions League, while the original favourites were consigned to the third-place playoff against the foreign challengers. Read on for match recaps.

Third place playoff
cn Invictus Gaming vs. my Orange eSports


Game 1

The biggest surprise of the draft was by far that the often first picked (or banned) Sven went through without being paid any attention in this game. Instead, iG adapted some of the picks that LGD used against them previously, while Orange picked up their core heroes such as Naga Siren and Queen of Pain. iG started out the game going for an aggressive tri-lane on their top lane and leaving Luna solo on their safe lane, matched up against a Lone Druid.

On the middle lane, Queen of Pain dominated against Night Stalker, and as the tri-lane wasn't finding the kills it needed, all of iG's hopes fell on the first night to swing the tide in their favour. However, as dawn broke, Orange had secured the farm and kill lead, with Mushi on Queen of Pain securing his killing streak. After this point, Orange never looked back, and forced out a 36 minute 'GG' call. Notable was their use of Naga Siren's ultimate to destroy Undying's Tombstone, rendering the otherwise powerful counter-pusher nearly useless.

Game 2

iG chose to run a safe tri-lane around Luna going into game 2, and after giving away Templar Assassin, they drafted Brewmaster as their counter for the middle. iG also continued the trend that Orange had started in previous competitions of playing Magnus on the off-lane, even though their laning choices put him one-on-one against Lone Druid. Although Brewmaster was intended to limit the farm of Templar Assassin, Mushi dominated the middle lane, partially making up for the lackluster performance of his team's offensive tri-lane.

iG kept on winning small skirmishes as Orange's supports were badly underleveled and farmed, until a fight during the 23rd minute at bottom lane, where Orange took out four of iG's heroes, at the cost of only losing their Venomancer. However, they soon had to give up the advantage they had gained, as iG took back the kill advantage and marched down the middle lane to take out Orange's tier 3 tower. iG continued to lay siege to the middle lane, and in the 32nd minute, Orange's barracks gave way, prompting them to call "GG" shortly after.

Game 3

In game 3, both teams seemed to decide on repicking their line-ups from the first game. The surprises came on the tail end of the picks, as iG took Axe and Nature's Prophet, whereas Orange went for Outworld Destroyer. Yet again, we saw an offensive tri-lane, this time from iG, who based it around a farming Axe.

Ice pulled the creepwave towards mid, stalling iG's attempts on the bottom tier 1 tower. At the same time, Yamateh relocated with his Naga Siren to the off-lane, and IceIceIce's Enigma took to the Dire jungle. iG kept on pushing the bottom lane, with even Nature's Prophet joining the push, allowing Naga and Enigma to freely farm on the top lane. As the bottom tier 2 fell, iG moved to the middle lane, taking first blood at 6 minutes in.

Having spent much of the early game grouped up, iG were falling behind on experience, and unable to continue pushing the middle, they had to split up and return to more stable lanes. Ferrari on Night Stalker however soon found Outworld Destroyer on the bottom lane, who ended up leading iG on a long chase, before teleporting out just as all of iG had arrived in attempt to secure the kill.

This would seem to be a recurring theme, as every time iG committed to a gank, their target seemed to find a way to teleport out, keeping the kills squarely at 0-1 for the Dire until the 16th minute, when a team fight erupted in the middle, going 5-2 in Orange's favour, even after iG using buybacks to secure the kills that they got. A few minutes later, the second big team fight of the game broke out in the same place, and ended similarly to the previous one.

The momentum was now clearly in Orange's favour, and they just kept on rolling, taking control over the entire map as iG was no longer able to stand against them in team fights. Orange, not wanting to overextend, slowed down and focused on aquiring an ever larger lead, picking off iG's heroes at opportune moments, until the 27th minute, when they finally felt confident enough to take a fight on their opponents high ground. Realising there was nothing left to be done, iG conceded defeat.

Grand Final
cn LGD Gaming vs. cn DK


Game 1

LGD continued on the same line they played the day before against iG, picking up Luna, Magnus and Jakiro. They also reached back into an older pool of heroes, adding a solo middle Beastmaster and a support Keeper of the Light. Meanwhile, DK went with a very standard line-up, giving Super! the Invoker to take middle, and Sven for Burning. The notable choice for DK was abandoning the off-lane, taking their Enigma and putting him in their own jungle, allowing Luna complete free farm.

DK signaled that they wanted to be the early aggressors, but as the synergy of LGD’s line-up began to kick in, it became obvious that DK were unable to fight effectively as a team. At this point, LGD were happy to sit back and farm, and take the occassional fights without suffering any losses. DK’s hopes all rested on Burning to keep them in the game, but as they lost more and more control of the map, this task was starting to look very dire. At 32 minutes, DK took a fight outside of Roshan’s pit, losing it squarely, and giving LGD’s Luna the Aegis of the Immortal. One more fight and LGD charged down the mid lane, forcing out the "GG" call at 37 minutes.

Game 2

LGD decided to stick to what had been working for them, while DK spiced things up by taking both Sven and Faceless Void. This set up dual lanes for DK, as Sven and Leshrac took on Night Stalker in the middle lane, and Faceless Void was supported by Venomancer on the safe lane. While the start looked good for DK, a kill given to Night Stalker changed the balance of power in the middle, and constant use of Dark Void allowed him to cement his control in a one-against-two situation.

The momentum was with LGD, and again DK would place their hopes on Burning, who was leading in the farm stakes by a slight margin. In the darkest of nights, a great Storm Bolt from rOtk set up a near-total team wipe on LGD in the 21st minute, allowing DK to follow up with a Roshan kill and getting them back in the game. The next 15 minutes were spent farming and split pushing, as DK slowly took over the map, until they felt confident enough to take the high ground in their opponents base on the bottom lane. While LGD lost their melee barracks, a great Reverse Polarity by Yao took out three of DK’s heroes as well as Burning’s Aegis, forcing them back. Another 10 minutes in, LGD picked off Sven and tried to turn it into a Roshan kill, but Burning jumped in and caught three in a Chronosphere, allowing him to steal the Aegis and give Super! the time he needed to take LGD's top melee barracks, but at the cost of both of their lives. Burning bought back, but LGD rushed down the middle lane and wiped out DK, and with Burning unable to buy back again, the throne fell in the 48th minute, to crown LGD as the G-1 Champions League victors.

Final Standings

1st - cn LGD Gaming - $28,500
2nd - cn DK - $9,500
3rd - my Orange eSports - $8,000
4th - cn Invictus Gaming - $6,300