Lithium vs Roons
Game 1 - Alchemist?
We started the day with a questionable decision from Vega Squadron (EU), letting the Alchemist through the draft and allowing Rooons access to Greevil’s Greed. Lithium looked to have their own strategy, opting for meta heroes such as Invoker, Luna, Dazzle and Axe. Ultimately, despite their own ideas, Lithium would be playing catch-up against whichever hard carry Rooons drafted.
Despite a decent laning phase from the European side, it only took 20 minutes before Rooons had switched out their Alchemist for a Spectre, and had their hard carry over 5 thousand gold above the rest. However, this was not met without resistance from Lithium, as they kept their head above water until the final moments.
BSJ on Alchemist
Eventually Rooon’s Alchemist was too much, and the gold lead was too far gone for Lithium to contest. With a brief fountain dive from the north American side, they took their first game of the tournament.
Game 2 - The Madaracopter
Team Lithium opted for a Lina in the mid lane, something we had seen in one or two games in the previous day; a hero utilised for her strong mid lane presence. Lithium picked three offlane heroes with relatively similar objectives before 20 minutes; buy a blink and cause disruption. The choice of Axe, Brewmaster and Puck gave them a lot of versatility.
Rooons opted for the best “farm acceleration” strategy they could manage. Picking up Weaver for the sizeable and early experience gain talent, as well as the Magnus for Empower. They also looked to counter the three strength of the eight heroes on Lithium by picking Lifestealer.
However, this decision didn’t pay off, with Lithium staying at almost a 1k per minute gold lead advantage. At the 21 minute mark, Lithium were ahead by 17k gold. Omar 'Madara' Dabachach’s Gyrocopter was far too strong, buffed with an IO at his side, Rooons were taken to the first game three of the tournament.
Game 3 - Rooons bow out
More meta picks from Game 3 showed Lithium’s ability to make the most out of the lanes. A slow start to the game saw neither team really “winning the laning phase”. As the game transitioned to the mid game, Lithium found themselves with a 4k gold lead by the 15 minute mark.
Despite this lead, Brian 'BananaSlamJamma' Canavan and team were never defeated. They found themselves firmly in a deficit of gold until the hour mark, where for the first time in the game, they came painfully close to taking the lead. Lithium had, at one point, been 15k gold ahead. There were throws, outplays, buybacks and failed push attempts, proving to be the closest game of the tournament yet.
paiN vs Lithium
Game 1 - w33's Huskar
Lithium once again opted for heroes that can all aim to build blinks in the early game, picking Centaur, Puck and Earthshaker. They drafted a spare Spectre to be switched to after their support Bane and core Ogre Magi would comfortably win their safelane.
paiN Gaming* followed suit in their draft with a handful of offlaners; Axe, Enigma and Pheonix picks. They would more or less stay with their original starting line-up, with the Axe and Enigma occasionally switching out between themselves or the player on the Pheonix. William 'hFnk3' Medeiros started the game laning as a Dragon Knight, and quickly substituted that for a Morphling, where he would sit second on the net worth, just behind w33’s Huskar.
paiN didn’t seem to struggle to brush aside Lithium. By the 16 minute mark, Omar 'w33haa' Aliwi was diving past tier three towers and securing himself an Ultra Kill. Winning the laning phase, and sticking with the Huskar throughout, w33 carried paiN to success. The strategy of drafting substitutes didn’t seem to matter in this game, as paiN simply seemed a step ahead.
Game 2 - a paiNful time for Lithium
paiN gaming opened the drafting with a Broodmother Huskar pick. As established in yesterday’s games, Broodmother has many advantages; namely that webs are independent to the person that placed them, and still provide the movement speed and free pathing bonuses. paiN were also able to get a hold of Lich, who has been in favour in the tournament for his experience gain.
A similar story to game one as w33’s now free pathing Huskar slowly became out of control, it wasn’t long before all three cores of paiN were sitting at the top of the net worth chart. Lithium were definitely not down and out completely, finding themselves a comparable amount of kills to paiN, but facing up against a farmed Terrorblade, Monkey King and Huskar is a difficult task.
Lithium’s run at the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London came to a close just a minute or two after the clip above, as paiN move on to the final to face off against Mineski.
Mineski vs paiN
Game 1 - The JT- show
Mineski’s first game of the day could have gone either way, but the south east Asian side were in control of their own fate. Essentially drafting two heroes for every position, they had all bases covered in the picking phase. paiN gaming stuck to what they knew, drafting Treant Pheonix, alongside Weaver, Brew, TB and Ogre, all popular picks.
The laning phase went the way of Mineski, as they stuck to the heroes they originally picked. Their late game heroes sat on the substitute bench until the 20 minute mark. Slowly being transitioned in, their solid early game saw Mineski finding pick-offs and winning fights well until the late stages of the mid game.
Kam 'Moon' Boon Seng played exceptionally well, alongside Thiay 'JT-' Jun Wen, who has been a highlight all tournament.
Game 2 - A slow burner
The competition to this point had not provided many close games. The average game time for the game mode was around the 30 minute mark, with the exceptions coming from the Rooons vs Lithium game earlier in the day. This game would change that.
The match started out slowly, with neither team pulling a particularly large lead from the early game. It seems that Mineski had found the answer to paiN’s Huskar, and that was to pick it for themselves. Once the early game was over, Mineski ignored the substitute function of the game mode, and stuck with their 5 late game heroes. The pace of the game never really increased, as Mineski tried to balance their lead carefully, whilst paiN found pick-off after pick-off and slowly began out farming the Brazilian side.
Roughly a kill a minute left both teams cautious and playing reservedly. A notably bold play by Kim 'Febby' Yong-Min saw Mineski stealing aegis, cheese and refresher out of the hands of paiN, arguably the play that put a stop to paiN’s lead. The game was lacklustre on big, committed fights until the late game was well and truly under way, where Mineski finally pulled ahead.
Game 3 - Mineski dismantle paiN
Mineski’s strategy was clear at this point; pick heroes for the early game, and have a hero in each core position that you can swap out for a better late game hero. paiN were stubborn about sticking to the strategy they knew, picking Weaver, Lich, Centaur and Spectre – an all too familiar line-up.
Currently sat at a 2-0 deficit, paiN couldn’t quite take the laning phase they wanted. Keeping up on kills but not on farm, Mineski were pulling ahead by the 15 minute mark. A series of skirmishes saw Mineski break ahead slowly but surely, as paiN never really found their feet in the final game of the series. It wasn’t quite the grand finals anyone hoped for with a 3-0 and a comfortable victory to win it, but Mineski took the series looking confident throughout.
Photo Credit: Red Bull