posted by mdnNSK,
Orange vs Alliance
The alliance started out hot, with Henrik 'AdmiralBulldog' on Nature's Prophet finding a kill on the Dire courier, followed by Joakim 'Akke' Akterhall on Chen doing offensive jungling helping take the first blood on Chong 'Ohaiyo' Xin Khoo's Lone Druid, who was being shut down completely on his own safelane.
Meanwhile at bottom lane, Jonathan 'Loda' Berg on the Phantom Assassin backed up by a support Windrunner by Jerry 'EGM' Lundkvist were doing an admirable job using the Phantom Strike and Windrun combination to deny the aggression of the Orange aggressive trilane of Chai 'Mushi' Yee Fung on Gyrocopter backed by the Shadow Demon and Sand King, as the Alliance were winning the lane by just staying alive and finding some farm for Loda.
And rounding out the strong showing from the Alliance on the lanes was Gustav 's4' Magnusson on his signature Magnus at mid lane, who started the game with a bottle thanks to Bulldog's courier kill. While Lee 'Ky.xY' Kong Yang on Queen of Pain was doing well in terms of farm, s4 got everything he wanted along with finding some blood of his own once he started moving around the map.
As Orange were able to find a few crucial openings and kills, they helped themselves back into the game a bit, especially with Loda being responsible for giving up two of the three deaths in the early game and being down on farm a bit. But as the Alliance stepped up their response to Orange ganks, they managed to turn around and kill Mushi twice in a short span of time while Bulldog frustrated Orange's big smoke gank attempt by pulling out an amazing escape with his Shadow Amulet.
Realizing they were losing fights badly, Orange slowed down and farmed up their cores. However, they gave all the room in the world for Loda to find the items he needed as well as the levels in order to take control of the game, which Orange got to experience first hand as they tried to take Roshan past the 30 minute mark, losing two heroes and having to buy back in order to get the Aegis, only to have Loda jump in and reclaim it from Mushi less than a minute later.
Falling so far behind that it was only a matter of time for Loda to one-hit the whole Orange team, the Malaysian hope tried a smoke gank in order to get something done, only to get revealed and have their Burrowstrike initiation dodged, as the Swedes descended on them and killed them off, claiming the mid lane Barracks, backing off and turning around to kill the bought back heroes, destroying the whole Orange team once more and taking the top lane Barracks.
For his finale, Loda picked up a Satanic and an Aegis on top of his previous Black King Bar and Abyssal Blade. As they pushed up the bottom lane, they barely seemed to meet any resistance, as Towers, Barracks and heroes all fell like creeps to the right click power of the Alliance lineup.
The Alliance dismantle Orange with ease, as they pick up their third straight win.
LGD.cn vs Liquid
LGD decided that they do not want Liquid to get Gyrocopter, and Batrider and pick up the Lone Druid, further adding Shadow Demon and Kunkka, who has seen a lot of play time with the Chinese lately. The dominant Chinese squad ended up getting a draft that suits the play style that had worked very well for them as of late, topping their draft off with Nyx and Keeper of the Light.
Liquid decided not to give away popular heroes like Lifestealer and Wisp, also denying LGD the Juggernaut combo and Visage. The North Americans picked up Dark Seer, Chen, Luna, followed by Bane to deal with Spirit Bear and finished up with Templar Assassin.
Liquid attempted to go for first blood with Dark Seer along with Brian "FLUFF" Lee's Chen with a persuaded Hellbear Smasher, but Lio "Sylar" Jiajun proved that he's not to be taken lightly, as his superior manupulation of his spirit bear blocked his enemies long enough to dodge death and retaliate. Liquid, refusing to give up, went for a second try with Steven "Korok" Ashworth's Templar Assassin's help, to which LGD reacted with teleporting Shadow Demon to Lone Druid's rescue, killing off the attackers.
The Americans were able to put themselves on the scoreboard by killing off LGD's Keeper of the Light twice, but continued to lose heroes around the map. LGD's Lone Druid was able to get an Armlet before the 10th minute and before you knew it, Liquid's towers went under siege.
13 minutes into the game, LGD was up 7.5k in gold and xiao8 was able to pick up his blink dagger. With a nearly flawless performance, LGD kept finding engagements and coming out of them unscathed. Going into the 16th minute, LGD started pressuring the American squad's base, eating at their mid tier 3 tower. Liquid died defending their barracks, unable to resist LGD's overfed heroes, as even a trilane Keeper of the Light had more net worth than Liquid's mid Templar Assassin, and called the GG just a little over 17 minutes into the game.
LGD Gaming pick up yet another victory and join Alliance as the only two undefeated teams in the group stage so far.
Invictus Gaming vs DK
Surprisingly DK went for the offensive trilane with a Fan 'r0tk' Bai Dark Seer backed up with Lina and Rubick, who soon enough went roaming under smoke in order to help Junhao 'Super' Xie's Dragon Knight in mid, who was having a bit of a rough time against the aggression of Luo 'Ferrari_430' Feichi on Alchemist. Eventually the DK supports ended up at top, supporting Zhilei 'Burning' Xu on Gyrocopter, with Jiang 'YYF' Cen moving into the jungle for a while instead. Meanwhile, this left Chen 'Zhou' Yao on Luna to farm alone on the bottom lane, as the Dark Seer had left the lane as well and iG's Visage and Nyx Assassin had rotated as well, helping find the first blood on the Dragon Knight at mid.
YYF with his early Blink Dagger was the engine of iG's aggression and their playmaker, who was able to find a few early pick-offs. However, it was his failure which gave iG their biggest advantage, as Super used Dragon's Tail to stun YYF mid initiation, DK the followed it up by walking right into the oncoming iG lineup throwing away their lives. With the DK players also giving up some silly kills, even the Ancient stack for Burning and his lead on net worth did not help the feeling that iG were taking over control of the game.
As DK tried to smoke gank in the Radiant jungle at 15 minutes in, they ran straight into the oncoming iG lineup, which allowed Zeng 'Faith' Hongda to hit a big three hero Impale and setting it up for iG to teamwipe DK without losing a single hero. As DK lost all control over the map along with their towers falling, iG was able to pull off a fast Roshan before DK were able to react at 19 minutes, followed by a few quick kills, which allowed them to start whacking a bit at the Tier 3 Towers before falling back again. Another 4-0 engagement a minute later at bottom lane and it seemed only a matter of time before iG would want to take the high ground.
Another YYF eliminated into the DK base this time got cut short by Super's Dragon Tail at 24 minutes, showing a glimmer of hope for DK who forced iG to turn tail and run, however iG were still pulling ahead, with both Zhou and Ferrari ahead of Burning on farm while YYF was almost even, as Super and r0tk were even behind the Visage by Wong Hock 'Chuan' Chuan.
At 29 minutes YYF caught out Burning who looked like he might have been trying to farm up that Divine Rapier for some chance of a comeback. As he fell and bought back, iG did not blink but took to the high ground and not only claimed the bottom set of Barracks, but kept it up with cleaning up all three lanes, ending the game at 32 minutes.
iG dominate DK taking their first win, while DK is now 0-3.
LGD.cn vs Alliance
The Alliance picked up a Phantom Lancer for Loda, along with Keeper of the Light and Rubick for a very strong lane, preventing LGD.Cn from challenging as they've had a tendency against other teams during this competition. Instead they sent Yao 'Yao' Zhengzheng's Dark Seer to the offlane, while Sylar on the Lone Druid used his Spirit Bear to help out with pulling creepwaves to the Radiant Tower. Meanwhile Sylar himself was supported by Shadow Shaman and Eartshaker on the bottom lane, up against the Clockwerk of AdmiralBulldog, who ended up giving away the first blood as he played slightly out against the power of Fissure lockdown. This left xiao8 on Kunkka against s4 on Magnus in mid, a very close lane as both players have shown great proficiency on either hero.
While LGD weren't quite able to find the early kills, they instead opted to push out their safelane. As s4 tried to Teleport in to the Tier 2 Tower in order to stall the push, xiao8 pulled off a big play, using X Marks the Spot in order to bring him back to mid lane. In the next engagement, as LGD pushed in with force at mid lane, s4 showed slight hesitation, perhaps being aware of the power of Kunkka being able to send him back, as he chose not to take openings for big Reverse Polarities.
While LGD was really effective at pushing down the early towers, once these objectives were down the Swedes were simply able to dodge the Chinese, split-pushing and farming up Loda, who was quickly getting out of control, along with starting to even out the tower lead by the mid game. As the game approached the 30 minute mark, LGD showed that they knew the clock was ticking, trying to force the mid lane in consecutive engagements. While they did eventually manage to take the Tier 3 Tower, they kept on coming out worse for each fight they took, while Loda towered over them on farm.
At 37 minutes the Alliance found the opening to finally take the Roshan that they'd been throwing sideways glances at for the past 10 minutes, as Loda now had only to replace his Drums of Endurance in order to have a full lategame inventory. By 41 minutes the Alliance were ready to push in, but LGD held on valiantly, using multiple buybacks to just barely keep their top Barracks alive, as the Alliance did not dedicate quite enough attention to focusing it down before they were forced out.
47 minutes in the Alliance finally took their first Barracks of the game, following it up with a Roshan a minute later, giving the Aegis over to s4 on Magnus. The Swedes then rotated to the bottom lane, standing through the complete onslaught of LGD, shrugged it off and took the second Melee Barracks of the game at 50 minutes before backing off again, playing it supremely safe. In the end they spent a further three minutes beating the Chinese into submission before LGD finally called the 'GG'.
The Alliance continue their clean run with a domineering performance over LGD.Cn.
Orange vs DK
Orange drafted two highly mobile supports, opting to put Chan Zhan 'Xtinct' Leong on Chen in the enemy jungle early on with Wai Pern 'Net' Lim on Rubick backing up Ohaiyo on the Dark Seer at top, zoning Burning's Gyrocopter out of the lane entirely early on. This did however leave Mushi on Weaver soloing up the Radiant safe lane, up against the offensive trilane of DK around r0tk on Leshrac together with Visage and Earthshaker, who managed to get the first blood with a well placed Fissure.
After scoring a rebuttal kill on Burning and taking the Tier 1 Tower, the Orange supports rotated to the mid lane, getting a kill on Super's Nyx Assassin, who was already losing his lane to Ky.xY on Batrider, ensuring that Orange was securely winning two of the lanes and getting more experience for their supports, and also getting the slightly better trade of the carry heroes, as Mushi was finding a bit better levels than Burning, for all that neither of them was finding farm.
With Mushi making some questionable plays, DK were getting back into the game with the more impactful Gyrocopter and Leshrac slowly improving their lot in life while Mushi was stuck below some of the supports on net worth. This cause Orange to try and force fights, which they kept on losing as DK reacted well to the Batrider intiations and Mushi kept on making questionable dives, falling prey to the Sentry Wards that DK was littering the ground with whenever he was close.
While DK looked far ahead, some sloppy teamfight play allowed Orange to claw back the kill lead, but in order to do so the Malaysians had to expend a few buybacks. When DK respawned they made up for lost time, killing of Roshan at around 25 minutes in order to try and make Burning truly unkillable, as he had his Black King Bar as well as the Aegis, and even picked up some damage before the lategame this time around with the Demon's Edge.
As DK dove in at 29 minutes to kill off Ky.xY's Batrider, who had been accounting for a large amount of deaths for the Orange team, Orange ended up turning the fight around, even managing to kill Burning twice, as they picked up the kill lead, along with Mushi showing the first signs of having enough net worth to be an impact in the game, rising to fourth position on the net worth chart along with picking up his Black King Bar.
Orange's questionable plays kept on getting them into trouble, as Ky.xY again threw away his life trying to initiate into the DK team without magic immunity. This allowed DK to pick up an uncontested Roshan at 41 minutes, which lead to a siege of the mid lane at 44 minutes. While DK were able to claim the Melee Barracks, they still lost a lot of lives in doing so, as the supporting cast of Orange were trying their best to keep them in the game against a Burning who was quickly nearing a full inventory.
An unfortunate fight taken by Orange at mid around 50 minutes gave DK the opening to clean up the Ranged Barracks at mid lane as well as take out the bottom lane. Feeling sure of their win and with buybacks available, DK stayed inside the base and finished off the game at 52 minutes.
DK take their first win of the tournament against a sloppy Orange team.
Invictus Gaming vs Liquid
With Liquid getting their hands on the Wisp, they ended up running a safelane trilane with Tyler 'TC' Cook on Chaos Knight and FLUFF taking up the Wisp and the Keeper of the Light rounding out the trilane. In response, iG ran an offensive trilane, which stabilized on YYF playing a farming Visage backed up by Jakiro and Nyx Assassin, which ended up failing hard as Liquid found several early kills on the Visage, including the first blood.
Meanwhile Bulba on Dark Seer and Zhou on Lone Druid eventually ended up meeting at the top lane, leaving the mid lane to Korok on the Slark, up against Ferrari_430's Alchemist, but the true story continued to be the bottom lane, as both mids eventually rotated bot, as iG desperately wanted to claim a kill on TC only to be denied by the triple stuns of FLUFF, using the Tether to save TC's life and sacrificing himself in return, with Korok finding a rebuttal kill.
At 11 minutes in, Liquid got that mobile gank train moving, going for a teamfight up at top lane where an unusually early level in the Wall of Replica by Bulba helped them win a big teamfight. As iG returned to fight some more, they ended up losing all of their heroes and got nothing in return. As they still hadn't learnt their lesson, iG suicided another few kills as Liquid dove all the way past the Tier 3 Towers for kills, racking up a 15-1 lead at 15 minutes.
As the next big fight broke out at Roshan 19 minutes in, iG's audacity looked to have caught Liquid slightly off guard, meaning that they got off all their nukes and managed to...kill FLUFF, who bought back and relocated back in to help his team take the fight, ending the engagement 20-2 with Ferrari sitting on the highground above Roshan, where Bulba had trapped him. With the Aegis of Immortality up on Michael 'ixmike88' Ghannam, Liquid was now ready to make things happen! Also Korok now had his Ethereal Blade, for some of that shotgun Slark action.
At 25 minutes in Liquid took the first Barracks of the game, and never again left the base as they kept on farming up the iG heroes, ending the game 31-3 as iG called the 'GG' at 28 minutes.
Team Liquid take their first win of the tournament by destroying iG.
Orange vs LGD
LGD after having seemingly lost some of the faith in their previous lineups fell back on Sylar's Anti-Mage backed by Shadow Demon and Jakiro for their game against Orange, who countered with a Ohaiyo Leshrac on the offensive trilane together with Nyx Assassin and Bane for supports. As they ran into each other around the rune spot, LGD managed to pick up the first blood, but also lost Sylar, largely negating the advantage. Meanwhile, this left xiao8 on Clockwerk up against Ky.xY on Magnus at mid lane, which went the way of xiao8, as well as Yao on Dark Seer facing off with Mushi on the Shadow Fiend up top.
While LGD got some early kills, Orange was the ones who gained some momentum after taking the first major skirmish of the game, only to lose it all with Mushi getting caught out in the Radiant jungle and the Yao showing up in time for this fight, cleaning up the kills 5-3, with the total score of the game standing at 11-8 at the 15 minute mark.
While there were some back and forth skirmishes over the following 15 minutes, neither side really made great headway in terms of finding deciding leads through kills, instead both teams farming up on their side of the river and venturing into enemy territory only occasionally as they tried to find pick-offs sporadically, while all Tier 2 Towers were left standing as the game passed the half hour mark.
Under these circumstances, Orange tried to sneak a Roshan kill, only to get caught red handed by LGD smoking in, and even though Mushi got off his Black King Bar it meant nothing as Sylar got up close and personal and finished him off, as the they took the fight convincingly and picked up the Aegis for Sylar. This opened it up for the Chinese to push up the bottom lane, taking a further fight and capping it off with the Barracks at 34 minutes in.
As LGD were once again able to kill off Mushi and his merry band of Malaysian men, by 35 minutes they broke through at mid and by 36 minutes the throne was under siege, as Orange called the 'GG'.
LGD.cn cap off their groupstage with a win over Orange, ending 4-1.
Invictus Gaming vs Alliance
For the game to seal their fate in the tournament, iG tried their hands at the Chaos Knight by Zhou as well as Wisp by Faith, rounding out their trilane with a Chuan support Juggernaut, as they faced off agains the solo offlane Lone Druid of AdmiralBulldog, who ended up losing his Spirit Bear twice and his life in the follow-up, as iG claimed the first blood. Meanwhile in middle lane, s4 on Magnus was off to a good start, which was compounded as Akke on Enchantress and EGM on Rubick smoked up and came to help gank Ferrari_430's Queen of Pain, scoring the kill. Finally, Loda was farming away happily on his Alchemist up against the Nature's Prophet of YYF at top lane.
While iG brought on early aggression, they weren't able to keep down the farm of Loda, but when both teams clashed head on at the top lane 13 minutes in, it wasn't Loda who made the big difference but his support cast, with s4 landing a big Reverse Polarity as well as EGM doing work, chasing down YYF as he tried to run away. After a strong start by iG, the momentum was now going in favour of the Swedes.
iG's lack of practice with the Wisp quickly began to show, as the Wisp would relocate Chaos Knight up top, and as the duration was running out and their prey had evaded them once more, Faith failed to re-apply his Tether multiple times, leaving Zhou behind to either be picked off or have to use a scroll to Teleport out of there.
iG kept on taking questionable engagements, trying to open up on the Alchemist mid Chemical Rage, only to find out that they could not kill him, especially not when sitting in a Reverse Polarity which is followed up with an Unstable Concoction. Even though they managed to ultimately pick off s4, iG lost four, with Ferrari losing his life trying to cover YYF's escape even though it would have not been needed.
With Alliance in complete control of the game, they allowed Loda to add an Aegis to his inventory along with his brand new Assault Cuirass. With such a commanding lead, they went hunting and finding kills on both Faith and Zhou and then taking some towers to round it out, as Loda finished up his Skull Basher. They then found out YYF at top 28 minutes in and followed it up by trading 4-1 even with all of iG arriving to fight it, and then rushing up the high ground and taking the Melee Barracks before backing off, with iG unable to react.
Another big fight at bottom lane 32 minutes in, as iG tried to wrap around to find the initation on Alliance as they sieged up the base, only to get turned upon and destroyed, as the Alliance claimed their second Melee Barracks of the game. With an Aegis on top, the Alliance returned to clear out mid lane, taking the fight and causing iG to call their final 'GG' of the tournament, 34 minutes in.
The Alliance send iG out of the tournament, as they go 5-0 during the groupstage.
DK vs Liquid
Sticking with what he had been playing all tournament long, Burning was back on the Gyrocopter up on top lane, backed by the Visage and Lion. They got off to a seemingly good start, as they claimed the first blood against Bulba's Clockwerk, only to have FLUFF on Enchantress and ixmike88 on Shadow Demon to show up and get the rebuttal kill on Burning, who ended up accounting for the first two deaths for DK. Meanwhile in the middle lane, Korok was dominated with Storm Spirit up against the Kunkka of Super, leaving TC on Lone Druid to freely farm on the bottom lane, with r0tk dodging into his own jungle on Dark Seer.
Early aggression was going heavily in Liquid's favour, as they kept on finding kills on Burning who lost out on farm as well while dead. Meanwhile, TC was getting ready to start pushing, taking out both the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Towers at bottom lane by 8 minutes in. But as Liquid looked a bit too anxious to take fights, they ended up paying for it as Super dropped a Ghost Ship on them, along with the Call Down and the general area of effect damage, giving DK a free path back into the game, undoing much of the work done during the lanes.
Unable to take head on fights, Liquid were content trading towers with DK, who were slowly looking like they were establishing control over the mid game. At around 22 minutes they decided to try take a Roshan, but with Liquid challenging it and forcing out the teamfight ultimates, the North Americans found the opening to take the Roshan instead. However as Roshan fell the ultimates were back for DK, who came back in and picked off their opponents in convincing fashion, even taking out Korok twice, as Super landed an impeccably timed Torrent on the respawning Korok in order to set up his second death.
The next 10 minutes were about both teams trying to maneuver around each other, especially after Roshan came back up as both were trying to find an opening to be able to take the next Aegis without contention. Ultimately it was DK who went into the pit, confident that they had the teamfight advantage to finish off Roshan before Liquid could disturb them. As their prediction seemed to be coming true, suddenly Korok flew in, got the last hit on Roshan, picked up his complimentary Aegis and zipped right out, all under the very noses of a surprised DK lineup.
As Liquid spent their next Aegis getting some farm and getting back in the game, the next time things heated up was at 47 minutes in, with DK going for another Roshan kill. As Liquid tried to interfere, ixmike88 got picked off and with him Liquid lost their Mekansm as well as Vladimir's Offering. At this point Liquid went for a slightly questionable intiation 4v5, as Korok and Bulba jumped in only to die, with DK claiming the Aegis and rushing down mid, taking out the first Barracks of the game by 49 minutes.
By 53 minutes DK were happy to dive in and spend all of their ultimates just to pick off supports, as they claimed the top lane Barracks and followed it up with the bottom lane, forcing out the 'GG' by Liquid.
DK capitalize on mistakes made by Team Liquid to claim the final groupstage game, sending Liquid out of the competition.
Groupstage and Schedule
All matches are BO1
Top four teams advance to the "bubble race" playoffs.
Our famed representation of the "bubble race" system.