Dota 2 Major Recap: China Dota 2 Supermajor

Hail to the King: Defending TI Champion Team Liquid defeats VP 3-2 to claim first Major Championship of season. PSG.LGD, Team Secret, round out Top 4 in final Pro Circuit event of season.

After around 8 months of Dota 2 action, the Pro Circuit season has now officially come to an end as the final event of the season has reached its conclusion. The eyes of the Dota 2 world have been squarely on Shanghai for the past 9 days, as the China Dota 2 Supermajor presented fans with one last bit of Dota on the Pro Circuit stage. After the trials and tribulations of the Group Stage and the Main Event, the games have come to an end and the final Major Champion of the season has been crowned at the Yuanshen Gymnasium. 16 teams came to Shanghai looking to claim a Major Championship or build up some momentum for itself heading into the TI8 Qualifiers. Each of the team’s came to the Supermajor hoping to put together one last strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage, but at the end of the event only a select few teams managed to walk away with their goals accomplished.

When the matches came to an end and the festivities came to a close in Shanghai, it was Team Liquid that stood victorious as it defeated Virtus.pro 3-2 in the Grand Finals of the event. That win gave the team its first Major Championship of the season, as well as the first Major Championship for the organization as a whole. The European powerhouse put together a dominant performance in Shanghai, posting a 13-3 overall record and claiming series victories over Team Spirit, Newbee, TNC Pro Team, Team Secret, PSG.LGD, and Virtus.pro to claim its Major Championship.

With the final Pro Circuit event of the season now over, the Pro Circuit standings have now been finalized. Prior to the start of the event, half of the 8 direct invites had been determined, but the remaining 4 slots were still available. Team Liquid’s 1st place finish in Shanghai had no bearing on the team’s position in the standings, as the European squad continues to hold its position as the 2nd ranked squad on the Pro Circuit. The team that Team Liquid defeated, Virtus.pro, ended up staying put in the standings as well as it retained its place as the top ranked team in the Pro Circuit standings. In 3rd place in the event standings, PSG.LGD didn’t actually effect its standing all that much. The Chinese team retains its hold over the 3rd place position in the standings and is still guaranteed a direct invite to TI8. As for the final team in the Top 4, Team Secret ended up not moving in the standings either as it still sits in the 4th place position overall and is also holds a direct invite to TI8. In the end, the teams that earned Qualifying Points in Shanghai didn’t move in the Pro Circuit standings, but their performances did lock in direct invites for some of the other participants at the Supermajor. Mineski, Vici Gaming, Newbee, and VGJ.Thunder all ended up falling outside of the Top 4 in the event standings, but still ended up securing places in the Top 8 in the Pro Circuit standings and direct invites to TI8.

With the matches all concluded in Shanghai, Team Liquid crowned as Major Champion for the first time this season, and the Pro Circuit standings fully adjusted, we can look at how each of the team performed at the China Dota 2 Supermajor. In addition to examining how the participants performed at the event, we can also look to the future to see if the teams will be heading for the TI8 Qualifiers or will have the opportunity to wait and prepare for TI8.

Virtus.pro 600px-Virtus

Place: 2nd

Winnings: $225,000 (Total) & 675 Qualifying Points (Per Player)

Virtus.pro has known for quite some time where it was heading once the Pro Circuit season comes to an end, as the CIS squad stands at the top of the Pro Circuit standings and has held a guaranteed invite to TI8 for months now. The team’s position as the Pro Circuit leader has not kept it from continuing to compete though, as the team has made repeated appearances on the Pro Circuit stage in the months since it locked in its direct invite. With the season coming to an end with the China Dota 2 Supermajor, VP entered the event looking at what was perhaps its final opportunity to compete on the international level prior to the start of TI8.

VP started its run in Shanghai with a Bo3 series against Southeast Asian squad TNC Pro Team in the Opening Matches of Group B. The CIS squad looked to push the pace and play aggressively in Game 1, as VP picked up a core trio of Slark, Kunkka, and Doom to apply early pressure to TNC Pro Team’s lineup. That aggressive strategy paid off almost immediately for VP, as the team found numerous early pick offs to heavily limit the progression of its opponents’ cores. VP led for nearly the entirety of the match, and Ramzes666’s Slark (18-0-8) out killed the entire TNC Pro Team lineup as the CIS squad routed its opponent to claim a quick victory in less than 27 minutes of game time. Game 2 appeared to be a repeat performance for the CIS squad for most of the match, as the team’s core trio of Leshrac, Viper, and Beastmaster helped to hold a significant lead for nearly the entirety of the match. Behind a strong performance from No[o]ne’s Viper (12-8-8), VP was able to establish control over the pace of the match through the mid and late-game stages. However, the CIS squad didn’t have the strength to break through TNC Pro Team’s defenses, as its high ground pushes repeatedly came up short. Eventually, the Southeast Asian squad’s successful base defenses opened a window for the team to march down the middle lane to secure a stunning comeback victory to even up the series 1-1. After that tough loss, VP came into Game 3 looking to simply run its opponent over as it combined a core trio of Lifestealer, Bloodseeker, and Beastmaster with supports of Disruptor and Sand King. That plan worked to perfection, as VP was aggressive from the very beginning of the match and quickly established a pace that TNC Pro Team wasn’t ready to keep up with. Behind a ridiculously strong game from No[o]ne on Bloodseeker (21-1-12), VP dominated the match from start to finish to close out the series and avenge its prior loss with a 2-1 series lead.

That initial win over TNC Pro Team advanced VP to the Winners’ Match of Group B, where the CIS squad faced off against Vici Gaming to determine which team would secure the top spot in the group and a place in the Upper Bracket of the Main Event. Game 1 saw VP pick up a strong fighting lineup, combining cores of Morphling, Death Prophet, and Pangolier with a support duo of Rubick and Chen. The squad’s early aggression resulted in numerous early kills for both sides, but the pressure that VP was able to apply also opened opportunities for its cores to begin out farming their counterparts. That small advantage allowed VP to quickly build up a net worth lead, and as the game progressed, Vici Gaming found itself falling further and further behind. Behind impressive showings from Ramzess666 on Morphling (12-3-8) and RodjER’s Chen (2-4-17), VP closed out the match on a 8-2 run in terms of kills to go up 1-0 in the series. Game 2 proved to be an absolute bloodbath, as both sides committed to lineups with considerable team fight power. VP opted for a core trio of Broodmother, Leshrac, and Pangolier alongside supports of Disruptor and Clockwerk, and that lineup was able to hold its own through an insanely aggressive early phase in the match. VP was able to contain its losses mostly to its support duo though, while Vici Gaming’s casualties were often times the team’s core heroes. The result was a significant net worth lead for VP that it carried into the mid and late-game stages, as the team maintained control over the pace of the game and managed to consistently out perform Vici Gaming in team fights. With the team’s core trio combining for a stat line of 38-9-35, VP was able to push through Vici Gaming’s final defenses in order to secure a 2-0 sweep of the series and the top spot in the Group B standings.

VP began its run at the Main Event of the Supermajor with a match up against Newbee in Round 1 of the Upper Bracket. Game 1 ended up being a bit of a stomp for the CIS squad, as its lineup was able to exert significant pressure on its opponent and dominated the mid-game stage of the match. Behind an incredible performance from Ramzes666 on Slark (13-0-6) VP destroyed Newbee in team fights and found pick offs consistently to build up its lead further and further and claim a victory to open the series. Game 2 saw the roles for the 2 teams reversed, as Newbee was the squad to establish control of team fights and seize the momentum of the match. Despite a strong performance from Ramzes666 on Morphling (11-2-3), VP couldn’t mount any sort of effective comeback effort and conceded defeat just past the 41 minute mark to lose its lead in the series. After its rough loss in Game 2, VP looked to come out aggressively in Game 3 with a core trio of Death Prophet, Templar Assassin, and Omniknight. Those heroes quickly established a fast and aggressive pace that had it sitting in the driver’s seat for the entirety of the match. With help from both Ramzes666 on Death Prophet (11-1-15) and No[o]ne’s Templar Assassin (16-0-11), the squad built up a net worth lead of over 22k by the 27 minute mark to secure itself a 2-1 win in the series.

That win advanced the team to Round 2 of the Upper Bracket, where the CIS squad faced off against PSG.LGD with a guaranteed Top 4 finish on the line. Game 1 saw the team pick up a core trio of Death Prophet, Tinker, and Beastmaster as it got off to a fast start against the Chinese squad. However, PGS.LGD’s team fight strength finally came online in the second half of the match as the squad began turning the tide of team fights and swinging momentum in its favor. The CIS squad could not hold back its opponents advance, as PSG.LGD swept past its defenses to claim the first match of the series. Game 2 played out in a similar manner, as VP’s aggressive lineup was able to establish a significant net worth lead in the mid and late-game stages. Behind a strong performance from No[o]ne’s Outworld Devourer (11-3-7), the team was sitting in a position to potentially close out the match and force a third game in the series. Unfortunately, VP was unable to secure its victory as PSG.LGD put together an impressive comeback effort to wipe out VP’s net worth lead and snatch a win away from the team to hand it a 0-2 loss.

VP’s loss dropped it down into the Lower Bracket, where it once again played a series with a Top 4 finish on the line, though this time it faced North American squad OpTic Gaming. Game 1 saw VP pick up a heavily team fight oriented lineup with cores of Luna, Death Prophet, and Pangolier alongside supports of Sand King and Bane. That lineup was able to force numerous early engagements that VP was able to benefit from for the most part. Aside from 2 surges in the mid and late-game stages, OpTic Gaming was unable to truly take control of the momentum of the match and trailed in terms of net worth for most of the game. With its core trio combining for a stat line of 24-6-45, VP was able to secure a relatively one sided victory to go up 1-0 in the series. Game 2 put the team in a similar scenario, as the CIS squad built up an early lead behind cores of Spectre, Kunkka, and Doom. OpTic Gaming was able to make a push in the mid and late-game stages to briefly take the net worth lead, but that surge was quickly put down by VP’s high damage output as its core trio posted a combined stat line of 32-10-47 to lock in a 2-0 sweep of the series and a Top 4 position for VP.

With a position in the Top 4 secured, VP now turned its attention towards making a push for another Major Championship as it faced Team Secret in Round 5 of the Lower Bracket. The CIS squad was able to dominate Game 1 of the series, as its fighting lineup was able to out perform Team Secret from the early stages of the match. Behind No[o]ne’s Lina (14-3-7) and Ramzes666’s Medusa (8-4-11), VP established an early lead and never looked back as it kept Team Secret on the defensive for nearly 47 minutes to win the opening match of the series. The European squad fought back in significant fashion in Game 2, as the match went on for over 83 minutes of game time. The 2 teams remained close over the first hour of the match, but Team Secret proved itself to have the better team fight execution beyond that point, as VP was repeatedly overwhelmed and pushed back into its own base. Despite a solid effort from No[o]ne on Lina (11-8-19, 31.9k net worth), VP failed to hold its base and lost the match and its lead in the series. The CIS squad was able to recover from that loss though in the final match of the series. The team’s core trio of Faceless Void, Outworld Devourer, and Beastmaster gave it a level of team fight control and damage that Team Secret was simply unable to compete with. The team’s core trio combined for a stat line of 33-4-46 and the team led by as much as 20k net worth before claiming a 2-1 win in the series.

That victory over Team Secret brought the CIS squad just one series away from a spot in the Grand Finals of the event, but it would need to win a rematch against PSG.LGD in order to do so. Game 1 of the series did not go well for VP, as the team was quickly out paced and out fought by the Chinese squad. None of the team’s core heroes were able to secure enough farm to mount an effective comeback effort, and the team threw in the towel just short of the 30 minute mark to fall behind 0-1 in the series. Game 2 proved to an endurance match for both teams, as the 2 squads traded the net worth lead back and forth over the course of a 63 minute long game. VP’s lineup trailed for the majority of the late-game stage, but strong performances from No[o]ne’s Kunkka (12-6-23) and RodjER’s Skywrath Mage (17-8-21) allowed the team to retake control late and threaten to overcome PSG.LGD’s base defenses. The Chinese squad put together one last surge in an attempt to claim a win, but VP managed to shut that final push down and close out a victory to tie up the series at 1-1. Game 3 ended up being an entirely one sided match for VP, as the CIS squad put together another dominant performance against PSG.LGD. The team’s core trio of Sven, Tinker, and Night Stalker managed to out fight and out farm the Chinese squad throughout the stages of the match and build up a net worth lead that PSG.LGD found itself unable to overcome. With the team’s cores combining for a stat line of 29-7-59 and RodjER’s Skywrath Mage (14-4-14) putting together an impressive contribution as well, VP knocked the Chinese squad out of the Supermajor and secured itself a place in the Grand Finals of the event.

VP’s opponent in that Grand Finals series would be defending TI Champion Team Liquid, as the CIS squad looked to lay claim to another Major Championship. Game 1 of the series saw VP pick up a core trio of Juggernaut, Invoker, and Beastmaster alongside supports of Sand King and Bane. That lineup met with some success in the early stages of the match, but Team Liquid was quickly able to assert control in the mid and late-game stages of the game. The team’s cores combined for a stat line of 23-16-33 and managed to make a small surge in the late-game that ultimately proved ineffective at putting the team back in control, as Team Liquid claimed a win to open the series. Game 2 saw VP go back to an aggressive strategy led by cores of Bloodseeker, Faceless Void, and Beastmaster. That aggressive strategy paid off for the team from the very beginning of the match, as VP was able to establish near complete control over the pace of the game and build up a sizable net worth lead. Behind strong showing from both Ramzes666 on Faceless Void (11-3-10) and No[o]ne’s Bloodseeker (11-1-18), VP was able to sweep past Team Liquid’s final defenses to claim a victory and tie up the series at 1-1. The roles were reversed for the 2 teams in Game 3 of the series, as Team Liquid was the team in control for the entirety of the match. VP’s core trio of Morphling, Kunkka, and Pangolier were able to secure some farm, but could not build themselves up enough to mount an effective comeback against Team Liquid. Although Ramzess666 put together a valianet effort on Morphling (12-4-4), VP’s final attempts to fight Team Liquid fell flat as the European squad claimed a 2-1 lead in the series. Game 4 ended up being a complete stomp for the CIS squad, as VP came out with a core trio of Slark, Death Prophet, and Pangolier alongside supports of Lion and Chen. That lineup put together an incredible level of aggression in the early stages of the match and quickly put Team Liquid on the defensive. The European squad was held to just 5 kills in the match, as VP seized control of the match behind a strong showing from Ramzes666 on Slark (12-0-7) and never looked back to claim its second win of the series and tie up the score at 2-2. Game 5 saw the CIS squad pin its hopes on a Medusa pick, combining the hero with fellow cores of Kunkka and Tidehunter. That lineup got off to a weak start and ended up trailing in terms of net worth for the majority of the match. The team did manage to make a small surge in the late-game stage thanks to a valiant effort from Ramzes666 on Medusa (9-6-6), but that surge was ultimately put down by Team Liquid to hand the team a 2-3 loss and a 2nd place finish at the Supermajor.

VP entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as the leading team in the Pro Circuit standings and one of the most accomplished and formidable squads in the Dota 2 world. The team had already guaranteed itself a place at TI8, and was simply looking for a chance to further test itself on the Pro Circuit stage in preparation for that run in Vancouver. Coming into the event, VP was projected to finish in the Top 4 range, a prediction that the squad was more than able to live up to with its 2nd place position in the event standings. The team looked just as confident and dominant as we’ve come to expect at this point in the season. VP breezed through its 2 Group Stage series while only dropping a single game against TNC Pro Team, and its level of play only increased once it reached the Main Event. VP claimed wins against Newbee, OpTic Gaming, and Team Secret while it split its 2 series against PSG.LGD and narrowly lost its final series against Team Liquid. At this point in the season, excellence and success on the Pro Circuit stage are essentially expected from VP, and the team did not disappoint in Shanghai. It’s strong performance at the Supermajor reminds the Dota 2 world just why the team sits at the top of the Pro Circuit standings and is considered by many to be the strongest team in the world. With the Pro Circuit season now at an end, VP will finally have a chance to rest and prepare itself for TI8, with the squad having a period of about 2 months before the festivities in Vancouver are set to begin. So long as the CIS squad avoids and significant internal conflicts or somehow suffers a huge drop off in terms of its level of play, VP will enter TI8 as one of, if not the, favorite to claim the Aegis of Champions for the first time in the history of the organization.

Team Liquid600px-Team_liquid_logo_2017

Place: 1st

Winnings: $555,000 (Total) & 1125 Qualifying Points (Per Player)

Team Liquid entered the China Dota 2 Major as one of the strongest and most successful teams on the Pro Circuit. That success had earned the European squad a 2nd place position in the Pro Circuit standings and a direct invite to TI8 later this summer. With that goal already achieved, the team came to Shanghai looking to do something that it had been unable to all season long: win a Major. The team’s long list of Top 4 finishes on the Pro Circuit stage did not include a Major Championship, but the defending TI Champion was hoping to change that with one last strong performance in the final Pro Circuit event of the season.

Team Liquid began its time in Shanghai with a match up against CIS squad Team Spirit in the Opening Matches of Group A. Game 1 saw the European squad control the pace for the majority of the match behind a core trio of Templar Assassin, Death Prophet, and Beastmaster. Despite a solid performance from MATUMBAMAN on Death Prophet (9-5-5), Team Liquid was unable to hold that lead through the late game as Team Spirit mounted an impressive comeback to seize control of the match and claim a surprising victory over Team Liquid to open the series. Game 2 saw the European powerhouse strike back, as the team put together a dominant performance and managed to bot out fight and out farm its opponent. The team’s core trio of Ember Spirit, Death Prophet, and Dark Seer combined for a stat line of 14-5-27 in just over 18 minutes of game time as Team Liquid simply ran over Team Spirit and forced a quick “gg” call to tie up the series. Game 3 did not begin in the best fashion for Team Liquid, as the team’s lineup managed to remain even early but quickly fell behind by a significant margin in the mid and late-game stages. However, the team was able to turn things around late behind an impressive showing from Miracle- on Phantom Assassin (19-6-11) that spearheaded the comeback and allowed VP to close out the match to claim a 2-1 series victory.

Following its victory over Team Spirit, Team Liquid found itself facing Chinese squad Newbee in the Winners’ Match of Group A. The team was able to build up a small advantage in the early stages of Game 1, but lost that lead in the late-game stage due to a strong surge from its opponent. Behind impressive showings from Miracle- on Shadow Fiend (18-6-12, 37.3k net worth) and MATUMBAMAN’s Monkey King (15-4-18, 26.2k net worth), the team managed to seize back control from Newbee and close out the match with a victory to open the series. After its comeback performance In Game 1, Team Liquid was able to carry its momentum over into Game 2 with a dominant performance against Newbee. The team’s core trio of Visage, Tinker, and Beastmaster was able to exert a significant amount of pressure on Newbee’ lineup and quickly out paced the Chinese squad. Facing a deficit of over 12k net worth at the 31 minute mark and down 2 lanes of barracks, Newbee threw in the towel to give Team Liquid a 2-0 series win and a place at the top of the group standings.

As the top team in the Group A standings, Team Liquid began the Main Event of the Supermajor in the Upper Bracket where it faced Southeast Asian squad TNC Pro Team in Round 1. The European squad dominated Game 1 of the series behind a core trio of Visage, Templar Assassin, and Dark Seer. That lineup was aggressive from the earliest stages of the game, finding multiple team fight wins and pick offs that helped it build up a sizable net worth lead that it held throughout the rest of the match. With the team’s cores combining for a stat line of 36-11-41, Team Liquid closed out an incredibly one sided match to claim a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 proved to be a repeat performance for Team Liquid, as the European squad once again dominated the match and simply ran over its opponent. TNC Pro Team was held to just 6 kills in the match, and Team Liquid held the net worth lead for the entirety of the match en route to a blowout win to secure a sweep of the series.

The team’s quick victory over TNC Pro Team advanced it to Round 2 of the Upper Bracket, where the team faced Team Secret with a guaranteed Top 4 finish on the line. Game 1 ended up going almost entirely in Team Liquid’s favor, as the European squad’s core trio of Death Prophet, Lina, and Mirana provided it with more than enough damage to overwhelm its opponent. The team had complete control of the match from the 15 minute mark one, and MinD_ContRoL’s Mirana (14-3-7) led the way for the team as it claimed a win to open the series. Game 2 saw the team look for a combination of damage and team fight control as it put together cores of Visage, Tinker, and Beastmaster with a support duo of Warlock and Tusk. That lineup got off to a slow start in the match, as Team Secret was able to establish a favorable pace and build up a small net worth advantage over the course of the first half of the game. However, the second half of the game went decisively in Team Liquid’s favor, as the team out fought its opponent and ended the game with a 12-3 run in terms of kills over the final 8 minutes of play to secure a 2-0 sweep of the series for Team Liquid.

The team’s victory over its regional rival put Team Liquid just 1 more series win away from a place in the Grand Finals of the Supermajor as it faced off against PSG.LGD in the Upper Bracket Final. Game 1 saw the European squad put together an aggressive lineup, as it combined cores of Lifestealer, Tinker, and Doom alongside supports of Chen and Windranger. That lineup was able to exert a considerable amount of pressure on its opponent that allowed Team Liquid to build up a net worth lead that it held for nearly the entirety of the match. Behind a strong performance from MATUMBAMAN on Lifestealer (15-2-11), Team Liquid dominated team fights across the mid and late-game stages to shut down PSG.LGD and claim the series opener. Game 2 played out in almost the exact same manner for Team Liquid, as the European squad put dominant showing against its Chinese opponent. The team’s core trio of Tinker, Visage, and Leshrac provided the team with a high level of both damage and control that allowed it to out fight and out pace PSG.LGD throughout the match. With that core trio combining for a stat line of 36-16-58, Team Liquid held near complete control over team fights in the mid and late-game stages to close out the series with a 2-0 series sweep that advanced it to the Grand Finals.

The Grand Finals of the Supermajor saw the European squad face off against CIS powerhouse and Pro Circuit leader Virtus.pro for the title of Major Champion. Game 1 saw the team pick up a core trio of Templar Assassin, Visage, and Dark Seer alongside supports of Jakiro and Naga Siren. That lineup got off to a slow start, but quickly hit its stride in the mid and late-game stages to seize control of the match and put itself in a position to close out the match. With the team’s core trio putting together a combined stat line of 28-13-45, Team Liquid managed to secure itself a win to open the series. Game 2 of the series proved to be a less than ideal scenario for Team Liquid, as the team found itself quickly falling behind in the match. Its lineup was unable to secure much farm and couldn’t put together a strong enough team fight presence to overcome a sizable net worth deficit as VP dominated the mid and late-game stages and tied up the series at 1-1. Game 3 saw those roles reversed, as Team Liquid was the squad to put together an aggressive lineup and attack its opponent early. With a combination of Drow Ranger, Mirana, and Beastmaster cores and supports of Warlock and Windranger, Team Liquid pushed the tempo of the match and forced VP into engagements that it ended up consistently losing to Team Liquid. Those repeated team fight wins combined with solid farming from its cores allowed Team Liquid to build up a massive net worth lead that proved too much for VP to overcome. With its core trio putting together a combined stat line of 22-13-41, Team Liquid claimed a victory in just over 28 minutes of play to take a 2-1 lead in the series. The team’s considerable momentum from its Game 3 victory did not carry over into Game 4 though, as Team Liquid was completely blown out in the match. Team Liquid was only able to earn 5 kills in the match as its lineup was put under considerable pressure and heavily limited in terms of its opportunities to secure farm for its cores. Down by nearly 19k net worth at the 23 minute mark, Team Liquid opted to concede defeat just short of the 24 minute mark as the series was tied up at 2-2 to force a decisive fifth game. Game 5 proved to be another dominant performance from Team Liquid, as the European squad picked up a core trio of Visage, Templar Assassin, and Beastmaster in an attempt to close out the series. That lineup got off to a strong start and built up a small net worth lead in the early and mid-game stages of the match. VP was able to make a small surge in the late-game, but Team Liquid managed to shut down that push thanks to strong performances from MATUMBAMAN’s Visage (9-3-12) and Miracle-‘s Templar Assassin (8-4-13). With that final threat handled, Team Liquid was able to close out its victory to claim a 3-2 win in the series and its first Major Championship of the season.

Team Liquid entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as one of the strongest and most consistent squads on the Pro Circuit, as well as one of the most accomplished and formidable squads in the Dota 2 world. The team came to Shanghai already gauranteed a place in Vancouver, and was looking to take advantage of its last opportunity to test itself on the Pro Circuit stage in preparation for its run at TI8. Coming into the event, Team Liquid was projected to finish in the Top 4 range, and the European squad proved more than capable of living up to that prediction with its 1st place position at the event. The team looked confident in its matches at the Supermajor, beginning in the Group Stage where it claimed wins over both Team Spirit and Newbee while dropping just a single match. Once the team reached the Main Event of the Supermajor, it’s level of play took another step forward as it made an undefeated run through the Upper Bracket to reach the Grand Finals. That run included 2-0 victories over TNC Pro Team, Team Secret, and PSG.LGD culminating in a 3-2 win over Virtus.pro in the Grand Finals. With its victory in Shanghai, Team Liquid has claimed its first Major Championship of the season to add to an incredibly long list of other achievements on the Pro Circuit. The team’s impressive performance in Shanghai was exactly the sort of result that we’ve come to expect from the European powerhouse, and Team Liquid really didn’t present many weaknesses in its  final Pro Circuit appearance of the season. With the season now officially at an end, Team Liquid will have time to potentially rest and prepare itself for what will be a grueling run in Vancouver in about 2 months time. If the team can enter TI8 anywhere near the level that it has shown on the Pro Circuit so far this season, then Team Liquid will be one of the favorites to emerge victorious in Vancouver and become the first team in the history of Dota 2 to claim multiple TI Championships.

Team Secret Secret_logo

Place: 4th

Winnings: $120,000 (Total) & 112 Qualifying Points (Per Player)

Team Secret entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team that had little left to fear on the Pro Circuit. The European squad had already secured itself a direct invite to TI8 and thus was almost completely removed from the uncertainty and anxiety that some of the other participants in the field were feeling heading into the event. Even with its place in Vancouver secured, the team made its way to Shanghai looking to put together its best possible performance on the Pro Circuit stage, as the Supermajor potentially represented the team’s last opportunity to play against top international teams in a LAN environment prior to the start of TI8.

Team Secret began its run at the Supermajor with a series against Swedish squad The Final Tribe in the Opening Matches of Group C. Game 1 of the series proved to be a complete stomp for Team Secret, as the team simply ran over its opponent. Led by Fata’s Necrophos (13-2-12), Team Secret held The Final Tribe to just 5 kill in the match as it dominated the game and claimed a quick victory in just over 28 minutes of game time. Game 2 saw the roles reversed for the 2 teams, as The Final Tribe managed to put together a more aggressive style that quickly forced Team Secret into a defensive posture. The European squad’s cores were never able to gain much traction in the match, and Team Secret trailed from start to finish in terms of net worth as The Final Tribe fought back to tie up the series at 1-1. After its tough Game 2 loss, Team Secret opted to play aggressively in Game 3 in an attempt to overwhelm The Final Tribe as it had in the opening match of the series. The team drafted a core trio of Clinkz, Skywrath Mage, and Brewmaster, and those heroes helped the team establish a favorable pace and quickly pull away from its opponent in terms of net worth. The Final Tribe was held to just 8 kills in the game, as Team Secret held absolute control over team fights and kept the Swedish squad in a defensive position throughout the match. With its core trio combining for a stat line of 25-7-29, Team Secret was able to close out a win to take the series 2-1.

The team’s victory over The Final Tribe advanced it to the Winners’ Match of its group, where it faced off against North American squad VGJ.Storm for the top position in the Group C standings. Game 1 saw the European squad pick up a core trio of Luna, Gyrocopter, and Axe, but that lineup found itself playing from behind following the laning phase. VGJ.Storm’s aggressive playstyle forced both teams into early engagements that largely went in the favor of the North AMerican squad as it built up a significant net worth lead. As the match progressed into the late-game stage, Team Secret was able to begin chipping away at that net worth deficit. With helps from a crucial performance from MidOne’s Gyrocopter (15-3-19, 33.7k net worth), Team Secret was able to complete the comeback and seize control of the match in the late-game with a series of decisive team fight victories. With is lead and momentum shattered, VGJ.Storm opted to concede defeat to give Team Secret a 1-0 lead. The European squad looked to out fight and out scale its opponent in Game 2 with a core trio of Arc Warden, Monkey King, and Doom. From the very beginning of the match, it was apparent that the team’s strategy was paying off, as Team Secret earned a high number of kills and pick offs and built up a sizable net worth lead heading into the mid and late-game stages. The team’s core trio combined for a stat line of 28-16-60, while YapzOr’s Skywrath Mage (12-2-19) put in an impressive contribution as well en route to a completely one sided victory that locked in a 2-0 sweep of the series for the European squad.

With its back to back series victories in the Group Stage, Team Secret entered the Main Event of the Supermajor in the Upper Bracket where it faced off against North American squad OpTic Gaming. Game 1 did not go well for the European squad, as the team’s core trio of Phantom Lancer, Dragon Knight, and Underlord struggled significantly throughout the mid and late-game stages of the match. The team’s numerous early casualties put it far enough behind that Team Secret simply couldn’t catch up to its opponents without a huge series of team fight wins. Unfortunately for Team Secret, those team fight wins did not materialize, and the European squad eventually saw its defenses broken and swept away by OpTic Gaming as the North American squad claimed a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 saw Team Secret reverse the roles from the previous match, as the European squad was the one to establish early control over the match. The team’s core trio of Bloodseeker, Arc Warden, and Beastmaster gave it a level of mobility and control that OpTic Gaming was not fully ready to handle as its own aggressive maneuvers ended up falling short. Behind impressive showings from Ace’s Arc Warden (9-4-11) and MidOne’s Bloodseeker (8-5-14), Team Secret established control over the pace of the game and never looked back as it held the net worth lead throughout the entirety of the match. With Mega Creeps secured and a lead of nearly 30k net worth at the 47 minute mark, Team Secret was able to force a “gg” call from its opponent to force a third match in the series. Game 3 saw Team Secret look to overwhelm its opponent with early damage and control as it picked up a core trio of Drow Ranger, Gyrocopter, and Beastmaster. Those heroes did help Team Secret build up a small lead in the early stages of the match, but OpTic Gaming was able to briefly claim the lead for itself in the mid-game stage thanks to a series of pick offs. However, the late-game belonged to Team Secret, as the European squad put together multiple team fight wins and pick offs to take decisive control of the match and shut OpTic Gaming down to claim a 2-1 win and advance to the next round.

Round 2 of the Upper Bracket brought Team Secret face to face with another European squad in the form of defending TI Champion Team Liquid. The team went for a somewhat greedy lineup in Game 1, picking up a core trio of Arc Warden, Lone Druid, and Brewmaster alongside supports of Monkey King and Leshrac. That lineup proved ineffective for the European squad, as Team Liquid was able to exert a significant level of pressure on its opponent that kept Team Secret in a defensive position for the Majority of the game. Without the ability to control the course of team fights, Team Secret could not find many opportunities for its cores to get back into the game as the team fell further and further behind in terms of net worth. By the 30 minute mark, Team Secret was trailing by a deficit of over 20k net worth and had lost 2 lanes of barracks, prompting the team to concede defeat in the series opener. In Game 2, things looked to be improving for Team Secret as the squad got off to an early lead and established a favorable pace for itself heading into the mid-game stage. However, the team’s lead did not last much longer, as Team Liquid’s Tinker pick came online and helped the team swing momentum in its own favor. Despite solid showings from Ace’s Mirana (5-2-2) and Fata’s Axe (6-5-3), Team Secret could not mount a comeback effort and was out killed by a score of 2-10 over the final 4 minutes of play to lose the match and the series.

That loss dropped Team Secret down into the Lower Bracket of the Main Event, where it went up against Chinese squad Vici Gaming with a Top 4 spot on the line. The European squad absolutely dominated Game 1 of the series as it held Vici Gaming to just 2 kills in the match. With the team’s core trio combining for a stat line of 14-2-33, Team Secret held the lead in terms of net worth throughout the entirety of the game and claimed a one sided victory in just over 32 minutes of play. Game 2 saw Team Secret struggle over the course of the first half of the match, as Vici Gaming’s lineup managed to snowball early and build up a sizable net worth lead in the early and mid-game stages. However, the European squad’s damage output and control allowed it to turn the tides in the late-game with a series of strong team fight performances that wiped out Vici Gaming’s lead and shattered the team’s momentum. The team’s core trio of Lycan, Ember Spirit, and Pugna combined for a stat line of 26-19-64, and Puppey’s Witch Doctor (11-8-20) put in an impressive performance as well as the European squad secured a 2-0 sweep over its Chinese opponent and locked in a Top 4 finish.

With its position in the Top 4 locked in, Team Secret advanced to Round 5 of the Lower Bracket were it played CIS squad Virtus.pro for a shot a reaching the Lower Bracket Final. Game 1 proved to be a fairly one sided affair, as Team Secret’s high damage cores of Bloodseeker, Mirana, and Ember Spirit fell short against VP’s lineup. The CIS squad dominated team fights throughout the mid and late-game stages, building its lead further and further while giving Team Secret no opportunities to spark a comeback. Down by over 35k net worth at the 46 minute mark, Team Secret called “gg” and fell behind 0-1 in the series. Game 2 ended up being a much more tightly contested match, as the 2 teams remained even with each other over the course of the first hour of game time. However, Team Secret eventually managed to pull away in the late-game thanks to a series of impressive team fight wins led by Fata’s Mirana (18-6-30, 43.3k net worth) and MidOne’s Ember Spirit (19-9-31, 44.2k net worth). That surge from the European squad proved too decisive a swing for VP for overcome, and Team Secret secured the win to tie up the series 1-1. The European squad was unable to carry that momentum over into Game 3 though, as VP once again played an aggressive style that Team Secret could not match with its lineup. None of the Team Secret cores managed to get themselves into a position to lead an effective comeback effort, as the European squad trailed in terms of net worth for the entirety of the match to fall 1-2 in the series and bring its run at the Supermajor to an end with a 4th place finish.

Team Secret entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team that had already secured itself a direct invite to TI8 and therefore wasn’t in any particular need of a strong showing at the final event of the Pro Circuit season. That being said, the team still had an opportunity to test itself against the world’s best teams in preparation for its TI8 run. Coming into the event, the European squad was projected to finish in the Top 4 range, and Team Secret did not disappoint in that regard as it claimed a 4th place position in Shanghai. The team swept through its Group Stage matches in impressive fashion, dropping just a single match in its opening series against The Final Tribe while claiming the top spot in the Group C standings. The team maintained its high level of play in the Main Event as well, taking series against OpTic Gaming and Vici Gaming while posting a 1-4 record in its series against Team Liquid and VP. The fact that the team wasn’t able to get past 2 of the teams ranked above it in the Pro Circuit standings will come as a bit of a disappointment for Team Secret. However, the squad still managed to earn itself a Top 4 finish on the Pro Circuit stage and closed out its season on a high note. The fact that we’ve known that Team Secret will be heading to Vancouver for some time now makes it a bit more difficult to find many new angles to look at it from. Just about everyone knows what Team Secret is capable of on the international level, and this final Pro Circuit event in Shanghai serves as another testament to the team’s strength. Team Secret will have a couple of months now to prepare itself for a run at TI8, but if it can keep itself playing at that level consistently then the European squad will be one of the most formidable squads in the field in Vancouver.

 

NewbeeNewbee_logo

Place: 7th-8th

Winnings: $60,000

Newbee entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor looking to lock down a Top 8 position in the Pro Circuit standings and earn itself a direct invite to TI8 this summer. The team didn’t necessarily need a Top 4 finish in order to hold its position, but finding success in Shanghai at the final event of the season was certainly an outcome that would make the team’s goal that much easier to attain. The Chinese squad had been dealing with some inconsistent play on the Pro Circuit stage of late, and the chance to put together a solid run on home soil to close out the season was a powerful incentive for the team in addition to the potential to secure itself a place in Vancouver.

Newbee got things started in Group A with a series against CIS squad Na’Vi in the Opening Matches of the group. The Chinese squad picked up a core trio of Luna, Lina, and Omniknight along with a support duo of Clockwerk and Bane in Game 1. That lineup was able to set an aggressive pace early in the match, as Newbee secured itself a few pick offs in the laning phase to quickly establish control over the game. The early aggression kept Na’Vi on the defensive, and Newbee was able to continuously push its lead further and further ahead thanks in large part to a solid performance from Moogy’s Luna (8-2-6) With a lead of over 17k net worth at the 29 minute mark, Newbee was able to force a “gg” call from its opponent to claim a win in the first match of the series. Game 2 saw Newbee look to combine damage out put with tanky an sustainable heroes, combining cores of Razor, Dragon Knight, and Omniknight with supports of Jakiro and Naga Siren. That lineup was able to secure a small lead in the early stages of the match, but Na’Vi manged to come back with a surge in the late-game stage that turned the tides of the match in its favor. However, the Chinese squad weathered the storm from Na’Vi’s lineup and managed to retake control of the match behind impressive showings from Moogy’s Razor (12-5-11) and Sccc’s Dragon Knight (13-3-14). The team out killed its opponent by a score of 16-1 over the final 13 minutes of play as it secured another victory and a 2-0 sweep of the series.

After its initial victory, Newbee found itself in the Winners’ Match of Group A as it faced off against TI7 Champion Team Liquid with the top spot in the group standings on the line. Game 1 saw the Chinese squad pick up high damage cores of Dragon Knight, Lina, and Doom alongside supports of Clockwerk and Bane. Early on, that lineup ran into some difficulties, as Team Liquid was able to secure early kills build up a small net worth advantage for itself. However, the Chinese squad’s high damage output finally came through for it in the late-game, as Newbee was able to out scale its opponent and claim a few team fight wins to build up a net worth lead of its own. Behind impressive performances from Sccc’s Lina (13-10-15, 30k net worth) and Moogy’s Dragon Knight (9-3-17, 33.4k net worth), Newbee pulled ahead by over 16k net worth and looked to be in a commanding position in the match. However, Team Liquid would not be denied, and the European squad pulled off a huge team fight win to wipe out Newbee’s lead and complete a comeback victory to hand the Chinese team a 0-1 deficit in the series. Game 2 proved to be a bit less competitive than its predecessor, as Newbee found itself playing from behind from the outset of the match. The team’s core trio of Phantom Lancer, Dragon Knight, and Doom failed to find much traction and couldn’t put its considerable damage together in a successful team fight. Despite a solid effort from Sccc on Dragon Knight (5-2-4), Newbee trailed in terms of net worth for nearly the entirety of the match, and were down by over 12k at the 31 minute mark before conceding defeat to fall 0-2 in the series.

The team’s loss to the defending TI Champion necessitated one more series in Group A, as Newbee faced CIS squad Team Spirit in the Decider Match of the group. Game 1 ended up being a fairly even match, as the 2 squads traded the net worth lead back and forth throughout the first 30 minutes of the game. Newbee’s core trio of Luna, Queen of Pain, and Centaur Warrunner helped the team finally pull ahead in the late-game behind a solid team fight victory, but its lead would not last long. Team Spirit made a late-game surge spearheaded by a 7-2 run in terms of kills over the final 5 minutes of the match to claim a victory to open the series. Game 2 saw Newbee pick up a high level of control and team fight damage as it combined cores of Gyrocopter, Ember Spirit, and Doom with supports of Warlock and Lion. That lineup had some early difficulties against Team Spirit, as the CIS squad was able to play aggressively and force engagements that resulted in significant casualties for both sides. Team Spirit was able to take the better of those fights though, for the most part, and build up a small net worth for itself heading into the late-game stage. However, Newbee’s team fight power came online in the second half of the match, and the Chinese squad was able to dominate engagements through the rest of the game. With its core trio posting a combined stat line of 38-16-63, Newbee was able to out kill its opponent by a score of 19-4 over the last 18 minutes of play to secure a win and even the series at 1-1. After its early struggles in Game 2, Newbee entered Game 3 looking to be the aggressive squad behind a core trio of Bloodseeker, Gyrocopter, and Doom. The team’s aggressive style quickly paid off for it, as the team pushed the pace of the match and built up a sizable net worth advantage in the mid-game stage. Behind strong showings from Moogy’s Bloodseeker (18-4-10) and Sccc’s Gyrocopter (12-3-19), Newbee survived a late-game surge from Team Spirit and claimed a series of team fight victories to take the series 2-1 and earn a position as a high seed in Group A.

The team’s status as a high seed meant that it began the Main Event of the Supermajor in the Upper Bracket, but the team needed to overcome Pro Circuit leader Virtus.pro if it wanted to remain there. Game 1 did not go well for the Chinese squad, as its core trio of Faceless Void, Dragon Knight, and Sand King were all heavily pressured from the very beginning of the match. VP’s early pressure stifled Newbee’s lineup and prevented the team from scaling in the way that it needed in order to stay competitive within the match, and VP was able to quickly pull away and establish full control over the game. Despite its best efforts, there was little Newbee could do to turn the tides of the match, and the Chinese squad was forced to concede defeat just past the 25 minute mark to fall into a 0-1 deficit. Newbee would see its Game 1 role reversed in Game 2 of the series, as the Chinese team was the one to put together an aggressive style of play. A combination of Lifestealer, Lina, and Slardar cores and a support duo of Jakiro and Naga Siren allowed the team to attack VP early and often while suffering mostly insignificant losses in exchange. The pressure allowed Newbee to build up a solid net worth advantage in the mid and late-game stages, and kept VP in a defensive posture that gave the CIS squad little to no opportunities to mount a comeback effort. With its core trio combining for a stat line of 29-7-28, Newbee was able to force a “gg” call from its opponent and take the series into a decisive third match. Unfortunately for Newbee, Game 3 would not go in its favor, as the Chinese squad was rolled over by its opponent. The team’s core trio was pressured early and given almost no opportunities to farm safely as VP simply ran over them in a series of early team fights. Newbee was held to just 10 kills in the match, with more than half of those coming from Moogy’s Gyrocopter (6-4-2) in what proved to be an ultimately futile attempt to keep his team in the game. Trailing by over 22k net worth at the 27 minute, Newbee quickly conceded defeat to fall 1-2 to VP and drop out of the Upper Bracket.

That loss put Newbee into Round 2 of the Lower Bracket of the Main Event, where it faced off against a regional rival in the form of VGJ.Thunder. Game 1 of the series proved to be an endurance test for the 2 squads, as the match lasted over 62 minutes of game time. Newbee spent nearly all of those 62 minutes playing from behind, as the Chinese squad struggled to gain momentum and overcome VGJ.Thunder’s considerable control and damage output. After trailing for a period of over 25 minutes in the late-game stage, Newbee finally managed to put together a comeback effort led by Sccc’s Zeus (19-4-24, 37k net worth) and Mooh’ys Slark (16-4-13, 33.8k net worth) that secured multiple team fight victories and gave Newbee a hard fought 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 was practically a rerun of its predecessor, as Newbee got off to a strong start but once again fell behind in the late-game stage as VGJ.Thunder out scaled its opponent through farming and repeated pick offs. Just as it had in the previous match, though, Newbee managed to put together a strong surge late that turned the tides of the match in its favor. Led by Moogy’s Weaver (17-3-17, 33.8k net worth), Newbee out killed VGJ.Thunder by a score of 9-2 over the final 7 minutes of play to knock out its regional rival and advance to the next round with a 2-0 sweep of the series.

Round 3 of the Lower Bracket kept the theme of an all-Chinese match up, as Newbee’s next opponent was another regional rival in Vici Gaming. The series did not get off to a strong start for Newbee, as the team was completely out played in Game 1. The Chinese squad earned just 12 kills in the match, and its core heroes were unable to secure enough farm to keep pace with Vici Gaming’s lineup as Newbee was playing from behind for the entirety of the match. With the team unable to put together any sort of cohesive team fight to shift momentum in its favor, the team fell behind by a massive margin in terms of net worth. Facing a deficit of over 27k net worth at the 41 minute mark, Newbee conceded defeat to take a loss in the opening match of the series. In game 2, Newbee looked to be the more aggressive team, as it picked up a core trio of Bloodseeker, Leshrac, and Beastmaster. That lineup allowed Newbee to build up a sizable advantage in the early and mid-game stages, but the team couldn’t hold that lead as the match progressed into the late-game. Despite a strong performance from Sccc on Bloodseeker (11-4-7), Newbee could not keep Vici Gaming contained in the second half of the match as its opponent seized control of the match to hand Newbee a 0-2 defeat. That final loss brought Newbee’s run at the Supermajor to an end with a finish in the 7th-8th place position in the standings.

Newbee entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team looking to secure its place among the Top 8 in the Pro Circuit standings an lock in a direct invite to TI8. The team didn’t need a Top 4 finish in Shanghai to secure a Top 8 spot, but more Qualifying Points in the final event of the season certainly had the potential to help the team secure that position. Coming into the event, the Chinese squad was not expected to come very close to a Top 4 finish, as Newbee was projected to fall somewhere in the 9th-12th place range. However, the team was able to put together a strong run than expected on the Pro Circuit stage with a push into the top half of the event standings in the 7th-8th place position. The team looked solid in its Group Stage matches, taking wins over CIS squads Na’Vi and Team Spirit but losing its series against Team Liquid. While that performance did earn the team a high seed in the Group A standings, wins over Na’Vi and Team Spirit are not overly impressive for a team ranked in the Top 8 on the Pro Circuit. The good news for Newbee is that the team managed to improve its level of play once it reached the Main Event of the Supermajor. The team claimed one match against VP in a 1-2 loss to the Pro Circuit leader, but followed up that loss with a strong 2-0 win over fellow Top 8 ranked team and regional rival VGJ.Thunder in Round 2 of the Lower Bracket. Unfortunately, the team’s momentum ended there as it lost 0-2 to Vici Gaming in the next round, but Newbee had by that point shown us flashes of the strong level of play that we had seen from it in the earlier stages of the season. While Newbee ended up falling short of a Top 4 finish in Shanghai, the team still leaves the Supermajor with its ultimate goal achieved. With the final event of the season now at an end, Newbee remains in the Top 8 in the Pro Circuit standings and has earned itself a direct invite to Vancouver for TI8 this summer. The team is still struggling with some inconsistencies both on the international level and within its home region, but for now Newbee can rest easy knowing that it doesn’t have to deal with any regional qualifier scenarios. With a couple of months before the team will take the field at TI8, Newbee will have ample time to prepares and adjust in order to take its best shot at earning the organization’s second Aegis of Champions at TI8 this summer.

 

Vici Gaming VICI_Gaming

Place: 5th-6th

Winnings: $90,000

Vici Gaming entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team looking to secure itself a position in the Top 8 of the Pro Circuit standings and a direct invite to TI8. As the 6th ranked squad in the standings, the Chinese team sat in a fairly strong position as it made its way to Shanghai. The number of scenarios in which Vici Gaming dropped out of the Top 8 were incredibly low, and a Top 4 finish for the team at the Supermajor would make most of those scenarios impossible. With that in mind, the team came into the event looking to put together a solid showing on home soil to secure its place among the elite teams of the Pro Circuit. While the team had had something of a rough outing in its previous Pro Circuit appearance, all Vici Gaming needed was one last solid showing in the final Pro Circuit event of the season to secure itself a place in the field in Vancouver this summer.

Vici Gaming opened its run in Shanghai with a series against the new roster of Evil Geniuses in the Opening Matches of Group B. Game 1 proved to be a flat out dominant performance from Vici Gaming, as the Chinese squad came out of gates on fire and quickly overwhelmed its opponent. EG’s lineup had no answers to Vici Gaming’s aggressive play, and the team’s strong start developed into a sizable net worth advantage that it held throughout the entirety of the match. Behind a nearly unbelievable performance from Paparazzi’s Gyrocopter (26-3-13), VIci Gaming swept past EG’s final defenses to claim the opening match of the series. Game 2 played out in pretty much the same manner for Vici Gaming, as the Chinese squad once again pushed the tempo and established control of the match as quickly as possible. Behind impressive games from Paparazi’s Razor (19-4-14) and Ori’s Queen of Pain (16-4-19), Vici Gaming absolutely dominated team fights and simply overpowered its opponent throughout hte match. With a net worth lead of nearly 36k at the 47 mark and all of its opponent’s barracks taken, Vici Gaming was able to finally force a “gg” call from EG to claim a 2-0 sweep of the series.

Vici Gaming’s victory over EG advanced it to the Winners’ Match of the group, where it faced off against Pro Circuit leader Virtus.pro for the top spot in the Group B standings. The Chinese squad looked for strong scaling and high damage output in Game 1 behind a core trio of Razor, Shadow Fiend, and Legion Commander, but that lineup had difficulties dealing with VP’s aggressive style of play. The CIS squad was able to build up a sizable net worth lead that it maintained throughout the rest of the match despite continued efforts from Vici Gaming to shift momentum in its own favor. In the end though, the team wasn’t quite able to put together a team fight win as VP swept past Vici Gaming’s defenses to hand the Chinese team a loss to start the series. Game 2 proved to be just as much of a struggle for Vici Gaming, as the squad once again fell prey to early aggression from its CIS opponent. VP struck fast and hard, and Vici Gaming quickly found itself trailing by a massive margin in terms of net worth as its opponent dominated team fights throughout the match. With its base in ruins and facing a deficit of nearly 29k net worth at the 33 minute mark, Vici Gaming threw in the towel to suffer a 0-2 defeat in the series.

Vici Gaming may have lost its opportunity to claim the top spot in the Group B standings, but the Chinese squad still had a chance to claim a high seed and a spot in the Upper Bracket if it could defeat TNC Pro Team in the Decider Match of the group. Game 1 of the series saw Vici Gaming pick up a core trio of Dragon Knight, Death Prophet, and Lycan, but that lineup fell flat from the earliest stages of the match. The Chinese squad earned just 12 kills overall, and trailed its opponent in terms of net worth for the entirety of the match. TNC Pro Team’s aggressive Io strategy allowed it to exert near constant pressure on Vici Gaming’s lineup and severely limit the progression of its heroes. Down by over 21k net worth at the 32 minute mark, the Chinese squad opted to concede defeat and take a 0-1 deficit in the series. Unfortunately for Vici Gaming, things did not improve for the squad in Game 2, as TNC Pro Team once again came out with an aggressive style that put the the Chinese squad on the defensive early. The team’s core trio of Phantom Lancer, Dragon Knight, and Batrider combined for just 10 kills in the match, and Vici Gaming as a whole earned just 11 kills in total in a completely one sided match that saw TNC Pro Team sitting in the driver’s seat for nearly the entirety of the game. The Chinese squad trailed by nearly 28k net worth before finally calling “gg” to suffer a 0-2 loss in the series and finish the Group Stage in the bottom half of the Group B standings.

Vici Gaming’s position in the lower half of the Group B standings placed it in the Lower Bracket of the Main Event, where it faced CIS squad Na’Vi in Round 1. Game 1 saw the Chinese squad draft cores of Monkey King, Death Prophet, and Lycan alongside supports of Zeus and Night Stalker. That lineup earned the team a small advantage in the early stages of the match, but Na’vi was able to turn things around in the mid and late-game stages to swing momentum in its favor. Behind impressive performances from both Paparazi’s Monkey King (13-2-12) and ELeVeN’s Lycan (12-7-13), Vici Gaming was able to put an end to Na’Vi’s run and reestablish control over the match with a series of team fight victories that secured it a win to open the series. Unforunately, the team was unable to carry its momentum over into Game 2 of the series, as Na’Vi was quick to strike back against the Chinese squad. As soon as the laning phase ended, the CIS squad was able to establish a favorable pace that put Vici Gaming on the defensive throughout the rest of the match. Despite solid effort from Paparazi on Mirana (12-7-9), the Chinese squad could not mount any sort of effective comeback as the team fell to even up the series 1-1. Early on in the match, Game 3 was looking a lot like a repeat of its predecessor, as Na’Vi once again got off to an early start and was able to control of pace of the game through the mid and into the late-game stage. Vici Gaming found itself trailing by as much as 10k net worth during that surge, but the Chinese squad was able to extend the match and work its way back into the game. Behind strong showings from Paparazi on Monkey King (10-3-17) and LaNm’s Skywrath Mage (10-4-19), Vici Gaming dominated a series of late-game team fights to wipe out Na’Vi’s lead and retake control of the match to secure itself a 2-1 win over its CIS opponent.

With that win, Vici Gaming advanced to Round 2 of the Lower Bracket for a match up against Southeast Asian squad Mineski. Game 1 proved to be an incredible competitive match, as the 2 squads traded control of the match back and forth for nearly 80 minutes of game time. Vici Gaming’s core trio of Bloodseeker, Kunkka, and Underlord combined for a stat line of 41-22-94, but the Chinese squad trailed significantly in the late-game and looked to be on the verge of losing the match. However, the team pulled off an incredible series of team fight wins to swing the momentum of the match at the last possible minute to pull off a near unbelievable comeback to claim the opening match of the series. Game 2 saw Vici Gaming get off to a slow start, as its core trio of Gyrocopter, Lina, and Beastmaster trailed early against Mineski’s lineup. However, Ori’s Lina (16-5-3) was able to spearhead a surge in the mid and late-game stages that gave the Chinese squad control of the match. Unfortunately, Mineski was able to come back in the late-game to shut down Vici Gaming and tie up the series 1-1. After losing its lead in Game 2, Vici Gaming came out in Game 3 looking to overwhelm its opponent with high damage cores of Shadow Fiend, Death Prophet, and Doom. Despite suffering some early casualties, Vici Gaming’s aggression allowed it to pull away and build up a considerable net worth lead in the mid and late-game stages. While Mineski had a decent amount of team fight power, Vici Gaming was able to keep the Southeast Asian squad contained and limited the effectiveness of its heroes in engagements. With the team’s core trio posting a combined stat line of 43-13-69, Vici Gaming was able to claim a win to secure a 2-1 victory in the series.

Round 3 of the Lower Bracket brought Vici Gaming face to face with a regional rival as it went up against Newbee next. Game 1 of the series proved to be a blow out win for Vici Gaming, as the Chinese squad was quick to establish control over the match and out played its opponent at every turn. The team’s core trio of Monkey King, Bloodseeker, and Doom combined for a stat line of 26-6-33, and led in terms of net worth for the entirety of the match before Newbee finally tapped out to give Vici Gaming a win a and a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 saw Vici Gaming pick up a core trio of Phantom Lancer, Storm Spirit, and Underlord, but those heroes did not begin the game in a particularly strong fashion as Newbee built up a modest lead through the first 20 minutes of play. Beyond that point though, everything went in Vici Gaming’s favor, as the Chinese squad put together a surge led by Paparazi’s Phantom Lancer (18-2-12) that allowed it to seize control of the match and dominate late-game fights to defeat Newbee and earn a 2-0 sweep of the series.

That win over its regional rival brought Vici Gaming just 1 more series away from claiming a Top 4 position at the Supermajor as it faced off against European squad Team Secret in Round 4 of the Lower Bracket. Game 1 proved to be an absolute disaster for the Chinese squad, as the team earned just 2 kills in the match and was completely run over by its opponent. Vici Gaming simply had no opportunities to make any sort of comeback effort as Team Secret dominated the match from start to finish and handed the Chinese squad a loss in just over 32 minutes. Vici Gaming opted for a more aggressive style in Game 2 of the series, spearheaded by a core trio of Invoker, Legion Commander, and Axe. Over the course of the first half of the match, the Chinese squad was able to exert a considerbale amount of control over the map and the pace of place as it built up a sizable net worth lead led by an impressive performance from Paparazi’s Invoker (17-5-14). Unfortunately, that lead wasn’t enough for Vici Gaming to hold its control over the match, as Team Secret came back in the late-game stage with a powerful surge that saw Vici Gaming suffer numerous team fight losses. Those losses and pick offs shattered the team’s momentum and allowed Team Secret to seize control of the match and push past Vici Gaming’s final defenses to hand the team a 0-2 loss. That loss knocked Vici Gaming out of the Supermajor and ended its run just short of the Top 4 mark with a 5th-6th place finish.

Vici Gaming entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor looking to lock in its Top 8 position in the Pro Circuit standings and secure itself a direct invite to TI8. The team didn’t need a Top 4 finish in Shanghai in order to accomplish that goal, but the extra Qualifying Points had the potential to make it much easier for the team to survive the final event of the season and retain its Top 8 position. Coming into the event, the team was expected to compete for a Top 4 finish but ultimately fall just short of that mark with a 5th-6th place finish. That prediction proved to be accurate, as the team made a solid run at the Main Event but couldn’t quite push itself into the Top 4 range. The team encountered some struggles in the Group Stage of the event, as the team posted a 2-4 record that included losses to both VP and TNC Pro Team in Group B. The team’s only wins in that group came against an Evil Geniuses squad that was playing its first matches with its new roster. Once the team reached the Main Event of the Supermajor, its level of play improved somewhat, as the team made a run through the Lower Bracket by defeating Na’Vi, Mineski, and Newbee before falling 0-2 to Team Secret in Round 4. The victory over Na’Vi wasn’t the most impressive performance from the Chinese squad, but earning back to back victories over Top 8 ranked teams in Newbee and Mineski is a strong sign that the team is sitting in a relatively strong position in terms of its overall level of play. Of course, the team was not without its flaws at this event, as it still took some tough and unexpected losses across its series in Shanghai. However, the team will now have a couple of months to address and potentially fix those issues, as the team had secured its direct invite to TI8 and will not have to deal with any regional qualifiers before its trip to Vancouver later this summer. Vici Gaming may not have put together a dominant performance in Shanghai at the Supermajor, but the team has shown us what it is capable of on the Pro Circuit stage this season, and if the Chinese squad can play at that level at TI8, then it will stand as a formidable opponent wit ha solid chance at claiming the Aegis of Champions.

 

VGJ.Thunder VGJ Thunder

Place: 9th-12th

Winnings: $22,500

VGJ.Thunder entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a squad that wasn’t sure of where it was going to end up at the conclusion of the season. The team came to Shanghai as the 8th ranked team in the Pro Circuit standings, but that position was far from secure. With teams like Evil Geniuses and Na’vi having forfeited their invite eligibility prior to the start of the event, the Chinese squad faced fewer potential threats for its position in the Top 8. However, the withdrawal of OG from the field opened the door for OpTic Gaming to attend the event and pose a significant threat to snatch VGJ.Thunder’s potential direct invite out from under its nose. The team had the potential to hold on to its position so long as none of the squads below it in the standings made any significant runs, but the Chinese team had a chance to help its own cause if it could claim a Top 4 finish in Shanghai to close out the season.

VGJ.Thunder would begin its run through the Supermajor with a series against its main rival for its Top 8 position in OpTic Gaming, as the 2 teams faced each other in the Opening Matches of Group D. Game 1 proved to be a blowout victory for VGJ.Thunder, as the Chinese squad absolutely destroyed its opponent. OpTic Gaming was held to just 3 kills in the entire match, and VGJ.Thunder’s core trio of Lycan, Slark, and Omniknight combined for a stat line of 19-1-19 in a completely one sided match that earned the team a victory in its first game of the event. The team went in a different direction in its draft for Game 2, attempting to overwhelm OpTic Gaming with a core trio of Mirana, Omniknight, and Broodmother. Unfortunately for the Chinese squad, its lineup found itself largely struggling throughout the match, as OpTic Gaming was able to play a more aggressive style and create more space for its own cores to secure farm. Aside from a few surges in the mid-game stage led by Yang’s Broodmother (8-4-4), VGJ.Thunder wasn’t able to build up much momentum for itself and was dominated in the late-game stage to suffer its first defeat of the Supermajor as the series was tied at 1-1. With the series on the line, VGJ.Thunder opted for a combination of team fight power and aggressive mobility in its Game 3 draft, combining a core trio of Bloodseeker, Death Prophet, and Night Stalker with supports of Skywrath Mage and Warlock. That strategy appeared to be working wonders for the team over the majority of the match, as VGJ.Thunder was able to establish a fast pace that benefited it while keeping OpTic Gaming in a more defensive posture. Behind strong showings from Sylar on Bloodseeker (11-5-17) and Freeze’s Death Prophet (9-4-9), VGJ.Thunder held a considerable net worth lead in the late-game stage and looked to be in a position to close out the match and the series. However, OpTic Gaming still had one last surge in it, and the North American squad pulled off a series of incredible team fight wins to sap away VGJ.Thunder’s momentum and steal a victory away in the final minutes to hand the Chinese squad a 1-2 loss in the series.

That loss dropped VGJ.Thunder into the Losers’ Match of Group D, where it faced South American squad Infamous in order to avoid going down as a low seed in the group standings. Game 1 of the series ended up being an entirely one sided affair, as VGJ.Thunder was able to come out aggressively and put Infamous on the back foot almost immediately. The team’s core trio of Dragon Knight, Lina, and Doom combined with an Io support to exert a stifling amount of pressure on Infamous’s lineup that kept the South American squad playing from behind for the whole match. With VGJ.Thunder’s core trio combining for a stat line of 17-8-45 and Fade’s Io (9-4-16) helping to dictate the pace of play, there was little that Infamous could do to turn the tides once it had fallen behind. With a net worth lead of over 30k at the 35 minute mark, VGJ.Thunder was able to force a “gg” call from its opponent soon after to claim a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 1 of the series may have been one sided, but Game 2 proved to be a complete blowout for VGJ.Thunder, as the Chinese squad once again dominated its opponent. The team picked up a core trio of Razor, Shadow Fiend, and Brewmaster, but it was the support duo of Tusk and Bane that helped the team establish the aggressive pace that it wanted. That pace left Infamous hopelessly out matched, as the South American squad had no real answers to the early ganks and rotations from VGJ.Thunder’s lineup and found itself trailing by a massive margin early in the match. From the laning phase on, the game was entirely in VGJ.Thunder’s control as the Chinese squad continued to push its lead further and further at the expense of its South American opponent. The team’s core trio combined for a stat line of 34-4-44, while its support duo put together 44 assists on the team’s 41 total kills in an impressive team performance that earned the team a 2-0 sweep of the series.

With its victory over Infamous, VGJ.Thunder was given a shot at redemption as the Decider Match of Group D brought it face to face with OpTic Gaming in a rematch of its first series of the event. Game 1 saw the Chinese squad look for a lethal combination of damage and control as it drafted a core trio of Medusa, Mirana, and Doom alongside supports of Jakiro and Naga Siren. That lineup got off to a somewhat slow start in the laning phase, but quickly picked things up in the mid and late-game stages of the match. VGJ.Thunder was able to establish a strong team fight presence, and those team fight wins created space for its cores to out scale their counterparts on OpTic Gaming. Behind impressive showings from both Freeze on Mirana (16-6-15) and Sylar’s Medusa (16-5-16), VGJ.Thunder held a sizable net worth lead in the late-game stage and was in a position to potentially close out the match. However, the team couldn’t quite knock out OpTic Gaming, as the North American squad won a series of spectacular team fights and pick offs to mount a furious comeback effort that snatched a victory away from VGJ.Thunder and handed the team a 0-1 deficit in the series. That tough loss took some of the air out of VGJ.Thunder’s sails, and the Chinese squad came into Game 2 looking like a team that was till a bit shaken from its Game 1 ordeal. The team picked up a core trio of Dragon Knight, Ember Spirit, and Death Prophet, but that lineup was quickly put under considerable pressure by OpTic Gaming’s more aggressive heroes. VGJ.Thunder surrendered a multitude of early kills, and its core heroes were unable to safely secure farm in the early game, leading to a notable advantage for OpTic Gaming that the North American squad was able to maintain throughout the match. Despite a valiant effort from Syler’s Dragon Knight (6-5-2), VGJ.Thunder simply appeared too shaken up in the game to mount any sort of effective comeback effort. After falling behind by nearly 18k net worth at the 21 minute mark, the team conceded defeat soon after to suffer a 0-2 loss in the series that put it in the lower half of the Group D standings.

That position in the lower half of the group standings meant that VGJ.Thunder would being its run at the Main Event of the Supermajor in the Lower Bracket, where it faced off against Swedish squad The Final Tribe in Round 1. The team came out fast in Game 1 of the series behind a core trio of Bloodseeker, Luna, and Beastmaster that was able to push the tempo of the match and exert significant pressure on The Final Tribe’s lineup. That early pressure and aggression built a small lead for VGJ.Thunder that the team was able to leverage in the mid and late-game stages to completely control of the pace of the game and keep The Final Tribe in a weaker defensive position. Behind an incredible performance from Freeze’s Bloodseekder (16-0-10), VGJ.Thunder was able to roll past The Final Tribe’s last attempts to defend its base and claim a one sided victory to begin the series up 1-0. Game 2 saw VGJ.Thunder put together another dominant performance, as the team once again opted to attack The Final Tribe early with a similarly aggressive strategy. The team picked up cores of Lycan, Gyrocopter, and Batrider alongside supports of Tusk and Bane in order to put near constant pressure on its opponent. Those efforts yielded numerous early kills and pick offs that built up a sizable net worth lead for VGJ.Thunder while also keeping The Final Tribe too far behind to put together any sot of cohesive team fight to spark a comeback effort. With Sylar’s Lycan (13-0-9) leading the way, VGJ.Thunder led from start to finish as it held The Final Tribe to just 11 kills in the match and knocked the Swedish squad out of the event with a 2-0 sweep of the series.

With its victory over The Final Tribe, VGJ.Thunder advanced to Round 2 of the Lower Bracket for an all-Chinese grudge match against regional rival Newbee. Game 1 of the series saw VGJ.Thunder draft a core trio of Troll Warlord, Kunkka, and Beastmaster alongside supports of Jakiro and Skywrath Mage in an attempt to balance heavy damage output with strong team fight control. The strategy worked well for the team for the majority of the match, as VGJ.Thunder was able to hold a small advantage through the first half of play despite significant losses being taken on both squads. Behind strong showings from both Sylar on Troll Warlord (13-8-11) and Fade’s Skywrath Mage (14-11-16), VGJ.Thunder held a lead of over 16k net worth in the late-game stage and had a chance to close out the match. However, the team found itself unable to knock out Newbee, as its opponent put together a series of team fight wins and out killed VGJ.Thunder by a score of 11-2 over the final 7 minutes of play to pull off a comeback victory. Game 2 of the series played out in eerily similar fashion to its predecessor, as VGJ.Thunder once again had to contend with a surge from Newbee in the mid-game stage. Just as it did before, VGJ.Thunder was able to weather that storm and seize control of the match in the late-game stage thanks in large part to an impressive showing from Freeze on Leshrac (12-5-9). However, the Chinese squad once again fell short of closing out the match and Newbee was able to pull off another comeback effort to hand VGJ.Thunder a crushing 0-2 loss in the series that brought its run in Shanghai to an end with a 9th-12th place finish overall.

VGJ.Thunder came into the China Dota 2 Supermajor as the team in the least secure position among the current Top 8 ranked squads in the Pro Circuit standings. The team was in danger of falling out of the Top 8 and potentially losing its shot at a direct invite to TI8, but a strong showing in Shanghai had the potential to keep the team in its favorable position. Prior to the start of play at the event, the team was not expected to be a serious contender for a Top 4 finish, as VGJ.Thunder was projected to end up in the bottom half of the standings in the  9th-12th place range. Despite the team’s best efforts, VGJ.Thunder found itself unable to out perform that prediction as it ended up right were it had been expected to finish in the combined 9th-12th place position when all was said and done in Shanghai. The team did not look particularly strong in the Group Stage of the event, as it claimed just 3 wins in its 7 matches with 2 of those wins coming against a struggling Infamous squad that ended up going without a single win at the event. Its lone other victory in the Group Stage did come against a relatively strong opponent in OpTic Gaming, but the Chinese team ended up losing its 4 other matches against the North American squad in Group D. Unfortunately for VGJ.Thunder, its play didn’t improve much once it reached the Main Event of the Supermajor. The team was able to claim a 2-0 win against The Final Tribe in Round 1 of the Lower Bracket, but the Swedish squad had not been particularly impressive in Shanghai and finished its run at the event with just 1 win to its name. Once the team came up against another Top 8 ranked squad and a regional rival in the form of Newbee, VGJ.Thunder fell apart to a certain degree. The team looked solid across the majority of its 2 losses to Newbee, but simply couldn’t close out matches in which it held a sizable advantage and fell prey to back to back comeback efforts that lost it the series in the end. The team may not have been overly impressive in Shanghai, but VGJ.Thunder still walks away from this final Pro Circuit event of the season with its goal achieved on the international level. With OpTic Gaming failing to reach the Top 4 at the event, VGJ.Thunder retained its position within the Top 8 in the Pro Circuit standings and has earned itself a direct invite to TI8. The team still has quite a few questions to answer with regards to its strategies and level of play, but the Chinese squad will have a couple of months to address and potentially fix those issues before it takes the stage in Vancouver. If the team can adjust and overcome some of its recent issues, then it will enter TI8 as a formidable opponent as the Chinese team will look to take its best shot at claiming the Aegis of Champions this summer.

 

Evil Geniuses Evil Geniuses

Place: 9th-12th

Winnings: $22,500

Evil Geniuses entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a very different team than the won fans had previously seen on the Pro Circuit stage. The team’s recent roster changes and positional moves left it with a new identity that Dota 2 fans were seeing for the first time at the final Pro Circuit event of the season. The changes for EG were not simply limited to its roster though, as the team’s breaking of the Pro Circuit roster lock forfeited its invite eligibility and left it destined for a run through the TI8 North America Open Qualifiers. With that in mind, the team’s focus in Shanghai was no longer centered around a push for a Top 8 spot and a direct invite to TI8. Instead, the team came to the event looking to acclimate to its new members and positions and put together some sort of solid showing to build momentum leading into the Open Qualifiers.

The new look EG got its run at the Supermajor started with a Bo3 series against Chinese squad Vici Gaming in the Opening Matches of Group B in Shanghai. The team picked up a core trio of Luna, Leshrac, and Legion Commander in an effort to snowball and overwhelm Vici Gaming with its high damage output. That strategy wound up failing almost immediately, as the North American squad fell victim to an early level of aggression and pressure from Vici Gaming. With the team’s cores suffering early deaths, EG was not able to scale as effectively as they had hoped across the mid and late-game stages, and quickly found themselves significantly behind in terms of net worth. With double digit deaths on 4 of its 5 heroes and facing a deficit of over 41k net worth at the 36 minute mark, EG conceded defeat to fall behind 0-1 in the series. Game 2 ended up being more of the same for EG, as the North American squad once again found itself struggling from the earliest stages of the match. The team couldn’t put together any sort of coherent team fight, and its split pushing could only delay Vici Gaming’s advance rather than fully countering it. With a series of team fight losses in the late-game, EG found itself out killed by a score of 4-18 over the final 10 minutes of the game to suffer a 0-2 sweep in its first series of the event.

The team’s loss in its first series dropped it into the Losers’ Match of Group B, where it faced off against Southeast Asian squad TNC Pro Team to determine which team would get a chance at advancing to the Decider Match and a shot at a high seed in the group standings. The North American squad picked up a core trio of Troll Warlord, Queen of Pain, and Beastmaster in Game 1, but that lineup quickly found itself playing from behind. TNC Pro Team’s aggressive style put EG in a defensive position from the beginning of the match, as the team surrender numerous early pick offs to its Southeast Asian opponent. Despite the heavy pressure, EG was able to keep pace in terms of net worth, and actually managed to make a surge in the late-game to swing the momentum in its favor. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t maintain that lead, as TNC Pro Team closed out the match 16-5 over the last 13 minutes of the game to hand EG a 0-1 deficit in the series. Game 2 saw EG pick up a team fight oriented lineup with a core trio of Slark, Death Prophet, and Centaur Warrunner alongside supports of Rubick and Warlock. Unfortunately, the altered lineup yielded the same results for EG, as the team wasn’t able to pull away through the early and mid-game stages. Despite solid efforts from Arteezy on Slark (12-8-15) and Crit-‘s Rubick (12-8-21), EG couldn’t establish control over the match, and TNC Pro Team was able to dominate the late-game in terms of team fight power and scaling to take a 2-0 sweep over EG.

EG’s loss in the Losers’ Match of the Group Stage placed it in the Lower Bracket of the Main Event, where the North American squad faced elimination in its series against Team Spirit. The team came out in Game 1 with a core trio of Troll Warlord, Death Prophet, and Underlord in an attempt to put together a tanky lineup with team fight potential. Unfortunately for EG, that lineup found itself struggling significantly over the first half of the match, as its cores were repeatedly picked off and the North American squad trailed by a sizable margin in terms of net worth. However, the late-game stage finally saw the team turn things around, as EG finally managed to out scale and out pace its opponent to seize control of the match. Behind a strong showing from Suma1L’s Death Prophet (9-5-10), EG was able to wipe out Team Spirit in a final team fight to claim the opening match of the series. Game 2 started in a similar fashion to tis predecessor for EG, as the North American squad once again found itself trailing early. Its core trio of Luna, Zeus, and Center Warrunner was finding little space to work with due to the significant pressure exerted by Team Spirit’s lineup. This time around, there was no surge in the late-game, as EG’s heroes simply could not catch up to their counterparts and trailed throughout the entirety of the match. The team attempted a final defense of its base, but those efforts proved futile as Team Spirit swept the North American squad aside to even up the series 1-1.  The team looked for heavy amounts of damage and control in its Game 3 lineup, as EG combined cores of Troll Warlord, Leshrac, and Batrider with supports of Bane and Elder Titan. That lineup allowed EG to get out to an early lead, as the team established a favorable pace that earned it a net worth lead across the first half of the match. The late-game though proved to be an extremely contentious period, as the 2 squads traded momentum back and forth in a series of high stakes team fights and pushes. Arteezy’s Troll Warlord (11-5-20, 31.2k net worth) and Suma1L’s Leshrac (15-9-16, 26.1k net worth) led the way for the team in terms of damage, but it was the combination of Cr1t- on Elder Titan (9-4-29) and s4’s Batrider (5-8-20) that saved the game for EG and helped the squad retake control to escape with a close 2-1 win in the series.

Following its narrow victory over Team Spirit, EG found itself facing a regional rival as it played OpTic Gaming in Round 2 of the Lower Bracket. Game 1 saw the team pick up a core trio of Chaos Knight, Gyrocopter, and Axe, but its lineup ended up struggling beyond the laning stage. OpTic Gaming’s high damage output allowed it to find pick offs and engagements that put EG on the defensive for the majority of the match. Despite a solid performance from Arteezy on Chaos Knight (11-8-8), EG couldn’t put together a strong enough surge to establish control over the match as its opponent dominated the late-game to hand it a 0-1 deficit in the series. In Game 2, the North American squad opted for a more team fight oriented lineup as it combined a core trio of Gyrocopter, Death Prophet, and Night Stalker alongside supports of Disruptor and Sand King. That lineup afforded EG an early advantage in the match, as the team was able to secure multiple kills and picks offs through the laning stage to build up a modest net worth lead for itself. In the mid-game stage, EG’s team fight strength allowed it to maintain that lead, but the late-game stage saw OpTic Gaming take control. EG was out killed by a score of 1-17 over the final 10 minutes of the match as its lead was wiped out and OpTic Gaming wept past its defenses to sweep the series and knock EG out of the Lower Bracket. With its run at an end, EG left Shanghai with a 9th-12th place finish at the Supermajor.

EG entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team that has already destined for a run through the TI8 Open Qualifiers due to its recent roster changes. With that in mind, the North American squad was looking to test its new lineup of the international level and put together some sort of positive run heading into those qualifiers. Coming into the event, the North American squad was projected to end up in the lower half of the standings in the 9th-12th place position. The team’s recent additions proved insufficient to out perform that prediction, as EG finished right where it had been expected to in the 9th-12th place range. The team did not particularly impress in its Group Stage run, as the North American squad failed to put up a win in its series against Vici Gaming and TNC Pro Team. Considering the fact that the team was playing its first official matches with its new lineup, those poor performances didn’t exactly come as much of a shock. The good news for the North American squad was that its play improved somewhat once it reached the Main Event. The squad pulled out a tough 2-1 victory over CIS squad Team Spirit before falling to regional rival OpTic Gaming in Round 2 of hte Lower Bracket. Those 2 series saw the squad looking a bit more comfortable with its new lineup, but that comfort did not quite translate into overly successful matches. It’s clear that the team’s new roster is talented and extremely experienced, but EG will likely need some time to practice and acclimate itself before its players are playing at their full potential. Unfortunately for EG, it isn’t going to have as much time as it would probably like, as the North American squad is about to be pressed back into action. The first of 2 TI8 North America Open Qualifiers begins just 2 days from now, and EG will have to hope that its skill and veteran leadership will be enough to earn it success. If the team plays like it did in Shanghai, then the run through the Open Qualifiers will be a potentially harrowing one. However, if the team’s new roster can come together effectively, then it has a strong chance to push through the Open Qualifier and earn itself a place among its regional rivals in the main North America Qualifier.

 

Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) 668px-Natus_Vincere

Place: 13th-16th

Winnings: $15,000

Na’Vi entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team still acclimating to its most recent roster change. The changes to the team’s lineup left it without its invite eligibility and shifted the team’s perspective entered this final event of the year. With a place in the TI8 CIS Open Qualifiers in its future, Na’Vi came into Shanghai looking for an opportunity to earn experience with its new roster on the international level and perhaps build up some much needed momentum for itself on the Pro Circuit stage. Na’Vi’s struggles on the international level had been staggering to this point in the season, but a solid showing at the Supermajor would at least give the squad something positive to focus on as the Pro Circuit season reached its conclusion in Shanghai.

The CIS squad found itself facing a tough task in Group A, as Na’Vi got its run at the Supermajor started with a series against Newbee in the Opening Matches of the group. Game 1 saw the team pick up a core trio of Lycan, Queen of Pain, and Doom, but group of heroes quickly ran into trouble against Newbee. The Chinese squad was able to play aggressively in the laning stage and exert a significant amount of pressure on Na’Vi’s lineup. That early advantage proved to be all that Newbee needed to establish full control over the match, as Na’Vi was kept on the defensive and never given a chance to work itself back into the game. Down by over 17k net worth and 2 lanes of barracks, Na’Vi conceded defeat just shy of the 30 minute mark to fall behind 0-1 in the series. Game 2 saw Na’Vi once again struggle early, but this time the CIS squad was able to recover from that bad start and put together more of a fight in the mid-game stage. Behind strong efforts from Crystallize’s Lifestealer (9-3-15) and GeneRaL’s Brewmaster (6-5-20), Na’Vi seized the momentum in the match and built up a small net worth lead for itself. However, that lead did not last long, as Newbee claimed a series of late-game team fights that wiped out Na’Vi’s momentum and handed the team a 0-2 loss in the series.

Na’Vi’s loss to Newbee dropped it down into the Losers’ Match of the group, where it faced fellow CIS squad Team Spirit in a Bo3 series to keep its hopes of a top seed in Group A alive. Game 1 saw Na’Vi pick up a core trio of Gyrocopter, Windranger, and Pugna, but the team’s lineup wasn’t able to find much success against Team Spirit. Na’Vi’s heroes surrendered a multitude of early kills and pick offs, as Team Spirit’s aggression allowed it to build up a sizable net worth lead. Unfortunately for Na’Vi, it could do little to turn the tides of the match, as the team fell further and further behind over the course of the game. Despite the team’s best efforts, Na’Vi eventually found itself trailing by over 40k net worth and facing Mega Creeps, prompting the CIS squad to concede defeat. Down 0-1 in the series, the team went into Game 2 with a core trio of Morphling, Lina, and Brewmaster alongside supports of Bane and Kunkka. Once again though, Na’Vi struggled in the early stages, as Team Spirit dominated the first half of the match. Thanks in large part to an impressive effort from Crystallize on Morphling (13-5-13, 31.7k net worth), Na’Vi managed to extend the match in an effort to buy enough time to set up a comeback. However, those efforts ended up falling short and Na’Vi was ultimately overpowered and defeated to fall 0-2 in the series.

The team’s back to back losses in the Group Stage earned Na’Vi a position as 1 of the 2 low seeds of Group A, and a place in the Lower Bracket of the Main Event against Chinese squad Vici Gaming. The CIS squad came out in Game 1 looking for damage and team fight power, as the team combined cores of Luna, Lina, and Brewmaster with a support duo of Disruptor and Doom. After yet another rough start to the match, Na’Vi’s team fight power eventually earned it an advantage in the mid and late-game stages as the team shifted momentum in its favor. Unfortunately, Na’Vi couldn’t pull far enough ahead to seal a victory as Vici Gaming mounted a comeback effort fueled by a series of team fight victories. Despite strong showings from both Crystallize’s Luna (9-3-5, 32.6k net worth) and Dendi’s Lina (8-3-6, 30.1k net worth), Na’Vi could regain its lost momentum and was forced to concede defeat in the opening match of the series. Game 2 saw Na’Vi turn things around though, as the team put together a core trio of Morphling, Kunkka, and Clockwerk alongside supports of Disruptor and Skywrath Mage that was able to quickly establish control over the match. With its considerable levels of team fight control and damage, Na’Vi was able to hold a net worth lead from the 10 minute mark through to the end of the match and keep Vici Gaming from making a full comeback. Na’Vi’s core trio put together a stat line of 27-7-56 and Velheor’s Skywrath Mage (12-9-19) dealt over 27k damage to help the CIS squad claim a win and tie up the series 1-1. The team put together a strong team fight lineup in the final match of the series, combining a core trio of Luna, Death Prophet, and Sand King with supports of Doom and Disruptor. That lineup allowed Na’Vi to play at a faster and more aggressive pace early, as the CIS squad exerted significant pressure on its opponent. The team carried that advantage into the mid and late-game stages, and appeared to be in a solid position to close out the match behind an impressive showing from Dendi’s Death Prophet (11-6-9). Unfortunately for Na’Vi, the team couldn’t hold on to that advantage, as Vici Gaming put together a series of team fight wins to turn the match around. The Chinese squad out killed its opponent by a score of 15-3 over the final 13 minutes of play to complete a comeback victory and hand Na’Vi a 1-2 loss. That loss ended Na’Vi’s time at the Supermajor, as the CIS squad finished at the bottom of the standings in the 13th-16th place position.

Na’Vi entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team that knew exactly where it was heading once the the season concluded. The CIS squad had forfeited its invite eligibility, and was destined for a run through the TI8 CIS Open Qualifiers in just a few days time. With that in mind, the team was looking to put on a display of strength in its final Pro Circuit appearance in order to build up some momentum for itself going into that Open Qualifier. Coming into the event, the CIS squad wasn’t expected to find much success with a projected finish in the 13th-16th place range. Unfortunately for Na’Vi, the team was unable to outperform that predicted outcome and finished at the bottom of the standings in Shanghai. The team did not look good in the Group Stage of the event, as 3 of its 4 matches resulted in blowout losses for the CIS squad, and its other loss saw it unable to hold on to an admittedly modest net worth lead over Newbee. The team’s 0-4 run through Group A left few positives for Na’Vi to take away from the event, but the team at least managed to put together a more impressive performance in the Main Event. While Na’Vi ended up losing its lone series in the Lower Bracket, it did put up quite a fight against Chinese squad and newly minted TI8 direct invitee Vici Gaming. The team put together its first series of the event in which it could be considered to have been legitimately competitive across all of the matches, and the team even manged to take a game off of its opponent. In fact, the team was in a position to potentiality win the series in Game 3 before the CIS squad squandered its late-game lead and fell prey to an impressive comeback effort from Vici Gaming. That level of performance against a Top 8 ranked team is exactly what Na’Vi wants from its new lineup moving forward, but the problem is that it isn’t clear if the team can play at that level consistently. When comparing Na’Vi’s performance in the Group Stage with its sole Main Event series against Vici Gaming, it’s like looking at 2 completely different teams. The team’s 1-2 loss to Vici Gaming displayed the talent and potential of the new Na’Vi roster, but its 0-4 Group Stage run showed that the team still hasn’t quite figured itself out just yet. The question for the CIS squad will be whether it can figure things out in time for its Open Qualifier run. Na’Vi has fallen from grace within the CIS region, and the squad is in for a tough challenge in the Open Qualifier for a region in which it sits  significantly removed from the top of the hierarchy. If the team can look more like the one we saw in the Main Event than the one that stumbled its way through the Group Stage, then Na’Vi may stand a chance of earning itself a spot in the main region qualifiers. If it can’t, then Na’Vi may very well miss its shot at a  trip to Vancouver and find itself hitting the off season much earlier than it would prefer.

 

Mineski 600px-Mineski-dota_logo

Place: 9th-12th

Winnings: $22,500

Southeast Asian squad Mineski entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team that was sitting on the verge of attaining the ultimate goal of the Pro Circuit season. The team came into the event as the 5th ranked team in the Pro Circuit standings, and needed to avoid just a single disastrous scenario in order to lock in a place in Vancouver this summer with a direct invite to TI8. With that in mind, the Southeast Asian squad looked to put together one last strong performance in Shanghai to end its season inside the Top 8 in the Pro Circuit standings and become the first representative from the SEA region to punch its ticket to Vancouver.

The team opened up its matches in Group C with a series against North American squad VGJ.Storm in the Opening Matches of the Group Stage. Game 1 saw the team draft a core trio of Chaos Knight, Dragon Knight, and Pangolier in an attempt to put together a tanky front with high damage output. The did exactly what Mineski had been hoping it would, as the team dominated beyond the laning phase and quickly established a fast pace that earned it pick offs and team fight wins throughout the rest of the match. Mushi’s Chaos Knight (16-0-12) ended the match without a single death, and Mineski simply ran over its opponent to claim a one sided victory in the opening match of the series. The team attempted to replicate its strategy in Game 2, as it went with a core trio of Outworld Devourer, Death Prophet, and Pangolier with supports of Bane and Sand King. This time around, the team’s control and tankiness proved significantly less effective against VGJ.Storm’s lineup. The North American squad was able to buy time and make space for a Medusa pick that Mineski was unable to slow down as it fell further and further behind over the course of the match. Despite solid performances from Nana’s Death Prophet (11-4-8) and iceiceice’s Pangolier (8-2-13), Mineski was ultimately unable to turn the tides of the match as VGJ.Storm pushed past its defenses to tie up the series 1-1. With the series on the line, Mineski opted for a team fight focused lineup in Game 3 with a core trio of Gyrocopter, Death Prophet, and Omniknight alongside supports of Disruptor and Undying. Early on in the match, the team’s fighting power afforded it a small advantage over VGJ.Storm’s lineup. However, the team wasn’t able to exert as much pressure as it would have liked on VGJ.Storm’s cores, and because of that the North American squad was able to position itself as the stronger team in the mid and late-game stages. Despite an impressive showing from Mushi on Gyrocopter (14-5-7), Mineski found its team fight power insufficient to overcome VGJ.Storm’s late-game strength, and the Southeast Asian squad eventually conceded defeat to fall 1-2 in its first series of the event.

Minski next faced Swedish squad The Final Tribe in the Losers’ Match of Group C to determine which team would keep its hopes at a high seed and a place in the Upper Bracket alive. Game 1 saw the team pick up a core trio of Lifestealer, Ember Spirit, and Beastmaster, and those heroes helped the team establish a strong pace in the mid and late-game stages of the match. Mineski’s considerable team fight power allowed it to dominate engagements and keep The Final Tribe from building up any significant levels of momentum for itself. With Mushi’s Lifestealer (12-1-8) leading the way, Mineski continued to push The Final Tribe deeper into its own base before finally breaking through the Swedish squad’s final defense to claim a 1-0 lead in the series. After a relatively one sided match in Game 1, Game 2 proved to be an absolute blow out for Mineski, with the Southeast Asian squad simply out playing its opponent form the very start. Mineski surrendered just 8 kills to its opponent in the entirety of the match, and led in terms of net worth from start to finish in a complete walk over of a match. The team’s core trio of Luna, Timbersaw, and Tidehunter combined for a stat line of 22-4-36 en route to a victory in just under 25 minutes that locked up a quick 2-0 sweep of the series for the team.

After its quick handling of The Final Tribe, Mineski was ready for a rematch with VGJ.Storm, this time with the final high seed of Group C on the line. The Southeast Asian squad put on a dominant display in Game 1 behind a core trio of Anti-Mage, Timbersaw, and Tidehunter. That core trio helped Mineski dominate team fights throughout the match, with a combined stat line of 29-4-32 that VGJ.Storm’s core heroes simply couldn’t hope to match. With the team’s support duo of Night Stalker and Leshrac pouring in a combined 39 assists as well, Mineski was able to hold a lead in terms of net worth from start to finish in an impressive victory in the opening match of the series. Game 2 saw the roles reversed for Mineski and VGJ.Storm, as the Southeast Asian squad was the one that found itself playing from behind throughout the match. The team’s core trio of Slark, Dragon Knight, and Leshrac presented a fair level of team fight damage, but not enough to overcome the control and damage output that VGJ.Storm had at its disposal. Despite solid efforts from Mushi on Slark (9-6-14), Nana’s Dragon Knight (8-6-15), and even Jabz’s Rubick (9-8-20), Mineski couldn’t complete a comeback effort in this match and lost its lead as the series was tied at 1-1. After that rough defeat in Game 2, Mineski entered Game 3 with a focus on dominating team fights and hopefully overpowering its opponent. The team combined a core trio of Troll Warlord, Lina, and Tidehunter with supports of Sand King and Windranger, and that lineup quickly proved itself more than VGJ.Storm was ready to handle. The North American squad had opted for a greedier lineup, but Mineski’s high damage output and team fight presence forced VGJ.Storm into fights that it simply couldn’t win. By the time the team had the levels and items that it needed to fight, Mineski had built up too large of a net worth lead for any effective comeback attempt. Behind an absolutely incredible performance from Nana on Lina (22-1-7), Mineski was able to break through VGJ.Storm’s final base defense and claim a 2-1 series victory over the North American squad.

With its win over VGJ.Storm, Mineski earned itself a place in the Upper Bracket of the Main Event along with a series against Chinese power house PSG.LGD. Game 1 of the series proved to be an unmitigated disaster for Mineski, as the Southeast Asian squad was quickly run over by its opponent. The team’s core trio of Mirana, Lina, and Timbersaw could do little to match the damage and mobility of PSG.LGD’s lineup as Mineski surrendered numerous pick offs and team fights throughout the course of the match. With just 9 kills to its name in the match, Mineski had few ways of slowing its opponent down, as the team fell behind by over 35k net worth by the 33 minute mark. Facing that kind of deficit, the team opted to concede defeat to fall behind 0-1 in the series. After its embarrassing loss in the previous match, Mineski came into Game 2 looking for revenge as the Southeast Asian squad took its turn at dominating a game. The team’s draft was largely focused on high damage output and team fight control centered around a core trio of Ember Spirit, Death Prophet, and Tidehunter alongside supports of Windranger and Sand King. That lineup went right at PSG.LGD as aggressively as it possibly could and put the Chinese squad on the defensive from the very start of the match. That aggression earned Mineski an early lead, and the Southeast Asian squad was able to maintain that lead throughout the rest of the game. The team’s core trio combined for a stat line of 27-3-47, and Jabz’s Windranger (8-1-19) provided an additional source of damage as Mineski held its opponent to just 5 kills en route to a blowout victory that tied the series at 1-1. Game 3 saw Mineski draft a core trio of Templar Assassin, Gyrocopter, and Beastmaster alongside supports of Leshrac and Sand King. Early in the match, that lineup afforded Mineski a small advantage as the squad found a few pick offs and team fight wins that had it in the lead heading into the mid and late-game stages. Unfortunately, the team wasn’t able to hold on to that lead in the second half of the match in the face of an impressive surge from PSG.LGD. Despite Nana’s Templar Assassin (11-6-17) and Mushi’s Gyrocopter (10-7-15) putting together strong showings in the game, Mineski could not match PSG.LGD’s team fight power in the late-game and conceded defeat to suffer a 0-2 sweep in the series.

That loss to PSG.LGD dropped Mineski down into the Lower Bracket, where the Southeast Asian team faced off against another Chinese squad in the form of Vici Gaming. Game 1 saw Mineski pick upo cores of Wraith King, Storm Spirit, and Pangolier alongside supports of Naga Siren and Disruptor in what ended up being a marathon of a match. The 2 squads traded the lead back and forth over the course of a match that went on for over 88 minutes in total, as neither team could deliver a knock out blow. Behind an unbelievable performance from Nana on Storm Spirit (30-7-13, 45.5k net worth), Mineski looked to be in a position to finally end the match and defeat Vici Gaming, but the the Chinese squad refused to give up. Vici Gaming launched in incredible comeback effort fueled by a series of team fight wins that wiped out Mineski’s lineup and its buybacks and allowed the Chinese squad to pull out a win to open the series. After the endurance test that was Game 1, Mineski went into Game 2 of the series with a core trio of Luna, Dragon Knight, and Underlord with a support duo of Skywrath Mage and Bane. The team got off to a solid start in the laning phase of the match, but quickly found itself playing from behind in the mid-game and the beginning of the late-game stages. Vici Gaming’s Bounty Hunter pick combined with a series of aggressive moves and team fight wins built up a sizable net worth lead for the Chinese squad, but Mineski continued to fight its way back into the match. Behind strong showings from Nana’s Dragon Knight (8-5-9) and Mushi’s Luna (9-1-8), Mineski was able to out fight and out scale Vici Gaming over the final 8 minutes of the game to wipe out its net worth deficit and tie up the series 1-1 with a victory. Game 3 saw Mineski attempt to combine high damage output heroes with team fight control, leading to a lineup consisting of Chaos Knight, Gyrocopter, and Tidehunter cores with a support duo of Lion and Skywrath Mage. Unfortunately, that lineup proved ineffective from the very start of the match, as Vici Gaming’s more aggressive heroes and style allowed the Chinese squad to quickly establish control over the pace of the game. Mineski’s damage and team fight power never really came together in a cohesive fashion, as the Southeast Asian squad struggled to find kills in the late-game stage and continued to fall further and further behind in terms of net worth. Facing a net worth deficit of over 30k, the team mounted one final defense attempt but failed to hold back Vici Gaming’s last push to fall 1-2 in the series and finish its run at the Supermajor with a 9th-12th place position overall.

Mineski entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team that was looking to finally achieve its goal of locking in a direct invite to TI8 this summer. While the team had a chance to earn that direct invite regardless of its performance in Shanghai, a Top 4 finish at the event would guarantee the team that Top 8 rank and a place in Vancouver. Coming into the event, Mineski was expected to compete for a Top 4 spot but ultimately come up short of that mark with a projection in the 5th-6th place range. Despite a solid showing at the Supermajor, the Southeast Asian squad ended up failing to meet those expectations as the team finished in the bottom half of the standings in the 9th-12th place position. The team looked solid in the Group Stage of the event, losing its opening series 1-2 against VGJ.Storm but claiming a 2-0 sweep over The Final Tribe before winning its rematch with VGJ.Storm to claim a high seed in Group C. At this stage in the season, those opponent aren’t exactly top tier competition, but VGJ.Storm at least has been a respectable squad with recent success on the Pro Circuit stage. However, for a team like Mineski that is ranked in the Top 8 in the world, a 3-3 record against VGJ.Storm opened the door for some concerns heading into the Main Event. Between the team’s 2 series in the Main Event, it posted a 2-4 record against PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming, both Top 8 ranked teams in their own right and formidable opponents on the international level. Mineski losing both of those series will surely be somewhat disappointing for the team, but the fact that the team claimed 1 win in each of those series at least shows that the team remains competitive against its fellow Top 8 ranked squads. Mineski’s 9th-12th place finish will not look particularly impressive on paper, but at this stage in the season the Southeast Asian squad likely won’t care much about that. Even with the team falling far short of the Top 4 in Shanghai, Mineski has locked in its position in the Top 8 of the Pro Circuit standings and has earned itself a direct invite to TI8. The team’s performance at this final Pro Circuit event of the season was not quite as strong as Mineski may have liked, but the Southeast Asian squad has avoided the need to play in any regional qualifiers and now have a couple of months to practice and prepare for its shot at claiming at the Aegis of Champions in Vancouver.

 

OpTic Gaming OpTic_Gaming

Place: 5th-6th

Winnings: $90,000

OpTic Gaming came into the China Dota 2 Supermajor as one of the few teams remaining in its region to still hold its invite eligibility. This meant that the team was essentially guaranteed a place in the TI8 North America Qualifierm but the team had more ambitious hopes than that as it made its way to Shanghai. OpTic Gaming sat in 9th in the Pro Circuit standings, and a Top 4 finish at the final Pro Circuit event of the season had the potential to push the team into the Top 8 ranked squads and allow it to lay claim to a direct invite to TI8 later this summer. With that goal in mind, the North American squad came to the Supermajor looking to put together one final run against the top teams on the international level in order to have shot at claiming a place among the Pro Circuit’s elite squads and punch its ticket to Vancouver.

OpTic Gaming started its run through the Supermajor with a series against Chinese squad VGJ.Thunder in the Opening Matches of Group D. Game 1 proved to be a complete disaster for OpTic Gaming, as the North American squad was absolutely destroyed in the match. The team put together just 3 kills in the game and fell behind by over 20 net worth before calling a quick “gg” in just under 25 minutes of play. Game 2 saw the team put together a stronger performance behind a core trio of Morphling, Death Prophet, and Night Stalker. That lineup kept relatively even with VGJ.Thunder through the first half of the match, but truly came alive in the late-game stage to dominate team fights and earn the team a sizable net worth lead. Behind a strong showing from CCnC’s Death Prophet (10-4-11), OpTic Gaming was able to close out a win to even up the series 1-1. The North American squad looked for strong farming potential and team fight power in its Game 3 draft as it combined cores of Spectre, Dragon Knight, and Dark Seer with a support duo of Sand King and Bane. That lineup struggled significantly for the majority of the match, as VGJ.Thunder’s more aggressive lineup had the North American squad in a defensive position from the earliest stages of the game. However, OpTic Gaming’s team fight power and tankiness eventually won out, as Pajkatt’s Spectre (16-4-14) led the team to an impressive comeback effort and a series of team fight wins that secured the squad a 2-1 win in the series.

That win advanced OpTic Gaming into the Winners’ Match of Group D, where it faced a significant challenge in the form of PSG.LGD with the top spot in the group standings on the line. The team came out aggressively in Game 1 of the series behind a core trio of Weaver, Storm Spirit, and Night Stalker that allowed it to build up an early lead over PSG.LGD. The team’s strong start transitioned into a modest lead in the mid-game stage, but that lead would not carry the North American squad through the rest of the match. Despite a solid effort from both Pajkatt’s Weaver (8-7-8) and 33’s Night Stalker (8-6-10), OpTic Gaming lost control of team fights in the late-game stage and saw its lead completely wiped out by PSG.LGD as the Chinese squad seized the momentum and handed OpTic Gaming a 0-1 deficit in the series. The team’s fortunes did not improve much in Game 2 of the series, as OpTic  Gaming found itself playing from behind for the majority of the match. The team’s core trio of Phantom Lancer, Kunkka, and Clockwerk was able to remain even with its opponent through the first 20 minutes of play, but everything beyond that point was entirely in PSG.LGD’s favor. The Chinese squad was able to exert near absolute control over the map and over team fights as PSG.LGD kept OpTic Gaming on the defensive for the rest of the match. Despite its best efforts, the North American squad was unable to hold back PSG.LGD’s final push as the Chinese squad closed out a sweep of the series.

The team’s loss to PSG.LGD forced it into one final Group Stage series as it faced VGJ.Thunder once again in a rematch of its Opening Match series. OpTic Gaming’s core trio of Morphling, Death Prophet, and Axe earned it a small advantage in the early stages of the match, but that lead quickly evaporated in the mid and late-game stage. OpTic Gaming found itself trailing by as much as 16k net worth in the second half of the match, but the North American squad refused to give in. Behind an impressive performance from Pajkatt on Morphling (15-2-8, 34.1k net worth), OpTic Gaming put together and incredible comeback effort an managed to wipe out VGJ.Thunder’s lead and break through its defenses to claim a surprising victory to open the series. That comeback victory had earned OpTic Gaming a fair bit of momentum, and the North American squad would carry that momentum over into the next game in the series. Game 2 proved to be a stomp in favor of OpTic Gaming, as the team simply ran over its opponent thanks in large part to its core trio of Bloodseeker, Venomancer, and Beastmaster. Behind a strong showing from CCnC’s Bloodseeker (12-2-7), OpTic Gaming established a fast pace that VGJ.Thunder simply could not hope to match and put the Chinese squad on the defensive from the very start of the game. OpTic Gaming held its opponent to just 12 kills in the match, and led by nearly 18k net worth at the 21 minute mark before forcing a “gg” Call from its opponent to secure a 2-0 sweep and a high seed in the Group D standings.

OpTic Gaming’s position in the top half of the Group D standings allowed it to advance to the Upper Bracket of the Main Event, where it faced European powerhouse Team Secret in Round 1. The North American squad picked up a high damage core trio of Ember Spirit, Lycan, and Night Stalker in Game 1, and that lineup helped the team build up a sizable net worth lead as it controlled the pace of the game from the very start of the match. With team’s cores combining for a stat line of 29-8-51, OpTic Gaming was able to keep Team Secret on the defensive and prevent the European squad from mounting any sort of effective comeback effort to claim a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 saw the roles reversed for the 2 squads, as Team Secret was the team that picked up a more aggressive style and managed to establish control over the pace of the match. OpTic Gaming had a considerable amount of control and team fight power, but it couldn’t put together a solid stretch of fighting that lasted long enough to overcome Team Secret’s net worth lead. Despite a solid effort from CCnC on Lina (9-6-11), OpTic Gaming could never halt Team Secret’s advance and found itself facing Mega Creeps before conceding defeat a bit short of the 48 minute mark. Game 3 saw the North American squad combine cores of Bloodseeker, Mirana, and Brewmaster with a support duo of Naga Siren and Leshrac, but that lineup quickly encountered some issues against Team Secret’s heroes. Team Secret’s considerable damage and large amount of control severely limited OpTic Gaming’s effectiveness in team fights, and put the team at a significant disadvantage throughout the course of the match. The North American squad couldn’t put together any sort of cohesive team fight effort, and eventually opted to throw in the towel just past the 32 minute mark to fall 1-2 in the series.

That loss brought OpTic Gaming’s time in the Upper Bracket to an end, but that didn’t mean that the squad was out of the Supermajor just yet, as it faced off against regional rival Evil Geniuses in Round 2 of the Lower Bracket. Game 1 of the series proved to be a largely one sided affair, as OpTc Gaming was able to establish a favorable pace early that left its opponent on the defensive for most of the match. Behind solid showing from both Pajkatt’s Luna (10-6-9) and CCnC’s Lina (9-6-12), OpTic Gaming was able to both out scale and out fight its opponent to seize control of the match in the late-game stages. EG fought on to the bitter end, but OpTic Gaming was eventually able to break through its defenses to claim the first match of the series. Game 2 saw the team take a different strategy, as it combined cores of Omniknight, Dragon Knight, and Visage with a support duo of Naga Siren and Jakiro. That lineup struggled over the first 30 minutes of play, as EG’s more aggressive lineup was able to find pick offs and engagements that left OpTic Gaming in a defensive posture. However, the team’s delaying eventually paid off, as OpTic Gaming came roaring back in the late-game with a display of dominance that trampled EG’s lineup and snatched momentum away from it. The team’s core trio combined for a stat line of 19-7-38, and OpTic Gaming out killed EG by a score of 17-1 over the last 10 minutes of the game to lock in a comeback victory and a 2-0 sweep over its regional rival.

With its victory over EG, OpTic Gaming moved on to Round 3 of the Lower Bracket and a series against Southeast Asian squad TNC Pro Team. Game 1 saw the team get off to a strong start, as its core trio of Bloodseeker, Lifestealer, and Beastmaster combined with a support duo of Chen and Bane to establish a fast pace that TNC Pro Team was not fully prepared to match. The North American squad dominated the mid and late-game stages, pushing its opponent into a more defensive position and slowly chipping away at its defense while building up its own net worth advantage. With Mega Creeps on its side and a net worth lead of nearly 10k, OpTic Gaming finally exhausted TNC Pro Team’s defensive spirit and forced a “gg” call from the Southeast Asian squad to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 proved to be a repeat performance for OpTic Gaming, as the North American squad once again put together a dominant performance against its Southeast Asian opponent. The team’s core trio of Slardar, Lycan, and Huskar provided a combination of damage and mobility that TNC Pro Team simply could not keep itself safe from as OpTic quickly established near complete control over the match. Behind an incredible performance from CCnC on Huskar (18-2-2), OpTic Gaming was able to systematically push TNC Pro Team back into its own base before wiping out its final defense to claim  a win in just under 22 minutes to sweep the series 2-0.

With TNC Pro Team felled, OpTic Gaming sat just one more series victory away from claiming a Top 4 position and having a shot at a direct invite to TI8, but the team needed to overcome Pro Circuit leader Virtus.pro in order to do that. Game 1 saw the North American squad pick up a core trio of Drow Ranger, Mirana, and Visage in an effort to overwhelm its opponent with high levels of damage output. That strategy quickly fell flat once play began, as VP played with its trademark aggression and put OpTic Gaming on the defensive early early in that match. The North American squad was able to extend the match to a certain degree, but could never put together a sustained push to truly take momentum away from its opponent. After 46 minutes of game time and facing a deficit of over 19k net worth, OpTic Gaming’s defenses were finally broken to put the team in a 0-1 hole in the series. Game 2 of the series saw OpTic Gaming get off to a slow start, as its core trio of Lifestealer, Venomancer, and Omniknight was out paced early by VP’s lineup. However, the team weathered that early storm and made a surge in the mid and late-game stages led by Pajkatt’s Lifestealer (16-4-7) that briefly gave the team control of the match. Unfortunately for OpTic Gaming, it would not hold that lead for long, as VP came back in the late-game with a series of team fight victories that shattered the momentum of the North American squad and handed it a 0-2 loss in the series. With that loss, OpTic Gaming ended its run in Shanghai just short of a Top 4 finish with a 5th-6th place position at the event.

OpTic Gaming entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor looking to put together one last push on the Pro Circuit stage to potentially lay claim to a Top 8 rank and a direct invite to TI8. In order to reach that mark though, the team needed to finish inside of the Top 4 at the Supermajor, a feat that the North American squad was not expected to achieve. The team came into the event predicted to finish in the top half of the standings, but short of a Top 4 finish with a projection in the 7th-8th place position. The team looked strong in its run at Shanghai, beginning with its performance in the Group Stage of the event where it posted a 4-3 record. All 4 of the team’s victories came against Chinese squad VGJ.Thunder, a team that has not looked as strong in recent times but still stands as a Top 8 ranked squad on the Pro Circuit. Once the North American squad reached the Main Event, its level of play took another step forward as the team put together an impressive run. It took 1 game off of Team Secret in a 1-2 series loss, before claiming back to back 2-0 wins over Evil Geniuses and TNC Pro Team in the Lower Bracket. It took a match up against Pro Circuit leader Virtus.pro to finally bring the team’s surge to an end, although the team ended up just short of a spot within the Top 4. Because of that, the team ended up missing out on its shot at earning a Top 8 position in the Pro Circuit standings and could not earn itself a direct invite to TI8. With the season now officially at an end, OpTic Gaming’s next destination will most likely be the TI8 North America Qualifier, as the team stands as one of the few teams in the region that still holds its invite eligibility. OpTic Gaming has been a strong and stable force in North America at a time when many of its regional rivals have experienced inconsistency with both their rosters and their level of play. Unless one of those squads has a breakthrough in the TI8 qualifiers, OpTic gaming should stand as one of the favored teams in the region and a favorite to represent North America in Vancouver at TI8.

 

PSG.LGD PSG LGD

Place: 3rd

Winnings: $150,000 (Total) & 337 Qualifying Points (Per Player)

PSG.LGD entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor already knowing that it will be making its way to Vancouver after the conclusion of the season, as the team had secured itself a direct invite to TI8. With its place in the Pro Circuit standings secure, PSG.LGD made its way to Shanghai looking to add its third Major Championships to an already impressive list of accomplishments on the Pro Circuit. While the team had not need for any further Qualifying Point earnings, the chance to test itself against the top teams in the world one last time was a valuable opportunity for the Chinese squad that it looked to take advantage of in the Pro Circuit season finale.

The Chinese squad began its run at the Supermajor with a series against South American squad Infamous in the Opening Matches of Group D. Game 1 of the series ended up being a complete blowout for the team, as PSG.LGD was able to employ a particularly aggressive strategy against its opponent. Infamous had few answers for that aggression, as PSG.LGD built up a sizable net worth lead early that it managed to hold throughout the entirety of the match. The team’s core trio of Faceless Void, Mirana, and Brewmaster combined for a stat line of 34-8-36 as the squad claimed a relatively easy win to open up the series. Game 2 ended up being a repeat performance for PSG.LGD, as the Chinese squad once again dominated the match and kept Infamous on the defensive for the entire game. Maybe’s Shadow Fiend (12-5-15), Chalice’s Clockwerk (10-5-26), and fy’s Elder Titan (11-4-15) each put together impressive showings as PSG.LGD simply ran over Infamous en route to another victory in just over 36 minutes of game time.

Following that win over Infamous, the team next faced North American squad OpTic Gaming in the Winners’ Match of Group D. Game 1 saw the Chinese squad trailing for most of the match, as OpTic Gaming’s more aggressive strategy allowed it to build up a modest net worth lead through the mid and late-game stages. However, PSG.LGD was able to mount a comeback in the late-game spearheaded by Maybe’s Mirana (18-2-15) that allowed it to seize control of the match and claim a victory to open the series. Game 2 of the series saw PSG.LGD put together a more dominant performance, as the team picked up a core trio of Drow Ranger, Storm Spirit, and Mirana in an attempt to overwhelm its opponent with high damage output. That strategy quickly paid off for the team, as its considerable damage allowed it to establish near complete of team fights in the mid and late-game stages to shut down OpTic Gaming’s lineup. Behind strong showings from both Maybe’s Storm Spirit (13-4-15) and Chalice’s Mirana (14-4-20), the team closed out the win to secure itself another 2-0 sweep to end its Group Stage run at the top of the Group D standings.

The team began its Main Event run in the Upper Bracket where it faced Southeast Asian squad Mineski. The Chinese squad absolutely dominated its opponent in Game 1 behind a core trio of Shadow Fiend, Lycan, and Bloodseeker. That core trio exerted an incredible amount of early pressure on Mineski’s lineup, forcing the Southeast Asian squad into a defensive position that it was unable to recover from. Behind an incredible performance from Maybe on Shadow Fiend (20-0-6), PSG.LGD broke through Mineski’s final defenses and forced a “gg” call from its opponent to win the opening match of the series. Game 2 of the series saw the 2 teams swap roles, as PSG.LGD was the squad to fall behind early. The Chinese squad put together just 5 kills in the match as Mineski dominated fights throughout the mid and late-game stage to establish an untouchable net worth lead. With the team trailing by over 18k net worth at the 27 minute mark, PSG.LGD opted to concede defeat as the series was tied up at 1-1. Game 3 saw PSG.LGD get off to a bit of a slow start, as the team suffered considerable casualties in the early and mid-game stages and found itself playing from behind heading into the late-game. Thanks in large part to huge performances from Ame’s Morphling (15-1-17) and Maybe’s Mirana (21-7-17), PSG.LGD was able to take control of the match and stave off multiple surges from Mineski to claim the win in both the match and the series.

The team’s victory over Mineski advanced it to Round 2 of the Upper Bracket for a match up against the Pro Circuit leader in Virtus.pro. The team attempted an Io strategy in Game 1, combining the support pick with cores of Bloodseeker, Ember Spirit, and Gyrocopter. Early on, that lineup ran into significant difficulty as VP’s lineup was able to take the better of engagements and create space for its cores. The team’s aggression allowed it to dictate the pace of the game over the first 30 minutes of play, but PSG.LGD was able to swing the momentum of the match in its favor over the second half of the game. With its core trio posting a stat line of 34-16-50 in the match and fy’s Io (1-4-32) racking up an impressive number of assists, PSG.LGD was able to out kill its opponent by a score of 17-3 over the final 15 minutes to secure a victory to start the series. Game 2 played out in a similar fashion, with PSG.LGD employing its Io strategy once again, but also falling prey to VP’s early aggression again. The Chinese squad trailed by nearly 6k net worth through the mid and late-game stage, but eventually its damage output and team fight strength managed to tip the scales in its favor. Thanks to a strong showing from Maybe on Ember Spirit (12-5-11), PSG.LGD was able to put together another comeback effort to snatch a win away from VP and complete a 2-0 sweep.

The team’s victory over VP advanced it the Upper Bracket Finals for a match up against European squad and defending TI Champion Team Liquid. Game 1 of the series proved to be a significant struggle for the Chinese squad, as its core trio of Gyrocopter, Queen of Pain, and Bloodseeker faced a heavy level of pressure from its opponent in the early stages of the match. That early pressure did not let up over the course of the match, as PSG.LGD trailed throughout the mid and late-game stages despite solid showing from Maybe’s Queen of Pain (6-3-4). With the team facing a deficit of nearly 17k net worth at the 35 minute mark, PSG.LGD opted to throw in the towel to fall behind 0-1 in the series. Things did not improve for the team in Game 2, as Team Liquid was once again able to establish an early advantage through its aggressive play. Just as it had in Game 1, the team team found itself unable to put together a strong enough team fight presence to spark a full comeback effort. Even with a valiant effort from Maybe on Ember Spirit (8-4-12), the team ultimately fell short in its attempt to turn the tide of the match and had its final defenses overwhelmed to suffer a 0-2 loss in the series.

With that loss to Team Liquid, the team dropped down in to the Lower Bracket where it faced VP once again in the Lower Bracket Final. The Chinese squad dominated Game 1 of the series behind an impressive showing from Maybe on Shadow Fiend (16-1-14). The team managed to hold the net worth lead throughout the entirety of the match, and took the better of every team fight to continuously keep its opponent on the defensive. With a net worth lead over nearly 20k at the 29 minute mark, PSG.LGD forced a “gg” call from its opponent to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 saw the Chinese team put together a core trio of Monkey King, Outworld Devourer, and Doom in a match that saw the net worth lead bounce back and force repeatedly over the course of over an hour of game time. The Chinese team held a sizable lead for the majority of the late-game stage, but fell behind late due to a surge from its CIS opponent. Led by Ame on Monkey King (13-12-15) and Maybe’s Outworld Devourer (13-11-11), PSG.LGD was able to reclaim the lead, but ultimately lost the final decisive team fight to lose its advantage and its series lead as VP tied things up at 1-1. After losing that close match in Game 2, PSG.LGD was unable to recover effectively in Game 3, as VP controlled the match from the very beginning of play. PSG.LGD’s core trio of Phantom Lancer, Invoker, and Beastmaster couldn’t find much space to farm and scale as VP’s aggression severely limited their progression through the game. After falling behind by over 31k net worth at the 34 minute mark, PSG.LGD conceded defeat to lose the series 1-2 and end its run at the Supermajor with a 3rd place finish.

PSG.LGD came into the China Dota 2 Supermajor already guaranteed a spot in the field at TI8, as its place among the Top 8 teams on the Pro Circuit had been secured some time ago. That being said, the team was still looking to put together a strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage and potentially add a third Major Championship to its list of achievements. Coming into the event, the team was expected to be a strong contender for that title, with PSG.LGD holding a projected finish in the Top 4 range that it proved more than capable of living up to with a 3rd place position overall. The team put together a flawless run in the Group Stage as it laid low both Infamous and OpTic Gaming to claim the top spot in the Group D standings. The team continued to impress in the Main Event of the Supermajor, claiming wins over fellow Top 8 teams Mineski and VP before losing to Team Liquid and falling 1-2 in its rematch against VP in the Lower Bracket Final. The team had been regarded as one of the strongest teams in the world for some time now, and the Chinese squad did not disappoint as it turned in yet another solid showing on the Pro Circuit stage. At this point in the season, the Dota 2 world almost expects success from PSG.LGD, and the team has managed to keep its level of play fairly consistent in the midst of its recent run on the international level. With the season now over, PSG.LGD has a couple of months to recover and prepare itself for its run at TI8 as it will not have to deal with any of the TI8 Qualifiers. So long as the team avoids any significant internal issues in teh time between now and the start of TI8, PSG.LGD will likely make its way to Vancouver as a significant favorite to make a claim for the Aegis of Champions and immortality in the Dota 2 world.

 

TNC Pro Team Tncproteam

Place: 7th-8th

Winnings: $60,000

TNC Pro Team entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team that was still holding out for a shot at a Top 8 position and a direct invite to TI8. In order for the Southeast Asian squad to accomplish that though, it needed to finish at least 2nd at the event. With the likeliness of that scenario being fairly low, the more reasonable aim for TNC Pro Team in Shanghai was to put together a strong enough performance on the international level to solidify an invite to the TI8 Southeast Asia Qualifier and build up some momentum for itself before facing down its regional rivals later this month. With that in mind, the Southeast Asian squad made its way to Shanghai looking to put together a display on strength on the Pro Circuit stage one last time to end its season on a high note.

The Southeast Asian squad began its run at the Supermajor with a tough test against Pro Circuit leader Virtus.pro in the Opening Matches of Group B. Game 1 saw the Southeast Asian squad pick up cores of Queen of Pain, Troll Warlord, and Beastmaster, but those heroes were quickly forced into a defensive position thanks to the early aggression of VP’s lineup. The Southeast Asian squad was held to just 10 kills in the match, and trailed in terms of net worth for nearly the entirety of the game as it failed to create any significant momentum for itself. After failing behind by nearly 20k net worth at the 26 minute mark, the team conceded defeat to fall behind 0-1 in the series. Game 2 looked to be a repeat performance for TNC Pro Team for the majority of the match, as the Southeast Asian squad struggled significantly. The team’s lineup was unable to put together any team fight victories throughout the mid-game and most of the late-game stages. However, Armel’s Death Prophet (16-6-13, 32.6k net worth) and Ravens’ Gyrocopter (11-3-21, 29.2k net worth) managed to lead the team to a series of team fight victories to turn things around late and pull off an impressive comeback win to even up the series. With the series on the line, TNC Pro Team drafted a core trio of Slark, Gyrocopter, and Nyx Assassin alongside supports of Undying and Jakiro. Once again though, the Southeast Asian squad got off to a weak start in the face of VP’s aggressive play. None of the team’s cores were able to secure any significant amount of farm, and as the game progressed, the squad fell further and further behind in terms of net worth compared to their counterparts. Down by nearly 35k net worth at the 33 minute mark, the Southeast Asian squad called “gg” to take a 1-2 loss in its first series of the event.

The team’s loss in its initial series dropped it down into the Losers’ Match of Group B, where it played North American squad Evil Geniuses. Game 1 of the series saw TNC Pro Team pick up a heavily team fight oriented lineup with a cores of Gyrocopter, Death Prophet, and Axe alongside supports of Disruptor and Sand King. The 2 squads found themselves fighting at a frantic pace in the first half of the match, with TNC Pro Team’s team fight power affording it a small advantage. EG was able to put together a surge in the late-game stage to shift the momentum of the match in its favor, but that lead wouldn’t last long for the North American squad. Behind impressive performances from Armel’s Death Prophet (14-5-28, 31.1k net worth) and Raven’s Gyrocopter (21-5-25, 37.9k net worth), TNC Pro Team was able to put down EG’s surge and reestablish control in the late-game stage with a series of team fight victories that secured it a win to open the series. Game 2 played out in a similar fashion to its predecessor, as TNC Pro Team was able to hold a modest lead in the laning phase before EG made a push in the mid and late-game stages to briefly seize the momentum of the match. However, the Southeast Asian squad was once again able to put a halt to EG’s surge thanks to huge performances from Armel on Bloodseeker (18-8-13) and Raven on Luna (15-5-13). With those 2 players leading the way, TNC Pro Team dominated fights in the late-game and finally broke through EG’s defenses to conclude a 2-0 sweep of the series.

TNC Pro Team’s victory over EG kept its hopes for a high seed alive for the time being, but the team needed to overcome Chinese squad Vici Gaming in the Decider Match of Group B in order to earn that position. Game 1 of the series proved to be a one sided affair for TNC Pro Team, as the Southeast Asian squad dominated its opponent with an Io strategy and aggressive play early. Vici Gaming was held to just 12 kills in the match, and Raven’s Gyrocopter (18-2-8) put together a masterful performance to help lead TNC Pro Team to a wire to wire victory over the Chinese squad. Game 2 saw TNC Pro Team go back to the aggressive play that had earned it its first win of the series, as the team picked up cores of Gyrocopter, Leshrac, and Beastmaster alongside a support duo of Night Stalker and Sand King. That combination of control and damage output allowed TNC Pro Team to exert an incredible level of pressure on Vici Gaming from the very start of the match. With its lineup surrendering kill after kill, Vici Gaming could do little to keep pace with its opponent and found itself trailing by a wide margin in terms of net worth in the mid and late-game stages. Behind impressive showings from Armel on Leshrac (14-1-11) and Raven’s Gyrocopter (13-1-16), TNC Pro Team was able to break through Vici Gaming’s final defense attempts to claim another 2-0 sweep and secure itself a place as a high seed in the Group B standings.

As one of the high seeds of its group, TNC Pro Team advanced to the Upper Bracket of the Main Event, where it faced off against Team Liquid in Round 1. Game 1 saw the team attempt to put together a combination of tankiness and damage output with a core trio of Ember Spirit, Lycan, and Death Prophet. However, that plan quickly fell flat against Team Liquid as the European squad hit TNC Pro Team early and often with a more aggressive style of play. The Southeast Asian squad had few answers to this early aggression, and the team was never able to put together a strong enough team fight effort to break through Team Liquid’s lineup and shift momentum in its favor. Despite a valiant effort from Raven on Lycan (7-2-9), TNC Pro Team found itself trailing by over 27k net wroth before it conceded defeat just past the 35 minute mark to lose the first match of the series. Game 2 did not see TNC Pro Team’s fortunes improve much, as the Southeast Asian team was simply run over by its opponents in a dominant display from Team Liquid. TNC Pro Team was held to just 6 kills in the match and trailed in terms of net worth from the very beginning of play. None of the team’s heroes were able to secure any significant levels of farm, leading to TNC Pro Team calling “gg” and backing out of the match just a little over 20 minutes in to the game to suffer a 0-2 defeat in the series.

The team’s loss  dropped it down to the Lower Bracket, but TNC Pro Team was not out of the Supermajor just yet as it faced VGJ.Storm in Round 2 of the Lower Bracket with elimination on the line. The team attempted to out fight and out farm is opponent in Game 1 with a core trio of Terrorblade, Puck, and Axe, but that lineup ran into difficulties past the laning phase. VGJ.Storm was able to seize control of the momentum of the match in the mid and late-game stages, as TNC Pro Team’s cores struggled to keep pace despite their solid start. The Southeast Asian squad was held to just 12 kills in the game, and trailed by over 20k net worth at the 31 minute mark before conceding defeat to fall behind 0-1 in the series. TNC Pro Team was able to turn the tables in Game 2 of the series, as the Southeast Asian squad was the one to play at a faster tempo and exert early pressure on its opponent. The team’s core trio of Dragon Knight, Lone Druid, and Beastmaster combined for a stat line of 21-6-39 that allowed it to hold the net worth lead for nearly the entirety of the match. With a 12-2 run in terms of kills over the final 2 minutes of the game, TNC Pro Team was able to decisively overcome VGJ.Storm’s final defenses to earn a 1-1 tie in the series. After its one sided victory in Game 2 of the series, TNC Pro Team put together an absolutely dominant showing in Game 3 as the team simply overwhelmed its opponent. The team’s core trio of Lifestealer, Mirnana, and Doom provided it with more than enough damage to bully VGJ.Storm’s heroes early and rack up pick offs and team fight wins. Armel’s Mirana (28-1-14) proved unstoppable in the match, as TNC Pro Team held the net worth lead throughout the entirety of the match despite a solid effort from VGJ.Storm to extend the match. Unfortunately for the North American squad, it was unable to buy enough time to mount an effective comeback effort, as TNC Pro Team claimed a 2-1 win in the series and advanced to the next round of the Lower Bracket.

Round 3 of the Lower Bracket brought TNC Pro Team face to face with another North American squad in the form of OpTic Gaming. Game 1 of the series saw TNC Pro Team pick up a core trio of Dragon Knight, Gyrocopter, and Doom in addition to a support duo of Winter Wyvern and Skywrath Mage. That lineup was able to hold its own through the laning phase, but it quickly fell behind once the match shifted into the mid and late-game stages. OpTic Gaming’s lineup was able to find pick offs and exert pressure on TNC Pro Team’s core heroes that helped the North American squad build up a sizable net worth lead. Behind a solid showing from Armel’s Dragon Knight (9-4-10), TNC Pro Team put together a late game surge that came close to breaking OpTic Gaming’s control over the match and potentially sparking a comeback effort. In the end though, that comeback never materialized, and TNC Pro Team’s surge fell short as the Southeast Asian team fell behind 0-1 in the series. In Game 2, the team was taken almost completely off guard by a Huskar pick from OpTic Gaming that it simply was not prepared to handle. The Southeast Asian squad could do little to combat OpTic Gaming’s lineup, and found itself tariling by a significant margin relatively early in the match. TNC Pro Team was never able to put together a strong enough team fight presence to turn the tides, and its cores couldn’t hope to match the pace that OpTic Gaming’s heroes were setting in terms of net worth and item progression. After falling behind by over 13k net worth at the 21 minute mark and with Mega Creeps pushing in across all of its lanes, TNC Pro Team opted to concede defeat to fall 0-2 in the series. That loss brought the team’s run at the Supermajor to an end, as TNC Pro Team ended up with a finish in the 7th-8th place position overall.

TNC Pro Team entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team that still technically had a shot at earning itself a Top 8 position in the Pro Circuit standings and a direct invite to TI8. Seeing as how the necessary scenario for that achievement to be realized was incredibly unlikely, the team was more concerned with putting together a strong enough performance to lock in an invite to the TI8 Southeast Asia Qualifier and build up momentum heading into that showdown with its regional rivals. Coming into the event, the Southeast Asian team was not expected to perform very well, with TNC Pro Team projected to finish at the bottom of the standings in the 12th-16th place position. However, the squad proved itself capable of playing far beyond that meager prediction, as it pushed all the way into the top half of the standings with a 7th-8th place finish in Shanghai. The team looking incredible in its Group Stage run, as it claimed a game off of Pro Circuit leader VP before winning back to back 2-0 sweeps over both Evil Geniuses and Vici Gaming to secure a spot as a high seed in Group B. To win 3 of its 5 Group Stage matches against Top 8 ranked teams is a feat that few squads on the Pro Circuit can match, and it put TNC Pro Team in a fantastic position moving into the Main Event. Once there, the team’s performance took a bit of a hit, as the team lost its series to both Team Liquid and OpTic Gaming while earning a 2-1 win over VGJ.Storm. Of course, those performances put the team in the top half of the event standings in addition to showing off the talent and potential of the squad. However, the team’s performance in Shanghai also displayed a dangerous level of inconsistency in its play on the international level. When the team won, it looked confident both its itself and in its strategies as one would hope from a team looking to prove itself as a leader within its region. However, when TNC Pro Team lost, it often lost by a wise margin in blowout losses in which it never really seemed to be in a position to succeed. Part of that might simply come from the caliber of teams that TNC Pro Team found itself facing in Shanghai as opposed to any sort of problems with the team’s style of play. The top teams on the Pro Circuit excel at exploiting every mistake or misstep that a team makes, and its possible that TNC Pro Team’s performance will look a bit more consistent against somewhat less formidable opponents in the Regional Qualifiers. With no more events left on the Pro Circuit schedule, it appears that the next time we will see TNC Pro Team in action will be in the TI8 Regional Qualifiers. Despite some inconsistencies on the Pro Circuit stage, TNC Pro Team showed the Dota 2 world what it is capable of in Shanghai, and if the Southeast Asian squad continues to play at that level through the TI8 Regional Qualifiers, then it stands a solid chance of emerging victorious from its home region to represent Southeast Asia in Vancouver this summer.

 

VGJ.Storm VGJ Storm

Place: 9th-12th

Winnings: $22,500

VGJ.Storm entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team that had been on an impressive run over the course of its last few appearance on the Pro Circuit stage. The North American squad had put together back to back Top 4 finishes, and was looking for a third as it made its way to Shanghai for the final event of the Pro Circuit season. Unfortunately, the team had already forfeited its invite eligibility at a previous point in the season, meaning the squad was destined for a run through the TI8 North America Open Qualifier regardless of its performance at the Supermajor. Even with the constraints of that situation, VGJ.Storm came to Shanghai looking to finish its season on a high note with one last strong showing on the Pro Circuit stage.

The North American squad began its run at the Supermajor with a match up against Southeast Asian squad Mineski in the Opening Matches of Group C. Game 1 of the series saw the team pick up a core trio of Juggernaut, Death Prophet, and Beastmaster, with that lineup getting off to a strong start in the laning phase despite suffering a few early casualties. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t maintain that momentum for very long, as Mineski dominated the mid and late-game stages to completely turn the momentum of the match in its favor. Despite a solid showing from Resolu1on’s Juggernaut (6-1-1), VGJ.Storm was unable to mount any sort of effective comeback effort and the North American squad found itself behind in the series 0-1. Game 2 saw the roles reversed for the 2 squads, as VGJ.Storm was able to build up a significant lead and hold it throughout the entirety of the match. Behind an impressive showing from Resolut1on’s Medusa (11-1-13) and Sneyking’s Beastmaster (7-5-15), the team was able to keep Mineski’s lineup under considerable pressure and prevent the Southeast Asian squad from putting together a cohesive comeback effort. With a lead of over 21k net worth and Mega Creeps secured, VGJ.Storm was able to push past Mineski’s final defenses to force a “gg” call and even the series at 1-1. In Game 3, the team picked up a core trio of Phantom Lancer, Ember Spirit, and Beastmaster alongside supports of Warlock and Nyx Assassin. Early on in the match, that lineup faced some struggles against Mineski’s more durable heroes and faced a small net worth deficit over the first 20 minutes of play. However, the second half of the match went decisively in VGJ.Storm’s favor as the North American team took near complete control of the game. The team’s core trio posted a stat line of 21-9-50 and managed to claim multiple team fight wins in the mid and late-game stages to shut down Mineski and build up its own advantage in terms of net worth. Mineski mounted one final defense of its base, but VGJ.Storm was able to push through it to secure a 2-1 series victory.

VGJ.Storm’s victory in its opening series allowed it to advance to the Winner’s Match of the group where it faced off against Team Secret for the top spot in the Group C standings. Game 1 of the series saw the North Americna squad look for heavy damage output with a core trio of Sniper, Lycan, and Death Prophet, and the team was able to get off to a strong start in the game thanks in large part to those cores. VGJ.Storm built up a sizable net worth lead in the mid and late-game stages due to its ability to control the majority of team fights and keep Team Secret on the defensive. However, Team Secret was able to turn things in its favor late, as the European squad began to establish its own team fight power and overwhelm VGJ.Storm’s lineup in a series of strong engagements. Even with Resolut1on putting together an incredible performance on Sniper (19-6-16, 32.4k net worth) and Sneyking’s Lycan (7-5-24, 26.2k net worth) making a significant contribution, the North American squad could not regain its momentum and ended up losing the opening match of the series. Game 2 proved to be a far less contentious affair, as Team Secret came out aggressively from the start and established a fast pace that VGJ.Storm was not prepared to match. The team surrendered a massive number of kills in the early stages of the match, and found itself trailing by nearly 9k net worth before the 20 minute mark. Things didn’t get much better beyond that point, as the North American squad couldn’t create any momentum for itself and failed to significantly chip away at its net worth deficit despite a few solid team fight performances. Trailing by over 21k net worth at the 47 minute mark, VGJ.Storm launched an unsuccessful attempt to defend its base that signaled the last of its resistance as the team conceded defeat to fall 0-2 in the series.

The team’s loss dropped it down into the Decider Match of Group C for a rematch against Mineski with the final high seed of Group C and a spot in the Upper Bracket of the Main Event on the line. Game 1 would be a blowout loss for VGJ.Storm, as the North American squad was out fought and out paced by its opponent from the very start of the match. The team’s cores simply couldn’t secure farm without putting themselves in danger, and Mineski’s aggressive play allowed it to consistently force engagements that VGJ.Storm was ready to take. Down by nearly 33k net worth at the 33 minute mark, the team conceded defeat to fall behind 0-1 in the series. In Game 2, it was VGJ.Storm’s turn to put on a dominant display of strength as the roles were reversed for the 2 squads. The team’s core trio of Luna, Ember Spirit, and Omniknight helped the team establish a fast pace and completely control team fights throughout the match with a combined stat line of 23-14-49. With MSS’s Disruptor (11-7-18) pitching in with an impressive showing as well, the North American squad lead for nearly the entirety of the match to claim a win and tie the series. Unfortunately for VGJ.Storm, the team wasn’t able to carry any of its momentum over into the final match of the series. The team’s core trio of Leshrac, Gyrocopter, and Enigma struggled significantly against a more aggressive Mineski lineup. Despite a large amount of damage and a considerable team fight presence, the North American squad couldn’t turn the tides to overcome its ever-increasing net worth deficit. With that deficit climbing up to nearly the 34k net worth mark, VGJ.Storm finally threw in the towel to lose the series 1-2.

With its loss to Mineski in the Decider Match, VGJ.Storm ended up as a low seed in Group C and was placed in the Lower Bracket of the Main Event, where it faced off against South American squad Infamous. The team looked for high damage output and team fight control in Game 1, drafting a core trio of Faceless Void, Lina, and Beastmaster along with supports of Disruptor and Elder Titan. That lineup ran into some trouble in the first half of the match, as Infamous’s lineup was able to play a more aggressive style that had VGJ.Storm playing from behind. However, the North American squad was able to turn things around in the late game and shift momentum in its favor through a series of team fight wins. Behind impressive showings from Resolut1on’s Faceless Void (19-2-15, 31.8k net worth) and Yawar’s Lina (10-8-15, 23.1k net worth), VGJ.Storm pushed past Infamous’s final defenses to secure a win to open the series. In Game 2, the North American squad once again got off to a slow start as Infamous largely controlled the early stage. From the mid-game on though, the momentum of the match went entirely in VGJ.Storm’s favor as the North American squad dominated team fights and out scaled its opponent. Yawar’s Templar Assassin (15-4-9) led the way for the team as VGJ.Storm built up a net worth lead of over 13k en route to a decisive victory that secured the team a 2-0 sweep in the series.

Round 2 of the Lower Bracket brought VGJ.Storm face to face with Southeast Asian squad TNC Pro Team for another Bo3 elimination. Just as it had in the previous series, VGJ.Storm found itself falling behind in the laning stage of Game 1, but the team was quick to recover from that slow start. With a combined stat line of 15-5-32 from its core trio of Luna, Mirana, and Underlord, the team dominated the mid and late-game stages and kept TNC Pro Team on the defensive as it built up a considerable net worth lead. With a net worth lead of over 20k at the 31 minute mark, VGJ.Storm was able to force a “gg” call from its opponent to claim the opening match in the series and a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately for the team, its momentum would end there, as Game 2 proved to be a mostly one sided match. VGJ.Storm’s core trio of Monkey King, Death Prophet, and Clockwerk struggled significantly from the very start of the game and quickly fell behind in terms of net worth. The mid and late-game stages did not bring much improvement to the team’s situation, as VGJ.Storm couldn’t put together any sort of team fight presence to shift momentum in its favor. The team trailed for nearly the entirety of the match, and fell behind by over 14k net worth at the 26 minute mark before conceding defeat and surrendering its lead in the series. Game 3 saw VGJ.Storm draft a core trio of Phantom Lancer, Leshrac, and Underlord, but the North American squad was out played from the start by its Southeast Asian opponent. TNC Pro Team’s lineup was able to employ a level of early aggression that VGJ.Storm simply wasn’t prepared to handle. The team quickly fell behind in terms of net worth, and had to try to rely upon Resolut1on’s Phantom Lancer (13-2-9, 35.7k net worth) to carry it into the late-game where it could potentially make a comeback. Despite its best efforts though, VGJ.Storm could not fully break through TNC Pro Team nor could it wipe out the Southeast Asian squads’ considerable lead. The team’s final attempt to defend its base ended up falling short, and TNC Pro Team claimed a 2-1 victory to knock VGJ.Storm out of the event with a 9th-12th place finish overall.

VGJ.Storm entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team that had been on an impressive run on the Pro Circuit stage. Though the team was destined for the TI8 North America Open Qualifier, VGJ.Storm had put together back to back Top 4 finishes, and was looking for a third in Shanghai. Prior to the start of play at the Supermajor, the North American squad was expected to compete for a place in the top half of the event standings, with a projected finish in the 7th-8th place range. Despite a solid performance from the team though, VGJ.Storm was unable to meet that prediction as it ended up in the bottom half of the standings in the 9th-12th place position. The team put together a solid run through the Group Stage of the event, as VGJ.Storm posted a 3-5 record in 2 series against Mineski and 1 against Team Secret. Taking 3 games off of 2 Top 8 ranked squads is no easy task, but VGJ.Storm looked confident across those 3 victories despite falling short of a high seed and having to play in the Lower Bracket. The team looked strong in its Main Event series as well, as it earned a quick 2-0 win over Infamous before taking a 1-2 loss to TNC Pro Team. Infamous isn’t exactly one of the most formidable squads on the Pro Circuit, but a close series against a solid TNC Pro Team, combined with its Group Stage wins is a good sign for the team moving forward. The team’s next destination following the conclusion of this final Pro Circuit event of the season is the TI8 North America Open Qualifiers. VGJ.Storm may not have been able to advance as far in Shanghai as it may have hoped, but the North American squad has been looking strong and confident both at home and on the international level. With many of the region’s notable teams participating in the Open Qualifiers, the path to the Main Qualifier for VGJ.Storm may be more crowded than it had originally anticipated. However, should the North American squad manage to play at the level that it has recently been showing on the Pro Circuit stage, then VGJ.Storm should stand as a favored squad against its regional rivals on its road to TI8.

 

Infamous LOGO-INFAMOUS-COMERCIAL

Place: 13th-16th

Winnings: $15,000

Infamous came into the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team in a relatively strange position. The squad sat as one of the leading teams in South America, but the loss of its invite eligibility meant that it was destined for a run through the Open Qualifiers regardless of its performance in Shanghai. Considering the fact that every other notable team in South American had also lost its invite eligibility, Infamous was in a position where it was likely to face off against its most formidable regional rivals sooner than it may have anticipated. With that in mind, the squad was looking for one last chance to put together a strong showing on the international level in Shanghai in the hopes of building up momentum for itself prior to its run through the TI8 South America Open Qualifiers.

Infamous began its run in Shanghai with a match up against PSG.LGD in the Opening Matches of Group D. Game 1 saw the South American squad pick up a core trio of Gyrocopter, Luna, and Pangolier, but those heroes quickly found themselves struggling in the match. PSG.LGD’s lineup was able to push the pace of the game and exert near control control over team fights, putting Infamous at a disadvantage for the entirety of the game. Despite the team’s best efforts, Infamous could do little to slow the advance of its opponent as the South American team fell behind 0-1 in the series. Game 2 ended up playing out in almost the exact same fashion, as Infamous again stumbled out of the gate and had difficulties dealing with the early pressure and aggression from PSG.LGD. While Kotarō Hayama was able to put together a solid showing on Slark (9-8-5), Infamous never mounted any sort of effective comeback effort and trailed throughout of the entire match before conceding defeat to take a 0-2 loss in the series.

The team’s loss to PSG.LGD dropped Infamous into the Losers’ Match of Group D, where the South American squad faced another Chinese opponent in the form of VGJ.Thunder. Unfortunately for the team, its struggles appeared to carry over into this series as well, as Infamous got off to a slow start in Game 1. The team’s core trio of Gyrocopter, Mirana, and Batrider faced heavy pressure from VGJ.Thunder early, as the Chinese squad was quick to seize control of the pace of the game. Despite Papita’s Mirana (6-3-4) putting together a valiant effort, Infamous was unable to come close to a significant enough push to stop or even slow down VGJ.Thunder momentum. Facing a deficit of over 30k net worth and Mega Creeps, Infamous eventually conceded defeat to go down 0-1 in the series. Things somehow managed to get worse for Infamous in Game 2 though, as the South American squad found itself losing faster and harder than it had in the previous match. The team’s heroes were under near constant pressure from VGJ.Thunder, and ended up surrendering a multitude of kills that greatly contributed to a huge net worth deficit. The team simply didn’t have the damage or the team fight execution that it needed to overcome VGJ.Thunder’s heroes, and as the game went on the Chinese squad simply continued to press further and further ahead. Wits its base in ruins and all hopes of a comeback thoroughly thwarted, Infamous threw in the towel to take a 0-2 loss in the series and lock in a low seed in the Group D standings.

That low seed placed Infamous in the Lower Bracket of the Main Event, where the team faced another VGJ squad in North American team VGJ.Storm. Game 1 saw Infamous pick up a core trio of Luna, Viper, and Legion Commander alongside supports of Sand King and Warlock in an attempt to control team fights. Over the first half of the match, that lineup was looking fairly successful, as Infamous was able to hold its own in early engagements and build up a small net worth lead. Behind solid showings from Papita’s Viper (12-7-11) and Kotarō Hayama on Luna (9-7-10), the team built up a lead of over 7k net worth in the late-game stage and looked to be in a position to potentially close out the match. However, VGJ.Storm was able to seize control for themselves with a series of momentum shifting team fight victories that shattered Infamous’s lead and put the South American squad behind 0-1 in the series. In Game 2, Infamous picked up cores of Morphling, Lina, and Doom in an attempt to overwhelm VGJ.Storm with high damage output heroes. The team was able to hold a small lead through the early stages of the match despite giving up a few kills, but couldn’t generate much momentum beyond that point. VGJ.Storm was able to establish control over team fights in the mid and late-game stages, and Infamous’s high damage output proved to be insufficient to punch through the team’s lineup. Infamous attempted a final defense of its base, but those efforts were unsuccessful as VGJ.Storm claimed the series and handed Infamous another 0-2 defeat. That loss brought the South American squad’s time at the Supermajor to a close, with the team finishing at the bottom of the standings in the 13th-16th place position overall.

Infamous entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor looking for an opportunity to build up some form of momentum for itself in the final event of the season. Like just about all of the significant South American teams, Infamous was headed for the TI8 South America Open Qualifiers, and was hoping to get in one last solid showing on the Pro Circuit stage. Coming into the event, the team wasn’t expected to accomplish much, with a projected finish within the 13th-16th place range in Shanghai. That prediction proved to be accurate, as Infamous failed to advance out Round 1 of the Lower Bracket and ended up at the bottom of the standings in the 13th-16th place position. The team’s performance in Shanghai was anything but impressive, as the South American squad posted a 0-6 record overall. The team looked somewhat lost and out matched in their games, as Infamous failed to win a single match at the event. The good news for Infamous was that the team at least showed some strength in the early stages of some of its games, although the team’s few early leads fell apart in the late-game stages. Infamous showed a startling level of difficulty closing out matches, as it was out played in the second half of all 6 of its matches in Shanghai. The team has few positives to take away from its performance at the final Pro Circuit event of the season, as Infamous did not succeed at impressing with its level of play. Despite its poor showing at the Supermajor, Infamous will still enter the TI8 South America Open Qualifier as one of the leading teams in its home region and a contender for a place in the main regional qualifier. That being said, all it would take is a single loss to knock Infamous off of the path to TI8, and the team’s struggles in Shanghai didn’t do much to alleviate those concerns.

 

The Final Tribe The Final Tribe

Place: 13th-16th

Winnings: $15,000

The Final Tribe entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team that was technically still in the running for a Top 8 spot and a direct invite to TI8. However, in order to do that the team would need to at least reach the Grand Finals of the event, a scenario that was probably one of the least likely to occur in Shanghai. With that in mind, the team’s aims at the event were to put together a strong enough performance to distance itself from its regional rivals with the TI8 Qualifiers looming on the horizon. The team’s invite eligibility meant that it has a chance to skip the Open Qualifiers in Europe, and The Final Tribe had one last chance to impress on the international stage to ensure that it didn’t wind up getting snubbed when the qualifier invites were announced.

The Final Tribe started its run in Shanghai with quite a challenge, as the Swedish squad faced off against Team Secret in the Opening Matches of Group C. Game 1 of the series was a complete disaster for The Final Tribe, as the team was blown out by its opponent. The Swedish squad put together just 5 kills in the match and trailed in terms of net worth from start to finish as Team Secret dominated every aspect of the game. The team made an attempt to extend that match and buy itself time, but Team Secret was too far ahead for that and The Final Tribe was forced to concede defeat in the opening match in the series. Game 2 saw the roles reversed for the 2 squads, as The Final Tribe was the team to come out with an aggressive style and build up an early lead. With the team’s core trio combining for a stat line of 21-5-36, The Final Tribe was able to dominate fights and keep Team Secret on the defensive throughout the entire match. Team Secret couldn’t build up any sort of momentum for itself, as the European squad was held to just 10 kills in total to give The Final Tribe its first win of the event and a 1-1 tie in the series. Unfortunately, The Final Tribe wasn’t able to carry any of its momentum from Game 2 over into the final match of the series, as the Swedish squad struggled significantly in Game 3. Its core trio of Luna, Dragon Knight, and Necrophos was heavily pressured from the very start of the match and had difficulties keeping pace with their counterparts on Team Secret. With its core heroes stunted in terms of their progression, The Final Tribe’s team fight power never materialized and the team fell further and further behind through the mid and late-game stages. With just 9 kills to its name and a net worth deficit of nearly 14k, The Final Tribe was powerless to hold off Team Secret’s advance as the team fell 1-2 in its first series of the Supermajor.

That initial loss to Team Secret dropped The Final Tribe into the Losers’ Match of the group, where it faced off against Southeast Asian squad Mineski in a Bo3 series. Game 1 of the series saw the team put together a core trio of Luna, Legion Commander, and Jakiro, but those heroes encountered some problems beyond the laning stage of the match. Mineski’s lineup was able to better utilize its damage and control, as the Southeast Asian team established a fast pace that heavily punished The Final Tribe’s heroes and forced the Swedish squad to play from behind across the mid and late-game stages. Despite a valiant effort from Era on Legion Commander (6-2-5), The Final Tribe couldn’t do anything to slow Mineski down and called “gg” to drop the first match of the series. Things did not improve for The Final Tribe in Game 2, as the team was completely stomped by its opponent. The team’s core trio of Medusa, Axe, and Lifestealer failed to gain any traction in the, and The Final Tribe could only secure 8 kills throughout the entire match as it was playing from behind from the very start. The team trailed by nearly 23k net worth at the 24 minute mark of the game, and with no feasible way of drawing out the match into a late-game scenario, The Final Tribe conceded defeat to take a 0-2 loss and a low seed in the Group C standings.

That low seed placed The Final Tribe in the Lower Bracker of the Main Event, where the team faced off against VGJ.Thunder to determine which team would carry on at the Supermajor. The Swedish squad picked up a core trio of Slark, Death Prophet, and Underlord in Game 1, but the team’s lineup very quickly found itself at a disadvantage against its Chinese opponent. VGJ.Thunder played an aggressive style that put The Final Tribe on the defensive early and limited its opportunities to effectively fight back. Despite a solid showing from Frost on Slark (7-6-1), The Final Tribe could do nothing to slow the march of its opponent, as VGJ.Thunder acquired Mega Creeps and wiped out the team’s final defenses to hand the team a 0-1 deficit in the series. Game 2 proved to be pretty much a repeat of its predecessor, as The Final Tribe was once again pressured early. VGJ.Thunder was able to establish an ironclad hold over the match and simply overran The Final Tribe in fight after fight. The Swedish squad put together some valiant efforts to defend its base, but all of its attempts proved futile as VGJ.Thunder swept into its base and built up a lead of over 32k net worth at the 30 minute mark and claim a 2-0 sweep of the series. The loss dropped The Final Tribe out of the bracket at the Supermajor, as the team ended its run in Shanghai with a finish at the bottom of the standings in the 13th-16th place position.

The Final Tribe entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team looking for a chance to finally find success on the Pro Circuit stage. The team technically came into this event with a shot at a Top 8 spot in the standings and a direct invite to TI8, but that scenario was entirely unreasonable for the squad. Instead, the hope for The Final Tribe was to build up some experience and momentum for itself in preparation for the TI8 Europe Qualifier. Coming into the event in Shanghai, the team wasn’t really expected to compete for a strong finish, as the team was projected to end up at the bottom of the standings in the 13th-16th place position. Unfortunately, the team proved unable to push past that predicted outcome as it did in fact finish in the lowest section of the event standings. The team’s performance in Shanghai was not exactly what one would consider impressive, as the Swedish squad earned itself just a single win across its 7 matches at the Supermajor. The good news for The Final Tribe though is that its 1 win did come against a Top 8 ranked squad and TI8 direct invitee in Team Secret, which gives the team at least 1 positive take away from the event. Aside from that win though, the team looked largely out matched in its games, which was somewhat expected considering the squad’s limited experience on the Pro Circuit stage this season. The Final Tribe’s performance in Shanghai may not have been a triumphant one, but the Swedish squad is still sitting in a relatively strong position within its region. Aside from squads like Team Secret and Team Liquid, the European region is not looking as strong as it has in years past, and The Final Tribe finds itself within the mix of teams hoping to rise to the top. The team is one one quite a few in Europe to still hold invite eligibility, but The Final Tribe’s Pro Circuit experience will likely put it far enough ahead of its rivals to secure an invite to the TI8 Europe Qualifier. How it performs from that point forward is anyone’s guess at this point, but The Final Tribe will at least have an opportunity to turn its talent and potential into tangible results and take its shot at a place in Vancouver this summer.

 

Team Spirit 536px-Team_Spirit_2016

Place: 13th-16th

Winnings: $15,000

Team Spirit entered the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a bit of a late arrival on the Pro Circuit stage, as the team had made its debut just a few days earlier at the ESL One Birmingham Major and was attending just its second event of the season in Shanghai. That being said, the team had been putting together an impressive level of effort within its home region, and stood as a solid contender within the CIS hierarchy. With the team’s invite eligibility lost, Team Spirit was heading for the TI8 CIS Open Qualifiers regardless of its performance at the Supermajor. However, the squad was still looking to put together a solid showing on the Pro Circuit stage and finish its season in style with a sense of confidence and momentum heading into the Open Qualifiers.

The CIS squad got its run in Shanghai started with a series against defending TI Champion Team Liquid in the Opening Matches of Group A. Game 1 saw Team Spirit pick up a core Jakiro alongside Slark and Slardar in an effort to overpower Team Liquid. Early in the match, that strategy didn’t appear to be working out, as Team Liquid was able to scale well and build up a small net worth lead for itself at Team Spirit’s expense. However, the late-game stage saw the CIS squad come to life, as its team fight power drastically turned the tides of the match. Behind an incredible performance from Illidan’s Slark (16-3-9), Team Spirit out killed its opponents by a score of 16-2 over the final 5 minutes of the game to wipe out Team Liquid’s lead and claim a victory to open the series. Game 2 saw Team Spirit look to put together a strong team fight lineup, combining a core trio of Phantom Lancer, Dragon Knight, and Brewmaster with supports of Warlock and Sand King. Unfortunately, that team fight focus didn’t work out in the way Team Spirit had been hoping for, as Team Liquid was the team to establish control over the match. Despite a solid effort from DkPhobos on Brewmaster (7-2-1), Team Spirit was quickly overwhelmed, and the CIS squad conceded defeat in just over 18 minutes to lose its lead in the series. With the series on the line, Team Spirit opted to go for an Io strategy in Game 3, combining the support pick with cores of Gyrocopter, Lina, and Brewmaster. That lineup allowed the team to dominate the first half of the match, as the team build up a sizable net worth lead behind an impressive showing from Illidan on Gyrocopter (18-7-12). With a lead of over 8k net worth heading into the late-game, Team Spirit looked to be in a commanding position, but Team Liquid was able to fight back. A series of tough team fight losses wiped out Team Spirit’s lead and shifted momentum irrevocably into Team Liquid’s hands as the European squad handed Team Spirit a 1-2 loss in the series.

That loss dropped Team Spirit down into the Losers’ Match of Group A, where it faced an all-CIS showdown against Na’Vi to decide which team would have a shot at advancing to the Decider Match of the group. Team Spirit came out aggressively in Game 1 of the series with a core trio of Razor, Kunkka, and Night Stalker alongside supports of Shadow Demon and Leshrac. That lineup was able to establish a fast and aggressive pace that immediately forced Na’Vi into a defensive posture as Team Spirit took the lead early in the match. Behind strong performances from G’s Kunkka (15-3-10) and Illidan’s Razor (11-1-11), Team Spirit was able to keep near constant pressure on Na’Vi’s heroes and continuously build up its net worth lead. Na’Vi attempted to extend the game and defend its base, but those efforts proved futile as Team spirit claimed a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 played out in a similar fashion for Team Spirit, as the CIS squad was quick to establish its control over that match as well. The team’s early aggression was able to heavily pressure and limit the progression of Na’Vi’s heroes, and Team Spirit quickly built up a net worth lead that it was able to maintain throughout almost the entirety of the match. With the team’s core trio of Slark, Windranger, and Axe combining for a stat line of 32-16-45, Team Spirit dominated team fights throughout the match and kept Na’Vi on the defensive as the team completed a 2-0 sweep of the series.

The team’s first series victory of the Supermajor allowed it to stay alive in the Group Stage, as the CIS squad faced off against Newbee in the Decider Match of Group A to determine which of the 2 squads would advance to the Upper Bracket of the Main Event. Game 1 proved to be an evenly matched affair, as the 2 squads traded the net worth lead back and forth over the first half of the match. However, Team Spirit’s team fight power eventually afforded it an advantage as the CIS squad pulled ahead in the late-game behind strong showings from Illidan on Slark (10-3-17) and fng on Warlock (10-4-18). Despite its best efforts, Newbee proved unable to halt Team Spirit’s advance as teh CIS squad claimed a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 saw Team Spirit pick up a core trio of Drow Ranger, Visage, and Slardar in an attempt to overwhelm its opponent with a fast pace and high damage output. That strategy appeared to be working through the early and mid-game stages, as the 2 teams fought each other frequently with Team Spirit getting the most out of those engagements. However, the team’s momentum didn’t carry over into the late-game stage, as the CIS squad stalled out in the face of Newbee’s considerable team fight power. Even with G’s Visage (14-6-8, 30.9k net worth) putting together an impressive performance, Team Spirit found itself losing late-game fights as Newbee established control and pushed through the CIS squad’s defenses to tie up the series 1-1. With its momentum shattered after its Game 2 loss, Team Spirit found itself playing from behind in the final match of the series. The team’s lineup was heavily pressured early, and Newbee was able to establish a strong pace that earned it a sizable net worth lead. Behind a valiant effort from DkPhobos on Slarder (12-5-16), Team Spirit was able to make a small surge in the late-game stage, but it wasn’t enough to truly swing the momentum of the match in the team’s favor. Trailing by over 14k net worth and facing Mega Creeps at the 44 minute mark, Team Spirit finally threw in the towel to lose the series 1-2 and end the Group Stage as a low seed in Group A.

As a low seed, Team Spirit found itself starting the Main Event in the Lower Bracket where it faced an elimination series against North American team Evil Geniuses in Round 1. The team looked to play aggressively in Game 1 of the series, picking up a core trio of Luna, LIna, and Doom alongside supports of Nature’s Prophet and Skywrath Mage. That lineup and strategy were both wildly successful for the team across the first half of the match, as Team Spirit established a significant net worth lead and kept EG on the defensive. However, the CIS squad couldn’t fully keep EG’s lineup contained, as the North American squad continued to progress and find farm for its core heroes. Eventually, Team Spirit found itself out paced by its opponent, and EG turned the tides of the match and won a key team fight that forced the CIS squad to concede defeat to fall behind 0-1 in the series. The team refused to give up on its aggressive strategy in Game 2 of the series, as the team picked up a core trio of Chaos Knight, Mirana, and Night Stalker with supports of Shadow Demon and Leshrac. The team’s aggressive style once again earned it an early advantage, but this time the CIS squad was able to maintain that lead and keep EG in a defensive position. The team’s core trio combined for a stat line of 27-7-44, and EG’s heroes were given no room to work themselves back into the match as Team Spirit secured multiple team fight victories in the late-game to defeat the North American squad and tie up the series 1-1. With its life on the line at the Supermajor, the team picked up a core trio of Luna, Windranger, and Axe in Game 3 of the series. That lineup found itself playing from behind early, as EG’s heavy control and damage output afforded it a significant advantage across the first half of the match. However, Team Spirit managed to persevere and survive into the late game, where Illidan’s Luna (12-8-13, 27.5k net worth) was able to lead the team to an impressive comeback effort that swung the momentum of the match in its favor. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t close out the win, as EG held on by the skin of its teeth to retake control and give Team Spirit a close 1-2 loss in the series. That tough loss brought Team Spirit’s run at the Supermajor to an end, with the CIS squad finishing in the 13th-16th place position overall.

Team Spirit came into the China Dota 2 Supermajor as a team that didn’t have a horse in the race in the Pro Circuit standings. The team had lost its invite eligibility, and as such was destined for a run through the TI8 CIS Open Qualifiers regardless of its performance in Shanghai. That being said, the team was still looking to put together a solid showing on the Pro Circuit stage in an effort to build up some form of momentum for itself at the end of the season. Prior to the start of the event, the team was expected to finish in the bottom half of the standings with a projected finish in the 9th-12th place range. Despite a solid effort in Shanghai, Team Spirit fell short of that prediction with a finish at the bottom of the standings in the 14th-16th place position. On the surface, Team Spirit’s finish at the bottom of the standings in Shanghai would imply a weak or otherwise ineffective performance at the event. However, a closer look at the team’s series at the event reveals a more impressive level of play from the CIS squad. The team put together a strong performance in the Group Stage of the event, defeating Na’Vi 2-0 and taking games in its series against Top 8 ranked squads Team Liquid and Newbee for a 4-4 record in Group A. Unfortunately, that record was not enough to earn Team Spirit a spot in the top half of the group standings, as the team began the Main Event in the Lower Bracket. There, the CIS squad nearly overcame EG but fell short in a tough 1-2 loss to end its time at the Major. A 5-6 overall record in Shanghai isn’t exactly a triumphant performance, but for a squad like Team Spirit with limited international experience making just its second appearance at a Pro Circuit event it stands as a significant testament to the team’s strength moving forward. As previously mentioned, Team Spirit will be headed for the TI8 CIS Open Qualifiers now that the Pro Circuit season has officially come to an end. Those qualifiers are set to begin just a few days from now, and Team Spirit will face a multitude of its regional rivals as it endeavors to earn itself a place in the main regional qualifier. If Team Spirit can perform in its Open Qualifier run as it has in Shanghai, then the CIS squad will stand as a formidable opponent and a strong contender to take the next step on its path to TI8.

 

 

 

 

 

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