Day 3 sees PSG.LGD, OG secure Top 3 finishes with Upper Bracket Finals berths. Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid drop to Lower Bracket while VGJ.Storm, Team Secret stay alive in Vancouver.
Day 3 of the TI8 Main Event saw things heat up in Vancouver, as the race to become kings of the Dota 2 world and claim the Aegis of Champions continued. 10 teams remained in the event bracket at the start of the action on the TI stage, but by the end of the day’s matches only 8 were left as he eliminated squads officially outnumbered those still alive in the Main Event. Day 3 brought us 4 Bo3 series, 2 in the Upper Bracket and 2 in the Lower Bracket, and also brought us the first 3 game series of the entire event as squads finally managed to avoid the dreaded 0-2 sweep. When the dust had settled in Vancouver, PSG.LGD and OG stood as the only teams left in the Upper Bracket, earning themselves a day off as their Upper Bracket Finals series will not be played until Day 5. As for the teams that they defeated, Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid have both been dropped into the Lower Bracket, though their schedules will differ slightly moving forward. Team Liquid will not play again until Day 5 of the Main Event, while EG will be back in action on Day 4. Both squads will find out who their opponents will be during the course of the matches on Day 4, as EG will play the winner of the OpTic Gaming vs Virtus.pro series, while Team Liquid will play either VGJ.Storm or Team Secret. While those teams remain alive in the Main Event bracket, others did not find themselves as fortunate, as 2 more squads were eliminated from TI8 in the 2 Lower Bracket series of the day.
Final Position: 9th-12th
Eliminated by: VGJ.Storm (2-0, Lower Bracket Round 2)
Total TI8 Record: 7 Wins, 14 Losses
Final Position: 9th-12th
Eliminated by: Team Secret (2-1, Lower Bracket Round 2)
Total TI8 Record: 9 Wins, 11 Losses
Day 3 Matches
Team Liquid vs PSG.LGD
Bo3 (2-0 PSG.LGD Win)
The first match up in the Upper Bracket began with one of the most highly anticipated series of the Main Event so far, as Team Liquid took on PSG.LGD to determine which team would advance to the Upper Bracket Finals and a guaranteed Top 4 finish at TI8. Game 1 of the series saw Team Liquid look for team fight power as it combined cores of Necrophos, Enchantress, and Phantom Lancer with Earthshaker and Lich supports. Meanwhile, PSG.LGD employed an Io strategy, putting the support pick together with cores of Gyrocopter, Tiny, and Leshrac along with a Bane support. Early in the match, it was apparent that PSG.LGD had the upper hand, as the Chinese squad appeared to be controlling the lanes and putting pressure on the Team Liquid lineup. PSG.LGD was able to find early farm and pick offs, and began dominating team fights in the mid-game stage. Team Liquid did everything that it could to buy time and make space for its cores to farm, but it was already facing a significant net worth deficit. The cores for the European squad never got themselves into a position to fight with their intended strength, and PSG.LGD simply ran over its opponent in every engagement over the final half of the match. With its base broken and its lineup faltering, Team Liquid conceded defeat just shy of the 33 minute mark to fall behind 0-1 in the series.
Game 2 ended up being an even more one sided match than its predecessor, as PSG.LGD put on a masterful performance and completely annihilated its opponent. Team Liquid opted to try out the Io strategy for itself in its draft, combining the support pick with cores of Gyrocopter, Ursa, and Alchemist. Meanwhile, LGD picked up a lineup based around high damage and aggression, spearheaded by core of Phantom Lancer, Tiny, and Bloodseeker. Almost immediately, that aggression came into play for PSG.LGD, as Somnus丶M’s Bloodseeker shut down Miracle- on Alchemist and stymied Team Liquid’s initial game plan. Across the entire map, PSG.LGD’s aggressive early play style was heavily punishing Team Liquid’s lineup and forcing the European squad to play at a massive disadvantage. Things did not get any better for Team Liquid as the match progressed, as it was continuously defeated in team fights and was trailing by over 8k net worth before the 20 minute mark. Despite a desperate attempt to sacrifice territory and structures for time, Team Liquid’s cores were still woefully behind those of PSG.LGD, with the Chinese team exerting near complete control over the map. With one final push, PSG.LGD was able to shatter the final defenses of Team Liquid to claim itself a 2-0 victory over the defending TI Champion. That victory secures PSG.LGD at least a Top 3 finish at TI8, and the Chinese squad is now set to play in the Upper Bracket Finals on Day 5 for a shot at a place in the Grand Finals of TI8. As for Team Liquid, it must once again make a run through the Lower Bracket on the TI stage, just as it did at TI7 a year ago. The defending Champion is not set to play again until Day 5 though, when it will face the winner of Day 4’s VGJ.Storm vs Team Secret series in Round 4 of the Lower Bracket.
OG vs Evil Geniuses
Bo3 (2-1 OG Win)
A match up between OG and Evil Geniuses capped off the Day 4 schedule, as the 2 squads fought to see which of them would secure a Top 3 finish at TI8 and a place in the Upper Bracket Finals in Vancouver. Game 1 saw EG look for durability and mobility in its cores with a trio of Phantom Lancer, Templar Assassin, and Necrophos along with a heavy control based support duo of Vengeful Spirit and Earth Spirit. On the other side of the match up, OG picked up a lineup emphasizing team fight and pushing power with cores of Invoker, Drow Ranger, and Enigmas with Nature’s Prophet and Earthshaker supports. Through the early stages of the game, both teams appeared to be committed to taking fights as often as possible, as the kill count rose fairly quickly for both teams. As the mid-game stage rolled around, OG was finally able to break the deadlock and establish an advantage for itself by taking a crucial team fight win and claiming a lane of barracks at the 21 minute mark. From that point forward, EG seemed to be at a loss for answers, as the North American squad could not regain the momentum that it had surrendered to its opponents. Behind an incredible performance from Topson on Invoker, OG was able to continue building up its lead and establishing control over the map. With EG confined to its own base, OG put together one final push that broke its opponent’s last defenses and secured a 1-0 lead in the series for the European team.
Game 2 of the series saw OG pick up a trio of farming, high damage cores in Arc Warden, Ursa, and Lycan alongside supports of Tusk and Silencer. Meanwhile, Evil Geniuses opted to employ a ranged strategy centered around Drow Ranger, Enchantress, and Gyrcopcopter with Spirit Breaker and Phoenix supports. Early on, it looked as though this match wasn’t going to last all that long, as OG came out on fire to start the game. The European squad was out playing its opponent in the early stage of the match, and EG seemed to have no real answers to that aggressive play. By the 19 minute mark, OG had broken EG’s base and built up a huge net worth lead, putting the North American team’s back against the wall. However, OG’s subsequent attack just minutes later ended up falling well short of its goals as Evil Geniuses pulled off an incredible team fight win to defend its base. That base defense allowed EG to move out across the map, and the team quickly began forcing fights that OG found itself ill-prepared to handle. The EG lineup came alive in the mid and late-game stages, as OG’s lead evaporated before its eyes and its team fight power proved insufficient against its reinvigorated opponents. With OG’s momentum absolutely shattered, Evil Geniuses continued to press the attack, turning the tides on its opponent and claiming wins in fight after fight. Eventually, EG’s newfound momentum was too much for OG to contain, and the North American squad was able to barrel its way down the middle lane to complete an incredible comeback victory to tie up the series 1-1 and force a decisive Game 3.
With the series down to its third and final match, both squads looked to put together one one quality performance to push it into the Upper Bracket Finals and a guaranteed Top 3 Finish at TI8. OG opted for an Io strategy as it combined the hero with a core trio of Spectre, Zeus, and Centuar Warrunner while Evil Geniuses picked up a core trio of Gyrocopter, Tiny, and Enchantress. The North American squad was able to build momentum for itself fairly early into the match, getting out in front of its opponent in the with a sizable net worth lead. Leading the charge for EG was SumaiL on Tiny, as the midlaner immediately stamped his mark on the match with an unbelievable performance. In the fact of that dominating start from its opponent, OG faced significant struggles find farm for its cores and was forced into an almost exclusively defensive position. While the team was staring down a massive net worth deficit, it was still managing to delay the match and buy itself more time to potentially make a comeback. As the match went on into the late-game stage, OG began to recover and challenge EG in fights, slowly working its way to and even match in terms of net worth after trailing by nearly 20k. EG now found itself as the squad having difficulties dealing with its opponent’s lineup, as OG’s heroes were simply too tanky for the North American squad to punch through with its damage output. OG’s persistence paid off after over 53 minutes of game time, as the European squad pulled off a near impossible comeback win to the game and claim a 2-1 victory in the series. That improbable win advances OG to the Upper Bracket Finals, where the team will face off against PSG.LGD on Day 5 with a shot at the Grand Finals of TI8 on the line. On the other side of the match up, Evil Geniuses drops down to the Lower Bracket of the Main Event, and will play against the winner of the OpTic Gaming vs Virtus.pro series on Day 4.
VGJ.Storm vs Winstrike Team
Bo3 (2-0 VGJ.Storm Win)
Day 3 began with a clash between North American and CIS, as VGJ.Storm took on Winstrike Team in a Bo3 elimination series in the Lower Bracket. Winstrike Team looked to secure itself farm and damage with a core trio of Lycan, Zeus, and Weaver, while VGJ.Storm opted for a control heavy lineup headlined by Drow Ranger and Mirana. From the earliest stages of the match, VGJ.Storm was able to show off its power and team fight capabilities, forcing engagements in the laning stage and the mid-game stage that put Winstrike on the defensive. The CIS squad’s lineup was not prepared for these early fights, and found itself trailing significantly in terms of net worth and map control. As the match progressed, there appeared to be fewer and fewer paths to success for Winstrike Team, as the team simply could not contend with its opponents and fell behind by an absolutely massive margin in terms of net worth. Down by 26k net worth at the 33 minute mark and out killed by a score of 12-44, Winstrike Team conceded defeat to fall behind 0-1 in a stomp for VGJ.Storm.
Game 2 saw Winstrke Team look for a team fight lineup with a heavily damage based trio of Troll Warlord, Centaur Warrunner, and Tiny. Unfortunately, that plan fell flat fairly early in the match, as VGJ.Storm once against employed a ranged strategy centered around cores of Drow Ranger, Weaver, and Venomancer. The North American team once against pushed the tempo of the match as early as possible, pushing lanes heavily and establishing an alarming degree of control over the map. While the 2 squads remained relateively even in terms of kills through heading into the mid-game stage, VGJ.Storm was already nursing a small net worth lead. Winstrike Team’s high damage output and mobility did allow it to find a number of pick offs and ganks during the mid-game stage, but those kills only served to delay the match rather than sparking any sort of turn in momentum for the CIS squad. Winstrike Team needed a definitive team fight win to have any chance at reversing VGJ.Storm’s control over the match, but that victory never materialized. Despite Silent’s Troll Warlord keeping pace with Resolut1on’s Drow Ranger, the rest of Winstrike Team’s lineup fell behind their counterparts and did not have the items or team fight execution to spark a comeback. With its base in ruins and most of its heroes dead without buybacks, Winstrike Team called “gg” just shy of the 28 minute mark to fall 0-2 in the series. With that loss, Winstrike Team is now eliminated from TI8 with a 9th-12th place finish overall, leaving Virtus.pro as the only CIS team remaining in the field. As for VGJ.Storm, this win advances them to Round 3 of the Lower Bracket as 1 of 3 North American teams still alive in Vancouver. The team will face off against Team Secret on Day 4 of the Main Event.
Team Secret vs Vici Gaming
Bo3 (2-1 Team Secret Win)
The final Lower Bracket series of the day brought Team Secret face to face with Vici Gaming, and the match up would begin with and incredible game from both squads. Team Secret’s draft emphasized both heavy control and high damage, with a core trio of Ember Spirit, Lina, and Venomancer to lead its lineup. On the other side of the match, Vici Gaming opted for high volume farming cores in Terrorblade and Templar Assassin, surrounding those 2 picks with a team fight trio of Earthshaker, Silencer, and Batrider. Early on in the match, Team Secret looked to be the more aggressive squad in terms of lane pressure and map control, but Vici Gaming’s cores were able to continue building themselves up heading into the mid-game stage. In the mid-game, the team fight power of the Chinese squad’s draft began to manifest, as Vici Gaming started taking a bit of an edge in fights and built up a small net worth lead. That small lead exploded into a massive amount of control in the late-game, as Vici Gaming pulled away by a massive net worth margin and was continously out played Team Secret’s lineup in team fights. Despite the fact that Team Secret was able to defend its base fairly well, it simply could not safely take any sort of engagement outside of said base. Unfortunately, the team learned this the hard way, as it was caught out by Vici Gaming and suffered a crushing team fight loss that left it unable to defend against the subsequent push into its base. With that team fight victory, Vici Gaming was finally able to break Team Secret’s defenses after nearly an hour of in-game time to close out the match and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
With its TI8 life on the line, Team Secret took a bit of a risk in Game 2 of the series by allowing Vici Gmaing to draft 4 of the same 5 heroes that it had picked up in Game 1. The European squad itself picked up a trio of heroes capable of dishing out a massive level of damage in Clinkz, Zeus, and Wraith King alongside an aggressive support duo of Vengeful Spirit and Chen. With a vastly similar lineup, Vici Gaming naturally attempted to play the same style that had won it the first match in the series, but that turned out to be exactly what Team Secret had been counting on. The Chinese squad was overwhelmed early by Team Secret’s aggressive play, and quickly found itself trailing in terms of net worth as well as map control. By the 13 minute mark, Team Secret had already broken Vici Gaming’s base and claimed a lane of barracks, and appeared to be in complete control of the match. Though Vici Gaming was able to delay the match and buy a small amount of time for itself, it simply wasn’t enough to put together a true comeback effort as Team Secret forced the “gg” call from its opponent to tie up the series and force the first Game 3 of the Main Event.
The final and decisive match of the series proved to be a largely one sided affair in the end, as Team Secret was able to put together a dominant performance in Game 3. The European squad drafted a lineup that heavily emphasized team fight power and damage by combining a core trio of Invoker, Ursa, and Enigma with Pheonix and Vengeful Spirit supports. As for Vici Gaming, the Chinese squad opted for a combination of high damage output and heavy control with cores of Clinkz, Huskar, and Necrophos supported by Tiny and Oracle picks. Early on in the match, it appeared that Vici had the upper hand, as its cores were able to significantly out pace those of Team Secret in terms of farm in the laning stage. However, Team Secret manged to keep things close thanks to its team fight power and pickoff potential, and very quickly turned the tides of the match in its favor. From the mid-game one, things were almost entirely controlled by Team Secret, as Vici Gaming’s lineup failed to contend with the massive team fight power of its opponent. Team Secret’s net worth lead continued to grow through the late-game stage, and Vici Gaming could do little to secure itself any solid amount of momentum. In the end, Team Secret’s team fight execution proved too much for Vici Gaming’s lineup to handle, and the Chinese squad fell to suffer a defeat both in the match and in the series. With its 1-2 loss at Team Secret’s hands, Vici Gaming is now out of the TI8 bracket with a 9th-12th place finish, leaving PSG.LGD as the only remaining Chinese team out of the 6 that came to Vancouver. As for Team Secret, its hopes of claiming the Aegis of Champions remains alive, as it advances to face off against VGJ.Storm in Round 3 of the Lower Bracket on Day 4 of the Main Event.
Day 4 will not feature any matches in the Upper Bracket.
Virtus.pro vs OpTic Gaming
Day 4 of the Main Event will kick off with a match up between 2 squads that finished in the top half of the standings in Group B, as Virtus.pro and OpTic Gaming will face off with the threat of elimination looming overhead. VP being in the Lower Bracket this early on came as something of a surprise, as the squad had entered TI8 as a favorite and posted an impressive 10-6 record in the Group Stage before taking a rough 0-2 loss to PSG.LGD in the Upper Bracket. The good news for the CIS squad is that it was able to bounce back in a major way with a strong performance and a 2-0 win over Mineski in Round 2 of the Lower Bracket. As for OpTic Gaming, the surprise twist was that the squad had managed to push its way into the Upper Bracket in the first place, as the squad put together a 8-8 (1-0 tiebreaker) record in Group B and won 5 straight matches on the final day of the Group Stage. The team’s 0-2 loss to Team Liquid wasn’t particularly shocking, but the North American squad managed to bounce back as well with a dominant 2-0 win over Chinese squad Team Serenity. Both teams enter this match up coming off of convincing performances in their previous series, but the threat of elimination on the TI stage will add a new level of pressure to this series that will hopefully bring out the best in the teams. Virtus.pro will almost assuredly be the favored squad in this match up, as the CIS squad has never lost a series against OpTic Gaming in their current forms. However, OpTic Gaming is certainly not short on talent nor experience on the TI stage, and the added factor of playing on the Dota 2 world’s biggest stage could certainly have an effect on either team in this do-or-die match up.
VGJ.Storm vs Team Secret
With over half of the teams eliminated from the TI8 bracket heading into Day 4 of the Main Event, the time has come for some of the most heated and hopefully entertaining match ups of the event. This series promises to be a spectacular display of Dota, as 2 of the teams that finished in the top half of the Group B standings will clash once again on the TI stage. When these 2 teams met in the Group Stage of the event, VGJ.Storm was able to claim a 2-0 victory, but Team Secret is hoping to get its revenge this time around as both squads will be fighting to keep their dreams of claiming the Aegis of Champions alive in Vancouver. Both squads began their time at the Main Event in the Upper Bracket at TI8, but neither squad remained their for long after losing their initial series and falling into the Lower Bracket. VGJ.Storm took a brutal and somewhat surprising loss to OG in its first series of the event, but managed to bounce back in confident fashion with a dominant 2-0 performance against Winstrike Team in its most recent match up. As for Team Secret, the squad suffered a 0-2 loss to Evil Geniuses to begin its Main Event campaign, before fighting back from a 0-1 deficit in its series against Vici Gaming to claim a 2-1 victory. Prior to the start of TI8, this match up would have more than likely favored Team Secret based on the Pro Circuit performances of both squads. However, the rigors of TI have seemingly brought out the best from these 2 squads, and they will enter this Bo3 series much closer than many might have been anticipating just a week ago. The winner of this series will have to contend with Team Liquid in the next round, and you can be sure that both of these teams would absolutely relish the chance to knock the defending Champion out of the bracket.
Virtus.pro/ OpTic Gaming vs Evil Geniuses
So this one is a little bit difficult to analyse at the moment, as the squad that Evil Geniuses will be facing off against in Round 4 of the Lower Bracket has not been determined as of yet. The winner of the Virtus.pro vs OpTic Gaming lineup will advance to face the North American squad, and the match up will be significantly different depending upon which team manages to survive and advance. Should Virtus.pro come away with the victory against OpTic Gaming, then the narrative for this series will be one of the number 1 ranked Pro Circuit squad facing off against an EG squad that has come into its own on the TI stage. VP may have dropped down in to the Lower Bracket earlier than Evil Geniuses, but the CIS squad was able to bounce back with its impressive victory over Mineski, and will be coming into the match up having just taken a win against another North American squad in OpTic Gaming just hours before. VP has shown itself to be one of the strongest teams in the Dota 2 world, but EG has been putting on a absolutely incredible show at TI8 so far, and seems unlikely to slow down or slip up even after its tough 1-2 loss to OG in the Upper Bracket. As for an Evil Geniuses vs. OpTic Gaming match up, that one pretty much writes itself in terms of potential drama and storylines. OpTic Gaming has been working to usurp EG as the top team in North America all season long, and the chance to claim a victory against its main regional rival on the biggest stage in the Dota 2 world would likely have a special significance for the squad. No matter which team ends up advancing to play in this series, Evil Geniuses will assuredly be in for one of its toughest fights yet as it hopes to march its way through the Lower Bracket and make a run for the Grand Finals and a shot at the Aegis of Champions.