Day 5 sees Secret, Liquid fall in Vancouver. China, North America set to clash for chance to challenge OG for the Aegis at TI8
The penultimate day of the Main Event at TI8 began with 5 teams still in the hunt for the Aegis of Champions in Vancouver. In the field at the start of the day was the last remaining hopes for both the Chinese and North American regions in the form of PSG.LGD and Evil Geniuses, as well as a trio of European squads in OG, Team Liquid, and Team Secret. 2 of the remaining 5 teams represented organizations that were looking to claim their second TI title (Team Liquid & Evil Geniuses), and 7 of the players on those teams (MATUMBAMAN, Miracle-, MinD_ContRoL, GH, KuroKy, s4, & SumaiL) still had hopes of becoming the first Dota 2 player to ever win multiple TIs. By the end of the day, 2 of the 5 teams would be eliminated from TI8, as both Team Secret and Team Liquid saw their runs on the TI stage brought to an end. The action on Day 5 saw 2 Bo3 series played in the Lower Bracket, as well as another Bo3 series in the Upper Bracket Finals. When the matches were concluded in Vancouver, the 3 remaining teams were left knowing just what would be needed from them to lay claim to the Aegis. For OG, it would need just 1 more series victory in the Bo5 Grand Finals, while PSG.LGD and Evil Geniuses needed to defeat the other in the Bo3 Lower Bracket Finals and subsequently overcome OG in the Grand Finals to become Champion of the Dota 2 world on the TI stage.
Final Position: 5th-6th
Eliminated by: Team Liquid (2-0, Lower Bracket Round 4)
Total TI8 Record: 13 Wins, 13 Losses
Final Position: 4th
Eliminated by: Evil Geniuses (2-0, Lower Bracket Round 5)
Total TI8 Record: 17 Wins, 7 Losses
Day 5 Matches
PSG.LGD vs OG
Bo3 (2-1 OG Win)
With a spot in the Grand Finals of TI8 on the line, both squads looked to some of the most popular strategies in Game 1 of this series. PSG.LGD opted for the ranged strategy centered around Drow Ranger, Huskar, and Weaver with a controlling support duo of Witch Doctor and Winter Wyvern. On the other side of the draft, OG decided to employ an Io strategy with a core trio of Gyrocopter, Enchantress, and Pugna. The European squad came out aggressively early, trying to put as much pressure on PSG.LGD’s cores as possible in the laning stage. PSG.LGD was able to keep things relatively even though, buying time for its cores through some solid team fight performances. As the match progressed through the mid-game stage and into the late-game, OG was nursing a small net worth lead. However, the team’s attempts to break through its opponent’s defenses were as of yet unsuccessful as PSG.LGD continued to try and make space and buy time for its main damage dealers. Unfortunately for PSG.LGD, OG’s cores were able to scale just as well, and the European squad exerted an incredible level of control of late-game fights to take near complete control of the match. With its base crumbling around it and its opponent holding a massive net worth lead, the final defense of PSG.LGD finally collapsed as the Chinese squad conceded defeat in the opening match of the series.
With the team just 1 win away from the Grand Finals of TI8, OG opted for a team fight lineup in its Game 2 draft, combining cores of Bloodseeker, Magnus, and Invoker with Silencer and Lina supports. On the PSG.LGD side of the draft, the strategy was a mix of high damage and control with a core trio of Clinkz, Storm Spirit, and Enchantress alongside supports of Crystal Maiden and Earthshaker. Through the early stages of the match and even into the mid-game stage, the 2 squads were largely even with each other in terms of kills and net worth. However, the late-game stage was where PSG.LGD began to put its strength on display and take advantage of both its high levels of mobility and its alarming damage output. OG’s lineup was increasingly dependent upon its team fight execution, needing near perfect synergy between its spells to counteract PSG.LGD’s considerable damage output. Unfortunately for the European squad, that perfect exeuction was not easy to pull off consistently, and it began falling behind its opponent by a significant margin past the 30 minute mark. With its opponent stuck in a defensive position, PSG.LGD pressed its advantage, breaking down the OG base, destroying 2 lanes of barracks, and taking a commanding lead in the match. While OG did everything it could to hold back its opponent, their efforts weren’t quite enough to pull off a comeback as PSG.LGD tied up the series 1-1 with a fantastic performance to force a third and final match.
With the series going to a decisive final game, both teams opted for high volume, farming carries in their Game 3 drafts. PSG.LGD picked up a Terrorblade to headline its lineup, combining the carry with cores of Enchantress and Mirana along with controlling supports in Bane and Clockwerk. For OG, the picks at the carry position were Spectre and Arc Warden, combined with a Pugna pick and a team fight support duo of Silencer and Earthshaker. Right at the beginning of the match, PSG.LGD was committed to early rotations and aggression, as fy’s Clockwerk helped facilitate a multitude of kills that put the Chinese squad significantly ahead within the first 10 minutes of play. The Chinese squad continued to build up its lead heading into the mid-game stage, but OG was able to recover from its rough start and brings things a bit closer in terms of net worth. Those efforts kept the European team out of a dangerous situation, but it was still trailing significantly compared to PSG.LGD and needed to find ways to buy more time in the late-game stage for its cores to continue farming and progressing in their item builds. While OG was able to extend the match significantly, it was still PSG.LGD that held the net worth lead and the Chinese squad continued to keep its opponent confined to the area in and around its base. With the match approaching the hour mark, PSG.LGD looked to close out the match with a team fight win that seemingly shattered OG’s defenses. However, the European squad was able to hold by the skin of its teeth, committing every buyback and hero that it could to hold the line and wipe out nearly all of PSG.LGD’s heroes. With the Chinese squad now caught out without its full strength or any buybacks, OG made a headlong rush down the middle lane to snatch an amazing victory from the jaws of defeat and take a near impossible comeback win to claim a 2-1 victory in the series. That incredible, hard fought victory secured OG its first ever spot in a TI Grand Final in Vancouver, and a shot at earning itself immortality with a place in Dota 2 history. As for PSG.LGD, its shot at claiming the Aegis of Champions hasn’t been lost just yet, as the last remaining Chinese squad has dropped into the Lower Bracket Finals. The squad will have one last chance to keep its TI dream alive on Day 6, when it faces off against Evil Geniuses to determine which team will get the chance to challenge OG for the title of TI8 Champion.
Team Liquid vs Team Secret
Bo3 (2-0 Team Liquid Win)
Day 5 began with a match up between 2 of the 3 remaining European squads in the field at TI8, as Team Secret and Team Liquid battled it out to see which of them would advance to face Evil Geniuses in the next round. Game 1 saw Team Secret pick up a core trio of Alchemist, Storm Spirit, and Necrophos along with a team fight duo of Chen and Earthshaker. Meanwhile, Team Liquid opted for a combination of heavy control and damage with Bloodseeker, Broodmother, and Batrider cores supplemented by Winter Wyvern and Earth Spirit supports. Early in the match, both sides were willing to commit to early fights and engagements, with Team Liquid in particular employing an aggressive style of play. That aggression allowed Team Liquid to build up a net worth lead for itself and establish control over the map as Team Secret was push back inside of its own base in the mid-game stage. While Team Liquid had built up a sizable lead, it couldn’t breakthrough Team Secret’s defense, as the latter was able to hold its base and turn a fight in its favor to essentially reset the net worth balance heading into the late-game. Unfortunately though, Team Secret had difficulties keeping that momentum going, and Team Liquid was able to reestablish its massive net worth lead as the late-game stage progressed. Despite a valiant effort to delay its opponent, Team Secret could not avoid taking significant damage to its base as it lost 2 lanes of barracks. Eventually, the Team Secret defense ran out of steam in the face of Team Liquid’s continuous assaults, and Team Secret conceded defeat to fall behind 0-1 in the series.
Game 2 of the series saw Team Secret pick up a core trio of Phantom Lancer, Pugna, and Monkey King, along with Chen and Lina supports. On the other side of the match up, Team Liquid went with a high damage fighting lineup led by a trio of Broodmother, Wraith King, and Invoker with Dark Willow and Winter Wyvern supports. The match quickly proved to be a repeat of its predecessor, as both sides committed to fighting early and remained largely even in terms of net worth. Once again though, the mid and late-game stages were dominated by Team Liquid as the team’s lineup overpowered their counterparts at nearly every turn. Team Secret was pushed back into a defensive position again, and were forced to stall for time and space in the hopes that its cores could build themselves up to a point where the squad could launch a comeback effort late. Team Liquid didn’t allow its opponent any opportunities to make that comeback happen though, as the team slammed the door on Team Secret to secure itself a 2-0 win in the series. That dominant victory for Team Liquid advanced it to Round 5 of the Lower Bracket to face off against Evil Geniuses in the final series of Day 5. As for Team Secret, its journey at TI8 came to an end with a 5th-6th place finish in Vancouver; the highest position that the organization has ever finished in at TI.
Evil Geniuses vs Team Liquid
Bo3 (2-0 Evil Geniuses Win)
The final series of Day 5 would see the last North American hope in Evil Geniuses face off against defending TI7 Champion Team Liquid to see which squad would advance to the Lower Bracket Finals to face PSG.LGD for a place in the Grand Finals of TI8. Evil Geniuses came into the game looking for a combination of mobility and damage output, putting together a core trio of Ursa, Storm Spirit, and Weaver along with a support duo of Lich and Dark Willow. For Team Liquid, the play was the ever popular Io strategy, as the European squad combined the support with a core trio of Enchantress, Venomancer, and Chaos Knight with Ogre Magi filling out the other support role. The game began with Team Liquid looking to play an aggressive style with its Chaos Knight and Io combo that earned it a decent number of kills in the early-game. However, EG’s lineup was able to remain even with its opponent in terms of net worth, and began finding team fight wins and pick offs of its own in the mid-game stage to keep the 2 teams near dead even in the match. Through the first 30 minutes of the match, neither squad held a lead of more than 2k net worth, but that began to change in the late-game as EG began picking up momentum. While the North American squad was able to build up a sizable net worth lead around the 1 hour mark, both sides were hesitant to commit to a fight. A Divine Rapier purchase from Miracle- changed the game though, as the sides had even higher stakes attached to their team fights with the item passing between the 2 teams. Despite the tankiness of Miracle-‘s Chaos Knight and the support of the rest of Team Liquid’s lineup, EG was able to bring him down, take the rapier, and secure itself a 1-0 lead in the series after nearly 65 minutes of in-game time.
Game 2 saw both teams look for a combination of high volume farming and team fight power, as EG picked up a core trio of Spectr, Timbersaw, and Wraith King alongside supports of Dark Willow and Lich while Team Liquid opted for cores of Terrorblade, Viper, and Brewmaster with Nature’s Prophet and Vengeful Spirit supports. The early and mid-game stages stayed fairly even for the second game in a row, as Evil Geniuses were able to hold a small net worth lead but couldn’t fully shut down Team Liquid’s Terrorblade and Viper. However, the North American squad’s aggression and constant movement across the map were still proving to be frustrating factors for Team Liquid as it was looking to force a full team fight against its opponent. Unfortunately, that team fight did not go down on Team Liquid’s terms when it finally happened, as EG dominated the engagement and left its opponent with few heroes alive and no buybacks left. The North American squad was able to break through Team Liquid’s entire base and secure itself a win to take the series 2-0. With that, Evil Geniuses advances to the Lower Bracket Finals to face PSG.LGD on Day 6. For Team Liquid, its run at TI and its shot at winning back to back titles is gone as it is eliminated from TI8 with a 4th place finish overall.
PSG.LGD vs Evil Geniuses
It’s down to the final 3 teams left in the Main Event bracket, and the last hopes of both the North American and Chinese regions will clash in the Lower Bracket Finals to determine which team gets their shot at revenge against OG in the Grand Finals of TI8. The 2 teams have met once already in Vancouver, with Evil Geniuses taking the Group Stage series between them 2-0. Evil Geniuses have caught fire on the TI stage to this point, having put together a 13-3 Group Stage record and taken down 3 of the Top 4 ranked squads from the Pro Circuit season in Team Secret, Virtus.pro, and Team Liquid. Meanwhile, PSG.LGD posted a 11-5 record in the Group Stage, and took wins against those same Team Liquid and Virtus.pro squads in the Upper Bracket. PSG.LGD may have had the more successful season, but results on the Pro Circuit don’t matter much anymore as these 2 squads are just 1 more series away from a shot at claiming the Aegis of Champions and cementing their place in Dota 2 history. With that being said, PSG.LGD will likely be considered a slight favorite over its North American opponent due to having survived in the Upper Bracket for an extra round.
OG vs PSG.LGD/ Evil Geniuses
So let’s get a show of hands as to who had OG in the Grand Finals of their TI8 Bracket Predictions. Pretty much no one, that’s who, as the European squad has shocked just about everyone in the Dota 2 world with what has been a legendary run on the TI stage. The squad that replaced 3 of its players since the start of 2018, and 2 of its players within the last 3 months, now stands as one of the 2 teams that will be fighting for the chance to forever inscribe their names in the history of the game by claiming the coveted Aegis of Champions in Vancouver. OG entered the event with very modest expectations, as it was largely considered to be on the weaker side of the field of 18 teams. However, an impressive 9-7 Group Stage performance had some wondering if the European squad had been underestimated in Vancouver (hint: it had), and its subsequent tear through the Upper Bracket of the Main Event put the rest of the field on alert that OG was not a squad to be trifled with. The squad toppled VGJ.Storm in Round 1 of the Upper Bracket, and continued the trend of taking down North American squads with a 2-1 victory over Evil Geniuses in Round 2. In one of the most amazing series we’ve seen at TI8, the European squad then proceeded to claim an incredible 2-1 win over PSG.LGD to secure its place in the Grand Finals.
The question for OG now is who it will have to face in its final trial on the TI stage, as its opponent will not be determined until the sixth and final day of the Main Event. No matter which scenario unfolds in the first series on Day 6, the Grand Finals will feature a rematch of a previous Main Event match up, as OG has defeated both Evil Geniuses and PSG.LGD on its path to the Grand Finals. At this stage in the Main Event, it is pretty much impossible to tell definitively which squad would perform better against OG. All that we know for sure is that whichever squad survives the Lower Bracket Finals and rises up to challenge OG will need to be playing at the absolute height of its capabilities if it wants to put a stop to OG’s incredible streak in Vancouver.