Back to back? OG down PSG.LGD to make a return to the TI Grand Finals, will face winner of PSG.LGD/Team Liquid match up
We’re down to the final day in Shanghai now, as Day 5 of the action at TI9 has drawn to a close and the stage has been set for an incredible finish to the biggest event in the Dota 2 world. The field of 18 teams have been cut down to just 3 remaining challengers, with those 3 squads now standing tantalizingly close to claiming the Aegis of Champions and joining the elite company of TI winners. Of course, 2 of those remaining squads already count themselves among those previous TI Champions (Team Liquid & OG), and by the end of tomorrow we will know whether we have a new Champion, or the first ever 2 time TI winner in Shanghai.
In the Upper Bracket, we had a rematch of TI8’s Upper Bracket Finals and Grand Finals, as OG faced off agaisnt PSG.LGD for the first spot in the Grand Finals of TI9. After dropping the first match of the series, OG was able to battle back with a pair of victories in Games 2 and 3 to secure itself a 2-1 series win. The team’s victory makes it just the second team in the history of Dota 2 to ever attend back to back TI Grand Finals, joining the Na’Vi squad that reached the Grand Finals of TIs 1 through 3.
In the Lower Bracket, the fight was on to see which teams would advance to the Lower Bracket Finals for the chance to play for that second spot in the Grand Finals. The first Lower Bracket match of the day saw Team Secret face off against Vici Gaming, though the series itself proved to be fairly one-sided. With a pair of victories that lasted a combined total of 45 minutes of in-game time, Team Secret swept its way past Vici Gaming to advance to the next round. That next round featured an all-European match up, as Team Secret took on Team Liquid for the chance to face PSG.LGD in the Lower Bracket Finals. Once again, Team Secret found itself involved in a one-sided match up, but this time around the Pro Circuit leader was on the wrong side of things. Team Liquid absolutely overwhelmed its opponent, out killing Team Secret 50-18 in a pair of blowout victories to earn the squad a 2-0 series win and a spot in the Lower Bracket Finals. With their defeats on Day 5, Vici Gaming and Team Secret were both eliminated from TI9, with the former finishing in the 5th-6th place position while the latter claimed a 4th place finish in Shanghai.
Final Position: 5th-6th
Eliminated by: Team Secret (0-2, Lower Bracket Round 4)
Total TI9 Record: 13 Wins, 10 Losses
Final Position: 4th
Eliminated by: Team Liquid (0-2, Lower Bracket Round 5)
Total TI9 Record: 18 Wins, 10 Losses
Day 5 Matches
PSG.LGD vs. OG
Bo3 (2-1 OG Win)
The opening game of this TI8 rematch began in relatively even fashion, as neither PSG.LGD nor OG were able to establish full control in the early stages of the match. Over the first 30 minutes of the game, neither squad was able to lead by more than 4k net worth, as the teams remained relatively even in terms of map control and momentum. As the match carried on into the late-game stage, the deadlock continued, with the squad trading pick offs and minor team fight victories without either team being able to truly land a lasting blow against the other. Eventually though, the Chinese squad found its opening, securing a crucial kill on ana’s Faceless Void that left the Carry without his buyback. With that advantage, PSG.LGD pushed straight down the middle lane, forcing a successful team fight to break through OG’s defenses and close out an abrupt victory to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
With the team 1 loss away from falling into the Lower Bracket, OG opted for a combination of aggressive play and high volume farming, picking up a Carry Alchemist but combining it with Tiny, Dark Seer, Spirit Breaker, and Chen. The European squad immediately made use of its aggressive lineup, putting PSG.LGD into a defensive posture while its Alchemist farmed at an absolutely monstrous pace. Between the incredible levels of farm on its carry and the early power of the rest of its lineup, OG was able to push out to a massive net worth lead, leading by over 10k net worth before the 18 minute mark of the match. With that massive lead on its side, OG simply pushed its way past all of PSG.LGD’s defenses, as the Chinese squad simply had no answer to the massively farmed Alchemist. With no hope of mounting an effective comeback, PSG.LGD conceded defeat as the series was tied up 1-1
The final match of the series saw OG once again pick up the Alchemist in its draft, as PSG.LGD let the hero and felt that it had a strategy to limit its effectiveness this time around. The Chinese squad was able to apply a fair bit of pressure to the OG lineup, keeping the enemy Alchemist from running away with the game in the early stages of the game as he had in Game 2. Despite that early pressure though, OG was fully contained by PSG.LGD tactics, and a key team fight win allowed the European squad to break the game open with a sizable net worth lead and a significant degree of map control. As the match moved into the late-game stage, PSG.LGD found itself playing from behind, doing everything in its power to extend the match in the hopes of reclaiming momentum and taking control of the game into its own hands. Unfortunately for the Chinese squad, it couldn’t hold back OG forever, as the European squad broke through to claim a victory that earned it both a 2-1 win in the series and a spot in the Grand Finals of TI9.
Vici Gaming vs. Team Secret
Bo3 (2-0 Team Secret Win)
Game 1 of the series saw Team Secret take a page out of OG’s book, picking up a core Io to go along with Gyrocopter and Centaur Warrunner. Vici Gaming proved to be ill-prepared to handle this strategy though, as the Chinese squad fell behind early and failed to ever catch up with its opponent. Behind a pair of incredible performances from Nisha on Io (8-0-15) and YapzOr’s Rubick (8-0-12), Team Secret dominated the match from start to finished, forcing a “gg” call from Vici Gaming in a bit over 23 minutes to take a commanding 1-0 lead in the series.
With its backs against the wall, Vici Gaming opted for a Carry Alchemist in Game 2 of the series, pairing the pick up with fellow cores of Razor and Centaur Warrunner and supports of Ogre Magi and Grimstroke. In response, Team Secret put together a tanky fighting lineup, combining cores of Bristleback, Tiny, and Omniknight with a support duo of Windranger and Crystal Maiden. Right from the start, the European squad was in control, applying heavy amounts of pressure to Vici Gaming in an attempt to slow down the Alchemist. The strategy worked perfectly, with Team Secret establish complete control over the map while taking 2 full lanes of barracks in the first 20 minutes of play. Less than 2 minute later, Team Secret delivered the death blow, winning 1 final team fight to lock down a 2-0 sweep of the series.
Team Liquid vs. Team Secret
Bo3 (2-0 Team Liquid Win)
The opening match of the series saw both squads look to take their opponent by surprise in the draft. Team Liquid opted for a Meepo pick for themselves, while Team Secret once again looked to follow OG’s example with a Carry Io. Early on, it appeared that Team Liquid was the squad with the upper hand, as the TI7 Champion jumped out to a solid net worth lead behind a series of early ganks and pushes. By the 20 minute mark, Team Liquid had built up that lead to a massive degree, leading by more than 12k net worth while taking a full lane of barracks from its opponent in the process. Team Secret would desperately attempt to hold the line inside of its own base, but the European squad couldn’t muster the strength to overcome its opponent’s attacks as Team Liquid locked down a dominant Game 1 victory to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Game 2 saw Team Secret opt for a tanky, team fight oriented lineup, with the European squad picking up cores of Wraith King, Bristleback, and Magnus alongside supports of Elder Titan and Rubick. On the other side of the match up, Team Liquid also stocked up on team fight power and control with a core trio of Alchemist, Kunkka, and Dark Seer with Shadow Shaman and Winter Wyvern supports. Despite facing off against an Alchemist, Team Secret managed to keep things close in the early stages of the match, keeping pace with its opponent through the first 20 minutes of play. However, the mid-game stage would see Team Liquid begin to pull away, as the squad’s team fight power proved stronger than that of their opponent. Despite trailing by a sizable margin, Team Secret continued to fight, defending its high ground and extending the match in the hopes of turning the game around late. A Roshan attempt from Team Liquid in the late-game stage forced a response from Team Secret, and the fight that followed saw the team use up the last of its strength as it was wiped out without buyback to give Team Liquid a 2-0 victory in the series and a spot in the Lower Bracket Finals.
Day 6 Upcoming Matches
Lower Bracket Finals
Team Liquid vs. PSG.LGD
The final day of TI9 will begin with a clash between 2 absolute titans of the Dota 2 world, as Team Liquid and PSG.LGD will face off with the final spot in the TI9 Grand Finals on the line. This match up in the Lower Bracket Finals will be the second series between these 2 teams in Shanghai, as they previously fought in the Group Stage in 2 game series that PSG.LGD won 2-0. Coming into this series though, the dynamic between the participants has undergone a rather significant change. When Team Liquid last played PSG.LGD, the European squad was in the midst of an underwhelming Group Stage run, with the squad struggling to find its footing on the TI stage. Since the start of the Main Event though, the TI7 Champion has been absolutely flawless, rattling off 9 straight victories in the Lower Bracket to lay low the likes of Fnatic, TNC Predator, Royal Never Give Up, Evil Geniuses, and Team Secret to reach this pivotal match up. On the PSG.LGD side of things though, very little has changed since that previous encounter, as the Chinese powerhouse has remained terrifyingly consistent in Shanghai. After its impressive 13-3 showing in the Group Stage, the team took 2-0 victories over both Virtus.pro and Vici Gaming, before finally being brought down 1-2 in the Upper Bracket Finals by OG. Aside from that lone series defeat to OG, PSG.LGD has been nearly untouchable in the Main Event, playing with a sense of strength and confidence that very few squads have been able to shatter. With only 1 spot left in the Grand Finals though, something is going to have to give between these 2 squads. Whether PSG.LGD’s incredibly consistency holds strong, or Team Liquid’s tremendous winning steak is extended even further now depends on the results of 1 more series, as the 2 teams are set to battle it out for the right to challenge OG in the Grand Finals of TI9.
OG vs. Team Liquid/ PSG.LGD
1 year after laying claim to the Aegis of Champions in Vancouver, OG have accomplished a feat that only 1 other team in the history of Dota 2 has been able to achieve: making the TI Grand Finals in back to back years. Only Na’Vi have managed to match this accomplishment, having made Grand Finals appearances at TI1, TI2, and TI3. Howver, that legendary CIS squad only came away with a single TI title over the course of those 3 appearances, and OG now has the chance to surpass the Na’Vi of old with this run in the Grand Finals of TI9 in Shanghai. Should OG find the strength to claim the Aegis of Champions again, it will become the first team or organization to ever win multiple TI titles, and all 5 of its players will stand as the only 2 time TI Champions in the history of the game. With that in mind, the squad is certain to come into this series at the absolute top of its game, but OG will have to get past 1 final challenger in order to lay claim to that coveted place in Dota 2 history. The winner of the PSG.LGD vs. Team Liquid match up in the Lower Bracket Finals will have the chance to spoil the run of OG, with that victorious squad earning itself one last chance to deny OG a second TI title in Shanghai. Of course, the stakes are certain to be high regardless of which of the 2 teams rises to meet OG in the Grand Finals. For Team Liquid, the match up would give the European squad its own chance to become the first 2 time TI winner, with the squad’s current lineup featuring 4 of the 5 players that won TI7 in Seattle. On the other hand, PSG.LGD represents the final chance to keep the chain of new TI Champions alive, with the Chinese squad fighting for its first ever TI title and a chance to avenge its defeat last year in the TI8 Grand Finals. For what it’s worth, it can be noted that OG have yet to play against Team Liquid in Shanghai, while the team won its lone match up against PSG.LGD 2-1 in the Upper Bracket Finals. However, previous records and past performances rarely seem to count for much when 2 squads get down to the Grand Finals on the TI stage, and no matter which team emerges to challenge OG, the Bo5 series will surely be one for the history books as TI9 meets its dramatic and exciting end.