Day 2 kicked off with a bang as NA favourites DC took on Team Faceless. After that Chinese juggernauts EHOME took on NA newcomers Team NP, Chinese juggernauts Newbee took on EU newcomers Ad Finem and then Chinese juggernauts LGD Gaming took on Chinese newcomers LGD.ForeverYoung. Let's take a look at the best matches from the day.
Digital Chaos vs Team Faceless Game one saw Team Faceless on Dire and DC on Radiant. Faceless came out with a draft which has been strong in Boston, comboing Shadow Demon with a spawner to create overwhelming pressure. In this case, Dominik "Black^" Reitmeier was on a Terrorblade to combo with Toh Wai "xy-" Hong's Shadow Demon. Unfortunately for Faceless they weren't able to capitalise on said great draft as DC played extremely safe and eked out the necessary farm. While Faceless were looking to pressure, DC were staying out ahead in terms of gold and experience. A great team fight for the Singaporean team at the 21 minute mark looked like it might be the momentum swing they needed, but DC went straight back to playing their own conservative Dota, taking low-risk towers and forcing Faceless back to their base. In the end, stuck in their base, Faceless felt the pressure and buckled, losing game one.
Game two saw DC on Radiant and Faceless on Dire. This game was a lot more like the Faceless we saw in the group stages. During game one it seemed like they were trying to play the tournament meta, which DC played around with ease, but here while they continued to push, they had a lot more gank-a-bility as well. David "MoonMeander" Tan, DC's Dark Seer, was caught out twice early, and things were looking good for the upstart Singaporean team. Game two was far more exciting than game one, and Faceless looked firmly in control. A big difference was in vision, which DC was able to manage very well in the first game — less so in the second. Somewhere around the 26 minute mark communication started to break down for the Dire team however, and DC started picking them off all over the place. A massive teamfight at the 31 minute mark spelled the end for Faceless, although DC wouldn't fully wrap things up until five minutes later.
DC win 2 - 0. Watch the second game below.
EHOME vs Team NP'
Stop the presses, one of the Round of 16 match-ups was a three game series! EHOME and Team NP went all the way to the end to determine who would head through to the Quarter Finals. In game one EHOME was Radiant and Team NP was Dire. Both teams played very conservatively to begin, each waiting for the other to make a mistake. The first mistake would come four and a half minutes in when Ren "eLeVeN" Yangwei rotated to catch Arif "MSS" Anwar lingering a little too long and EHOME secured the first blood. From there both teams settled into farming, and each got some cheeky ganks here and there. But the tower push from EHOME was much, much better than NP's, as Liu "Sylar" Jiajun's Lycan forced NP back into their base. With better farm, EHOME was in a perfect position to attack NP and finish them off.
Game two saw NP on the Radiant side and EHOME on Dire. Both teams played warily to begin, with first blood going NP's way at around four minutes with a gank on Sylar's Leshrac. EHOME did a fantastic job of managing vision in game two, which made NP's ability to scout out a smoke gank around 10 minutes that much more impressive. They still lost Kurtis "Aui_2000" Ling and Jacky "EternaLEnVy" Mao, but it could have been much worse. As vision on the Radiant side slowly got worse things started to look bad for the Canadian team, but they turned the tables on an overconfident Dire team thanks to MSS's Beastmaster and a handful of luck. A full teamwipe at the 28 minute mark tipped the scales heavily in NPs favour and they were able to snowball their way to victory.
Game three, the first decider of this Round of 16, was definitely the one to watch. EHOME was on Radiant, NP on Dire, and both teams went out guns blazing. EHOME were looking especially scary thanks to a combo of Shadow Demon and Luna — the duo du jour — but NP were rocking the Warlock/Mirana combo which had worked well for them last game so it was anyone's game. EternalEnVy set the tone for the game with a great kill on Radiant's courier just 75 seconds in. EHOME responded, getting First Blood 70 seconds later. In a game that better resembled a brawl than a Dota match, NP were frantically working to keep Luna from getting online — and EHOME were desperately trying to make that happen. Aui was pretty much left alone, allowing him to get his own scary magic lady — Naga Siren — teed up. A teamwipe at 18 minutes put EHOME in a rough spot, and things just got rougher from there as the Dire team crunched the top and bottom barracks and the Radiant side was forced to defend from their base. Team NP would go on to win inside of 36 minutes. This game is embedded below.
Team NP win 2 - 1.
Newbee vs Ad Finem If they're anything, Ad Finem are fun to watch. They slugged their way through the Group Stages, and they're hoping to go blow for blow with Newbee in their first Round of 16 match-up.
In game one AF was Radiant and Nb were Dire, and things did not go well. AF picked Bounty Hunter first, which was an odd move as it was unlikely that Nb would want to grab it — even if just to deny AF the opportunity — and it allowed Newbee the chance to shape the draft without having the actual first pick. Worse still, once the game began the Dire side managed to repeatedly find Verros "Maybe Next Time" Apostolos on the Bounty Hunter and Xu "uuu9" Han's Juggernaut killed AF's bottom tower very early as a result. One thing single eliminations has done is empowered conservative teams to play their withdrawn style of Dota — why risk it, right? That's very much what happened here, as Newbee stayed safe and pressured towers only when they were sure they'd get away with it. Despite only lasting 33 minutes, this was a very slow game. When AF were finally forced to fight from their base, Newbee had too much farm and the Greek team dropped like flies.
Game two was much more exciting. AF was Radiant, Newbee was Dire, and Ad Finem didn't make the mistake they made in game one, leaving their Bounty Hunter pick to third. The real star of this game was Omar "Madara" Dabachach on Morphling, who got off to a huge lead in XP and gold early on and turned into a rolling nightmare for Newbee. AF were able to set the pace this time, snagging some courier kills and earning extra gold thanks to Bounty Hunter's Track. Newbee were able to stay in the game a lot longer than they should have thanks to a few misplays by Haris "SkyLark" Zafiriou on the Batrider, but eventually the pressure from Madara's nigh invincible Morphling was too much, and the series was forced to a game three.
Game three saw AF as Radiant and Newbee as Dire, and it got off to a terrible start for the Chinese team when Zeng "Faith" Hongda and Hu "Kaka" Liangzhi got caught out near the top lane. If Madara was the star of the second game, Maybe Next Time on Mirana was close to perfect in the third, using her Sacred Arrows to secure some devastating kills against Newbee. The whole time Nb were contending (or failing to) with Madara and Mirana, Dimitris "ThuG" Plivouris was slowly building his Alchemist into an unstoppable beast. As time went on Newbee's path to victory got narrower and narrower as the Alchemist became more powerful, and by the 23 minute mark their only real option was to try to initiate on some teamfights — fights they just didn't win. The Dire team did their best, but eventually they succumbed to the relentless pressure from AF, and they were knocked out of the tournament. Watch game two below.
Ad Finem win 2 - 1.
LGD Gaming vs LGD Forever Young We called them newcomers above, but LFY are Dota veterans, captained by Zhang "xiao8" Ning — who played for Newbee when they won The International 2014 (and also appeared on that hilarious dating show they broadcast on SBS sometimes). And their opponents, LGD Gaming, are giants in their own right, lead by Lu "Maybe" Yao, who hasn't appeared on any dating shows as far as I can tell.
Game one saw LGD play Radiant, and LFY took Dire. In a long, drawn out battle between the two last remaining Chinese teams in the tournament, LFY got off to a rough start with some huge misplays by Yao "Yao" Zhengzheng on Sand King and Xiao8 on the Batrider. LGD found themselves with a strong grasp on the game as they tried to get Maybe farmed up on the Shadow Fiend — all while killing towers where available. For all the map control they had, though, LGD was having problems with LFY picking off Chen "Victoria" Guanhong on IO, keeping them in the game. LFY stayed cool, did their best to keep getting picks and to stay in the game, and it paid off when a botched LGD gank around the Roshan pit 34 minutes in gave LFY an Aegis and control of the match.
Game two once again had LGD on Radiant and LFY on Dire. The hot pick on LGD was Maybe playing Timbersaw, which promised to give him a lot of survivability — and a heap of damage output too. For LFY, Xiao8 was again on Batrider, and Yang "END" Pu on Lifestealer — the pair combo'd together beautifully multiple times towards the end of the game. Maybe was actually killed first as LFY hunted down the Timbersaw early on, and LFY went on a bit of a tear for the first few minutes as they ganked Ogre Magi and Nyx Assassin as well (although Jixing on Nyx successfully suicided to Neutral Creeps). It became apparent that LGD would need to create map pressure to stay in the game, so the Radiant team took Dire's Bottom Tier 1 Tower and it quickly translated into a kill. LGD started to regain control as they killed Xiao8 repeatedly while he struggled to get the items he needed — a Blink dagger would give him the escapability (and initiation) he required. After the 12 minute mark, however, things began to slip away from LGD as LFY was able to follow up single ganks with extra kills repeatedly. LGD just weren't able to crawl back into the fight as their opponents dominated the map with vision control that LGD wasn't able to deal with. In the end LFY's ability to find and gank Jixing's Nyx Assassin every time he was visible destroyed LGD's ability to live through teamfights, and the 'youngster' team secured their place in the Quarter Finals. Watch the second game embedded below (when it's available)!
LGD.Forever Young Wins 2 - 0
That's it for Day 2 of the Main Event of the Boston Major! I'm back running you through the games tomorrow, as Virtus.pro take on EG, WG.Unity battles OG, DC and Team NP duke it out for NA Dota Supremacy and Ad Finem try to eliminate a second Chinese Dota team!