The Epicenter group stage was a pleasure to watch. This article will attempt to summarize that glory.
As most had predicted, Liquid came out on top of Group A, beating out Complexity and OG in 2-1 series. Liquid were able to secure JerAx several games on his signature Earth Spirit, and despite the recent nerfs, he had solid performances throughout. FATA- performed very consistently as well, showcasing his skills even on Razor, a refreshing deviation from the mid meta of 6.87.
OG also performed better than expected, taking the first game in their 2-1 loss against Liquid. Miracle-, officially the first 9k MMR player, shone in all their games, continuing to dominate with Invoker, a heavily nerfed mid hero all throughout 6.86/6.87. His 14/0/13 Tinker in OG’s last game against Alliance almost singlehandedly won them the game, along with “godlike” plays by Fly’s Phoenix.[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWGQ14dWVNs[/embedyt]
Source: hOlyhexOr Youtube Channel
A surprising turn of events saw Alliance take a 2-0 series over compLexity, who did not perform to their potential. In both games of the series, CoL boasted mild early game success, but could not convert their advantage into objectives, and succumbed to Alliance’s strong map control. Some had expected CoL to take the second upper bracket slot over OG, but that was not the case. They will have to prove their worth on May 13th, when they will face VP in a (thankfully!) BO3 losers’ bracket match.
Here’s where it got interesting. Group B of epicenter group stage featured two DotA 2 giants, Team Secret and Evil Geniuses, who both went through roster shuffles in the last shuffle period. Secret, after acquiring Universe and Arteezy, have not been able to accomplish much so far, while EG were able to claim 3rd at WePlay Season 3 with Bulba and Aui_2000. Also in the group was Newbee, a team who arguably should have been invited to the Manila Major over LGD due to their dominance of the Chinese scene. This was their proving ground. And boy, did Newbee prove themselves.
Newbee entered the epicenter group stage (after dominating the wild cards) with a 25-match win streak, defeating Chinese teams like EHOME and international teams like CoL in convincing 2-0 series. Newbee’s first series against Secret was a tough one; there were high expectations for both sides, but Newbee were able to overcome the new Secret roster in Game 1 of epicenter group stage with a great performance from Mu’s Invoker. Game 2 was much closer, with great performances from Secret. Although severely behind on XP, Secret were able to mount several semi-successful pushes off of EternalEnVy’s Huskar having the Aegis, and slowly chipped away at Newbee’s base. However, after a disastrous fight, Newbee once again took full advantage and applied pressure on Secret, giving them no time to recollect themselves, forcing the GG call from EE.
Newbee stronk! GG ?
— Clement Ivanov (@CLEMENTINATOR) May 10, 2016
Source: Puppey Twitter Account
Though there was a small redeeming moment for Secret fans 😉[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl87wAU_fVo[/embedyt]
Source: NoobFromUA Youtube Channel
In their first game against EG, Hao completely styled on the Americans, ending the 30 minute game with a 16-0-17 score on Spectre. Game 2 featured kpii on his renowned Naga Siren, which kept Newbee in the game despite Suma1L’s monstrous farm on his Alchemist. Every time EG found a kill, kpii pushed in all three lanes, which limited EG’s map control. Even though EG were winning the fights, they were losing their towers. A stroke of luck on kaka’s Phoenix saved Newbee from losing a crucial teamfight, after which they killed the Alchemist and took the game. Newbee were the first to advance to the upper bracket from Group B. The win against EG marks Newbee’s 29th consecutive win.
On day 2, VP, who had been looking shaky in their previous game against EG, were able to pull a major upset over Secret. Many were looking forward to a EG/Secret deciding match to wrap up the group stage, but VP’s consistent performances netted them their second chance. Shoutouts go to G, who destroyed Secret in Games 2 and 3 with amazing performances on Ember Spirit and Tinker.[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7a0TrLgzRw[/embedyt]
Source: NoobFromUA Youtube Channel
Unfortunately, they were unable to trump EG, who took the series 2-1, with a standout performance on Aui_2000’s Sven, as well as Morphling, ending the final game with a score of 10-0-13.
The Epicenter group stage is officially over, and the LAN finals begin tomorrow, with two upper bracket games between Liquid/EG and Newbee/OG. The hype is real, as EG will have to prove their strength against the team that knocked them out of the Shanghai Major, and Newbee will have the opportunity to further assert their dominance over the DotA 2 scene, perhaps extending their winning streak even further. VP will also have something to prove, as they are on their home turf. And of course, Secret will be wanting to show the real potential of their roster.
Here are the brackets for the LAN Finals. All series will be BO3, and the Grand Finals will be BO5.
Stay tuned for more coverage of Epicenter: Moscow!
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