Day one at the main event has come to a close. The upper bracket was populated by some of the best teams in Dota 2, demonstrated by their previous performances in last week’s playoffs. But only one could make it all the way to the grand final, and the rest would be exiled to the lower bracket for one last chance at retribution.
What transpired was no less than phenomenal; a perfect start to this four day event.
The event kicked off with an introduction from Valve CEO Gabe Newell, as well as a brand new Source Film Maker movie setting the scene on the eve of the International. Valve love to tease, and inside the film we caught a glimpse at what would appear to be Shadow Fiend’s new in-game model.
Yes. That is the new Shadow Fiend. pic.twitter.com/ReNpvbn9Sy
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) July 18, 2014
The crowd and internet alike went wild. But after an hour of pre-game interviews and analysis, it was time for the first match.
NewBee vs VG
The first game was a swift execution from NewBee. After claiming first blood, NewBee just went went on a killing spree. Chen, Shadow Shaman accompanied with NewBee’s cores continuously smoked up and murdered VG’s lane time and time again. After taking a teamfight top, they barrelled down the lane, promptly taking out the tier two tower, tier three and the ranged/melee barracks. With one lane constantly pushing in, the pressure was increasing for VG. After a huge smoke gank from NewBee mid lane, VG threw in the towel at only 14 minutes in.
The second game was completely different. VG picked a more impactful lineup, with Doom countering NewBee’s Tidehunter, and picking up Nature’s Prophet for the constant pushing threat. And push they did: tower after tower went the way of VG while their own were left standing and healthy. Before long they had NewBee sieged in their base after whittling them down with ganks and rotations. NewBee put up a good fight, but with the extra gold from all the towers thanks to the Nature’s Prophet, VG were too well equipped and too high a level. VG forced the GG at 32 minutes.
The third game was a game where NewBee’s Hao shined with his Lifestealer play. VG attempted to rotate and perform ganks, and mostly they were actually successful. However Hao would teleport in with his Lifestealer in response and mop up the weakened forces of VG. In giving Hao so many early kills, he promptly began to snowball. Again NewBee powered down top lane and took down the towers and barracks. VG did attempt an aegis steal with their Ember Spirit, but failed and instead he paid for it with his life. After VG lost their second lane of barracks in the bottom lane, they tried a desperation push down mid, but were instantly blown up by NewBee’s Brewmaster and Lifestealer combo. GG was called at 36 minutes.
VG was dropped down to the lower bracket, and NewBee advanced to face the winner of the next match.
EG vs DK
The first game between EG and DK was easily the best of the day. DK went for a big pushing lineup with the likes of Shadow Shaman and Death Prophet. EG on the other hand went for more of a teamfight oriented lineup with a really unorthodox Ursa pick. Ursa started the game as a support role, but after some help from Enchantress in the Jungle and a quick Roshan, Ursa’s transformation into a core hero began.
Then this happend:
It was an amazing play by Mushi to evade the gank from EG, and the crowd lapped it up. Both teams were equally matched, almost. The moment was spontaneous. DK breached into the base of EG with their Death Prophet and her spirits, but at the exact same time EG did the same with Ursa and Razor. As the towers fell, it was obvious EG had more damage behind them, causing DK to panic. Mushi had no teleport scroll to get back and defend, and instead fruitlessly tried to commit suicide in the EG fountain so he could buy back, but he was just too tanky. EG tore down the ancient at 56 minutes.
In the second game we saw some really interesting picks. DK recruited a mid Windrunner and a support Kunka next to their regular pick of Faceless Void. EG’s response was key to get around that much control and lockdown, and they picked probably the best hero for the job: Silencer. With a global silence the heroes of DK were left waddling around until the silence ended, and by then EG had killed most of DK’s lineup. Even when Faceless Void bought a BKB so he could shrug off the Silence, it left him alone in his Chronosphere with no back up. Before long EG was invading DK’s base with the added sustain from their Abaddon, and DK called the GG at 35 minutes.
NewBee vs EG
The stakes were high: the winner of this match secures their place in the grand final.
First game and Newbee put Xao back on his superb Lifestealer and Mu on Death Prophet. It was two heroes that NewBee had demonstrated great skill with in the previous games, so EG had to pick very carefully to try and compensate. To try and combat the pushing power from Death Prophet, EG put Arteezy on his famous Naga Siren. The rest of the team was built to fight; with the Tidehunter and Sand King to initiate after a well timed arrow from Mirana.
Both teams had so many close chances for first blood, but eventually NewBee claimed it. They used the advantage to start pushing towers. EG’s Naga Siren was also repeatedly ganked to keep a cap on her farm, which really hurt Arteezy in his ability to start pushing lanes early. Eventually NewBee started to breach the base, but EG did a commendable job at repelling them, but it cost them long cooldowns to do so. NewBee on the other hand just needed to regroup and push back in, and they forced EG to call GG at 51 minutes.
It was the second game where EG just started to fall apart. Their picks were greedy, picking no real true support hero and instead designating it to the Wraith King. This would prove to be part of their undoing, as an unfarmed Wraith King is easy to pick off time and time again.
And that’s exactly what NewBee did, nine times.
EG’s only saving grace was their Enigma, who threatened NewBee with his deadly Black Hole ultimate. But NewBee’s Doom just sat back on every team fight, jumping in and Doom'ing the Enigma if he ever dropped his ultimate. The frustration from EG was almost tangible. Thanks to the global presence of Nature’s Prophet and Spectre, NewBee slowly suffocated EG deep into the limited safety of their base. Underfarmed, underleveled and confidence dwindling, EG were at the mercy of NewBee’s definitive final push into their base. GG was called at 35 minutes, and NewBee had secured their place in the grand final.
No team today was eliminated from the tournament. Instead they’ve been relegated to the lower bracket where they can climb back up into the clutches of the grand final, but it’ll be tough. NewBee, a team who were fighting for their place in the tournament only earlier this week in the playoffs have destroyed predictions and made it all the way to the finals. Who their opponent will be on Monday remains to be seen, but the possibilities will slowly start to thin starting tomorrow.