What a final. The Dreamhack Winter Dota 2 final was easily comparable to The International and Dreamhacks Summer counterpart. Three days of five on five glorious action came down to those last three matches. Both EG and No Tidehunter gave it their all, but only one managed to make the crowd roar with ecstasy. It was a stunning match.
No Tidehunter is my new favorite Dota 2 team. Here’s how they won Dreamhack Winter 2012.
Both teams made it through the playoffs without a single loss, each demonstrating a consistently high level of play. AS the game began, it was anyone’s guess as to who would clinch the first victory. After a few minutes It looked like EG were in control. Fear was all but stoic in his ability to farm, not being phased by Beastmaster who could do little to control him.
Fear’s Faceless Void was able to mop up No Tidehunter in every fight, with the help from Batriders initiation with a perfect Blink + Lasso + Force Staff combo. No Tidehunter just couldn’t slow down EG’s snowballing power, leading to a very worrying loss and an easy lead by EG.
On themain-stageand with one game in hand, EG appeared confident that they could wrap up the final then and there. They were one game away from being the the Dota 2 Dreamhack champions.
Then this happened.
Toby was right when he said “no one has ever done that in the history of Dota”. It was a jaw dropping moment. I actually choked on my drink because I was in no way prepared for what just happened. My thought process was a little something like this:
“Huh? What? Why did die? How stupid to throw away his life… wait, what are EG doing? No, no don’t do it, IT’S A TRAP! HOLY FUCK IT WAS INTENTIONAL!”
After regaining my composure and not choking to death, I realised the ingenuity of their plan. By Natures Prophet dying to Roshan at the start, it made EG think No Tidehunter were going for a level one Roshan kill. This is a risky thing to pull off, with secrecy being of the utmost importance. By Natures Prophet dying, it announced that something was going on to EG, and they couldn’t just ignore it. They then checked the pit, before No Tidehunter flanked them from behind taking them by complete surprise. The icing on the cake was that because Natures Prophet can teleport to anywhere on the map, he joined in on the ambush when he instantly respawned.
After the two kill lead things were immediately looking up for No Tidehunter and they took a comfortable lead in the early game. EG however still had a very scary team composition, already demonstrating the ugly power of a Magnus + Refresher combo. No Tidehunter would have to end the game as soon as possible to avoid having to deal with it.
Magnus did reach his Refreshers orb, but it was too late. No Tidehunter had a devastating combo with Sven and Dark Seer’s Vacuum, while Natures Prophet pushed every lane. The game ended with a successful last push into EG’s base, which even with buybacks EG couldn’t defend. It also featured a very skillful passing of the Cheese, which kept Sven from almost certain death.
Now it was all level, one game between crowning the champions.
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For the first time in the tournament, a best of three had reached it’s third game. What better time than the grand final, guaranteed to have everyone on the edge of their seats. It was all or nothing for both teams.
They certainly gave it their all.
This time round both Magnus and Sven were banned, leaving room for new heroes to take the field.
EG went with a powerful pushing team with Chen and Natures Prophet, trying to get a quick and fast win to secure victory. Rubick would support while Templar Assassin and Juggernaut would provide mid-late game effectiveness.
No Tidehunter on the other hand had other plans. They picked up Faceless Void for that scary carry potential as well as a Jakiro + Queen of Pain combo for the big team fights. Undying would provide support while Bounty Hunter did the invisible ganking stuff he is good at.
The early game was swaying in favour of EG, their pushing strategy collecting them some early towers. But then things just started to slip away from them.
No Tidehunter started to pick off EG one by one, over and over. Bounty Hunter was being successful in nearly every gank, eventually allowing him to purchase an Abyssal Blade. Queen of Pain was doing equally well, blinking in from the trees resulting in ganks with no hopes of escape. Faceless Void continued his farm, only ever being distracted by the opportunistic team fight.
EG tried to counter this by increasing their pushing potential, equipping both Chen and Natures Prophet with Necronomicons. These minions do incredible damage to both towers and hero, and they’ve got a bit of potential in team fights. The Necro Warrior especially had true sight and would damage any hero that slayed it for 600 damage. This forced Loda, who was playing Faceless Void, to be extra cautious in team fights, trying his best to avoid killing himself.
By the end of the game, No Tidehunter had just won too many team fights, they had too much farm and they had accumulated too much experience. When EG had called “GG” and congratulated them after a long andgruellingteam fight in their base, No Tidehunter were at a mind blowing 46,000 gold lead from their rivals, and an equally notable experience lead as well. Even with this incredible lead, EG still held them off for nearly an entire hour.
Victory was sweet. No Tidehunter, a team formed just this year, rose from local lans and small tournaments to winning Dreamhack.
After their victory, No Tidehunter said they’d continue training, with their dreams set now on next years International. And: they’ll be revealing their new sponsor.
Riches and success are surely waiting.