After that game against Na’Vi, you can’t help but feel a little sorry for LGD. Not only did they have to slog it out with one of the best over three matches, now they’ve got to slog it out with another of the best, over another three matches, and win. And even if they do that, they’ve got another five matches to play against Na’Vi. Again. It’s enough to make you feel tired. Actually it’s 3am, so I feel pretty shattered right now anyway.
Either way, this is the Loser’s Bracket final, and it looks like the final we all predicted. iG and LGD, the two champions of the group stage, going toe to toe to find out who’s the best China has to offer, to go up against Na’Vi in the Grand Final.
Watch it here. Or don’t, and just read my words below. They were written for you, after all.
As cavalier as Na’Vi’s attitude towards Naga Siren, iG didn’t share their nonchalance going into the first game, banning her outright and grabbing a Rubick just in case. Then there was Enigma, Lone Druid, Shadow Shaman and Brewmaster. LGD grabbed Invoker, Sand King, Leshrac, Morphling and Beastmaster in response, and the game began.
And what a game it was. Lasting well over an hour, it was a constant slog between the two teams, with iG actually looking more in control of the proceedings than LGD, despite the constant back and forth. They were faster with the towers, faster with the kills, and faster at grabbing down Roshan, although Sand King did grab a brilliant Aegis snatch right in the middle of a team fight.
Despite all this, LGD’s Sylar farmed brilliantly on Morphling, and by the time the hour mark approached, it was anyone’s game, and when one teamfight slipped slightly in LGD’s favour they pressed their advantage, surging down the centre lane and taking out the tower and barracks in short order. It almost looked like it would be GG for iG, but they responded in kind, somehow turning it around into a four hero wipe, giving them enough breathing room to take out LGD’s barracks in response, before picking off their heroes one by one.
One barracks feel, and then another, and suddenly it was LGD saying good game, in a turn around that was the work of two minutes, barely a fraction of the game. It turns on the head of a pin, and iG came away with the win.
LGD were facing elimination, and they were sitting on a losing streak of three games. Suddenly the nineteen before that didn’t really feel like they mattered any more.
Game two. iG go for Morphling, Tidehunter, Broodmother, Crystal Maiden and Leshrac, picking a push-heavy team, while LGD go for Beastmaster, Anti-Mage, Invoker, Venomancer, and, for a pretty big surprise during this International, Lion. Clearly they had some plans. LGD always have some plans.
And that plan was to farm. Farm more than iG, and farm some more after that. Anti-Mage lived up to his reputation, and spent so much time in the jungle, and on the lanes, and just earning more and more and more gold until he was just utterly stuffed. Morphling, shown to be such a strong carry in so many games before, couldn’t even hope to keep up once Anti-Mage got the ball rolling, and despite winning some pretty big teamfights, iG were being tipped away on the experience and gold graphs purely through Anti-Mage’s constant farming.
In a way, it’s incredibly impressive. But in another, it’s deathly boring to watch, from a spectator’s point of view. The game dragged out to forty minutes, but for a good thirty of those, it was just watching two teams skirt around one another while they killed neutral monsters. When a teamfight finally happened, and Anti-Mage’s stupidly strong levelling and item build came into play, iG just threw up their hands and accepted defeat.
Which meant there was one more game to play. The choice between the chance of a million dollars, or a ticket on the plane home.
iG go Tidehunter, Invoker, Windrunner, Lich and Anti-Mage, just about the quintessential Chinese Dota team, focusing so heavily on that Anti-Mage to farm. But, should the game go like the previous, there’s no reason to expect that he can’t.
LGD, for their money, go Enigma, Rubick, Leshrac, Chaos Knight and Morphling, aiming to keep pace for AM, and serve up some hard carry of their own. Just like last game, this is going to be just about the most carry-heavy game you’re going to see in a game of Dota.
And they didn’t disappoint. First blood may have come within five minutes, but any subsequent kills were few and far between, dripped out like an IV, just about keeping the game alive. For so much of the game it was just two teams farming just about as hard as they can, playing a Dota 2 game so technical that there was a certain trance-like quality to it. AM would farm. The rest of the team would keep the lanes secure. AM would farm some more.
And then, just about the forty minute mark, he decided that he’d finished farming. By this point iG were 12 kills to 3, sitting in a comfortable lead with an AM that was far more fed than LGD’s Morphling. He was shredding towers in seconds, and with a Heart of Terrasque and an Aegis from Roshan, he was all but unkillable; even if LGD got him down, his blink would be ready the instant the Aegis got him back up, meaning they couldn’t really do anything to stop him.
And, they didn’t. A big teamfight on the high ground of their own base went iG’s way, wiping four out of five of their heroes, and forcing them to throw up their hands and admit defeat. GG was called, and iG became the winners of the Loser’s Bracket.
Which meant they were going to the grand final. And LGD weren’t. They were, however, taking home $150,000, which isn’t exactly a small amount of money.
iG, though, were guaranteed at least $250,000, even if they lost in the best of five against Na’Vi. Although, if they won... well, that’s a million dollars.