Here we go, the main event, the big kabosh, the rumble in the jungle, and the lanes, and in that bit of water around Roshan. This is the final day of the Interantional 2012, where we will find out, once and for all, who the best Dota 2 team in the world is. Until next year when we’ll find out all over again. Things kicked off with iG vs DK to decide who’ll be heading into the Loser’s Bracket final, with iG losing the first game, before coming back with two solid victories to secure them the place.
Which brings us to the Winner’s Bracket final, and LGD vs Na’Vi, the strongest team of this International against the strongest team of last year’s. LGD have still not lost a game, and while Na’Vi went against everyone’s common sense and actually came away with a win against iG, they’d at least lost two games beforehand. They were shown to be fallible. LGD, on the other hand, seemed as untouchable as a Phantom Assassin with Butterfly and a BKB.
Details after the jump, so watch the replays here if you haven’t seen them, or carry on reading. Just don’t complain if I spoil the winner for you, because you’ve been warned.
The first game is always going to set the tone of a three-match set, either setting up the glorious comeback or placing the winners in a confident stride that shows exactly why they’re in a winning position, so Na’Vi were going to have to throw everything they had at LGD in the hope that something is going to break through that impervious shell.
To that end, they tried to recreate the incredibly victory of that second match against iG, letting LGD grab Naga Siren and Dark Seer, along with Venomancer, Leshrac and Dragon Knight, while they picked up Rubick, Anti-Mage, Beastmaster, Shadow Shaman and Keeper of the Light.
The match started innocuously enough, with an attempt by LGD to grab an early first blood on top lane against Anti-Mage, KotL and Shadow Shaman, but with the tower damage hitting so hard early on, Na’Vi managed to avoid an early gank. It wasn’t until five minutes in when first blood even happened, going to LGD but at the cost of two of their own.
And that’s the way the game went. Every time LGD went for a kill, Na’Vi had an answer, forcing them to pay for each one, and while the gold and experience advantage was almost always in LGD’s favour, it was only just, constantly fluctuating. Regardless, LGD were unrelenting, and despite some incredible team fight wins on Na’Vi’s part, LGD never properly fell behind, leaving Na’Vi on the backfoot despite a few moments where it looked like they might gain control of the match.
Which brings us to game two. Again LGD picks Naga Siren, following her up with Leshrac, Beastmaster, Ancient Apparition and Dragon Knight. And, again, Na’Vi go with what appears to be their anti-Naga Siren strategy, picking up Rubick, Enigma, Juggernaut, Lycanthrope and Shadow Shaman.
There was some aggressive jungling from Lycanthrope in LGD’s jungle, while Dendi on Rubick desperately staved off a trilane on bottom lane. Seven minutes in, they swapped out, with Enigma heading bottom and Rubick going mid, before getting caught out by both Ancient Apparition and Dragon Knight and giving away first blood to LGD, all but ruining Na’Vi’s tentative gold and experience advantage.
And that’s how it went. Na’Vi would pull ahead in farm, and LGD would push back with a few kills. Only Na’Vi’s farm was more impressive than LGD’s kills, and by the time it got to the mid-game, and the team fights started to come out of the woodwork, Na’Vi were up almost 10k up in both gold and experience, meaning that they had better items, more levels, and were generally stronger.
Oh, and they had that lovely Juggernaut/Rubick combo that they demonstrated so effectively against iG. Naga Siren would drop her ultimate, and Dendi would just throw it straight back in her face, before Juggernaut did his thing and absolutely destroyed them. It all started at Roshan, when Na’Vi went for the kill before being ambushed by LGD. It looked like it would go in LGD’s favour, only for things to turn around, with Dragon Knight going down, and LGD being forced to retreat. Na’Vi went back to taking out Roshan, and Siren had second thoughts, popping her ultimate and stealing the Aegis right from Na’Vi’s sleeping noses.
Which was pretty fucking incredible. I mean really, that was some sublime play. That was the kind of thing you talk about being possible, but never actually seeing. Only it just happened, in one of the finals of the International, and Na’Vi were essentially left hanging in the breeze. Except they were not about to let that go, instead bursting to top lane and aggressively going after the tower, with Naga attempting to defend, only to go down once. And then twice. Na’Vi see your Aegis, LGD, and they raise you a Barracks.
LGD were left there, mouth agape. They don’t lose their barracks. They don’t lose games. And yet here they were, on the receiving end of an utter devastation. It was like they had no contingency, no response to being on the losing side of a match, no way to come back from it. After a few more teamwipes, they just admitted their defeat and dropped a GG in chat.
Game three. Na’Vi have one win. LGD have one win. Playing for a place in the final, and a shot at a million dollars. Na’Vi have stated before that they have no fear of Naga Siren, and here they are, proving it. So LGD do the... well, not the smart thing, but they one the first game with her, so why not? They pick Naga Siren again. Along with Dark Seer, Venomancer, Tidehunter and Queen of Pain.
So Na’Vi do what they always do, and grab Rubick. Only LGD have banned Enigma. They’ve banned Juggernaut. It’s like they’ve been rattled. In fact, it’s almost like they’re scared. Na’Vi pick Leshrac, and they pick Beastmaster, and they pick Enchantress. And they round it all out by picking Faceless Void.
Faceless Void. Perhaps the hardest carry in the game, and an absolute bastard to get right. One wrong Chronosphere and you’ve ruined a teamfight. Don’t farm well enough and you’ve ruined the game. It’s risky as all hell, and Na’Vi didn’t seem to be at all worried.
And they didn’t play like they were, either. Leshrac minded Void up on top lane, forcing Dark Seer away from the lane, and making sure he got absolutely no experience. Meanwhile, Void was free to do whatever he liked with the creeps that came his way. Meanwhile, Rubick was constantly harrassing Queen of Pain on mid, and Enchantress and Beast were managing the jungle like pros. Because, well, they are.
For a little bit, it looked like LGD might have swapped playstyles with Na’Vi, aggressively going after towers while Na’Vi focused on the farm, but it wasn’t paying off; again, regardless of how much they pushed, or whatever kills they grabbed, the xp and gold advantage kept creeping in Na’Vi’s favour, and when the first teamfight happened, everything was thrown out of the window as Tidehunter dropped his ult, only for Void to drop his, and then Rubick to grab Ravage the instant Chronosphere was down and tie the Radiant side up all over again. LGD didn’t know what to do. What could they do?
So that was Void, farmed and getting more so, eating up kills as well as creeps, and by the time he had Battlefury, BKB and Butterfly there really wasn’t a lot LGD could do to stop him. It was just the vain hope that they might be able to take down the support structure keeping him up and then focus him down. But when that support structure is so good, they weren’t going to let that happen.
More teamfights happened, and after one actually unsuccessful one, Na’Vi hunkered down, getting another Roshan kill and making sure that they were ready for the next. Void pushed straight down mid with his team, and was even surging forward to bait out ultimates from LGD, just so Rubick could steal them.
And, for a little while, it didn’t work. But then it did. And all hell broke loose. Ravage went. And then Rubick dropped it in return, and Void popped Chronosphere on top of it, killing player after player, using a recently purchased Daedelus to make LGD cry a little, inside.
The barracks went down, and with them LGD’s hope of an easy run to the final. They called GG, and Na’Vi became the first team to not only beat them at all, but to knock them out of the Winner’s Bracket. The untouchables, the infallible, unbeatable LGD had just be soundly thrashed.
So they’ll be playing iG, and Na’Vi will be playing the winner of that match in the final. Either way, they’ve already beaten both teams, so they’ve got nothing left to prove, and everything left to win.