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The Dota International Quarter Finals: Zenith vs CoL


We’re onto the second match, slotting Zenith, second place in Group A, against Complexity Gaming, who did awfully well in Group B. While both teams have had some losses (only LGD have a lovely unbeaten streak), they have both performed above the curve. America’s Complexity was on the Radiant side, where Zenith creeped into the Dire. 
The results are below, so do the right thing and watch the replays if you want to keep it secret. Otherwise click below for a blow by gank account of everything that happened.

The first game of the set saw Zenith grabbing Tinker, Queen of Pain, Chaos Knight, Keeper of the Light and Lina, with an eye to push out with Tinker while Keeper of the Light dealt with any pushes, and at the same time get Queen of Pain and Chaos Knight all big and strong to carry them through the late game.
Complexity, on the other hand, went with Chen, Invoker, Beast Master, Rubick, and, for the first time that I’ve seen this tournament, Naga Siren, almost universally banned because of her amazing ability to just cry ‘Time Out!’ on any teamfight that’s not going her team’s way with her massive AoE sleep. With this lineup it’s almost entirely built around supporting that Siren, keeping her alive with heals from Chen, disrupts from Rubick and Beastmaster, and everything that Invoker does brilliantly, as we saw in the LGD vs Orange matchup.
The game itself kicked off in keeping with the playstyles that the teams have become famous for, with Zenith looking for the roaming kills, surging from lane to lane and attempting to pick off anyone too extended, or just too exposed, and Complexity constantly countering any of these attempts with ganks of their own.
Which, when you look at it that way, means that Complexity had the upper hand, and the combination of Naga Siren’s lovely net snaring heroes in place, and Invoker’s Sunstrike coming in to take off big chunks of their health, they soon started to pull ahead. And pulling ahead with that Naga Siren on TC meant that they started to steamroll, and… well, they didn’t stop. The game went to Complexity after a commanding performance.
Which meant they went into game two. Complexity went with Leshrac, Templar Assassin, TC on Tiny, Tidehunter and Lich, once again looking for a very solid support structure around Templar Assassin, along with a little lovely pushing power on Leshrac.
Zenith grabbed Invoker from the off, giving him to Iceiceice, and following it up with Queen of Pain, Morphling, Venomancer and Ancient Apparition, a support I’ve not seen too much of in competitive Dota, but instantly making me question that right from the beginning of the game.
Ancient Apparition’s ultimate, a global ball of ice that grows in power and range the further away from AA it moves, ended up dominating the game in combination with Iceiceice’s Sunstrike on Invoker. Not only were they mopping up in any engagement, no matter how far away, but Iceiceice was getting solo kills without the aid of his team, pushing him further and further away from the rest of the game in terms of money and experience.
With that duo doing so much to control the flow of the match, Complexity could never quite push off the back foot. Even with TC on Tiny, one of his most proficient heroes, they just couldn’t make things happen, and the instant they moved in to engage AA’s ultimate would come flying in, forcing them to disperse or be completely crippled. Once Venomancer started joining in the fights, dropping off his Nova and poisoning the whole team, it was pretty much all she wrote.
Zenith surged to victory, leaving the two teams tied and forced to go to a third game.
Invoker went to Iceiceice again, followed up with Bounty Hunter, Morphling, Tidehunter and Ancient Apparition again. After being so heavily dominated by this pairing in the previous game, it seems insane that Complexity allowed it to be matched up against them once more, but the hope was that they had some tactic to counter it.
So they went with Nature’s Prophet, supposedly for some global control. Anti-Mage, to deal with all the heavy intelligence heroes on the Zenith side. Beast Master, for that lovely AoE shout, and finally Venomancer, for roaming ganks and general support. It made a certain sense, but it still seemed incredibly risky to go up against what undid you, such a short amount of time ago.
And, unfortunately, that’s what happened, with Complexity never really gaining any traction against the constant AA harrasment and Invoker Sunstrikes. To be entirely fair to Iceiceice, he was playing Invoker like a savant, landing hits that seemed utterly impossible, and creating a culture of fear among the Complexity team, where absolutely nowhere was safe. And to his team’s credit, they were aggressively warding so that he had the vision to land the hits he needed to land.
All of this meant that Complexity lost the game resoundingly, without much of a comeback at any point in the game. They were never given the chance, but it’s still incredible to see a team so confident and powerful in the first game all but fall apart in the subsequent two.
Complexity will head down to the Loser’s Bracket where they’ll have to fight for their place in the Tournament, while Zenith go on to play LGD in the Semi Finals.