There are only two days left of The International’s group stages, which means time is running out for teams to secure their places in next week’s main event. Things haven’t been looking promising for HellRaisers and Cloud9, who have made their home at the very bottom of the standings, while LGD.Forever Young has been the only undefeated team of TI.
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Latest update: 17:55 EST
|Team||Wins (Total)||Losses (Total)|
Virtus.pro (2) v. HellRaisers (0)
As opposed to their normal drafts, Virtus.pro didn’t start out their day with a very aggressive lineup, and didn’t immediately look for blood once the game started. It didn’t stop Virtus.pro from securing a kill and XP lead by the end of the laning phase, but it wasn’t the kind of domineering beat down that we would be expecting from a VP v. HellRaisers matchup. It also took over 20 minutes for VP to gain a significant gold advantage, and they seemed content with drawing things out and letting HellRaisers do their own thing. Despite this, it still felt very much like Virtus.pro’s game, as HellRaisers played as if they had already given up. HellRaisers played very brokenly, consistently getting caught in traps laid out for them, and played the entire game on the defensive. To no one’s surprise, VP took the win before the 38 minute mark with 30 kills and a 32k gold lead.
Game two… Did not start out as expected. This is likely due to VP’s laidback mindset going into the match, but HellRaisers managed to secure both a kill and gold lead before the nine minute mark without much difficulty. The lead was mediocre, and they weren’t exactly making a ton of progress as time went on, but the worst-performing team holding seven kills and 2k gold over one of the most dominating teams in their group was still impressive. That lead only continue to grow as Virtus.pro more or less dropped the ball, going into 14 minutes with 10 kills and a 4k gold lead. HellRaisers were severely punished after an attempt to 5 v 1 lil in the jungle at 15 minutes quickly turned against them, as the rest of VP was lurking around the corner and managed to pick off four of HellRaisers’ members before moving on, but it still wasn’t enough for Virtus.pro to gain any momentum. When it came time to make their push at the 40 minute mark, it failed and Virtus.pro went for broke. They went for the reverse sweep, split pushing up to HellRaisers’ base while they had four men down and dealing as much structural damage as they could. It seemed like the game had utterly turned against HellRaisers, who found themselves scrambling to defend their turf, almost completely wiping a second time in their own base, as opposed to going on the offensive. Unfortunately for them, HellRaisers still hadn’t learned their lesson about making greedy plays. As opposed to playing things safe and playing defense for a while, HellRaisers decided that they had to up their aggression and bully Virtus.pro into calling GG, which backfired dismally, and Virtus.pro claimed the win just seconds after HellRaisers lost the team fight.
Newbee (0) v. LGD.Forever Young (2)
First blood was drawn when Newbee made the mistake of engaging in a team fight at five minutes, where LFY claimed two of their members to set the pace for a slow build. One would have thought that LFY had learned their lesson last night when it came to getting cocky, but they still made the mistake of losing their Medusa at 12 minutes when they got too close to Newbee’s base too early. Meanwhile, Newbee understood that they would have to play the game carefully if they wanted to walk away with a win, but they played cautiously to a fault. By being too hesitant to apply any pressure, Newbee opened themselves up to being cornered into their base while LFY pushed them around in team fights and claimed objectives. The game ended in LFY’s favor at 33 minutes.
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Game two started with Newbee with an early lead, and it looked like LGD.Forever Young would finally see their undefeated record become tarnished with a bitter loss before finally climbing their way back onto the board to even the playing field out by 11 minutes. From then, LFY was able to pry the advantage out of Newbee’s hands to gain control of the game. It wasn’t the same absolute control that fans were used to seeing, so far, but it provided FLY with the comfort and stability they needed to start moving in to the Radiant’s side of the arena to tear down tier one towers. The entire time, Newbee was hot on their heels to take critical team fight kills to keep LGD.Forever Young at bay. At 20 minutes, though, Newbee had lost all control and could do little more than prolong the game until LFY took the win at 36 minutes.
Invictus Gaming (2) v. Cloud9 (0)
Cloud9 was able to quickly put pressure on IG during the early game, besting them in fights during the laning phase that granted them a moderate lead that they were able to maintain into the mid game. It was a team fight at 17 minutes that finally granted Invictus Gaming the momentum they needed to turn the tables, which they used to move to the high ground to destroy a rack and tier three tower in one go. It was a textbook example of overextending, which left them three men down in the retreat when Cloud9 pushed them out, but it was a significant blow to Cloud9’s defenses. They were still down in kills, and only had a slight gold advantage, but it was all IG needed. They pressed harder and harder against Cloud9’s defenses until, at 42 minutes, the game was over.
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The laning phase ran pretty standard, with the most interesting event being Cloud9’s Aui_2000 getting punished at one point when attempting to steal some farming. Later, by 17 minutes, IG had double of the kills, but Cloud9 was boasting the better net worth from dealing more structural damage in the lanes. It wasn’t until 23 minutes in that IG would finally gain total numerical advantage, and they started eyeing the possibility of a 2-0 series finish. The rest of the game progressed in a similar manner to their first game, with IG coming in to demolish the bottom tier three tower and barracks after a devastating team fight at 32 minutes. With Cloud9 cornered between a rock and a hard place, and the ground crumbling beneath their feet, GG was called at 50 minutes.
Digital Chaos (2) v. Execration (0)
With Puck, Sand King, Silencer, Sven, and Nature’s Prophet, Digital Chaos easily had the stronger of the two drafts for game one, and it helped them secure the first two kills of the game six minutes in. Yet, for what they lacked in draft strength, IG made up for in team coordination to keep the overall map control even. Eventually, though, something had to give and it was Digital Chaos who stepped up to the plate to make smart choices to utilize their draft to the best of its ability. For as hard as Execration fought, as much as they kicked and screamed in the arena, they fell short on too many fronts to keep the match from spiraling out of control. After a team wipe that forced Execration to use buybacks, Digital Chaos took the first game of the series at 45 minutes.
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Execration drafted much smarter this time around, with Sand King, Keeper of the Light, Dragon Knight, Earthshaker, and Venomancer against DC’s Puck, Lycan, Silencer, Tumbersaw, and Spirit Breaker. A good draft isn’t everything, though, if you let yourself get outplayed. Execration moved less like t a team and more like five individual players doing their own thing in solo queue, and it wasn’t long before Digital Chaos had every lead they needed to shut Execration out. At 24 minutes, DC had been maintaining a 10+_ kill and 4k gold lead, and things only got worse for Execration as they lost more and more ground. DC closed out the series at 42 minutes with a solid 2-0 score.
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