This article is brought to you by StatBanana, the best Dota 2 strategy tool.
Both Alliance and Team Liquid had a lot to prove going into the Dota 2 DreamLeague Season 13 Major, but the “European Leftovers” led by Adrian “Fata” Trinks made it into the top four by getting their revenge on Liquid, who had eliminated them in Chengdu.
A lot was riding on the frontline for both teams. But Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov and Linus “Limmp” Blomdin were given a clear edge over their competition due to some lazy drafting by Liquid, specifically in game three.
Liquid made the early error of letting Alliance draft a dual pick Io and Gyrocopter to start game one. This duo gave Alliance a strong sustain boost and late game build. Paired with Limmp’s Magnus, Alliance were really only worried about dealing with Michael “miCKe” Vu’s signature Morphling.
Liquid held a lead for most of the early game but couldn’t find a way to shake Alliance beyond about 2,000 net worth. Keeping it close allowed Alliance to play for one fight since they had superior teamfight by about 25 minutes in, which led to Limmp dropping the hammer and going Godlike.
That near teamwipe led to Alliance taking a big lead that Liquid would slowly chip away at over the next 10 minutes, only to lose another long engagement that started the process all over again.
By 50 minutes, both sides were ready to commit for the deciding teamfight, which led to a clash where Liquid started with some strong kills but fell behind quickly once their numbers dwindled and Nikobaby was free to dive in. Buybacks favored Alliance and Nikobaby was able to chase down Max “qojqva” Bröcker with the help of Simon “Handsken” Haag’s Io to end the game.
Liquid went double or nothing in game two, drafting Morphling again and allowing the Io to slip through the ban stage into Alliance’s draft with a Gyrocopter again. But the same thing did not work a second time against Aydin “iNSaNiA” Sarkohi’s squad, who dove into lanes and quickly took a lead.
The farm was on for Liquid as that lead began to increase with each pick that qojqva was able to secure. Their aggressive tri-lane assault was too much for Alliance to deal with. All of Liquid’s core heroes went untouched and evened the series up 1-1 at just over 30 minutes thanks to miCKe bouncing back on the Morph and combining efforts with Samuel “Boxi” Svahn’s Slardar.
But Liquid fell into their own trap in game three’s draft, recycling an older strategy from earlier in the tournament built around yet another iNSaNiA Oracle with a Viper-Drow Ranger-Slardar final three. Alliance played it safe with a Slark for Nikobaby and handed Limmp a last pick Windranger in hopes that snipes would be coming.
Liquid did a poor job trading kills and their Treant Protector paid the price. Tommy “Taiga” Le died three times in 15 minutes. But the big swing for Alliance came when Liquid had just finished off Roshan and ran right into a teamfight that cost them a squad wipe and three buybacks.
That swing got the ball rolling for Alliance and Liquid had no way to stop it. Every five minutes ended with Liquid losing a teamfight and falling even further behind.
After another teamfight win, Alliance were able to push the high ground and start taking out tier three towers while Liquid were waiting for players to respawn. But even with a full team, they had no way to approach a fight without instantly losing one of their heroes. They could only watch as Alliance cleaned things up and forced GGs.
With that win, Alliance secure their first top four finish of the season at the Major and will play the Evil Geniuses later today to see who will make it into the top three with a chance to make it into the grand finals.