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PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming are both known for playing a reckless style of Dota that can work as a double-edged sword, but the Chinese teams each took a more methodical approach in their upper bracket clash today at The International 2019.
The Mercedes Benz Arena was shaking as the crowd cheered on two hometown teams and watched LGD systematically pick apart Vici in a 2-0 series victory.
Vivi Gaming came into TI9 as one of the best-looking teams, having won the EPICENTER Major. But a shaky group stage performance had many fans looking back at LGD as the region’s top squad.
The proof of that statement became clear once the teamfights began in game one. Vici showed they couldn’t engage in full five-vs=five action without taking big hits to their resources. LGD rallied behind Lu “Somnus丶M” Yao’s Kunkka and started to go at Vici.
An early lead for Pan “Fade” Yi and his team was quickly wiped away when LGD started building up their resources and taking positive trades in any conflict they had with Vici. Fade was a non-factor after the opening, getting focused down and eliminated seven times despite the slow nature of the match.
Wang “Ame” Chunyu played a great game on Terrorblade, becoming an early threat that just melted any hero that he and his teammates could single out. He and Somnus dominated the core, which let Yang “Chalice”‘ Shenyi roam on Centaur Warrunner.
Objectives fell, Zhang “Paparazi灬” Chengjun couldn’t get proper farm, and Vici just couldn’t keep all of their heroes alive long enough to pose a true threat to LGD. One last teamfight was all it took for Chalice to run down Zhou “Yang” Haiyang and Vici conceded when buybacks went off the table.
Vici were again able to take a slight lead early in game two, focusing down Ame’s Spectre while they could. But LGD weren’t worried about that, instead opting to let Somnus beef up his Dragon Knight to become an unstoppable killing machine.
It also helped that Xu “fy” Linsen’s Jakiro was able to assist in early kills by nailing a handful of Ice Path hits, cutting off or completely freezing enemies for his teammates to swoop in and clean up.
As the game went on, Vici found it harder to damage the tanky lineup LGD built, especially when they could be blindsided by Somnus and obliterated off the map at any point. That hesitation and lack of damage output eventually meant the end for Vici.
LGD secured a near team wipe about 37 minutes in, cleaning up Yang and Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang thanks to more expert Ice Path usage from fy. That gave them plenty of time to regroup and push the high grounds while Vici had no buybacks.
One last fight with Somnus’ Dragon Knight relentlessly punishing Ori even with a BKB and dives on two more heroes ended the game after a dominating late-game performance.
Vici now drop into the lower bracket where they’ll face the winner of Infamous against Team Secret, while LGD await the winner of EG and OG in the upper bracket finals. Either way, it’ll be a rematch from the top three finalists of last year’s International.