The Boston Major Group Stage Recap
It feels good to have The Boston Major in full swing. This weekend gave us some of the best Dota we've seen since TI6. While action doesn't resume until Thursday, here's a recap of what went down. It was a wild two days of upsets and spectacular team performances.
If you're not familiar with the groups, you can check them out here.
Digital Chaos Cruise to Top Seed, Wings Show Weakness in Group A
Going into the major, DC was one of those teams that looked shaky, and not up to scratch when comparing them to prior preformances. They sought to rectify that in their first series of the major, against LGD.Forever Young, and they delivered. While the second game was a harder fight, DC walked away with a 2-0 victory.
The real surprise of Saturday's Groups A and B was Warriors Gaming.Unity. In similar fashion to compLexity in Group C, they were a bottom ranked team playing against one of the best in the world. WG.U played Wings Gaming in their international tournament debut, and what a way to show up, too. After three grueling games, they upset the TI6 champions in one of the most surprising results of 2016. Such a resut was certain to cause mayhem in seeding for the entire event. While Wings would stabilize and claw their way back up to the second seed, WG.U slipped to the third seed, but their initial performance shows the potential this team has if their opponents underestimate them.
Virtus.pro Crushes Group B
The group stages began on Saturday with a match between Team NP and Virtus.pro. Even with their relatively good placements in tournaments leading up to the major, NP handed over the fastest 2-0 in the entire group stage. VP's crushing victory set their tempo against Newbee in the winners match. Newbee, however, did show signs of life in game two, where they held for a bit more than 60 minutes before tapping out to the CIS powerhouse.
The bottom two teams in this group, NP and MVP.Phoenix, had disappointing results to say the least. However, they still can redeem themselves at the main event and forget this group stage result; it's just a lot harder.
LGD Take Group C, compLexity Stuns Evil Geniuses
While LGD easily won this group, the highlight of Group C was compLexity Gaming. Two days ago, I would have never expected to write that sentence. coL's story is the highlight of the second day of the group stages, and maybe even the entire tournament so far.
Everyone counted out compLexity at this event. Perhaps some of the preemptive criticism was well founded; the team seemed to be in a form of disarray, with a scramble to pick up American offlaner Monkeys-Forever and a shift for Moo to the safelane carry position. Because of this, many had them ranked at 15th or even 16th out of the 16 teams at Boston; they were supposed to do poorly. Also, their first game was against Evil Geniuses, a top-three team, and one of the favorites to win it all. A 0-4 start to the major for coL seemed certain.
Game one of the series against EG only seemed to cement what most predicted to be true. The game's tempo was determined by EG.Sumail's incredible performance on Alchemist, clocking in at a ludicrous 1132 pold per minute. Needless to say, EG crushed coL in game one. The loss quickly prompted some of those who already doomed compLexity to reassert their claims, saying that the team was finished. One user on Reddit didn't even wait for the series to end before posting a particularly brutal thread trashing Swindlemelonzz, the captain of compLexity, calling him the worst player at the event. However, the series wasn't over yet, perhaps to that one redditor's dismay. Game two still needed to be played.
Unfortunately, game two was shaping up to be another stomp by Evil Geniuses, this time at the hands of Sumail's Invoker. At the 29 minute mark, EG led in net worth, objectives, experience and vison.
Games in Dota can be turned around by items. Typically, these items are the flashiest: a Bloodthorn, a Refresher Orb, the Divine Rapier. Not this game. This game—no, the series— was turned around by the purchase of a Gem of True Sight. When coL gave a Gem to Moo, it began turning fights around. With the gem, they could take back vision control from EG. It allowed them to take fights on their own terms. Through immaculate team-fighting, coL took that 12K net worth disadvantage at 29 minutes and turned it into a 12K advantage of their own by the time EG would call GG. This was now a best-of-three once again.
The final game of the series had another EG advantage in the early game, but it evaporated at the 15 minute mark. From there, Evil Geniuses tried to keep up with compLexity, but after a string of lost team fights, they tapped out after suffering a particualrly gruesome ultra kill at the hands of a coL.Cancel^^ and coL.Swindlezz tag team. compLexity had done it; they had pulled off the upset.
After their win against EG, compLexity played LGD, and lost 2-0. Meanwhile, EG beat a lackluster Team Faceless to move on to the redeeming match. It was the first time that these two teams played each other in two best-of-three matches in one day.
EG vs. coL round two was the last match of the night that went to three games. EG, like in the series in the afternoon, took game one thanks to an incredible performance by one of their carries (this time Arteezy on the Naga SIren). Game two was something else. In game two, we saw one of the best single performances by a player all year. Zfreek, playing Rubick, played to such a level that I can only compare him to Fy's performance on the hero against Cloud9 at TI5. He did everything in game two; he set up kills in the early game, performed very successful ganks, and turned team fights where it should have been a wipe in EG's favor. From that point on, coL was in control of the match. They would handily take game three, and earn the second seed in Group C. The group that was supposed to be the weakest ended up being the most interesting.
OG Thrives In Group D, Ad Finem Has Mixed Results
Meanwhile, in Group D, the Europeans were having their exposition, and they very clearly came to play. Early Sunday had the two regions represented in this group, China and Europe, duel it out in a Eurasian brawl, with EU coming out on top in both engagements. The highlight of this group was OG. I had doubts coming into the major about whether or not they could continue with the momentum found at The Summit. This weekend, we found out that it wasn't momentum they had, but rather footing. They understood how to use the assets that each player brought to the team, and have learned how to win games with said assets.
Ad Finem dropped to the final match of the day to play Ehome, and Ehome pulled out the win, leaving IG.Vitality at the bottom of Group D, a disappointing finish for BurNIng's team in these group stages. While Group D did not have the most dramatic or exciting Dota this weekend, OG and Ehome showed promise of performing well at this tournament.
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