Vici Gaming tough it out vs. Invictus Gaming at the Leipzig Major

The mid lane advantage determined the victors.

Screengrab via DreamHack

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The two best Dota 2 teams in China battled in the upper bracket of the DreamLeague Leipzig Major today. Vici Gaming and Invictus Gaming each took a crushing defeat in the first two games before a closer third game in which VG eventually prevailed.

VG and IG took second and third place respectively in the previous Major tournament at the MDL Chengdu Major. The two teams didn’t play each other in that tournament, however. This series represents the two rosters’ first clash in a Dota Pro Circuit tournament. VG and IG have met previously in the China Dota 2 Professional League season one and the qualifiers for the Leipzig Major, with VG winning 4-0.

With today’s 2-1 win, VG move forward to face Evil Geniuses in the next round of the competition while confirming a top-six placing at the event. The Chinese powerhouse are also guaranteed $60,000 and 900 Dota Pro Circuit points. IG drop down to the lower bracket and will no longer have the luxury of a second life.

Aside from a poor second game draft that caught VG flat-footed, VG were stable as always. The incredible versatility of their two cores, Zhang “Eurus” Chengjun and Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang, allows them to constantly secure their lanes even in the draft. They’ve kept true to their strategy with little variation in terms of an overall gameplan, but the frequent switching of heroes still keeps opponents guessing. They’re one of the most dangerous teams at the event and will certainly threaten for another Major championship to add to their trophy case.

This loss certainly isn’t the end of the world for IG, though. The Chinese upstarts found themselves in a similar position at the MDL Chengdu Major, losing to Evil Geniuses in the first round of the upper bracket. IG proceeded to slaughter through the lower bracket, even getting their revenge against EG on the way to a spot on the podium. 

For a team that relies so heavily on their star mid player Zhou “Emo” Yi to take off, they’ll have to improve their drafting to accommodate the player. All three games in the series hinged heavily on the strength of the mid lane matchup, with the team that came out on top in that regard winning the game. With the role of a mid laner increasingly in flux, it’s becoming even more important to secure an advantage before the actual game starts.

VG were unstoppable in the first game. Their artillery assault consisting of Drow Ranger and Viper consistently chipped away at IG’s heroes, who failed to close the gap. Whenever IG committed, it was difficult for them to disengage due to VG’s multitudes of slows and disables.

Xiong “Pyw” Jiahan had an excellent Rubick game, stealing key spells and turning them onto IG whenever it felt like they had a glimmer of hope at killing VG’s dual blades. VG wasted no time in rushing up to the high ground and securing the victory.

IG then set up their own stomp in the second game. VG’s Orihad a terrible matchup in the middle lane against IG’s Jin “flyfly”‘ Zhiyi, playing Kunkka and Monkey King respectively. With Ori unable to make moves around the map while flyfly did, placing IG firmly in the driver’s seat, the game soon became out of reach for VG.

After two stomps from each side, the third game was a more intense duel between the two. VG last-picked a Huskar for Ori, who proceeded to dominate the lane. VG increasingly piled on defensive heroes and counter-initiators that could guarantee the safety of their cores, eventually becoming an impenetrable ball of fury that systematically dismantled IG.