Western Europe is guaranteed a TI11 win after Team Liquid eliminates Team Aster and China

This is the worst overall finish for China in years.

Photo via Valve

Western Europe has cemented itself as Dota 2’s most powerful region this season, with Team Liquid eliminating Team Aster and guaranteeing that all of the top three spots for The International 2022 will go to teams from WEU. 

It was another close series for Liquid, but eventually, their ability to play at their own pace while also taking risks carried them through to a top-three finish. 

From the jump, both sides were showing each other respect and feeling out just where they could push to potentially break the other’s lineup. But that only lasted for about half of game one, as both sides quickly reverted to playing their own styles, and Liquid eventually crashed into Aster with miCKe’s Lina and Boxi’s Marci to close out a 29-27 win.

Aster flipped the draft on Liquid in game two, giving Xxs the Marci and providing him with a much more active way to initiate into the enemy team. And, while Liquid was able to keep the game close initially, Aster very carefully played to the timing on Monet’s Sniper and Ori’s Pudge to really hammer home a win and even the series up, with the former achieving the eighth-ever Rampage on the TI main stage.

Aster was riding high off of their win, but game three just felt like Liquid got everything they wanted, whether it be zai’s Pangolier, miCKe’s Lina once more, or even Boxi’s Tusk. But the real standout and reason for such a lopsided final game was MATUMBAMAN’s Night Stalker, which went 11-0-13. 

Prior to that game, Matu had only played Night Stalker four other times across more than 1,600 games in his competitive career. 

With this series, Marci has also locked in the spot as the most picked hero for the entirety of TI11—having been picked 93 times for Aster’s win. She is also third on the most banned heroes list at 121 games, trailing only Enigma and Primal Beast at 140 and 125 games, respectively.

For Aster, this is the organization’s highest finish at any iteration of TI and a huge leap from their TI debut at TI10, where the previous iteration of the roster finished in a tie for 13th. However, this is also the worst overall finish for China since TI3. 

Prior to this event, TI3 was the only time at least one Chinese team did not finish in the top three on Dota’s biggest stage. Most years have seen at least two teams from the region make it to the top four, but only Aster was able to reach that point at TI11 due to how the bracket played out—forcing them to play and eliminate PSG.LGD to move into the top four.