It’s the end of an era in Dota 2.
For the first time in history, Natus Vincere will not play in the finals of The International. The champions of the very first International in 2011, the Ukrainian team lost in subsequent finals against Invictus Gaming and Alliance, respectively. Now, they’re doomed to a top eight finish.
The Ukrainian team became the first eliminated in the main event at the KeyArena in Seattle when Cloud9 bested them in a close three game series.
It’s fitting that the battle went to a third map, in what would was a single game of Dota worth over $140,000 in prize money. The crowd cheered their heroes, Natus Vincere, as Cloud9 tried to use the chip on their shoulder to bash in the Ukrainian terrors.
Cloud9 chose a pick composition featuring Clockwerk and Bounty Hunter, an extremely risky move against a Na’Vi push team. But Cloud9 executed perfectly, scoring early kills in mid lane and then around the map.
Pittner “b0ne7” Armand played out of his mind as Clockwerk, ending the match with a 13/0/12 score, setting up tons of kills in combination with Johan “pieliedie” Åström’s Bounty Hunter lurking behind Natus Vincere’s lines.
The key moment came in an early push from Natus Vincere, after they secured their first kill. Cloud9 counter engaged to defend their bottom tower, and a perfect engage from Armand allowed them to wipe out the Natus Vincere tri lane.
“It was scary man, when you play against Na’Vi it’s like you can see the future, like they’ll go all the way from the lower bracket to the finals like last year,” Cloud9 mid laner Weh “SingSing” Sing Yuen said. “But we stopped them dead in their tracks.”
Cloud9 took the first game on the back of a dominating performance by Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao on Morphling. Na’Vi failed to stop Mao free farming the bottom lane, and he jumped to a huge lead. At the 25 minute mark, the carry power of Morphling finally culminated in a Cloud9 win. Na’Vi tried to take Roshan, but Cloud9 countered with Mao grabbing a triple kill, putting him 8,000 gold ahead of the next player in the server at the 30 minute mark. Na’Vi would surrender a few minutes later.
Mao finished the match with a 12/0/3 K/D/A and a ridiculous 673 Gold Per Minute, thanks to 284 last hits.
The experienced Natus Vincere, one game from elimination so many times in their illustrious careers, wouldn’t go down easily. In game two they blitzed Cloud9, taking a win in a quick 21 minutes.
But as Sing Yuen said, Cloud9 stopped Natus Vincere in their tracks in that fateful third match.
Natus Vincere will be left to wonder what could have been. It’s a disappointing performance for the most accomplished team in Dota 2 history. Of course, the $516,000 in prize money they pulled in for eighth place is more money than they earned with their two second place finishes at The International, so it’s not all bad for the Ukrainians.
Cloud9 is now guaranteed a top six finish and over $650,000 in their first International. They will face Chinese team Vici Gaming later in the day, a game with another $160,000 on the line.
But next for Sing Yuen? Marriage, apparently. In his post-game interview, Kaci Atchison told him dozens of fans have taken to Twitter with marriage proposals. Given the chance to say yes or no to the propositions, it took the Cloud9 player a few moments to respond.
“All yes!” he said, throwing out a thumbs up and a winning smile. Congratulations Sing Yuen, on your future marriages, and congratulations Cloud9, on surviving another round in the biggest esports tournament in history.