Cloud9 needed to win two maps in a row against Vici Gaming, the top team in the group stage phase of the tournament, after losing the first game in their best-of-three series late last night.
The North American team put on a show in the first game against Vici, a back-and-forth battle where the teams wiped each other multiple times, punishing each other for every inch of the map they tried to take.
WehSing “SingSing” Yuen pulled out the surprise Meepo and put together a 12/4/4 K/D/A line and 38.1k gold, using the hero’s clones to push lanes and burst down Vici Gaming in team fights. He was backed by another outstanding Clockwerk performance by offlaner Pittner “b0ne7” Armand, who went ballistic on that champion yesterday against Natus Vincere.
Armand pulled off one of the best plays of the tournament against Vici Gaming, immortalized in this quick comic by NerfNow. After Cloud9 won a team fight defending their front door they charged into the Vici Gaming base. As his teammates mowed down building after building, and Armand rushed to the enemy fountain. He set up shop there solo and single-handedly kept three spawning players from leaving to counter the Cloud9 push, blocking Bai “rOtk” Fan from using his deadly Tidehunter ultimate Ravage to stop the carnage. That play by Armand ensured the Cloud9 win.
That sent the series into a decisive third game, a single match worth $160,000. Usually teams play more passive in those situations, afraid to make the mistake that might cost them an important match. Sometimes that paralysis itself leads to a loss. But Cloud9 chose to go out the other way: swinging for the fences.
Cloud9 set up for a level one Roshan, a play taken from Newbee’s playbook. But the Chinese team knew their own tricks, aware of the option based off Cloud9’s team composition, and they punished the Western team for it. Vici Gaming attacked the Roshan pit and scored three kills, gaining a massive early game lead they used to keep the game in their favor.
It was a bold move by Cloud9, one that could have won them the game. But it lost it for them instead.
In the other semifinal, Team DK, the Chinese favorites, recovered from a heartbreaking loss last night to LGD Gaming and won two straight maps to advance in the tournament in some of the most superb DotA of the tournament.
Cloud9 and LGD Gaming take home $652,831 each for placing in the top six of the tournament. Team DK and Vici Gaming have gauranteed payouts of $816,039, with the winner of their match taking in a cool million.
The survivor of Team DK and Vici Gaming will face Evil Geniuses for a place in The International 4 finals. There’s never been an all-Chinese final in the tournament’s history. Evil Geniuses will try to keep it that way.
Screengrab via Dota2ti/Twitch