EPICENTER XL is the third installment of the EPICENTER series of tournaments and it’s the first Russian major for Dota 2. The tournament started on April 27th in Moscow and came to an end yesterday on 7th May, 2018. The prize pool of the tournament was 1 Million Dollars. I’m going to be do a brief summary of this epic tourney.
In the group stages, the twelve participating teams were split into two groups of six each. The format for group stages was a BO3 Round Robin. The bottom two teams of each group got eliminated and the rest of the teams were placed in a double elimination bracket depending on placement in their respective groups.
The group stages started out with Team Liquid dominating group A. They ended up getting first place in group A with a clean 5-0. Team PSG.LGD also put on a very strong performance and only lost to Team Liquid. They came second. This was the first LAN event for Team FlyToMoon which is a newly formed team, consisting many A-list players from the CIS region like Silent, Iceberg and ALWAYSWANNAFLY. They put on a very convincing performance and came third in group A. Team Mineski gave an average performance and ended up getting 4th place in their group. Team complexity and Team Empire played really poorly and ended up getting eliminated in the group stages. Team Empire lost all their matches and Complexity only managed to win against Team Empire.
In group B, OG had a very strong start, winning their first three matches but they lost their lead by losing to VP and Newbee. They ended up getting second place. Though VP lost to Na’Vi in their second game, they put on a very convincing performance by beating all the other teams and ended up getting first place in group B. Much to everyone’s surprise, Team Secret and Pain Gaming got 3rd and 4th place respectively. Newbee performed very poorly and got eliminated from the tournament in the group stages itself. Na’Vi made their fans really proud and got them very excited for their big comeback when they beat VP and Team Secret in their first two matches. It all became moot when they lost the rest of their three matches and got eliminated in the group stages, getting the last place.
That brings us to the playoffs. The first game was the lower bracket match between FTM and Pain Gaming. The first two rounds of the lower bracket were BO1. Pain Gaming’s carry player HFN played a very questionable game on his Luna and they ended up losing to FTM. The second game was Team Secret vs Mineski. IceIceIce on his Pangolier and Nana on his Death Prophet completely styled on Secret and they won the game handily.
In the upper bracket, the first game was Team Liquid vs OG. In game 1, S4 was playing his heart out on axe, trying to carry their team but it was not enough. Liquid’s Mind Control put on an extremely dominant performance with Nature’s Prophet and carried his team to victory. The second game was almost a stomp by Liquid. Kuroky put on an incredible performance with Nature’s Prophet on position 5 which is very uncommon. S4 again, was on the top of the networth for a long time but they ended up losing after extending the game to 40 minutes.
The second upper bracket game was VP vs LGD. This BO3 had a lot of ups and downs. In the first game, LGD played really strong and ended up winning 47-37. In game 2, VP completely stomped LGD with a 30-8 win. In game 3, Ame put on an incredible performance with Slark and carried his team with a solid KDA – 13/1/4.
The next game was lower bracket round 2 between OG and FTM. OG were the favorites to win the match but they ended up losing after an hour-long game. They drafted Alchemist for 7ckngmad who couldn’t hold the game against a PL and Doom.
The other round 2 of the lower bracket was between VP and Mineski. This was a relatively even game but Mineski’s Lina and Troll cores were not able to hold their own against VP’s Viper and Doom. VP won the game which went on for 40 minutes.
The next game was the round 3 of lower bracket – FTM vs VP. Much to everyone’s surprise, the underdogs FTM ended up winning the BO3 against VP. In game 1, Silent carried FTM with his Gyro with a solid 15/2/14 KDA performance. In game 2, Silent again had a dominating performance on Faceless Void and Iceberg also put on a convincing game with Leshrac, carrying FTM to victory.
The next game was the upper bracket finals between LGD and Liquid. LGD beat Liquid 2-0. In game 1, Matumbaman tried very hard on his Venomancer pos 1 to hold the game but Maybe on Storm and Ame on Lycan played really well and handily carried their team to victory. Game 2 was almost a stomp but liquid managed to stretch it to a 40 minutes game. Fy on his Skywrath was being a severe nuisance to Liquid while Ame on Slark was slicing through everyone left and right. Ame ended the game with an incredible 22.5k networth in a 40 min game. This put liquid in the lower bracket finals and LGD ended up as the winners of the upper bracket.
Lower Bracket Finals
Liquid faced off against Team FTM in the lower bracket finals. In Game 1, Iceberg on Storm Spirit played really well even though he was playing against Miracle on AM. He handily carried FTM to victory with a solid 700 GPM and 26/4/15 KDA. Silent again played a strong game on his Gyro. This ended up being inconsequential as Liquid beat LTM in the rest of the two games. They put on a very strong team game and everyone on Liquid was playing in top form.
This brings us to the Grand Finals of Epicenter XL, Team Liquid vs LGD. This was a Liquid’s chance to get their vengeance against LGD after losing to them in the upper bracket finals. This was an incredible Grand Final with a lot of ups and downs, throws and questionable item choices. I suggest everyone to watch this Grand Final for themselves. All the games were very close but LGD ended up beating Liquid 3-1.
In Game 1, Ame put on an incredible performance with Morphling. At one point, he managed to defend the base 1v4 against Liquid, killing 3 heroes in matter of a few seconds. It was a close game but Ame’s Morphling was too much to handle for Liquid.
In Game 2, Miracle dominated with his Invoker, getting a 20 min rampage. Again, it was an even game. Maybe tried his best on WR but couldn’t fend off Miracle’s Invoker.
In game 3, Ame decided to make battlefury on PL as his third item at 30 min. This was very questionable as Liquid didn’t have any illusion-based heroes, also none of the panelists/casters could find any reason for him to do this. PL paid his price when LGD lost a Roshan fight against Liquid after using many buybacks. But all this became inconsequential because in the end, Liquid threw the game. They managed to take two racks but instead of TP-ing back, they tried to stay and fight, even though they didn’t have buybacks. LGD managed to kill the cores of Liquid and shockingly won the game.
Game 4 was the final game. Liquid had a good start but Ame’s slark again turned out to be really hard to deal with. Miracle on Kunkka had a good early game but started to fall off from the mid-game. The boat buff is generally really good against Slark but Liquid couldn’t put enough pressure on the Slark in the early game and he managed to get over-farmed. He carried his game with a solid 12/0/16 KDA.
Hearty congratulations to LGD on their EPICENTER XL Victory. Congratulations to LGD.Fy on getting the MVP award. He put on a very strong performance throughout the tournament though it was not as flashy as Ame’s Slark/PL. Congratulations to Team Liquid on their second place – Liquid now has enough points to get a direct invite for The International 2018.
Shout-out to Admiral Bulldog who was amazing at his first shot as a caster/panelist. He managed to bring his meme-y personality to fruition and was funny and entertaining throughout the tournament.