Group C – OG, Team Archon, LGD Gaming, Newbee
Saturday, February 27
GSL Match #1 – OG vs. Team Archon
OG [formerly known as (monkey) Business], despite being a newer team to the competitive Dota 2 scene, is one of the most formidable teams in the tournament and the Group C favorite, having previously won the Frankfurt Major and placing in the top four in major tournaments since then. They are comprised of many of the members of the original Team Secret (N0tail, Cr1t-, and Fly), in addition to ex-compLexity member MoonMeander and former pubstomper and new pro player Miracle-, who became one of the first players to legitimately hit 8k MMR on the European servers (immortalized by MoonMeander’s ‘8 0 0 0 MATCHMAKING POINTS’ post).
Team Archon, along with compLexity Gaming and Digital Chaos, is one of the North American teams competing for what may seem like the rather unambitious title of “#2 NA Dota” (#1 is unquestionably Evil Geniuses right now). They made a strong case for that mantle in the North Americas qualifier, where they were able to best both Digital Chaos and complexity in back-to-back 2-1 victories. However, matches between these three teams often vacillate back and forth, so the pressure is on the Archon squad to perform at this tournament and validate their success up until this point.
In the first of the Group C matches between OG and Archon, OG did not disappoint, bringing an end to the series of upsets that defined the previous two days and delivering the decisive victory that was expected of them with a 24 minute GG from Archon. Archon was able to keep the second game of the series more competitive, trying to set up pick-offs with a roaming Mirana, although ultimately they succumbed to the powerhouse of OG Dota, relinquishing the series 0-2.
WINNER: OG, 2-0
GSL Match #2 – LGD Gaming vs. Newbee
Meanwhile, the last two Chinese teams of the tournament, LGD and Newbee, were eager to face off and perhaps claim the crown of “Top Chinese Team” that had fallen from the crest of EHOME after their disappointing Group Stage and remain untouched as VG passed by on their way to join EHOME in the lower bracket. Newbee, after coming out of nowhere at TI4, was able to perfect the ‘Death Ball’ strategy that VG had introduced and was able to take the Grand Finals series from them before “going home and played RPGs” – a joking shorthand that developed to describe the long absence from major tournaments that Newbee took after TI4, which would continue until their disappointing showing at TI5 a year later. But hopes remain high that, like Alliance, the time is ripe for a Newbee resurgence.
LGD Gaming has had a significantly more stable history, especially since picking up Team DK/Vici Gaming/ EHOME veteran rOtk. Since then, LGD have had strong showings at major tournaments, placing 3rd at TI5 after losing in the Losers Bracket to Evil Geniuses and placing 2nd at WCA behind Alliance.
The match up between the two Chinese titans was a close one throughout. In game 1, the two teams traded kills back and forth in quite a few good fights and pick-offs set up by solid rotations. However, eventually LGD was able to give LGD.Sylar enough space to get his Spectre online and together they pushed through late game teamfights to a Game 1 victory. Newbee sought to turn things around in Game 2, drafting a strong combination of teamfight a pick-off potential. Through constant rotations and fighting, they were able to claim a decisive 21-minute victory and head into Game 3. For the deciding game, LGD countered the previous game hard, maintaining their series-long ban on Chen, banning out the Newbee.2lei Beastmaster from last game and securing Enchantress for themselves this time around. Once again the game went relatively long, into the 52-minute mark, and was another back-and-forth with both teams chipping away at the other’s fortifications. However, LGD were able to heavily punish a late-game overextension from Newbee and sealed up the series 2-1.
WINNER: LGD Gaming, 2-1
Losers Match – Team Archon vs. Newbee
With MVP showing that they had the capability to take down powerhouses like EHOME and Team Secret, and Archon failing to take a game off of OG, the burden to prove that they were not the weakest of the qualifying teams now fell on Archon. Winning a series against Newbee and banishing them to the lower bracket would do just that, but did Archon have the ability to follow through? At the start of Game 1 Archon’s trademark aggressiveness yielded some benefits, but maybe not as much as they were expecting. Newbee was able to survive the early game onslaught and push the game late, where their draft had a significant advantage over Archon’s, solidifying a Newbee victory in Game 1. Archon came out of the gate swinging once again, gaining a modest lead in the early game that was unfortunately completely turned around by a full team wipe in the early-mid game. Newbee was able to keep control of momentum once again into the late game that their draft needed to come online and took the series from Archon 2-0.
WINNER: Newbee, 2-0
Qualification Match #1 – OG vs. LGD Gaming
This was the first Qualification Match #1 of the tournament to play out between the two teams that fans would have expected going into the Group Stage. Unfortunately OG pretty much wiped the floor with LGD in the first game, as LGD was unable to punish OG’s greedy and unusual (almost-pubbish) four-core drafting that propelled them to an easy half hour victory. Game 2 was a different beast entirely, however, and was a standout game across all the group stages for many spectators. Both teams managed to climb in farm throughout the early game, keeping any gain made by the other team even by quickly trading out kills or objective that nullified the small edges gained. As the clock stretched beyond the hour mark, LGD found a critical pick off on OG.N0tail that allowed them to push into OG’s high ground, only to be defending their own exposed throne minutes later. The game kept viewers on the edge of their seat until the very last minute, as LGD rushed down mid lane in a kamikaze dive into the OG throne that ended up winning them the hour and fifteen minute long game. Ultimately OG was able to come away with a series victory after their Slark pick was able to punish a severe lack of lock-down on LGD’s side in game 3.
WINNER: OG, 2-1
Qualification Match #2 – LGD Gaming vs. Newbee
In a repeat of GSL Match #2, LGD found themselves once again matched up against Newbee, this time with the sole remaining upper bracket seed on the line. LGD was able to extend Game 1 into an almost hour-long game, effectively countering the “pressure early, pressure often” lineup that Newbee had drafted in an attempt to recreate their swift Game 2 victory against LGD in GSL Match #2. In the second game that followed, LGD took on the role of aggressor, shutting down Newbee’s Juggernaut pick early on, ending the game at the half hour mark and securing their spot in the upper bracket along side their formidable Group-mate, OG.
WINNER: LGD Gaming, 2-0