The Shanghai Major, Group Stage Recap – Group D

 

Group D – Evil Geniuses, compLexity Gaming, Virtus.Pro, Team Liquid

Sunday, February 28

 

GSL Match #1 – Evil Geniuses vs. compLexity

Evil Geniuses. What can really be said? The de facto reigning champs after their $6 million victory over CDEC at TI5, EG is almost always the team with a target on its back heading into tournaments. Although they did not have their greatest performance at ESL One New York directly after their TI victory, they are perhaps one of the strongest and most consistent teams in the scene right now. They competed against the other top tier teams in the Shanghai Major in many notable post-TI events, placing 2nd at MLG, 3rd at the Frankfurt Major, 1st at The Summit 4, 2nd at Star Ladder, and 2nd at MDL.

Having erupted onto the scene in a big way in part due to a major victory over EG, the complexity Gaming lineup has since changed a bit, but retains original members Zfreek and his brother SwindleMelonzz (aka Swindlezz), who made some strong predictions about the state of NA and SEA Dota post-Major, claiming that the two traditionally weak regions will be seen as having the most depth and talent. It was definitely a bold claim that required compLexity to show up in a big way in Group D on the final day of matches.

Both teams seemed to have been ready to go after several days of practice, scrims and watching other matches as the two started off with some exciting and aggressive plays. Despite trading kills and map control back and forth throughout the game, until compLexity were able to gain the upper hand in a 31-minute Radiant jungle teamfight with a precision Ravage from coL.Swindlezz on Tidehunter and another big win for compLexity in top lane a few minutes later when they were able to turn around an EG gank into a virtual team wipe that allowed them to start a push into EG’s high ground that would culminate in a fairly suprising compLexity victory just before 42 minutes. However, EG were not looking to be added to the list of Shanghai upsets and made sure to fire back hard in the next game, drafting an Enigma-Tidehunter combo that ended with a 3-22 victory for Evil Geniuses at 22 minutes, much to the delight of memers everywhere. Showing the adaptability that they are known for, EG continued applying the pressure on coL in Game 3 as well, choking out any opportunity to for them to create space like they had in their Game 1 victory. EG advanced to Qualification Match #1 with a perhaps unexpected loss to what is looking to be the real #2 NA team, but still looking capable and dominant.

WINNER: Evil Geniuses, 2-1

 

GSL Match #2 – Virtus.Pro vs. Team Liquid

Two teams hardened by the European Dota scene duked it out for the other Qualification Match #1 slot, as Virtus.Pro lined up against Team Liquid. Virtus.Pro, a bastion of modern Russian Dota aggressiveness, has been a historically solid team, but has never quite lived up to the level of play that they sometimes display. They placed in the top 4 teams at ESL One Frankfurt, and the top 8 teams at TI5, both of which were some of the most competitive tournaments in the history of the game. Since then, although they consistently place in the top 8 teams participating in major tournaments (e.g., ESL One NY, the Frankfurt Major, MLG, Nanyang), their only significant accolade since ESL One Frankfurt has been second place at the Summit 4. This was perhaps a motivating factor in their decision to replace Illidan with Silent, a move that has received mixed reactions from fans. Coming into Shanghai, VP is looking to validate their roster choices and prove that the aggressive Russian spirit in still alive and well in competitive Dota.

Team Liquid, although it has been a prominent brand in Dota for years, had been officially inactive since shortly after TI5. However, the brand would see a resurgence only a month or so later as Team Liquid announced the signing of ex-Team Secret 2.0 member KuroKy’s new team, 5Jungz. The team also featured newcomer MATUMBAMAN (another pubstomper with 8 0 0 0 MATCHMAKING POINTS), mousesports/Cloud9 veteran FATA-, the basically unknown MinD_ContRoL, and JerAx, who had played under the MVP.Hot6ix banner at TI5.

The two teams, both known for their aggressive capabilities, got off to a bit of a slow start in the first game, with no significant action until Liquid spilled First Blood at the 9-minute mark. From there, the pace quickly picked up with follow up kills and a 3-man kill a minute later, when Liquid.MinD_ContRoL set up a beautiful Chronosphere with Faceless Void that was followed up with a Call Down from Liquid.MATUMBAMAN’s Gyrocopter. That combination would play out again a few times, sometimes joined by devastating Supernova’s from Liquid.JerAx on Phoenix, ultimately resulting in a Game 1 Liquid victory that lasted 24 minutes. Going into the midgame of Game 2, Virtus.Pro looked like they were going to hand Liquid an easy 2-0, but were able to retain enough map control to compensate for having only half of Liquid’s kill count and kept the pressure on Liquid’s high ground, forcing a 37-minute GG and tying the series 1-1. VP was able to gain an early advantage in a fast-paced, push-heavy start to Game 3 and never let go, applying pressure throughout the game until Liquid couldn’t maintain a high ground defense any longer, and yielded the series to Virtus.Pro after 35 minutes of gameplay.

WINNER: Virtus.Pro, 2-1

 

Losers Match – compLexity Gaming vs. Team Liquid

Vying to keep their upper bracket hopes alive, #2 NA compLexity began tearing into Team Liquid in early Game 1 with an aggressive draft that combined high mobility with an abundance of burst damage. However, their early pick-offs were not enough to stop the game from going 40-minutes long, giving Liquid.MATUMBAMAN enough time to finish farming on Anti-Mage and go straight for compLexity’s Tier 4 jugular. CompLexity was unable to replicate its early game advantage from Game 1 in the second game, even getting caught in a disastrous 3-man wipe at 11 minutes after unsuccessfully trying to set up a Legion Commander Duel on Liquid.FATA-‘s Outworld Devourer, which ended up costing compLexity a four-for-nothing trade. Liquid’s teamfight proved too strong for compLexity, who fell to the lower bracket after a 27-minute Liquid victory.

WINNER: Team Liquid, 2-0

 

Qualification Match #1 – Evil Geniuses vs. Virtus.Pro

The first battle for a Group D upper bracket seed started off slow, but essentially even until a Roshan attempt by EG at 30 minutes was countered hard by Virtus.Pro, which resulted in a disastrous five man wipe on the side of EG. EG would remain on the back heel until they were able to take a teamfight at 43 minutes that would turn the tide enough for them to start their push into VP’s high ground 2 minutes later, ending the first game with an 51 minute EG victory. Game 2 started out with some even tades between the two teams, but EG slowly gained map control until they felt they could begin pushing into Tier 3s at 21 minutes, a decision that was heavily punished by VP. VP was almost able to punish the Americans once again as they attempted Roshan around 33 minutes, but EG was able to hold the line even though it came at the high cost of multiple buybacks. EG would get megacreeps, but VP once again beat them back. Although Virtus.Pro would attempt to mount their own push, it was ultimately unsuccessful and EG would take their throne after a chaotic fight around the Radiant Ancient.

WINNER: Evil Geniuses, 2-0

 

Qualification Match #2 – Virtus.Pro vs. Team Liquid

Virtus.Pro and Team Liquid would face off for one more series, but this time with the last upper bracket seed up for grabs. Liquid ran at VP immediately, running up 10 kills to VP’s one at 9 minutes into the game. Even though VP would successfully turn an early fight in their favor, it wouldn’t be enough to carry the game for them as Liquid continued to take teamfights and end the first game with a GG out from VP at 27 minutes. VP, backed into a corner by the same team they had previously beaten in their first series of the tournament, played ferociously in Game 2. The early game was full of back and forth trades as either team tried to wrest control of the game from the other. Liquid would gain the edge over the course of the game, but not comfortably, as VP threatened to turn several teamfights in their favor and were able to punish a few overextensions from Liquid. However, the constant pressure from Liquid on VP’s barracks was a death by a thousand cuts and eventually Team Liquid overwhelmed Virtus.Pro, clinching the final spot in the Shanghai upper bracket.

 

If you would like to see a summary of past games, or a schedule of upcoming games, you can check out the official Shanghai Major schedule at http://www.dota2.com.cn/theshanghaimajor/english/schedule.