Plenty of heartbreak juxtaposed with some jubilation at day 4 of the Lima Major Playoffs.
The fourth day of the Playoffs at Dota 2’s Lima Major contained some pretty big surprises — nasty ones for some and pleasant ones for others. There was at least one big upset while another tournament favorite also said their farewells, and with the tournament maturing, the action was even more urgent and high-stakes. If you were otherwise occupied and couldn’t watch the games live, here’s what you need to know about Playoffs Day 4.
Evil Geniuses vs Team Aster
The arena was full of local EG fans as the team sat down to play the Chinese juggernauts. Aster were the last Chinese team at the Major, and they would have to push a point home if their region was to stay relevant. EG meanwhile were the last South American team standing, and needed to stay in order to ensure the kind of sellout crowds we had been seeing at the event. The methodical approach of the Chinese was about to clash against Peruvian flair, and only one team would come out alive.
Aster chose to go with plenty of catch for their draft, opting to pick Nature’s Prophet, Treant Protector, Terrorblade, Monkey King and Pangolier while banning dangerous cores like Primal Beast, Ursa, and Chaos Knight. On EG’s side, they favored a lineup with lots of push potential with Beastmaster, Death Prophet, Snapfire, Undying and Marci.
Despite seemingly having something of a lead for the majority of the game, and looking to be the more late-game oriented lineup of the two, Aster lost their lead in the 27th minute and never really gained it back. EG were steady even in the face of a few good moves by their opponents, and after a climactic teamfight, managed to close things out in the 44th minute.
After getting badly beaten in the first game, Aster chose a more teamfight-oriented lineup consisting of Shadow Fiend, Treant, Ember Spirit, Tiny and Enigma, making sure to remove Naga Siren and Riki in order to execute properly. On the other hand, EG took out Brood, Drow and Lina and once again went with a more push-oriented Mars, Undying, Snapfire, DP and Kunkka.
Unlike the first game, this stayed neutral until the mid-game with plenty of kills going both ways. EG finally managed to develop a sizable lead, but Aster soon took over and after a trio of disastrous teamfights that saw them lose all their Heroes thrice. EG were outscaled and outdone by the Chinese team, who won in the 55th minute.
In Game 3, Aster were once again on the Radiant side and went for another teamfight-based four-protect-one strategy with Puck, Treant, Snapfire and Beastmaster playing around a safe lane Sniper. EG preferred to go with an anti-teamfight pickoff strat courtesy of Silencer, Kunkka, Clockwork, Batrider and Sven.
Unlike Games 1 and 2 this was all EG. The South Americans dominated the entire game to the point where they didn’t lose a single Tier 2 tower, pushing the enemy into their base before overwhelming them into calling GG with an almost 22k gold deficit in just 29 minutes. The series was EG’s, and LATAM Dota lived on.
Talon Esports vs Team Spirit
Another matchup with the two last remaining teams from their respective regions, this one saw underdogs Talon go up against The International 10 and Arlington Major winners Spirit. Spirit had looked quite mortal during the Group Stage, dropping a game to Talon among a couple of others. Now, they needed to win two out of three in order to continue their run. Talon meanwhile had already exceeded expectations, and anything they did this point on was just going to add to their credit.
Talon’s choice to ban out disruptive Heroes such as Naga, Riki and Rubick worked in favor of their NP, Bat, Treant, SF and Earthshaker draft. On the other hand, Spirit went for a more cookie-cutter Zeus-Spectre combo, with Tiny and Primal Beast for catch and an Enchantress to provide early support and healing.
As most people expected, Spirit dominated the game from start to finish, with barely so much as a kink in their rising gold graph. The Eastern Europeans did lose a few Heroes, but they sent one of the opponents to the morgue every time one of theirs was sent to the hospital, and won Game 1 by sheer skill and intelligence.
Sadly for Spirit, Talon’s second game draft of Dragon Knight, NP, Treant, Slark and Tiny worked out much better. There were too many melee Heroes and not enough magic damage, but with Blink Daggers on multiple Heroes Talon were able to close the gap and take Heroes out in the long run. On the other hand, while Spirit’s Lina was fine, the Ember was quite useless in fights, and the EEU team just seemed a bit lost overall.
The game remained pretty even for quite some time, but once Talon got a sizable advantage through a massive teamfight in the 38th-39th minute, it was just a matter of time before Spirit lost. Thankfully for them, Talon were merciful and won to level the series just a few minutes later.
With TB, Ench, Tiny, Mirana and Magnus on their side and Brood, Lina, Bat and Undying banned out, Spirit were quite happy with their draft. Across the river, Talon had picked a more greedy NP, Ember, Silencer, Tusk and Faceless Void draft. It was quite obvious that Spirit were playing with a window of opportunity.
Naturally, the EEU team held on to a decent lead until as late as the 42nd minute. However, this was when Talon worked out a brilliant teamfight, got the lead, and never gave EG another chance as they choked them to death to secure the game, series, and a decent finish at the event.
Shopify Rebellion vs Evil Geniuses
Playing two high-pressure series in one day is never easy, but that’s precisely what EG had to deal with in front of their own home crowd. If beastcoast vs EG in Peru was destiny, so was Rebellion vs EG. The SR squad had been booted from EG just months ago, with the organization moving continents to find what they believed was a more promising roster. They had certainly been happy with the squad thus far, but whether they’d remain that way would depend on their old friends — and how their new recruits handled them.
Rebellion picked NP, Queen of Pain, Underlord, Treant and Disruptor for a lineup that had a little bit of everything, but perhaps slightly limited physical damage. They made sure to ban the likes of Morphling, Rubick, and Batrider for this. Over on EG, they finally got their Brood-DP combo, and along with Snap, Clockwork and Chaos Knight, it was enough to give them the edge since Lina was banned.
SR had a pretty decent early game, but it wasn’t long before EG took over the game and began building on their lead. Eventually that lead ballooned to over 18k by just 32 minutes, after which SR understood the futility of the exercise and called it quits.
Game 2 saw EG go with Timbersaw, DP, Oracle, Clockwork and NP while removing Lina, Enigma, Faceless Void, and other catching and backdooring options. In response, SR removed Brood, Bat, Silencer and Riki and went with Luna, Storm Spirit, Snap, Ancient Apparition and Tiny.
Despite being the exact opposite of Game 1 in many ways, Game 2 was actually pretty balanced for a long time. Up until the mid-game, it was impossible to differentiate between the two in terms of advantage, but by the 39th minute, the game belonged to SR, and they weren’t about to let it go. They achieved victory at the aforementioned time to level the series.
Shopify finally chose to get an all-teamfight wombo combo and nuke-consisting of Luna, Zeus, Silencer, Tiny and Visage while omitting Brood, TA, and Lone Druid among others. For EG, the solution apparently lay in Timbersaw, Void Spirit, Snap, Clock and NP. They made sure Lina, DP or Enigma didn’t get through.
If Games 1 and 2 , things were pretty one-sided, but Game 3 would surprise us all. It looked like EG’s game by every measure as they repeatedly took out enemy Heroes, controlled the map, and even took a lane of Barracks. Sadly, it wasn’t enough. Once SR’s cores were fat enough, they came back strong and dominated the South Americans until victory of the match and the series were confirmed
Join us again for coverage of the last few days of the Lima Major, and feel free to take a look at our other Dota 2 content.