Finally a Chinese team in the grand final of the major of this DPC season. Vici Gaming got to the major by wining StarLadder minor and were not considered a favorite to place high at the major, but here we are. They proved themselves against the best and trough the upper bracket they secured the top2 finish and a guaranteed TI9 invite! On the other had we had VP, a regular grand finalist. Virtus Pro, unlike the last couple of times, didn’t play as stellar as they proved us they can. They had their highs and lows but it just goes to prove that even when they are not on the 100% they can make it to the finals of a major. This match ended up going to the full five games. The game three draft was the most interesting for me, so let’s see how the drafters battled it in that game:
First series of bans:
VP ban Lifestealer
In the finals meta is already shaped, and first few bans are usually reserved for the most contested heroes of the tournament. Lifestealer is currently one of them.
VG ban Enigma
As the tournament progressed Enigma along with some other heroes climbed up to top of picked/banned heroes list. Secret deserves the most credit for Enigma’s popularity. The hero is mostly run as a 4 position support on the off-lane. His main task is to deny the range creep on the lane, so the enemy carry gets a lot less gold. This tactic became extremely viable with the gold bounty change, where range creeps have noticeable value over melee ones. A top all, Enigma’s Black Hole give tremendous team-fight capabilities to any team that has the hero.
VP ban Magnus
Very situational ban. VG successfully ran Magnus a few times this tournament but nothing significant stands out about this ban. It was mostly predetermined by VP as an enemy’s comfort pick and they didn’t want to play against it. Nowadays Mag is played as an empowering 4 position support. Similar to Enigma, Magnus also later in the game adds a big AOE, BKB piercing, ultimate.
VG ban Oracle
Banning out by far the most successful 5 position support of the tournament is more than reasonable.
VP ban Razor
Razor is a hero with a high win-rate throughout the whole major, and almost a hero without a bad matchup in the middle lane.
VG ban Chen
The hero very early took the number one spot on the most picked/banned list for DL11 and he kept the spot till the end.
First series of picks:
VP pick Nyx Assassin
Nyx, as Enigma, was a late bloomer in the tournament. He came out of nowhere and toped the charts with whooping 77.27% win-rate when picked. For VP this pick was probably a no-brainer. There are multiple reasons for Nyx’s rise in popularity. Like the other heroes, he was continually buffed in the last few patches. But also with the change of Vendetta in 7.20, it started applying Break on the target for 4 seconds. So in a way, Nyx acts as a deterrent for a possible PA pick.
VG pick Vengeful Spirit
In four out of five games of the final, VG took Venge. Vengeful was one of Dy’s most played heroes thought this year’s DL. The beauty of Venge is that the hero can be played on multiple positions; Carry and offlane Venge are often good situational picks. And VG, uncharacteristically for the Chinese teams, had the players capable for this kind of switcheroos. For an opening pick Venge is pretty neutral and not revealing.
VG pick Shadow Shaman
For the second hero in the opening of the draft VG chose stable position 4 support. In rare cases, when teams want to cheese an opponent, SS can be played on position 3 but that very rare and push heavy oriented. The hero has high starting right-click damage and a very early power-spike when given XP. Four active spells give this hero a toolkit for wave clearing, tower pushing and heavy hero control.
VP pick Pangolier
You can’t ban them all… A third most picked/banned hero of the tournament survived first ban phase and first three picks. Even though VG encountered Pango only once this tournament, vs. Fnatic, and lost; they weren’t afraid of letting it slip. It would seem they were right not to be…
Second series of bans:
VP ban Puck
One of “broken” things fixed after DL was an interaction where Puck’s Dream Coil essentially nullifies Pangolier’s ultimate. The leash mechanic shouldn’t work on magic immune targets but for some strange reason it worked when Pango was rolling. Puck is one of those heroes that can go multiple positions. All in all, a fine ban.
VG ban Nature’s Prophet
Nyx Assassin can be played as a position 5 but it’s not common. So in a sense, it was expected from VP to pick Solo’s hero next. Out of the heroes left in the pool, NP was one of the most contested in DL11. Nature’s global presence for the bounty runes and ability to place the wards behind the enemy lines without being detected can be very annoying in the hands of the great players. Solo, along with a few professionals form the west perfected position 5 Nature’s Prophet. In order to avoid adjusting to NP’s play-style VG banned him.
VP ban Ursa
But other than the fact that Ursa is another one of the highly contested heroes, I don’t see any particular reason for this ban. I would say this was fishing in the dark and removing what you wouldn’t want to play against more than disturbing an enemy’s plan.
VG ban Phantom Lancer
Since the two heroes are single target heavy, illusions could pose a problem. Also, Shadow Shaman doesn’t like heroes with good attack speed since they can clean-up his Mass Serpent Wards in no time. And with illusions PL can clean them without putting himself in any real danger. Very nice ban.
Second series of picks:
VG pick Brewmaster
A very neutral opener for the second series of picks. Brew provides a good team fight and can “survive” the laning phase only on XP if need be.
VP pick Disruptor
VP responded with Solo classic. Even though Solo is a remarkable Disruptor player, I really didn’t see this pick coming. I believe Disruptor can be a nice pick to build around, but this late into the draft it has to fit better than it did here. The pick just look so out of place, with little to no synergy with the first two VP’s picks. And without a clear countering target on the enemy’s side as well.
VG pick Terrorblade
Vici Gaming were pretty consistent with picking Terrorblade thought the whole tournament. With a frontliner in Brewmaster and damage amplifier in Venge, all Terrorblade had to do was to press the right click on enemy heroes.
VP pick Dark Seer
In order to try and pressure TB’s lane, VP resorted to Pasha’s classic Dark Seer. Even if VG did the lane swapping a melee hero was bound to go against DS which was VP’s plan I suppose. But the problem for Dark Seer could be a tri-lane since both of Vici’s supports are ranged heroes with a very high starting damage. Also both of the supports have catch, so an enemy’s hero couldn’t creep-skip.
Last two bans:
VG ban Morphling
Terrorblade’s nemesis in a way. By Morphing into TB, which he do even from his illusions, your team gets all the benefits of TB, but with even higher agility. Morph also gets Metamorphosis with is basically a normal ability but on the ultimate level.
VP ban Monkey King
At this point it’s obvious that Pango is a core, and most probably is going to the middle lane. So in effort to secure him the lane, and since he is a melee hero, VP bans the melee matchup dominator in MK.
Last two picks:
VP pick Troll
After Lifestealer the most contested carry in the tour. I’m boring I know, but, some heroes are picked just because of the trend and nothing else. I mean Ramzes like to play Troll and he is very good on it. Sometimes that’s just enough and sometimes, like in this case, it just doesn’t make much sense. I got a feeling VP got caught out in the middle of the draft and couldn’t recover. So this Troll pick seemed more like a Hail Mary than anything else.
VG pick Bloodseeker
A glue hero that wins the lane and counters two enemy’s cores hard. Bloodseeker’s Rupture goes trough Pangolier’s Rolling Thunder and directly HARD counters the hero. It also helps that Venge is one of the best supports to go hand in hand with BS, offensively and defensively. This hero sealed VP’s future even before the game officially began.
Since this was such an outdraft the whole game lasted very short. So if you want, watch the full game highlight, it won’t take much of your time.
VG 2 : 1 VP