Grand Finals: OG vs. PSG.LGD

OG vs LGD TI8 finals
OG vs LGD TI8 finals

Dreamleague minor is over and The Kuala Lumpur Major starts in just a day. Also, waiting room for 7.20 is full, so lets kill some time by analyzing the TI8 finals!

We got a treat, the first full five games finals since 2013. Not only did the finals go the distance, but the games were also very dynamic. Starting with the 1:0 OG lead, then LGD turning it around to their favor putting the score-table to 1:2, and the series finally finishing with OG taking the aegis home. The games were close too, at least those that OG took :). To top it all we got Ben “Merlini” Wu as guest analyst. And he proved that to this day he is tier above all other analysts even after retiring. (Bias note, I miss Merlini so much, ODPixel would really use someone his caliber to be his counterpart. Fogged after Dreamleague minor is on pace). It seems to me that the scene lacks in good analysts. Other than Fogged, Blitz and maybe Lumi, almost no one compares to the level of hype casters they are partnered with. But more about that some other time, we have got grand finals to cover.

In terms of the heroes, IO, Tiny, Earthshaker, Storm Spirit, Spectre, Enchantress and Nature’s Prophet had 100% pick/ban rate for this series. Other notable heroes were Phantom Lancer and Chen, being picked/banned in four games. Let’s see why that was the case and what other juicy picks did we have.

GAME 1

Draft

First series of bans:

  1. Chen

For the first game, LGD focused their bans on N0tail’s heroes. Chen has Holy Persuasion to take control of creeps making him an early lane dominator. Therefore he can interfere with the Enchantress’ creeps. And since they had 1st pick, they wanted to force the Ench ban or to take it for themselves.

  1. IO

OG completely ignored the Ench. For years Chinese teams struggled with IO, refusing to learn to play it (some good western teams are falling to this trend now) and often wasting a ban on it. But now it was OG’s turn to respect the best Chinese IO player, FY-god.

  1. Natures Prophet

NP got new a outlook this TI, mostly thanks to his global presence for the bounty runes. N0tail also used it well to plance the wards behind the enemy lines without being detected, so Furion ban was very well justified for LGD.

  1. Drow Ranger

Drow had great success in the main event, and LGD gave a lot of problems to OG in the upper bracket finals with her. Even after OG won the first game in that series against Drow, they banned it for the next two games. They proceeded with that ban for the most of the grand finals.

  1. Silencer

For the third ban, LGD took out Silencer, an all-around good hero in this tournament, and one of N0tails most played heroes this TI.

  1. Tiny

As much as they respect LGD’s Drow, they similarly respect-banned LGD’s favorite, Tiny. Tiny’s ability to go to the multiple lanes/to be played on multiple positions (arguably 1-4) makes it high ban target. LGD ran it on the mid and the offlane successfully throughout the tournament.

First series of picks:

  1. Enchantress

Out of their most successful heroes this TI, Enchantress, Weaver, Earthshaker, and Tiny (banned), LGD’s decision  for the first pick landed on Ench. In 7.19c update, Ench’s early game got nerfed pretty badly.

  1. Earthshaker

ES is all-around support (can be played even in a core role), with ultimate lock-down and huge magical damage burst. It has vast toolkit, ES can reliably, with good initiation, neutralize one enemy hero before a fight even starts, especially squishy ones like Ench. And at that moment had the most broken Aghs upgrade in the game, giving him a blink like ability that can stun and isn’t disabled by root, on 5 seconds, (basically 4, because of the jump duration). And with 25lvl talent it can go down to 3 sec cooldown (effective 2). After 7.19c roots disable Enchant Totem jump. OG opened their draft versatile.

  1. Spectre

Choosing ultra late-game carry second makes a statement of confidence, but it is very revealing. It was a statement that OG wanted to play their game no matter what the opponent picks were. It felt out of place, punishable, but if it worked, could scare opponents into banning the hero; really strange pick for the first phase.

  1. Storm spirit

Chinese team reacted in the same manner, taking mid hero very early. Somnus on Storm Spirit is up there with any other Storm player you can name, and at the time unbeaten on TI8. I remember some time ago a pro player (really can’t remember who (s4?)) talking about feeling comfortable by having the ES to counter enemy’s Anti-Mage. And when you think about it, the ES pretty much denies AM’s mobility with his instant and lasting lockdown. Same principle applies to Storm Spirit if successfully initiated upon, he can easily be bursted with his low HP pool and low magic resistance.

Second series of bans:

For the rest of the bans, LGD focused on securing a lane for Storm, and OG did the same for  the Spectre. Both proved to be impossible tasks for such early picks.

  1. Invoker

LGD respect banned Topson’s Invoker. Invoker does well in the lane versus Storm. It’s not a killer lane and Storm can recover with spamming out waves and farming jungle, but at this high level of Dota, you don’t want to lose a lane to the enemy comfort hero.

  1. Terrorblade

OG’s next ban was Terrorblade, as he is as good of a late-game carry as Spectre, with reflection being useful against Spec’s Haunt and the hero itself.

  1. Skywrath Mage

The Sky, too, is one of Topson’s heroes. Ancient Seal is the Skywrath Mage’s instant silence that completely disables Storm’s mobility in any stage of the game. Ancient Seal also amps damage from spells and Sky doesn’t lack that. He has a lot of magical burst, and Storm having low magic resistance is a reason enough for LGD to secure this ban. Plus, if need be, he can be played as a support hero too.

  1. Undying

Since Spectre is a melee hero with zero lane presence, OG closed out this ban phase with Dirge.  Another hero famous for his lane dominance. And since the ES and the Spectre don’t have much attack speed, especially early, tombstone could have created issues.

Second series of picks:

  1. Winter Wyvern

This hero for N0tail was OG’s way of giving Spec a healing support. Enchantress has no magic damage and people forget that in the end, Storm Spirit’s primary damage source comes from his right clicks, so Cold Embrace was also a big plus coming from the WW.

  1. Crystal Maiden

Coincidentally, LGD’s next pick also empowered their 2nd picked core, CM with Arcane Aura. The CM also upped team’s magic damage and in Cold Embrace hero can become a sitting duck for her ultimate.

  1. Monkey King

All the bans that tried to secure a good Storm mid match-up were rendered useless when OG took Topson’s Monkey King. MK has 300 attack range, the most out of all melee heroes, and Storm’s attack range is low for a ranged hero – 480. Pair that with MK’s advantage in movement speed, turn rate and his Jingu Mastery, and you are essentially sending Storm to lose a lane. The problem they solved by switching the lanes.

  1. Elder Titan

This pick phase ended with FY’s hero. Intent was for the ET to counteract the MK’s mobility with Astral Spirit (giving tree vision) and to counteract Wukong’s Command armor with Natural Order. And as is the case for CM’s ult, Cold Embrace is a good setup for an easy Echo Stomp too. FY mastered stacking neutral camps and getting damage with Astral Spirit.

Last two bans:

  1. Ursa

OG banning Ursa was more or less fishing in the dark for a strong lanner that can pressure and even maybe match-up the MK in the middle (In case of a switch up).

  1. Pugna

Hero that is good against intelligence heroes (Nether Ward) and also versus right clicking in general (Decrepify). At the time LGD had invested into 3 intelligence heroes, two of which were right clicking damage dealsers(Ench and Storm). So with the Pugna ban they prepared the field for the Bloodseeker last pick. Also to be considered is that OG ran Pugna a lot this TI with mostly positive outcome.

Last two picks:

  1. Bloodseeker

The BS has a good time with the most melee match-ups, and against Spectre early game he was going to have an easy time. He has Rupture to disable Spec running away with Spectral Dagger and MK jumping to the trees (on the contrary, MK can ult and stand in the Wukong’s Command to defend against it). Also he has flying vision with Blood Rite against MK hiding in the trees (adding to the arsenal) and has yet another ability that is set-up by the WW’s Cold Embrace (keeping target in place). Though Cold Embrace gave a lot of negativity for OG, it also had huge positives in countering BS’s right clicks when the target is Ruptured. Seeker revealed LGD’s game plan to put Ench middle because neither Storm nor Blood (as most melee cores can’t) could stand in the lane against MK’s Jingu Mastery, and OG was fine with it, as it is a pretty even match-up.

  1. Treant Protector

As mentioned in the first analysis I did, the creativity and uniqueness is what separates good from the best, so to see OG taking the Treant Protector last pick was a breeze of fresh air. Everyone expected a core hero and we got another hero generally played as a support. And it wasn’t even cheese switch up, 7ckngMad took it to the offlane, but effectively ended up playing it as a support. Picking any traditional offlane hero would have probably lost them the game. This way they had a slim chance. Treant could, with Living Armor, heal any hero globally, to counter the BS’s Thirst and could prolong the game for the Spectre to come online by healing towers with it. LGD in general, except for the Enchantress capability to Enchant catapult creeps, didn’t really have a good tower push lineup.

Gameplay

On paper LGD was technically favorite going into the match (even from the lower bracket) and OG was actually expected to lose every series throughout upper bracket. One thing that separated them from the rest was courage to play their own game at all times, and Treant pick confirms just that. Taking support hero for a position 3 core player.

Since LGD had better draft, they won all the lanes and put OG on the back foot. Interestingly they didn’t manage to capitalize on their lead, it was like they hesitated. OG played smart, getting pickoffs on careless LGD prolonging the game. A lot of LGD’s micro mistakes accumulated, and things culminated around a big team fight where the gold lead evened out. From that moment forward Spectre teams had all the advantage and was in the driving seat. All in all OG had tremendous luck this game.

OG 1 : 0 LGD

GAME 2

Draft

First series of bans:

    1.Tiny 3. Drow Ranger 5. Silencer

This time around OG had the first pick and ban, so they opened the game with Tiny, Drow and Silencer bans. They exchanged their Wisp ban from the first game for the Silencer, so they could have the potential to first pick or force IO ban. Silencer’s Global Silence is considered to be a direct counter to the Wisp’s Relocate as it now a channeling spell.

  1. Spectre 4. Chen 6. Natures Prophet

On the other hand LGD got so scared of the Spectre so they decided to 1st ban her every game that was left in the series. This, I think, shouldn’t have happen. A team as experienced as LGD, and with their skill level, should know how to deal with first or second pick Spec. For the two other bans they took out Chen and Furion respectively, repeating game 1 bans. Again, Ench got trough the ban phase, but this time Wisp was available too.

First series of picks:

  1. IO

OG seized the opportunity to take IO for their first pick.

  1. Enchantress 3. Earthshaker

This time LGD, for their first two picks, paired Enchantress with Earthshaker. Team Secret’s YapzOr mentioned, as he was a guest commentator, that he thinks the Earthshaker will be the pivotal hero of these finals, and he was right. All ES qualities previously mentioned applied for this game too, and since the Wisp is always attached to one hero, Echo slam was even more potent.

  1. Gyrocopter

For their second pick OG immediately decided to give IO a core. Gyro was the most paired hero with Wisp this TI; it enables Gyro to skip mana items and gives him rundown capabilities with Tether movement speed bonus. Gyro is also good versus the Enchantress with his big magical burst and Flak Cannon that can deal with Enchantress’ creeps easily.

Second series of bans:

  1. Storm Spirit 9. Morphling

Respecting Somnus’s Storm Spirit OG didn’t want to risk it being in the pool so they banned it. Coupled with that ban, they banned Morphling, a hard late game carry that can out-carry the Gyro. Morphling is considered to be a natural Gyro counter because of Morph ability; you do not want to fight full agility Flak Cannoned Morph firing at you with tremendous attack-speed.

  1. Pugna 10. Arc Warden

Full on magic damage Pugna counters Ench trough all stages of the game. And Nether Ward’s blink canceling abilities against the ES. Taking in consideration that OG picked Pugna often at TI8, as it is one of Topson’s main heroes, LGD went with the ban. The Arc Warden was an ace up OG’s sleeve, it was a precaution ban.

Second series of picks:

  1. Bane

For the position five LGD’s choice was a hero with good single target abilities and good control for  the Wisp+Gyro combo. Nightmare sleeping one and Fiend’s Griping the other hero in the best case scenario.

  1. Invoker

Out of Topson’s heroes, his most played one was still in the pool. They proceeded with getting a comfort pick for their player. This was maybe a mistake since enemy still had two core picks left and Invoker really needs a good mid match-up to transition to the later portions of the game.

  1. Phantom Lancer

When LGD saw an opening in OG’s Invoker, and since they had the ES (sort of the PL counter), they took the PL. He deals well with Invoker at all stages of the game and if needed, can match-up Invoker on mid lane.

  1. Underlord

OG knew that the Gyro’s Flak wouldn’t cut it in fight vs. the PL. It felt like for the first time OG played reactionary Dota when they chose the Underlord. He has good lane clear with Fire Storm and somewhat can deal with PL with AOE control and his natural itemization (Crimson Guard). I would point out this pick to be another mistake since it is not an absolute counter to PL, it doesn’t add too much to the table with one more global teleportation hero and is very susceptible to the Enchantress’ pure Impetus damage.

Last two bans:

  1. Winter Wyvern

LGD focused on supports, since OG was missing a support; though the Underlord in extreme circumstances can be a support. As I mentioned WW deals well vs. physical damage, and two cores of LGD at that moment were Ench and PL. One more thing WW could add to the arsenal of OG was her Winter’s Curse, great ability against heroes with summons/illusions, as it  can turn them on the hero.

  1. Huskar

Bad drafting left OG almost randoming a ban. They ended up on Huskar because it is a cheese pick that could destroy Invoker in lane and snowball out of control.

Last two picks:

  1. Disruptor

Generally it’s not a good sign when you structure your draft around last picking support. Glimpse gave OG a long range disable for Bane’s Fiends Grip. Also they were hoping for some clutch Kinetic Field into Static Storm combos from N0tail. OG were hoping to play fast pace, kill after kill Dota, with the Gyro snowballing.

  1. Kunkka

This hero sealed the game before it even started for multiple reasons. First of two most important ones being matchup problems for OG. Kunkka does great vs. Invoker in lane and even vs. the IO+Gyro combo, if OG decides to switch lanes up. And the second reason, X Marks the Spot counters so many things OG’s heroes bring to the table. It is effective vs. Glimpse, Dark Rift and Relocate. It was simply a well rounded last pick that gave LGD an advantage.

Gameplay

Whole game was pretty much resolved at the draft. This was a big draft win for LGD and draft pretty much dictated the tempo of this game. How hard of an outdraft this game was we can see in this fight where at about minute 5, LGD feeds 4 kills to OG and still come out on top after the laning stage; leading to an easy win.

OG 1 : 1 LGD

GAME 3

Draft

First series of bans:

We didn’t see any new faces in the first ban phase.

  1. Spectre 3. Natures Prophet 5. Enchantress

The only difference being that LGD decided to let Chen go trough the draft and ban Enchantress instead.

  1. Tiny 3. IO 4. Earthshaker

Since OG didn’t have the 1st pick they banned Wisp themselves. And this time around they let  Drow through, instead banning Earthshaker as Fy was obviously good on that hero.

First series of picks:

  1. Weaver

In the 3rd game we got a fresh new opening. Teams like when their early draft is not too revealing and Weaver accomplishes just that. It can be played on both position 1 and 3, and even as a support. Considering that LGD took it, and the Chinese are not renewed for their flexibility in drafting, it OG was sure it was a core Weaver.

  1. Chen

Seeing opponent bans one of your comfort picks two games sure looks as if they are scared of that pick. So OG seized the opportunity and took Chen, as it was not banned this time. Once a jungler, Chen is now considered a  lane dominator and pusher. His role is to take a neutral creep and pressure his lane with it.

  1. Phantom Lancer

OG continued a trend of taking carry in the first series of picks. PL doesn’t reveal too much, it’s a hero with  not so good laning, but paired with Chen, he could get farm going early. Picking him into Weaver has its benefits as PL has high attack speed and illusions, so he can deal with the Swarm fast. Also, he has illusions that single target Weaver can’t deal with, and to add to the problem, PL often builds Diffusal Blade that could create mana issues for Weaver’s low mana pool.

  1. Vengeful Spirit

Ignoring PL, LGD doubled-down on physical damage. Next to the Weaver’s Swarm you now had Venge’s Wave of Terror increasing the minus armor even more.

Second series of bans:

One very strange thing we got from the second game, that lasted till the end of this series, were these three bans: Arc Warden, Storm Spirit and Pugna. LGD proceeded to use second series of bans on Topson’s classics and OG on Somnus’.

  1. Arc Warden

I could get behind the Arc ban, he isn’t picked that often and like I said time and time before, Chinese players are often crude; not wanting to learn to play unconventional heroes so they end up wasting bans filling tactical holes.

  1. Storm Spirit

Even after winning game 1 against it , OG wanted non of Somnus’ Storm. He is simply a god-like player on that hero, and they probably felt what many teams before have against SumaiL. That no matter how hard you shut him down early, he will find a way to come back.

  1. Pugna

Pugna ban I can’t get behind. Unlike the last game, this time LGD had very evasive heroes that aren’t directly countered by Pugna. They were maybe afraid that Decrepify could be a problem against their physical damage, but that spell is just one little thing that can be played around.

  1. Leshrac

Not many time did LGD play Lesh, but they certainly won all the games in which they did. Another one of Somnus’ specials, Lesh has great ability to deal with the PL’s illusions with all his spells, so this ban is pretty justified.

Second series of picks:

  1. Winter Wyvern

This hero is I already covered. Great against right click and great against summons/illusions, so it was at the same time good pick and even better deny pick for OG. Because of their picks it will turn out the WW has to be a position 3. Few players managed to pull the WW as an offlaner, IceIceIce standing out. And it turned out like in the 1st game, 7ckngMad ended being just another support for the team.

  1. Phoenix

LGD chose to address danger of Chen’s potential lane pressure. Phoenix Fire Spirits are a great way to render Chen’s creeps useless in the early game. Phoenix, during this tournament alone, but also in general, is considered to be a counter to PL in a way. It sound counterintuitive since PL has good attack speed, but his illusions melt fast under the effects of Supernova and reveal the real PL so he can be disabled. And since it is a professional game it isn’t easy to burst the egg in any way.

  1. Lina

Having “Egg problems” OG countered with Lina because of her attack speed granted by Fiery Soul stacks. Usually for Lina to work she has to be a midlaner but I think OG deliberately picked her as a support. The problem with Lina support was that she gave only one dimension to the team – destroying Supernova. She isn’t good against the elusive Weaver because Light Strike Array is an unreliable stun and even if she hit someone with it, Venge could swap them out. Leveling up to abuse Laguna Blade on squish early game Weaver or buying setup items like Eul’s Scepter was too much to ask from a support.

  1. Alchemist

Seams like LGD had a clear game plan from the beginning of the draft. They had three excellent Aghs carriers and got them the money making machine. Also Alch is a natural Radiance builder and with it deals nicely with PL. Physical damage wasn’t an issue but you could now add Acid Spray to the mix too.

Last two bans:

I’m not sure if LGD thought Lina was going middle because the Alch does well with that matchup, but after this pick they still continued to target the Alchemist counters. Even with Lina in the middle lane, OG could still pick Alchemist counter for the sidelines. So I suppose using last ban and pick on counters was smart.

  1. Juggernaut

I have no clue what this ban was all about. Like, really could not think of one specific reason why Jug is “the” ban here.

  1. Monkey King

Alchemist is vulnerable against heroes that can stand in the Acid Spray, trade hits with him and still come out on top. In mid to later portions of the game those same heroes need to deal with his Chemical Rage regen. Few of default counters are Ursa (Fury Swipes), Monkey King (Jingu Mastery) and Bloodseeker (Bloodrage). Banning any of these three heroes would be expected. LGD went for the MK as it one of Topson’s favorites.

Last two picks:

  1. Brewmaster

To cover Alchemist’s game, Brew was a perfect pick. Again I am not sure if they thought Lina was middle or not, but it didn’t change anything. Be it in the laning phase or later in the game, Brew deals well with Ursa and Blood. Drunken Haze makes them miss and both of those heroes don’t like to go for the MKB, at least not before their first three big items. Panda’s ultimate, Primal Split, has Storm Panda whose Dispel Magic destroys the PL’s illusions instantly, so I can’t state enough how good of a pick this was.

  1. Morphling

Last we got Topson’s hero. OG pulled it out of their bag of tricks and boy was it great. You have a hero that destroys Alch middle, can Morph into valuable enemy heroes and has attack speed to help take down Supernova. To prevent Attribute Shift, LGD didn’t really have any instant disables. Both projectiles from the Alch and from the Venge have some travel time, enough for a pro player to turn on Strength Gain.

Gameplay

Early game lanes were pretty much even. LGD had slight advantage on the sides and Topson’s Morph won middle against Alchemist. Trough the game things evened out but there was ticking Alch bomb in the game, so OG felt pressured to attack. Fy’s Phoenix made a lot of space, I’ll single out one of the plays:

As game went longer and longer Alch got bigger and bigger, and net worth advantage for LGD got bigger every minute, After prolonged team fight one Morphling kill led to a sudden anticlimactic ending:

OG 1:2 LGD

GAME 4

Draft

First series of bans:

  1. Tiny 3. Silencer 5. Weaver

Tiny was lock ban for the whole series, LGD just didn’t want to play against it. Instead of the Wisp they went with the Silencer ban, same as in the game 2 when they had the 1st pick. Impressed by Ame’s performance from the last game, they let the Earthshaker go trough and instead banned Wisp.

  1. Spectre 4. Natures Prophet 6. Earthshaker

First two bans, Spec and Furion were standard. For the last ban LGD could have easily gone for Chen or IO but settled for ES. Thought process was probably that OG already lost once with Wisp and that they could cope with it. And for Chen, that they could still neutralize his early game with Enchantress; since both heroes have creep domination skills.

First series of picks:

  1. IO

Not scared from the game 2 loss, OG just went for it. I really respect this decision and their confidence. Winners in the end always play their own game!

  1. Enchantress

As I already mentioned LGD’s pivotal hero when available.

  1. Morphling

You see an enemy IO, you  expect the Gyrocopter, you pick Morphling to counter, simple as that.

  1. Phantom Lancer

With the TI on the line OG had to show confidence and play their game, in the end I think this won them the tournament. It wasn’t a random pick because both Morph and the Ench are single target damage dealers. Morph also struggles against Diffusal Blade and doesn’t like to go for the BKB.

Second series of bans:

  1. Alchemist 9. Storm Spirit

Last time OG went for PL, Alch countered them hard so they got rid of him. And again we got the Storm Spirit default ban.

  1. Arc Warden 10. Pugna

Same ol’ reasons, but atleast this time Pugna ban was more justified than in the game 3.

Second series of picks:

  1. Tusk

Fy loves his Tusk and boy does he plays him good. I can’t find direct correlation and logic behind this pick but often teams just dictate their own pace in the draft, and not just counter pick. Tusk has similar role in early game ganks like the ES does, his Ice Shards making him lethal if he manages to trap someone. His Snowball is one of the best saves in the whole game, granting de facto invulnerability to all his teammates in small radius.

  1. Chen

Ench – Chen dynamic is funny one. Taking each other’s creeps all the time, battling their personal battle. Chen does have lower CD on this Holy Persuasion than Ench has on her Enchant, but with her Nature’s Attendants it evens out in a lane. So they give each other some kind of a draw, or maybe Ench gives slight advantage to her team.

  1. Brewmaster

In the last game, Chalice played well and dealt with PL nicely so why not go for it again. With the split you can control Wisp and PL simultaneously.

  1. Invoker

With the tournament on the line why not give your mid laner his flashiest hero. Problem was, again, that LGD still didn’t have their mid laner settled and could counter hard. I’m sure OG thought about Leshrac ban when they went for the Alch instead, because they decided that Topson’s Invo can cope with Lesh lane and come on top mid to late game if needed.

Last two bans:

  1. Centaur

OG left Seb’s hero for the last pick so LGD focused on an offlaner, a proper offlaner :). Out of the pool of playable offlaners Centaur has a good stun and a big burst nuke. Also he is tanky and can stand in the lane vs. Ench creeps or Tusk’s harass.

  1. Kunkka

OG learned their lesson from the game 2, Kunkka would have been great pick against the Wisp, the PL and Invoker.

Last two picks:

  1. Axe

 LGD was in the ball park when they looked for their ban. Axe is one of the best Morph counters. He can blink, Berserker’s Call Morph, proc Counter Helix just a few times, and thankfully to the Morph’s fast attack speed that isn’t a problem , and dunk him with Culling Blade. Morphs are often maxed on Agility Gain so they end up with the low HP which helps Axe with the dunk threshold.

  1. Bloodseeker

First and foremost, BS gives lane advantage over Invoker. Other than that in this game he can disable mobility of many heroes who depend on it, like IO, PL and Axe. Chen also can’t pressure BS in the mid lane as much as he can heal up quickly with Bloodrage.

Gameplay

This game LGD decided to run offensive tri-lane top and to let Brew solo farm against Axe. Tri on tri action top went LGD’s way, also Bloodseeker owned Invoker middle. So for OG only saving grace was Axe who traded farm with Brew without conflict – creep skipping. In the end it was Axe who, saved and kept alive by marvelous JerAx IO plays, managed to make space for OG to recover.

One of space making sequences:

Even so OG had advantage going into the mid game, one play where Fy clutched with Tusk Snowball save, swung the game into LGD’s favor:

Rest of the game was non-stop mayhem full of buybacks and kills, I recommend you watch this game because it’s full of highlights. Eventually Phantom Lancer got to his lvl 25. talent -6 Doppelganger CD (nerfed for 1 second now) and made it impossible for LGD to deal with the illusions.

OG 2:2 LGD

GAME 5

Draft

First series of bans:

  1. Spectre 3. Phantom Lancer 5. Enchantress

Chinese teams go reverse Puppey when banning, if they lose to a particular hero, they get scared and ban it the next game. So after Spec, they took out PL, hero that they have 1:1 score against this series. Ench is ,throughout the series, high value hero in LGD’s eyes, but they wanted to open the draft with the ES this time.

  1. Tiny 4. Drow Ranger 6. IO

OG went for the standard bans when LGD has 1st pick, emphasizing the Wisp and going back for the Drow ban. Silencer and Weaver weren’t of interest to the OG.

First series of picks:

  1. Earthshaker

Covered this pick already enough times, good opener.

  1. Nature’s Prophet

We finally had time to see if LGD’s fears were justified, and N0tail got the chance to shine on his beloved NP.

  1. Rubick

Direct substitute for Earthshaker. Benefit was that if he stole Fissure he didn’t have cast animation that goes with it. Also he has Null Field to absorb some of the high ES magic burst. Because OG let Weaver trough the draft, Rubick also covered that hole, since he matches-up against him nicely.

  1. Terrorblade

A completely new pick for the last game of the finals. TB wasn’t amongst the most played heroes this TI, nor was he amongst the heroes with good win-rate%, but they went for it. At the time of the finals, TB wasn’t in the meta like he is now, he even got nerfed in the mean time. So in all aspects, LGD had a great carry.

Second series of bans:

  1. Pugna 9. Arc Warden

Same ol’ same ol’.

  1. Storm Spirit 10. Alchemist

Same ol’ same ol’.

Second series of picks:

  1. Magnus

OG found a middle point for Seb’s picks. Utility hero, but at the same time a proper offlaner. It was comfort pick too and one of his “mains”. They went all in on empowering main two cores, no pun intended. But Empower does help a lot vs. Terrorblade’s illusions.

  1. Silencer

A lot of banning revolved around this hero, especially when OG wanted to secure the Wisp. But now I didn’t really see a need for the Silencer. NP, Rubick and Magnus have no major spells that are affected by Global Silence. Even Magnus’ Reverse Polarity has pretty much instant cast time (0.3 sec) for Global to be effective.

  1. Ember Spirit

Another comfort pick, this time for Ana. Good Empower target to deal with TB and good spell soaker with Flame Guard for defense against Earthshaker. Ember could throw off  LGD into thinking it’s for the mid lane because Ember wasn’t picked once by OG in the groups and in the main event.

  1. Kunkka

Dominated once this series, why not again? Admiral gives team a frontliner for the fights so Terror can dish out the damage freely and Ghostship Rum buff  helps against Magnus’ ult, negating initial burst damage. Kunkka can cope with Ember mid and come out even, in the end it’s skill based matchup.

Last two bans:

  1. Necrophos

Necro had been picked a lot this TI but with mixed success, so I think this was close to a random ban. They knew LGD’s last spot was for the offlaner but why they chose the Necro I’m not so sure. It can sustain against NP’s lane harass and can wreck Magnus if they chose to swap the lanes; but beyond that, this ban they were just guessing.

  1. Monkey King

Hero that can dumpster Kunkka middle, and OG feel comfortable playing so for the last game it was a reasonable ban.

Last two picks:

  1. Batrider

Another hero being picked for the first time in the tournament by LGD. Since OG’s lineup looked as a 4-protect-1 (they had time to change that with the last pick), why not take a hero that deals with those kinds of lineups well. If you can catch someone with Flaming Lasso and combine that with Global you pretty much get a free kill. With Firefly he doesn’t have to worry about Sprout and Treants. And if OG look to switch up lanes, Magnus with his awful turn-rate would be useless against Sticky Napalm.

  1. Zeus

I remember thinking hard what hero can stand in lane vs. Kunkka and have some synchronization with the lineup. Only one I could think of was Juggernaut. He benefits from Empower, can spin out of Kunkka’s combos, is a natural Manta builder for dispel… But OG went for Zeus, they thought Ember was not enough for TB and that with Zeus’ global presence they could hinder Bat’s blink-in game.

Gameplay

We have comfort picks all around this game, which in turn meant we would see some flashy plays. Out of the laning phase once again LGD came on top, with their two main cores being top net worth heroes on the map. Non the less OG was not going to roll over and die so they keep pushing. In almost all the team fights OG showed hearth and came on top when it metered. Fortune favors the bold, a lot of luck for OG but well deserved TI. TI isn’t won by the best player, its won by the best TEAM.

Maybe overstaying:

Ame’s questionable Teleport to the shrine and Ana’s clutch Euls:

OG 3:2 LGD