Obviously, there are spoilers here for the grand finals at the International. If you want to watch the matches first, do that.
The largest tournament in Dota 2 history came down to one final best of five between CDEC Gaming and Evil Geniuses. These two met in the Winner’s Bracket Finals on Friday, with CDEC taking the best of three convincingly with a 2-0 win. Evil Geniuses fought back through losers bracket to force a rematch with the Chinese team that has steamrolled the competition thus far. At a competitive level, all games of Dota 2 are played in Captain’s mode, which means teams take turns drafting and banning characters rather than the “pick whoever you want” that most public games of Dota 2 consist of.
I have to admit, I was a little bit of a slacker in watching the International this year. I saw enough that I knew who I liked, and I have to say I thought CDEC had it in the bag. After watching them run over teams (specifically Evil Geniuses), I was certain they would get it done and take home the Aegis.
Here’s how the final best of five shook out:
Game One Draft Results:
EG – Gyrocopter, Clockwerk, Crystal Maiden, Storm Spirit, Skywrath Mage
CDEC – Leshrac, Phantom Lancer, Winter Wyvern, Spirit Breaker, Queen of Pain
There were lots of shenanigans before the opening horn to slow down creeps and gain a lane advantage. CDEC seemed to be dominating midlane early, quickly building a 3-0 lead with quick rotation work and surprise ambushes against Storm Spirit, piloted by Sumail. A few good team fights and some excellent use of the ability Call Down from EG’s Gyrocopter quickly evened things up and took the lead for EG. Storm Spirit got some critical kills to even things up, and he snowballed fast. At about the 32 minute mark, it seemed EG had it wrapped up. CDEC called the forfeit about three minutes later.
Best of five score: 1-0 Evil Geniuses
Game Two Draft Results:
EG – Gyrocopter, Clockwerk, Crystal Maiden, Winter Wyvern, Windranger
CDEC – Leshrac, Tusk, Visage, Queen of Pain, Broodmother
The Broodmother pick as the last pick of the draft shocked a lot of people, and seemed to completely fluster EG. Especially when they set up their lanes, sure of what CDEC was doing, and completely miscalculated. From the very beginning of the match, CDEC seems in control. They gained map control early and continued to push their vision using wards and webs. Tusk roamed the map and crushed Evil Geniuses with his Snowball ability. EG never looked comfortable and the game completely deteriorated for them. Tusk and Broodmother owned the map from the start, and even with a surprising Roshan kill, EG could not stop the momentum and called the GG at about the 38 minute mark.
Best of five score: 1-1 Tie
Game Three Draft Results:
EG – Clockwerk, Gyrocopter, Ember Spirit, Undying, Skywrath Mage
CDEC – Leshrac, Visage, Lion, Dark Seer, Slark
CDEC again tries to keep their surprise last pick trend going with Slark. This game was a complete seesaw match. EG controlled early with first blood as their reward. Throughout the match, the EXP and Gold graphs fluctuated by huge amounts, being compared to a hospital heart monitor at one point by the commentators. The turning point came on a Roshan attempt by CDEC at around the 49 minute mark. They attempted to take Roshan and either lost track of time or had zero awareness of what was happening around them, as the attempt completely blew up in their face. The game quickly spiraled downward from there. They attempted some creative buybacks from a disastrous team fight, but they had to call the GG at 59 minutes. Best game of the series by far, easily the most exciting game of the tournament that I watched.
Best of five score: 2-1 Evil Geniuses
Game Four Draft Results:
CDEC – Clockwerk, Lina, Winter Wyvern, Phantom Lancer, Dragon Knight
EG – Gyrocopter, Naga Siren, Storm Spirit, Earthshaker, Ancient Apparition
CDEC had the first pick of the match for the first time in Game Four. From the get-go, they looked like they were in trouble. The lanes lined up poorly, and the early laning phases showed it. Both teams tried to build power by stacking neutral camps, with Evil Geniuses getting the latest first blood of the tournament to finally try to seize some momentum. Phantom Lancer, CDEC’s best chance, was allowed to gather free farm, but EG kept dominating team fights. CDEC kept it in reach by ganking Storm Spirit whenever they could, as he was the only obstacle that would be able to counter their farmed Phantom Lancer. Again, a completely botched kill of Roshan is the end of Game Four, and again that mistake is committed by CDEC. Their team gets ruined, and EG pushes forward to press the advantage. One last team fight occurs around the 36 minute mark, and the “GG” call follows shortly after. With that, we have our new International Dota 2 champions:
Winner: 3-1 Evil Geniuses
Despite CDEC seeming like an unstoppable buzzsaw, Evil Geniuses remained calm and managed to take most team fights, or limit their losses if they were in trouble. They took home the grand prize of over $6.6 million, and will surely be the team to beat an next year’s Dota 2 International tournament.