They take down Newbee 3-1 in a close grand final match.
The final day of the Manila Masters was a certainly one to remember for all Dota fans in the Philippines – especially those lucky enough to watch it live. The loser’s bracket final between Evil Geniuses and Team NP was one for the books. It featured two intense back and forth games – along with a 78-minute marathon that ultimately ended in EG’s favor. But it was all setting us up for an even more hype grand finals.
Coming in from the upper bracket and previously 2:0’ing EG, Newbee seemingly came into the grand finals with the upper hand – their games at the Masters were very well executed, from the drafting phase to the in-game decision-making itself, but Evil Geniuses aren’t regarded as the “Lower Bracket Kings” for nothing – they evolve throughout a tournament and certainly have the mechanical skill to contend at the highest levels of competition. Both teams certainly showed up at the grand final.
Game 1 saw EG take Newbee for a spin with a cleanly-executed Drow strat complemented by an offlane Puck and an Outworld Devourer in the mid-lane. Newbee’s cores were never really able to come online when EG’s early pushes started giving them control of the map, completely shutting down Xu “Moogy” Han’s Sven and keeping all the heroes on the Chinese side starved for farm. The game ended in 28 minutes.
However, in Game 2 Newbee showed up with a switch-up of their own – picking up a Naga Siren for off-laner Damien “kpii” Sau-jing Chok. While has been Newbee’s Naga player in the 2016 season, their current iteration usually gave the siren to mid-laner Song “Sccc” Chun. Here in the grand finals, kpii proved he was still masterful on the hero – joining the right engagements and constantly keeping the lanes pushed out and giving Moogy the map control to constantly take Roshan on his safelane Ursa Warrior, who netted a 16/2/6 KDA by the end of the game.
Game 3 was a nail-biter, with Newbee’s Batrider + Lifestealer combo rendering Artour “Arteezy” Babaev’s Razor largely ineffective for much of the mid-game, but great plays from mid-laner Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan on the Ember Spirit kept EG in it, up until the fateful team fight near the Radiant Secret Shop, where Newbee chose to initiate the lasso on Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg’s Enchantress and failed to bring her down in time – resulting in multiple deaths for the Newbee side, and EG taking momentum of the match.
The final game of the match was similarly back-and-forth as the previous one, with neither team really taking over full control of the game until the one fateful team fight. This time it happened near the Roshan Pit at about the 45-minute mark, and lasted a full, frantic 5 minutes of back-and-forth plays, multiple buybacks on both sides, and ending when EG made the critical decision to go for the GG push and ultimately, take the Championship.
EG is looking good in the lead-up to TI, and will be attending Epicenter as well. But with a top-4 finish at the Major and a win here at the Masters, EG is pretty much a shoe-in for a direct invite to The International. Newbee is also a strong contender again, but it will ultimately depend on how many invites Valve will be sending out – the Chinese squad is already playing at ZOTAC this week, and will also be playing at Galaxy Battles later in June. The team seems to have finally found their footing, and they’ve still got two more chances to prove their worth.
KaLeRei usually can’t shut up about video games, so she writes about them instead. Single-player RPGs or empire-builders/strategy games are her usual cup of tea, but she’s also been an avid follower of the Dota 2 and CS:GO professional scenes for a while. She has a fascination for old pros trying to prove they’ve still got what it takes, and cats.
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