Upsets abound in the PH’s first big homegrown LAN.
The Philippine’s first locally-organized international Dota 2 LAN tournament has been going on throughout the weekend – full of hype matches, memes (I suggest you look up the Battle of the Rages and the Hype-Off skits if you want a good laugh), and beautiful Dota all around. It’s also the second premier LAN on patch 7.06, and in the week between this and StarLadder i-League Invitational #2, it seems some teams have adapted to the new meta faster than the others.
Clearly, Chinese team Newbee have proved to be one of these – dropping only a single game on their road to the Grand Finals. The new patch seems to have enabled the team’s playstyle a lot, coupled with the entire team stepping up to the plate. The support duo of Zheng “Faith” Hongda and Hu “Kaka” Liangzhi consistently found early-game ganks to push their advantage (Faith’s Visage in their second game versus OG was a highlight-worthy especially for people looking for impactful position 5 support plays). While Damien “kpii” Chok’s midgame decision-making usually ensured a good team fight for Newbee – also shining individually on his Tidehunter performances. Both of the team’s cores, Xu “Moogy” Han (formerly uuu9) and Song “Sccc” Chun had stable, if not stellar performances as well. It feels almost as if Newbee is a completely different team right now, playing a much faster, lane-dominant oriented style – and look very well set to take home the Masters (and perhaps a direct invite to The International as well). They did take down tournament favorites OG and EG already, both in dominant 2:0 performances. It might be about time to break their ‘just okay’ run of tournament results, and it’ll be interesting to see if they can continue this momentum into the next few LANs they’re attending before TI7.
Perhaps surprising to most analysts, but certainly not to their fans, Team NP has also made its way into the top 3, taking down Team Secret, Invictus Gaming, and Team Faceless to secure their top-3 finish – if they beat EG, they’ll be facing Newbee in the grand finals. It’s also interesting to note that this is the new roster’s first big LAN, and it can be seen clearly from their matches that Adrian “FATA-” Trinks already feels at home on NP’s mid-lane, while the role-swap to support seems like just another day at work for Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling, who had a stellar Enchantress game in the last match of their elimination series against Faceless.
The third team in the Top 3 is Evil Geniuses, perhaps not too surprising as they did place top 4 at the Kiev Major and have constantly performed on LAN. The “Lower Bracket Kings” could definitely show up here at Manila, as they are still a tough contender for the title despite falling to Newbee earlier in the upper bracket. Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan has constantly performed well on the mid-lane and more often than not comes out on top during the laning-stage.
Though already eliminated from the tournament, Faceless had a great tournament run, placing fourth, and finally defeating OG in a best-of-three during their lower-bracket elimination match. The role-swaps between the players seem to be working out well, with Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier showing amazing farming efficiency and laning skill despite only recently coming back to the mid-lane. This could hopefully herald the end of their LAN drought.
Today’s matches will crown the first Masters of Manila, and maybe, the beginning of a new annual series of LANs for the Philippines.
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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