They win the tournament and its $200,000 first prize.
It doesn’t matter whether an event is part of the Dota2 Pro Circuit. If it has top-tier teams in it, then you will have the best Dota2 matches in the world nonetheless. The teams playing in last weekend’s tournament proved this to be the case, as they competed neck-to-neck in the Galaxy Battles 2 LAN Finals.
Of course, a clear favorite for the fans to win the tournament are teams like Evil Geniuses, OG and TNC Pro Team. However, even the teams that have a smaller fanbase here in the Philippines like PG.Barracx, Team Spirit, Infamous and paiN Gaming displayed the top of their game, all in the name of the sport – despite the event not having any QP involved in the tournament.
But the star of the night would be Team VGJ.Thunder, who won it all after sweeping fan favorites EG in the Grand Finals. VGJ Thunder definitely wasn’t the favorite to win it all, and by all indications, it would have been logical to guess that Thunder would lose to EG in the Grand Finals. Evil Geniuses swept Thunder clean in the Upper Bracket Finals, after all.
VGJ would then have to face the winner of the lower bracket marathon, which eventually turned out to be Team Spirit. Team Spirit got the Filipino fans’ attention when they swept TNC in the first day of the tournament, and also by beating OG in the lower bracket semifinals. If momentum were going to be the basis of predictions, Team Spirit would have been the clear favorite. However, Thunder held their ground and defeated Spirit, allowing them to move on to the Grand Finals.
And boy, that Grand Finals match was fantastic. Even if VGJ Thunder ended up lossless in the Grand Finals, it doesn’t mean that EG went down without a fight. A spectacular display of skill and fortitude was shown by both teams in Game 2, in a matchup that saw grand clashes amplified by the electrifying crowd of a 15,000 strong live audience. Everyone lost their minds when Suma1L used a Refresher Shard to catch three heroes in two Chronospheres, but the crowd cheered harder as VGJ reversed the situation and managed to beat off EG without even losing a single hero.
In the end, it was VGJ Thunder’s advantage in the drafts that helped them beat down EG with relative ease in the third game of the match, showing how important their coach rOtK’s role in the team is. Being a former captain of VGJ itself, rOtK’s veteran insight and drafting skills comes in handy with this young team of Chinese pros.
Just like when Wings Gaming won the ESL One Manila tournament in 2016, VGJ Thunder ended up with a sleeper win. Nobody expected them to come out on top, partly due to their young roster. But the potential is there, and a little bit more of what rOtK and the rest of the organization is giving them would be enough to hone their skills to possibly qualify for another Major. There’s not doubt now that Thunder could go head-to-head with top tier teams, and it would be interesting to watch their progress through the DPC, on their road to the International.
Neutral has been playing video games since he was a little kid. He started being competitive when he and his brother would bet favors for each other depending on who wins at the PS2 game Naruto Shippuuden. Recently he has been playing Dota2 and Animal Crossing on his revived 3DS. It is his dream to be part of the formation of the eSports version of UAAP through UP Gaming Guild’s Impetus Intercollegiate Dota2 League.
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