To say that day 2 started strongly would be an understatement.
The first best of 3 was between probably the most popular team in the competitive DOTA 2 community, the Ukrainian Na’Vi, and the almost unknown Asian team Cloud 9. The latter are so new to competitive DOTA 2 that they didn’t even have an introduction. Na’Vi have always got to the final of The International, so the ball was certainly in their court.
However, they weren’t prepared for Cloud 9, who convincingly beat them in the first game. So convincingly, in fact, that one of Cloud 9’s heroes killed 12 of Na’vi’s and didn’t die for the entire 33 minute length of the game. Na’vi struck back, however, in a blisteringly action packed second game, where they totally over ran Cloud 9 in 21 minutes. Their Witch Doctor in particular, a hero more commonly played as a healer, wrecked Cloud 9 and forced them to concede.
The third and final game, however, is where the real magic happened. The Ukrainians were just hopelessly outmatched by the plucky underdogs thanks mainly to their highly unusual hero selection. They had a Bounty Hunter, a hero who turns invisible at will and can ‘track’ the enemy heroes so that they give more gold when they die, and a Clockwerk whose sole use is his ultimate ability that allows him to launch himself at the enemy and stun them. They both see very little tournament play because the former can be countered by items that allow you to see invisible enemies and the latter can be burst down very quickly. But Na’vi were caught off-guard and just melted in just over half an hour. One of their heroes died 12 times without a single kill, whilst Cloud 9’s Clockwerk (a hero who is damn near suicidal) killed 13 enemy heroes and didn’t die a single time. It all accumulated in said hero standing outside of where Na’vi’s heroes re-spawn and just keeping them from attacking Cloud 9 through sheer presence alone. And with that very impressive display, Na’Vi were out. A huge upset, even more than Alliance earlier in the tournament.
The next set of games were between DOTA 2 veterans LGD and IG. Two old Chinese teams who make regular appearances in all major tournaments, the former actually won the second International a couple of years ago. The latter team was having a rocky competition so far due to having a lot of loses in the run-up to the main event. The first game was a fairly typical game of professional DOTA 2 as nothing too crazy occurred. LGD did win though because too many of their main heroes became powerful and IG couldn’t deal with them. Which, when coupled with some serious skill being displayed by LGD’s Invoker, a hero whose spells have to be combined in order to be effective, IG’s heroes died too many times and ended the game early.
Similarly to the previous set of games, IG fought back to take the best of 3 to 1-1 because LGD tried the same strategy and paid for it. The third game was, shockingly for supporters of IG, LGD’s despite IG looking they could take it at points. What saved LGD from going out, in my opinion, is that their selection of heroes was far more effective the longer the game went on and their Mirana, a hero whose main ability takes a lot of skill to land with game-changing consequences depending on if it hits or not, landed some amazing arrows where it counted (said skill) that kept IG on the back foot.
Before day 2 finished, the first two games of the next sets were played. The first, Cloud 9 verses VG was a tense 40 minute game that came down to Cloud 9 lacking health and armour in combination with their heroes being easily countered by VG’s team. VG just lasted longer in the team fights and there was very little Cloud 9 could do to fight back once their spells were all used. The next game played was the first game of LGD verses DK. A ridiculous game that lasted over an hour and came down to a base-race. The second of the tournament. It was so thrilling because both teams were pretty much at maximum power so both their respective bases melted like a hot knife through lukewarm butter. However, LGD could do damage faster than DK could. So they won by a gnat’s testicle.
That was the end of Day 2. A day filled with shock upsets and legendary games.
To be continued in part 4…
If you want to watch these games unfold in real-time, don’t forget to tune in to The International’s Twitch channel: Here