Hey everyone, ppd (EG's Captain/Support player) here. I haven't written a blog since before I left for The Summit so this is long overdue. As you can probably imagine I was incredibly busy and just couldn't find the time to write even though I really did want to.
So for starters let's just go over our placements.
1st place – The Summit – Ontario, California
6th place – Dreamhack Summer 2014 – Jönköping, Sweden
1st place – HyperX D2L Western Challenge – Online Tournament
2nd place – ESL One Frankfurt – Frankfort, Germany
3rd place – The International 4 – Seattle, Washington
Not too bad right? Every loss was disappointing but overall I still think we did an amazing job.
1st place – The Summit
Winning this tournament was probably the biggest surprise for all of us. Going into this tournament we were all confident in our ability to succeed but winning the whole thing was probably a bit farfetched. Mason was just confirmed as our 5th for the summer and it was his FIRST LAN event ever. Talk about clutch, Mason over-performed for someone at their first LAN and the rest of team also played amazing. We had a rough group stage (bo1's have never been our thing), but we were able to make a run through the lower bracket againstFnatic, Navi, and Vici Gaming. In the finals we met up against the one and only DOTA Kings, DK, and somehow defeated them 3-2. After getting demolished at Starladder againstDK we weren't sure if we were up for the task so when we won the final game we were honestly a bit surprised. This was by far everyone’s favorite tournament of the season andBTS did an amazing job hosting their first (hopefully not the last) event.
6th place – Dreamhack Summer 2014
Not our best showing to put it lightly. After the Summit we had a few errands to run which delayed our travel to Sweden. Mason had a date with the passport office in San Francisco and Artour had to rush home and finish his school's final exams. We arrived the day before the tournament (Artour the morning of) and got decimated by the eventual championsAlliance. Late that day we lost to mousesports 0-2 and left the tournament with an astounding 0-3 record. Plenty of mistakes were made and we didn't deserve to win but still leaving with around $20k made us feel much better about placing so poorly.
1st place – HyperX D2L Western Challenge
Our only online tournament of the summer we were able to play on LAN at the Inferno Online LAN cafe in Stockholm, Sweden. In this tournament we dominated not only the group stage but the playoff as well. Our overall map record was 20-4 with 0 losses in the playoff stage. In the playoffs we skipped the quarterfinals because of our 1st place group stage finish and started the tournament off with a victory over the destined-to-disband RoX`Kis. Next up was Fnatic followed up Navi in the finals who lost 0-3. It was fun to win this tournament during our bootcamp, as a result we went out that night and celebrated with an expensive dinner and drinks.
2nd place ESL Frankfort One
This was probably our least favorite tournament behind Dreamhack, but that’s only cause we placed so poorly. ESL did a great job of filling the stadium, treating the players nicely, and making the tournament something to be remembered. However they messed up big time and as a result this weekend LAN event turned into a one day affair for both Navi and ourselves. It wouldn't have been as bad if we hadn't already been at the event all day waiting so in that regard the tournament was disappointing.
This tournament was the only single-elimination tournament of the summer so it was important that we did not have our infamous “Day 1”. Lucky for us we started off strong with a 2-0 victory over Navi, and then a nail-biting 2-1 victory over Fnatic. As expected in the finals we met iG who were definitely not the same team we met at Starladder a few months back. The first 2 games were pretty back-and-forth... not the 3rd. 22-0... lol? We lost 1-2 and with that iG snatched the biggest western prize pool before TI4.
3rd place The International 4
This tournament probably deserves its own blog but what the hell. This was my first TI so I wasn't sure what to expect. It was everything I imagined it to be, excluding the finals = ). The group-stage was hosted in the Westin Hotel in Bellevue, which was just a smidgen outside Seattle. The hotel was magnificent and the city around it was just as spectacular. Nice restaurants, shops, even an arcade; Bellevue had it all. The nicest part was being able to relax in the privacy of your own room which was just a flew floors up the elevator from where you were playing your matches, eating your meals, and socializing with all of the personalities.
So for the actual tournament there was a 16 team round robin group-stage and a double elimination playoff bracket (in case you weren't following the biggest tournament ever).
Day 1 – 3-2
Day 1 was a major disappointment. We lost our first match versus c9 which was whatever. Then we beat Arrow, LGD, and Fnatic. To finish they day we lost to Team Liquid which really put us on tilt. Not that they weren't a good team but we were so well versed against them when we lost I think everyone was devastated. Losing this game personally made me nauseous and I could hardly look at my teammates because I knew it was mostly my fault.
Day 2 3-1
Our first match of the day was against iG who were looking strong. We were radiant and we tried one of our push-strats that we practiced during our boot-camp. It didn't work and we lost our lanes so badly the game wasn't salvageable. Our next games were versus Titan,Newbee, and Navi who we defeated pretty easily. It was our first encounter with both the eastern teams and their idea of how to play against us didn't work out at all. Navi has always struggled against us and this game was no different.
Day 3 4-0
Best day of the group-stage by far, we felt great after this undefeated day. That being said we had next-to-no-business winning some of these games. We came out on top againstMouz, Vici, Empire, and Navi.US. The game against Vici was pretty simple but the other 3 were a nightmare. In my honest opinion we had no business winning any of these 3 games and only won because of their inexperience. Either way we have been known to have great late-game decision making so I'm sure we did our best to make it difficult for them.
Day 4 1-1
After a successful day 3 we only had one thing on our mind. A top 2 finish and a spot in the winner's bracket at Key Arena. Our first match was against our familiar friends DK who beat us with their unorthodox Lanm support juggernaut. There was a bug that happened during this game that may have changed the outcome but either way DK played great and definitely outclassed us this time. Our final match was against Alliance. If we won we were guaranteed a top 2 finish, if we lost we would have to play additional games against both iG and DK for the slot which is something we REALLY didn't want to have to do. Busting out our Omniknight/Enigma strat we were able to win but they certainly made it difficult. Rat Dota almost defeated us but in the end we pulled through. This game was definitely a must-watch if you happened to miss it.
Playoffs - DK
Our first match was against DK and we had developed two strong pocket strategies that worked wonders against them. In game one we used a strategy that we stole from Alliance in one of our scrims. The idea was a jungle Ursa who could kill Roshan at any minute, 4 Roshans before 40 minutes was the goal. Alliance did it a bit different using Wisp together with Ursa but we decided Enchantress + Ursa would be a better combination. We practiced this against Fnatic in a scrim who stole it and used it against Newbee in the group-stage! The strategy worked rather well but I definitely should have banned Weaver with my last ban instead of Nature's Prophet. The game was much hard than we imagined it to be but we still came out on top which is the only thing that matters.
Game two was a bit more straightforward. Being on Radiant we knew we had to bring some early pressure or DK or theywould abuse late-game + Roshan like they did in our group-stage match. We started off with Razor and Furion. DK then saw the push coming and started picking a ton of de-push. They picked Windrunner for mid who matches up pretty well against Razor. When we saw this we decided to just put Razor in the safe-lane who does great against both Void and Timbersaw. When I saw them pick timbersaw I contemplated the idea of using Silencer as a support. Usually I play the Silencer but Zai said he was up for the task (I think it was his first official game on the hero). Originally the plan was to do dual lanes with Abbadon and Furion in the off-lane and Silencer + Razor in the safe-lane but they decided to aggressive trilane. I rotated bottom on Abbadon and they were forced to roam which did not work out. Eventually we were able to take racks by grouping as 5 and securing towers with a quick Mekanism on Furion and Silencer's Global Silence. The Silencer ultimate worked out pretty well against Void delaying the followup from his teammates during the Chrono.
This was probably my least favorite part of the tournament where we forced to go into our next match instantly with nothing but a 10 minute break for the restroom. I still don't understand what Valve was thinking, why should Newbee have a 3 hour break when they were a lower seed then us coming into the tournament. Personally I think they should have scheduled some of the loser bracket and played the WB finals the following day. Either wayNB was not the same team they were during the group-stage and we played very poorly.
That being said we definitely should have won game 1. Some unnecessary deaths allowedNB to stay in the game and snowball over our towers. We almost pulled off a miracle in the late-game with some Naga Rat Dota but it wasn't enough.
Game 2 we were tilted I think and our draft was definitely not my best. I also died for FB which allowed Spectre to start with boots and a PMS which made the safe-lane impossible.
These games were some of the most disappointing ones of the tournament. All the games were relatively short but that’s just the way VG plays, they generally win or lose in the first 10 minutes. Game one I think we suffered from our lack of hero pool and Rotk had some great bans up against us.
By banning the razor in game two we made the laning phase a bit easier and were able to win quite quickly by fighting their pushes rather than dodging and being successful. Universe played a remarkable Void and I was able to repel their pushes with Acid Spray on the support Alchemist.
Game three is where we got into trouble. As team captain I am willing to take all of the blame. I let comments from my teammates affect our draft and strategy. When I started the game I had some good ideas in my head but as we progressed into the 2nd picking phase some indecision occurred. We picked Mirana when I should have known better. We did our best but there wasn't much we were able do to slow down the death ball from VG. Congratulations to them they played great and definitely earned their spot in the finals.
Even though we didn't win I am still pleased with my team's performance. Personally I think came a long way this year. Placing on the podium at TI4 was not something I would have predicted 8 months ago but I did it. I learned what it takes to win and made plenty of mistakes along the way which will help me improve my ability to lead my team and play Dota this upcoming year.
I earnestly want to thank everyone who supported my team and myself. This year has been one of the greatest years of my life and it wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for you.
The biggest of shoutouts to my little brother Alex, the Hunter St. guys, Monster, Razor, HyperX, T-Mobile, CyberpowerPC, BenQ, and Planetside 2.