Hello everyone ! So it’s bee a while since I last had the time to write blog posts, I really missed that. Nothing has changed, in the way that I don’t necessarily have more time, especially this week-end… =D
But the International is just too amazing, it inspires everyone, me included. We’re a night away from the huge clash between Vici Gaming and Newbee, our two finalists for this fourth edition. As you may surely know, I am one of the panel analysts of this year’s tournament, and we will obviously be discussing a lot of things about the upcoming game, we’ll try to cover as much as we can. But I still feel like trying a different approach, and I would never get enough time to actually do that thinking process live. This is why I actually decided to give it a try here and write it down. When team A goes against team B, you usually want to compare them, their players, the heroes they use, their playstyle, etc… But there is another way to actually try to predict the outcome or the interesting points of the match up : it is to compare how they acted when they had to same the same opponent. In that specific case, both Vici Gaming and Newbee had to face EG in a best of three format, in respectively the lower and the upper bracket. I want to try to analyze those two clashes in order to point out what might be the deciding factors for this year’s TI4 final.
So let’s start off with reminding all the drafts of the overal 5 games :
For both match ups, EGvNB and EGvVG, I will try to give a rate for every criteria, between Low / Medium and High.
How did NewBee play versus Evil Geniuses :
Pushing potential ( Medium )
I will highlight that again later on in my analysis, but the first thing that has to be mentioned, it’s that as well as VG, Newbee always made sure they went into those matches with decent pushing potential. It was not an all push line-up, far from it. But they had both Death Prophet and Nature’s prophet. This allowed them to capitalize on every right move they did, by taking down towers early on, and securing themselves some very needed map control. It looked like they thought that being able to deny EG some farm on the map would be really important.
Teamfight potential ( High )
So that was defenitely the main factor for NewBee against EG, their teamfight potential always looked kind of scary. It you look at it, they secured themselves the DoomBringer twice, as well as heroes such as DP, Shaker or even Brewmaster. Let’s remind that EG is a very greedy team, but they usually aren’t afraid to take fights early on. Relying on their very high individual skills, they do not give up on towers easily. Additionaly, ppd always makes sure he finds the right balance between their teamfight potential and their late game presence. So it defenitely looked like NewBee did not consider at all the split push option, or the all in-option. They always made sure they would be able to take 5 on 5 fights without necessarily being snowballing on EG. They did not put the pressure on their shoulders, they wanted an even draft at all stages of the game.
Laning presence ( High ) :
It can safely be said that NewBee’s biggest answer to EG was their laning presence, and how they actually decided to set up their lanes. Using lich twice reveals that quite well. They also went for a very active nature’s prophet early on, with a roaming shaker. NewBee is then a team, and we had seen that from them before in the tournament, against NaVi especially, that emphasizes a lot on the laning stage. They want to secure themselves good lanes no matter what. They also looked to try to get good 1 versus 1 mid setups, which also is part of having good lanes.
Late game potential : ( High )
They always made sure they have a strong late game presence, choosing the Naix/Doom and then the Specter/Doom was actually a safe option for them, as they would made sure they could actually compete with EG’s late game potential.
Applying pressure ( Medium ) :
This is surely directly linked to the previous criteria, but still, NewBee looked really calm in those games. They did not rush, did not take useless risks, or try high risk / low reward moves. They waited the right items, the good timing to actually capitalize on their lead. They did not bruteforce, they acted very patient and smart. Their game plan was clear from the start of the game till the very end, it was calculated dota. Even with a 1-0 lead, they made sure their specter would risk nothing going into a fight before pushing high ground.
How did Vici Gaming play versus Evil Geniuses :
Pushing potential ( High ) :
I could only put high, but it was actually INSANELY HIGH. Vici went all-in push, if that exists. They surely had backup plans, but their pushing potential was just huge, in both games. They looked to favor that style heavily versus EG, which is, let’s remind it, a team that looks very scared when they are able to play their game with no pressure from their opponent.
Teamfight potential ( Medium ) :
So i’ve decided to put only medium to that because having a strong teamfight means to have it at all stages of the game, not only early on. Vici did have really strong fighting, but it was not throughout the whole game. They did not looked scared at all by EG’s scary fighters. They drafted some counters, to make sure they were not completely outpicked, but it did not look as a priority for them at all.
Laning presence ( Medium ) :
Here again, thanks to their heroes, Vici had decent laning presence, not to say pretty good one. But once again, it was not their priority. For instance, we saw them pick a DK after a Viper pick, favoring the hero even though they knew he would have a really hard time on his lane. They were obsessed about slowing down EG’s safelane, where the most important heroes are. It was about them shutting down EG with rotations than them securing themselves good farm, like NewBee would have done.
Late game potential ( Low ) :
In one sentence : Vici did not care much about their late game potential.
Applying pressure ( High ) :
Here again, High is an euphemism. The pressure they applied on EG was just terrifying. They did not let them breath even for a second. They kept the rythm extremely high, to make sure the game never went in EG’s favor. They took down tower after tower, forcing fights even when they had some key spells on cooldowns, or some items just about to be bought. It did not matter, they did not go for the zero risk, but for the big plays, and they tried to force EG to do many mistakes. Because one good thing about pressuring h24,is that you let no time to your opponent to get ready to defend, and it is always hard or impossible even to avoid mistakes when you are rushing everything you try to do.
So what about VG versus NewBee :
To sum it up, here is what is going to be really key in that final.
VG, as usual, will be looking to play extremely aggressive, and take down towers as fast as possible. They will try all they can to force NewBee to do mistakes, to reposition wrong, or take the fight when they actually can’t. The downside for rOtk’s squad though, is that as we saw earlier, NewBee’s play is very cautious. They can be very agressive as well, especially with players like Mu and Yao, but it always is calculated aggressiveness, 100% calculated aggressiveness. Although this looked to be the main asset of VG going into that lower bracket, it might be their biggest weakness againsts NewBee.
Another very important point is the laning presence. VG always assesses that they will find openings, no matter what. They run roaming supports, do not get me wrong, they are disgustingly good at rotating early on, but if they actually end up not finding any opening, it can hurt them a lot. NewBee, as we saw, emphasizes a lot on the laning phase, they want to make sure they get their farm and important items as soon as possible, they do not take necessary risks.
On the other hand, If NewBee do try to go for the 0 risk game, where they take fights only when they feel like they can, they will have to give away a lot to Vici Gaming, and especially towers. This is a very risky play, considering the fact that VG is, hands down, the best team of that tournament at breaking the enemy’s base.
After analyzing those key aspects of tomorrow’s match, it is almost impossible for me to pick a favorite. I would say that, taking into account what happened so far, NewBee has the best chances, although I personally found VG more impressive. As we saw throughout that analysis, the deciding factor will definitely be the first fights for the T1/T2 towers, and it is most likely going to be Vici Gaming trying to grab those. NewBee will be defending, and it will all come down to these clashes.
Obviously, this is only theory crafting, and a million different reasons could make that series completely different from what I just described. But as far as I am concerned, this is most likely going to look like what you just read.
Anyway,I hope you enjoyed reading this before tomorrow’s match, and that it kept the hype really up, as it is for me right now. Remember, this is nothing but the opinion of a professional player.
You can follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/7ckngMadDOTA, Cheers!