Day 4 of Dota 2’s The International 2017 was one of high highs and low lows.
There was incredible action sandwiching dreadfully boring lulls. There was high drama ushering in poorly done segments. There were feelgood comeback wins next to agonizing defeats.
Here is the breakdown of the ups and downs at Day 4 of TI7.
Empire vs. Liquid
The first game was an absolute bloodbath. Early offensive rotations paid off time and again for Team Liquid, giving them very strong early farm. That, however, was met with a shocking reversal of fortune when Vladimir "RodjER" Nikogosyan pulled off a major heist by killing an item-filled courier and putting the two teams on even financial footing for a time, and converting that into a series of track kills. Liquid stayed steely, however, and managed to work their way back into the lead and seal up Game 1.
The second was much less competitive. Empire drafted its team around Roman "Resolut1on" Fominok’s Anti-Mage, hoping to hold out long enough to let him get heavily farmed. Unfortunately, Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi’s Huskar didn’t afford them that opportunity, leading Liquid to its second win and handing Empire a ticket home.
It was the end of a surprisingly strong run from the Russian team, which thrived despite not having its usual carry player, Vladimir "Chappie" Kuzmenko. While it worked as a coming out party for Empire on some levels, cementing them as a CIS elite and heavy hitter in Europe, it more so served to establish Resolut1on as the hottest free agent in Dota 2. Expect him to become a star player this Fall.
LGD vs. OG
With Chinese Dota 2 teams largely dominating TI7, the region has once again become a villain for western fans. That gave the lower bracket matchup between LGD Gaming and OG a clean-cut “hero vs. heel” angle but anyone hoping to see the babyface overcome the odds were sent home disappointed.
Both games revolved around three themes; Lu "Maybe" Yao’s exceptional performances, strong carry work by Wang "Ame" Chunyu and mistakes by OG being turned into lost barracks.
The first was a slugfest, with OG and LGD trading kills in massive five-on-five fights. The game was incredibly competitive, but was ultimately decided when an ill-advised attempt to solo Roshan as Phantom Lancer at the 50 minute mark saw Johan "N0tail" Sundstein killed, forced to buy back, and die again.
The second, however, was a convincing win by LGD. N0tail was forced into a difficult Juggernaut vs. Sven matchup with Ame, which tasked OG with scoring the win as quickly as possible. That early aggression didn’t pan out, however, and it resulted in a drawn-out tailspin towards a loss.
With that, four Chinese teams are guaranteed top-six finishes and there were only two remaining hopes left for Western fans. That number, however, was reduced to one in short order.
Liquid vs. VP
Liquid and VP were looked at as two of the favorites to win this tournament. Heck, there are probably a fair number of players out there who had them in the grand finals of their brackets. But alas, plans changed and they instead faced off with one of them doomed to a sixth-place finish.
The stakes were higher than ever and that saw a fairly uncharacteristic approach from the two often-aggressive teams.
After a length of back-and-forth action, Roman "RAMZES666" Kushnarev’s Bloodseeker turned into a counter-pushing machine, courtesy of his Talent Tree-enhanced Blood Rite. This resulted in a brutally slow stretch which saw no hero deaths for over 20 minutes, as VP was forced into turtling and Liquid was forced into a prolonged siege. Eventually, Necro creeps and Lycan wolves gave Liquid mega creeps and forced VP into an all-in push. It didn’t pay off, however, and Liquid wound up taking the win after 103 brutal minutes.
In an amazing display of resilience, VP battled back and claimed Game 2. Despite questions about their draft and mental state, they scored an impressive, dominant win off a strong showing by Vladimir "No[o]ne" Minenko on Viper. That put the two teams into a do-or-die Game 3 and while VP posted another strong performance, they ultimately fell to the surging Team Liquid, succumbing to Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi’s Anti-Mage.
With that, Liquid heads into the semi-finals of the losers bracket on a strong wave of momentum. VP, unfortunately, heads home.
All-Star Game and (No) Special Announcement
While the All-Star Game is usually supposed to be a silly bit of fun, this year’s installment was disappointingly serious. Logical team compositions, no fan favorite hero picks and a classic-but-recognizable pair of broadcasters in Andy "Draskyl" Stiles and Aaron "Ayesee" Chambers made it feel like a relatively normal game, albeit a fast-paced one. While there was some novelty in the booths being mic'd up, allowing viewers to hear the players, the audio quality wasn’t strong enough to really make it worth paying attention to.
Team Radiant won the cheese, refused to touch it outside Gustav "s4" Magnusson and the entire segment closed with Kaci Aitchison being left to flounder on the microphone for an extended period of time. This was awful! And no new hero was announced!
Hopefully, Day 5 shakes out better than this one.
Day 5 Schedule
With Day 4 dedicated to lower bracket action, Day 5 goes back to splitting its focus. Here are the matchups pencilled in for Friday:
- Lower Bracket: Invictus Gaming vs. LGD Gaming
- Upper Bracket: Newbee vs. LGD.Forever Young
- Lower Bracket: Team Liquid vs. Winner of IG-LGD
With the All-Star Game, Short Film Contest and Arcana Showdown all out of the way, it’s unclear what other side attractions are in store. Either way, those are three compelling series that should be able to provide more than a little bit of entertainment.