The penultimate day of The International 2017 is done. With that, the 18-team field has been narrowed down to three and as expected, that journey yielded a good bit of high-quality Dota 2 action.
In addition, while Days 3 and 4 saw special segments fall flat with the crowd, Day 5 of the TI7 main event delivered a big “special announcement” that revealed not one, but two new Dota 2 characters.
Here’s the breakdown of what happened.
Invictus Gaming Gets the Boot from LGD Gaming
With TI7 in its final stages, the Chinese teams that have been dominating the tournament are being forced to pick one another off. Day 5 started with that, as Invictus Gaming and LGD Gaming faced off in the fourth round of the losers bracket.
The first game was a complete rout by LGD. A strong laning stage by Wang "Ame" Chunyu frustrated IG and pushed them into five-manning early. Their attempt to teamfight went sideways in a hurry, however, starting with Lin "Xxs" Jing whiffing an Echo Slam and ending in a four-for-one trade in LGD’s favor. The final push from LGD came shortly thereafter and, following a couple of pickoffs, they managed to secure a 19-minute “gg” call, the quickest of the TI7 main event thus far.
That loss seemed to throw IG off-balance in a big way, and that shined through in the draft of Game 2. Despite fielding consistently strong lineups, IG left itself wide open for a last-pick Ursa from LGD. The bear went on to completely neutralize IG’s entire team, resulting in a sweep-sealing victory for LGD.
IG’s TI7 run ends with a strong 5th-place finish: a solid outcome, but one that visibly frustrated the competitors. LGD, however, wasn’t afforded the time to reminisce on how far they’ve come. They were tasked with shifting their focus to their imminent losers bracket semi-final match with Team Liquid.
LGD.Forever Young’s Aura of Invincibility Shattered by Newbee
In one of the most exciting pairings of the main event for fans of high-level Dota 2, LGD.Forever Young faced off with Newbee in the upper bracket finals. Both teams have looked fearsome to this point in TI7, but one of them was doomed to have their aura of invincibility crack.
Game 1 was a tale of two team compositions, with Newbee picking monstrous laners like Axe and Bloodseeker while LFY focused on late-game heroes like Medusa and Lich. For 40 minutes, everything went as planned with Newbee racking up an early lead and LFY battling back with their farmed-up cores. A botched teamfight, however, saw the momentum take a hard swing back in Newbee’s favor and eventually cost LFY the victory.
Knowing they lost due to a single mistake, LFY responded with a nearly immaculate Game 2. A roam-heavy lineup paid off early, with a series of strong rotations inflating Xie "Super" Junhao’s Storm Spirit. That was all LFY needed to get the game-ending snowball rolling and while Newbee fought valiantly, they simply couldn’t find any mistakes to punish in their opponent’s machine-like teamfighting.
It was a perfect performance by LFY but, unfortunately, they couldn’t keep that up.
In Game 3, Newbee heavily prioritized initiation, drafting a pouncing roster of Axe, Bloodseeker, Earth Spirit, Disruptor and Shadow Fiend. That well-balanced lineup allowed them to dominate Roshan, and punish any attempts to push on their towers. LFY was forced into a fully defensive posture early on and never had the opportunity to turn things around, resulting in a match-clinching victory for Newbee.
With that, Newbee became the first team to secure a spot in the grand finals and its support, Zeng "Faith" Hongda, moved into position to become the first two-time TI champion. LFY, however, was sent down to the losers bracket finals, to face the winner of Team Liquid vs. LGD.
LGD Gaming Sent Home by Team Liquid
Heading into the series between Team Liquid and LGD Gaming, the analyst panel wondered aloud whether Liquid would benefit from studying the tape from LGD’s series with Invictus Gaming earlier in the day. They did. They really, really did.
While LGD had looked utterly dominant during its run through the losers bracket, Liquid seemed to have their number the entire time, resulting in a dominant victory for the west’s last Dota 2 hope.
LGD dominated the early goings of Game 1, with the roaming combination of Chen "Victoria" Guanhong’s Kunkka and Yao Zhengzheng’s Shadow Shaman finding success early. Unfortunately, they were unable to hold down Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi’s Morphling, who turned early farm into a 25-minute Linken’s Sphere and Ethereal Blade. At that point, LGD had no way to way to restrain Liquid’s carry, leading them to a decisive loss in Game 1.
The second saw Liquid pull out the “cheesy” (but highly effective) combination of Huskar and Broodmother. While LGD put in a respectable effort, courtesy of Lu "Maybe" Yao’s Timbersaw, there was no effective way to hold down the niche duo. As time went on, the flaming spears and split push proved to be too much, and ended LGD’s Cinderella run, giving the Chinese team a fourth-place finish.
With that, the final day is set. Liquid will face off with LGD.Forever Young in the losers bracket finals. The victor then goes on to a best-of-five series in the grand finals with Newbee.
New Characters Revealed in “Special Presentation”
The “Special Announcement” that never materialized on Day 4 of the TI7 main event came on Day 5, with a “Special Presentation” revealing a pair of new Dota 2 heroes.
The unnamed first character is an accented, rapier-wielding armadillo. No other details about the hero were unveiled outside its appearance, but the character went back and forth from swashbuckling to curling into a ball and rolling, giving some ideas about what its in-game abilities will be. The second was a fairy-like character presumed by many to be Sylph, the last remaining unreleased hero from Dota 1.
The two will be at the center of the next special event, the Dueling Fates Update, which will (presumably) launch after a series of standard Valve delays.