TI 7 group stage day 2: Team Liquid take the lead in Group A
image source: dota2ti on Instagram
Group A matches of the second day of The International 2017 group stage marked the Monkey King debut at TI 7 and Team Secret’s captain, Clement 'Puppey' Ivanov played his first Io in three years.
Team Liquid are the first team to draft a Monkey King at The International 7. They did it in their last series of the day, against LGD Gaming, a team that they needed to beat in at least one game in order to push the Chinese away from the first position in the group. The Monkey King pick happened in game one against LGD, Amer 'Miracle-' Al-Barkawi, handling the hero in the safe lane, assisted by Io. Despite the really good performance from Miracle, Liquid lost the match on the back of a questionable Broodmother pick into LGD’s Sven and Queen of Pain. More than that, LGD had the last pick of the draft and choose to take one more counter to Lasse 'MATUMBAMAN' Urpalainen’s Brood, namely Axe.
Although they lost the first game, Liquid continued to experiment in the second game as well, this time around with an offlane Phoenix for Ivan 'MinD_ContRoL' Borislavov and an overall mobile line-up, with Spirit Breaker and Io in the support positions, a mid-lane Ember Spirit and a Lycan for Matumba. LGD’s only hope at catching any of these heroes relied on either a perfect Void-Chrono or a good Axe-Call, which never really happened and so the Chinese team dropped to the second place in the group.
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At the other end of the spectrum are Fnatic, who didn’t land any win on the first day, and their only series from day two was held against Infamous. Game one between these two was a continuous bloodbath. Only three minutes into the game Infamous were leading with 5 kills to 4. Thirty minutes later there were already 70 kills spread across the table, the encounter finishing with Infamous claiming the victory with a total kill score of 51 to 41. Fnatic scored their first group stage point with a hyper aggressive Monkey King – Io dual mid combo in the second game of the series against Infamous.
Although the Fnatic vs Infamous series had by far the most action a Dota 2 fan can ask for, the TNC vs Team Empire game two of their today’s encounter marked the longest game of The International 2017 so far, and the game with the most combined total kills. After winning game one, TNC prolonged the game two outcome up to 79 minutes by defending against mega creeps for about 15 minutes with a six slotted Naga Siren. However, they couldn’t make a comeback from mega creeps and Empire’s draw score from this series places them just two points ahead of Fnatic.
While Fnatic are dealing with quite a problem, being in danger of a premature elimination, one of the group favorites to finish top four are in fact prospecting a possible lower bracket start in the main event. Team Secret are yet to win a clean 2-0 series, as they scored yet another two draw scores today. Their series against TNC from day two opened with an extremely hard fought game in which TNC dominated the entire game but fell victims to overconfidence during the high ground siege and allowed Secret to make a full comeback. Game two marked Puppey’s first Io in three years, and his lack of practice in competitive games with the hero might have had an impact in Secret’s loss in game two.
At the end of day two, the final standings in group A are as follows:
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