LFY surge ahead in the Upper Bracket as they 2-0 TNC Pro Team
Going into the series LFY, having pulled off a stellar performance in the Group Stage, were definitely the favourites. TNC on the other hand, were the underdogs, famous for their title of “China Killers”. Even though they were unable to snag a single game off of LFY, they showed that they are a force to be reckoned, especially in Game One. TNC will face OG in the Lower Bracket tomorrow for a shot at redemption - a matchup that might give some PTSD to OG fans, as they were able to pull off one of the biggest upsets in TI history last year, when they sent the two-time major winners packing home.
The highlights of the draft for the first match in the series were a support Naga Siren picked up by TNC, something that’s been rather common in this tournament, as well as a last-pick Alchemist to round up their draft. LFY’s draft looked quite standard, with Puck, Nature's Prophet and Terrorblade as their cores.
The mid-lane matchup was rather even between both the heroes. Puck, however, had a bit of an edge, owing to Tue 'ah fu' Soon Chuan’s roaming Night Stalker who was able to take down Kuku 'KUKU' Carlo Palad’s Alchemist a couple of times and delay his Radiance, even if just a bit. However, TNC got a favourable trade as they were able to secure Marc Polo 'Raven' Luis Fausto the space he needed on his Razor to steer ahead in farm and even take out the two outer towers just 13 minutes in. LFY used their Nature’s Prophet and Night Stalker to steer ahead in terms of kills, but TNC’s control of LFY’s jungle and Alchemist’s farm kept the economy game slightly tilted in their favour. 19 minutes into the game, TNC smoke ganked Fat-Meng 'ddc' Leong’s Dazzle, chasing him all the way to the Roshan pit and then deciding to stick around for a while, transition the pickoff into a free Roshan kill with KUKU grabbing the Aegis on his rich Alchemist. A successful fight in the Radiant jungle by TNC transitioned into a high ground push by TNC, but they were unable to get more than some chip damage on the Tier Three tower, and had to sacrifice a couple of heroes as they tried to retreat. An attempted Smoke gank by LFY on Alchemist attracted the attention of all the TNC heroes, and even though TNC lost more heroes than LFY, they were able to catch Jun Hao 'Super' Xie’s elusive Puck at the cost of a buyback from Sam 'Sam_H' Enojosa Hidalgo’s Sand King. TNC tried to transition the fight into another push, but were unable to accomplish more than a Tier Two tower and a little more chip damage on the Tier Three tower. An eerie reflection of their last push, TNC dropped Theeban '1437' Siva again as they overstayed their welcome and with the numbers advantage now, LFY were the ones able to get the Aegis and Cheese on their side. TNC were not deterred at all, and it was not long before they were able to finish off the Tier Three tower in the bottom lane as well as destroy the Bottom Shrine.
Despite the presence of TNC's Alchemist, the networth remained relatively even, owing to the distribution of farm among the LFY cores, and the decline of Razor and Sand King. A successful fight in the top lane led LFY to push high ground, but a picture-perfect Song from TNC's Naga who bought back lined up four of LFY’s heroes for the combo between Jakiro and Sand King and LFY were punished on the retreat. TNC pushed their advantage by securing a free Roshan for themselves, with Raven picking up the Aegis on his Razor. At this point, KUKU’s Alchemist kept steering ahead in networth and was now giving out Scepters to all his team members. Soon enough, TNC knocked at LFY’s base again and were able to take a favourable fight near the Bottom Racks, faking a retreat and coming back to take down Du 'Monet' Peng's Terrorblade with a clever Lotus Orb - Sunder play as well as a full lane of Rax in the bottom lane. LFY, however, were able to get an extremely favourable fight in their own jungle where they were able to take down four of TNC’s heroes and while a pair of buybacks deterred them from breaking high ground, they felt content with claiming just the Roshan. LFY now knew that finishing the Alchemist would essentially secure them the game, and accordingly went for a teamfight near the Dire Bottom Bounty Rune, but even a 5-man Dream Coil from Puck and a buyback from He 'Inflame' Yongzheng's Furion was unable to spell disaster for TNC. LFY, however, were now undisputedly in the driving seat of the game and were soon able to catch TNC off-guard in the middle lane, wiped their entire lineup, securing the game for themselves after an intense, back-and-forth 60 minutes.
Banning out the Night Stalker in the first phase, TNC decided to go for Naga Siren again, interestingly enough in a core role this time. Moreover, they closed out their draft with another surprise: a Broodmother final pick. LFY responded quickly, putting Super on Bristleback to deal with the arachnid.
As the game started, TNC bamboozled LFY for a time, putting Sam_H’s Batrider in the middle lane and going for an aggro Trilane once more. While LFY tried to swap the lanes between the mid-lane and offlane to slow down KUKU’s Broodmother, TNC were able to counter their attempt by simply doing the same themselves, changing KUKU’s lane again and again (even though that came at the cost of his own farm). Both the teams were very active in the early game, as the laning phase went fairly even for both the sides but that hurt TNC more than it hurt LFY, as Broodmother was unable to grab early towers or steer ahead in farm, failing to create the boon that is expected out of a last-pick Brood.
The mid-game was rather passive from both the teams. LFY were able to punish KUKU on his Brood from time to time and were even able to secure a free Roshan off of one such death. LFY, with their disciplined play and patience, looked to be the ones in the driver's seat as they broke the high ground of TNC just 29 minutes in, and dove TNC's Tier 4 towers to get a 4-man wipe and even force out a few buybacks from the Filipinos. Even though the game looked over, TNC were able to pull off a successful base defence, losing almost two lanes of barracks. KUKU on his Broodmother had been really shut down and even though they had forced LFY back, there was no hope of bringing the game back as neither the Naga carry or the Broodmother could do anything to LFY’s cores and a fight behind the bottom barracks led to the TNC heroes down without buyback, tapping out 33 minutes in.
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