iZONE breaks the curse to take gold and $1,500 at GEST August
The situation was almost dire for the Philippines, with defending champions Pacific.emaxx knocked out during the group stages, and three of their representatives knocked out by round two of the playoffs. Nevertheless, iZONE have managed to carry the Philippine flag to gold this month at the Gigabyte eSports Tournament in August.
The Filipino squad have broken their curse of finishing just below first place in previous editions of the monthly tournament to take home the championship title and $1,500 in cash.
The triple lane clash in the first game was where all the action took place, with Naga Siren going up against a Morphling - the former managed to come out on top in terms of farm, while the latter struggled to keep up as his supports Crystal Maiden and Ancient Apparition was getting picked off.
Meanwhile, Dark Seer was creep skipping at top lane and managed to get an early Hood of Defiance, while Windrunner on bot lane was performing extremely well and managed an Arcane Boots as well as a Mekansm at 14 minutes. Blink Daggers soon popped up on Templar Assassin and Puck allowing iDeal to control the map and carry out swift ganks. The score was 6-13 in iDeal's favor at 20 minutes.
Joven's Invoker subsequently went on to carry the teamfights for iZone with a couple of clucth Meteor and Defeaning Blast combos which managed to stall the game for the Filipino side. But that did not prevent iDeal from claiming middle barracks at 38 minutes and apply constant pressure on Sentinel's top barracks using Naga Siren and the rest split pushing bot lane.
Naga Siren eventually managed to snipe Sentinel's top tier 3 tower using her images and Song of the Siren. The break for iDeal came at 48 minutes, where a 5-0 team wipe resulted after iZONE were caught out, giving the Thai team bottom and top barracks and the first win of the Grand Finals.
First blood took place early on with a four man squad by Scourge catching out a lone Crystal Maiden in the Sentinel jungle, with the gold going to Morphling. A similar triple lane clash was set up at bot lane again with Dark Seer creep skipping at top lane against Puck. Constant pressure on Scourge's top tier one tower gave iDeal the first tower just before five minutes, although Dark Seer had to trade his life for it.
iZONE were able to get the upper hand at bot lane, while Sentinel did decent at top and middle lane - Morphling played smart, using Anti Mage's replicate to bring his mana pool down as soon as he hit level six. The kill score was 6-9 at 15 minutes in iZONE's favor with a Blink Dagger already farmed up on Puck.
Scourge decided to apply pressure on iDeal's outer towers while allowing Morphling free farm at bottom lane against Anti Mage. At 20 minutes, iZONE was able to pick off Anti Mage in the Sentinel jungle along with two supports, before deciding to go for Roshan.
iDeal, however, were not prepared to give up the Aegis and an even teamfight broke out near the Roshan pit, forcing iZONE to back off (they managed to take down Roshan shortly after). The first core items of both teams' carries also came around the 22 minute mark - Battlefury on Anti Mage and Linken's Sphere on Morphling. The kill score was 14-23 in iZONE's favor at 25 minutes.
Rubick was able to steal Ravage during a teamfight at 26 minutes which gave Scourge the advantage in a 4-0 teamfight and a two tower lead shortly after. A bottom barracks push later took place at 30 minutes, and with Ravage still available on Rubick, iZONE were able to take the next fight with ease without any deaths.
Sensing that the battle was already lost, iDeal called the GG at 32 minutes with a kill score of 14-35, brining the finals into a third and deciding game.
Writer: Linus 'Tjernobylbarnet' Staaf
As opposed to the previous two games, the triple lanes for both teams did not meet this time, and action on all lanes were generally passive as heroes opted to farm up - Morphling had 25 cs at five minutes and even took first blood on Bounty Hunter at top lane. With tower taking by both teams at short lanes, space was opened up for Bounty Hunter to move around the map after he bought his bottle. He slowly spiralled out of control for iDeal with rune control and ganking across the map with Wind Walk. The score was 3-10 at 15 minutes in iDeal's favor.
But all that was about to change - iDeal overextended at 17 minutes while trying to take out Sentinel's bot tier 2 tower, and a 4-0 exchange gave iZONE the chance to bounce back. Puck soon bought a Dagon and iZONE were able to take iDeal's bot tier one tower and grab the next four kills, bringing the score to an impressive 10-13 in iDeal's favor.
A Roshan bait by Scourge at 25 minutes gave iDeal the advantage in the next team fight, and subsequently place the Aegis on Windrunner. The tides, however, were shifting in Morphling and Templar Assassin's favor, as Ethereal Blade and Desolator soon got picked up on the two heroes respectively.
At 40 minutes, a huge fight erupted near the Roshan pit - Morphling was picked off, but not before Templar Assassin managed to grab the Aegis and go on to pick off three heroes on iDeal's side. Both teams then backed off and went back to farming.
A smoke by Sentinel at 43 minutes went horribly wrong for iZONE as Templar Assassin and Undying was caught out by an invisible Bounty Hunter, with the former being forced to buy back. iZONE went on to wait until the next Roshan was available, and placed the Aegis on Morphling without much of a contest by iDeal.
The push into iDeal's middle barracks was initiated - a huge Echo Slam by Earthshaker did nothing to stop the push or bring iZONE's heroes down with top barracks being the next target to fall shortly after.
iDeal grew desperate - at 55 minutes, the entire Scourge lineup grouped up and started pushing into iZONE's middle barracks, but Morphling and Templar Assassin tore Scourge apart and brought the teamfight to a 1-4 advantage in their favor. With no buybacks on any of iDeal's lineup, iZONE easily took mega creeps after finishing bottom barracks and iDeal called GG.
iZONE are your champions for GEST August.
1st Place: iZONE - $1,500
2nd Place: iDeal - $700
3rd Place: Mineski - $300