Day 1 Event Blog: Liquid the biggest surprise
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Round 9: It's almost a wrap!
The main hall has all but emptied now with only one match to go - with less than a third of the original numbers left in the hall watching Arrow vs LGD. It definitely looks like LGD will end up taking this match, and Arrow will be facing a lot of pressure to get back in the game tomorrow.
Round 7 - 9: Nearing the end of the day
DK just lost to Liquid and huge cheers went out of the crowd when BurNing dropped his Divine Rapier. In the meantime, it looks like Alliance and Mouz are both set to take their first wins of the tournament so far despite both being 0-3. Arrow, on the other hand, are looking really shaky, and C9 have experienced their first loss of the tournament as well.
With this, NewBee will be going up against Liquid, and EG up against Fnatic, and Na`Vi.US are starting their match against Cloud9, in a battle over the two top North American squads. Cloud9 still manage to take out Na`Vi.US, which means that the only team left with a perfect record is NewBee, who are not looking great against Liquid, however.
Dinner has been served and the players have started coming in to have their meal. Meanwhile, DK have lost another match, going 1-3 on the first day and their entourage looks extremely depressed.
With the concurrent matches ongoing, there is only one last match that has not started - between LGD and Arrow, who are both 0-4 in the tournament so far. The match will decide who gets their first win. This will probably be played now that DK - Alliance is over, with DK finally claiming their second win of the tournament and condemning Alliance to a 1-4 showing.
At the same time, the EG - Liquid North American showdown is eliciting a ton of cheers from the large group of North American Dota fans who have congregated in front of the respective screen. The main audience are treated with the Empire - Na`Vi bloodbath, with more than 60 kills 40 minutes into the game.
Interestingly, the team that has surprised everyone has been Liquid, who have taken the scalps of three of the biggest teams: DK, NewBee and now EG. This was pretty unexpected since they are after all the wildcard winners, and were not expected to do that well in the group stage.
Round 6: More than halfway through!
Round 6 has begun with LGD vs Na`Vi.US already halfway done, and with Empire and VG soon to reach its climax. The second half of the extra time of the Fifa World Cup Semi-finals continues to draw many viewers, and DK is gathered around their coach's laptop waiting for their match against Liquid. With the conclusion of the drafts, all the round 6 matches will be running concurrently.
Na`Vi.US have taken a win over LGD, and are now 3-0 in the group. I would believe that few would have expected them to get such a good start, but as AutumnWindz said, tomorrow is the really important day which will set the tune for the rest of the groupstage. At the same time, it is hard to find any sign of Alliance at all after going 0-3. However, they have had an extremely testing day 1, against IG, NewBee and Titan.
The Mouz vs Na`Vi match has been drawing many cheers as well, with Xboct being the subject of the cheers with his tanky Viper backed up hard by Dendi's Tinker going Beyond Godlike. Na`Vi are definitely showing signs of life here despite their slow start!
I managed to speak with Ioannis 'Fogged' Loucas, who told me this:
How do you feel right now, going 3-0 up in the group stage?
I'm treating every match as though we are 0-0, because we need to win as many games as possible in the first two days. Our matches on the third day are extremely difficult, as we are going to face Na`Vi, DK, Titan, NewBee and EG. We will need all the wins possible right now, and I will only feel better when we are 8-0 or 9-0 up, that is when we know we will be safe.
So are you confident having to face C9, who are also 3-0, in your next match?
Oh yes, we are very confident against them because I think we have them figured out although they are playing very weird.
Round 4 - 5: Fifa World Cup Semi-Finals!
The last match of round 4 will begin soon, in spite of the Alliance - Titan match seemingly reaching its conclusion soon. The Titan manager, BabyOling, seems pretty excited that her team is performing this well. In the meantime, Na`Vi.US vs Fnatic has taken a different turn, with the Americans taking a large lead over Fnatic on the back of Korok's Timbersaw. Fnatic, the team that had clocked two consecutive victories over DK and Na`Vi. Will the Americans be able to take revenge for their European counterparts?
It is really tiring trying to keep up with all the four matches at once, and it appears that the MultiCast stream might be the best stream to watch for fans of Dota in general. Thankfully there is a free flow of StarBucks brewed coffee and multiple energy drinks at the drinks bar, but keeping track of these many games is pretty draining.
In the meantime, Na`Vi have taken their first win of the tournament over Vici Gaming, and the fans look more spirited now. The featured match has switched to NewBee vs Alliance, and Newbee have just surged to an early lead in the match.
Moving on, the significant matches have started changing the shape of the leaderboards - Newbee's win over Alliance have shot them to a 3-0 lead, while last year's champions Alliance are now sitting at 0-3. I chanced upon Hao coming into the main hall and he was clearly still experiencing the adrenaline surge from the win, almost shouting at Banana who was walking with him.
At the same time, Titan and C9, both teams that were 2-0 is shaping out to give Titan their first loss of the tournament, and C9 will also sprint to an early lead and go 3-0 in the group stage. It turns out that a DK player has been announced to be taken sick, which is likely LaNm, who has not been with the team since they returned from their match against LGD.
LaNm has returned, and it turns out that the DK game will only be postponed, they will next play against Liquid. A huge amount of people - players, casters and attendees have gathered surrounding the television outside the main hall screening the World Cup Semi-Finals. It is interesting to see the players bond over football as well, with them freely intermingling and discussing the match.
The matches continue, with the featured match being the crowd favourites Na`Vi vs Fnatic. In the meantime, there appears to be a technical issue in the DK-LGD match, with the timers going out all the way, with people wondering if it was the legendary Zenith no-ban strategy from iceiceice making its appearance. However, it was not the case, and some of us remain confused.
Meanwhile, the other matches are progressing, and the hall remains relatively muted with applause coming mostly from the large group of Fnatic fans. As Fnatic take the victory, there are some cheers, but a lot more focus is now placed on the iG NewBee match which seems too close to call. It still looks good for NewBee, however.
The DK - LGD match is now on the main screen, and we hear the dulcet tones of Basskip and Lysander throughout the hall. The hall feels pretty sleepy at the moment, with mostly isolated chatting and people are looking at their phones, testament to the slow and calculated stereotype that plagues Chinese Dota.
DK have taken the victory, and this signals the end of the third round of matches. At this point, it is 1:25 pm in Seattle, and we are watching more matches being played.
I sat down to chat with Daryl 'iceiceice' Koh after their match, and this is what he had to say:
So how have the 2 matches you have played been so far?
They have been okay, we are still warming up at the moment.
What do you think are your chances going up in your next match, which will be against Liquid?
I don't really know, if we play well we will win, if we don't we will lose.
Are you resting now between your matches?
No, I'm really just interested in watching the ongoing match (Na`Vi vs Fnatic).
Do you have any plans post TI4?
No, not really. I will be returning for a while, but I will not be staying on in Singapore - there is nothing there.
Round 2: Empire purchases the first Rapier of TI4
Round 2 has started, but some of the matches have started before hand. The main match this round appears to be EG vs Arrow, and the crowd goes wild following EG's dominant plays. They have instead cut to the VG-Mouz match.
The Chinese fans are obvious, clumped up in a small group and clapping when FY stole Ravage without a Blink Dagger in the VG – Mouz match. Hardly anyone is paying attention to the Na'Vi.US and Liquid match as everyone is sitting on the other side of the room instead.
Lunch is served and I also see the teams like Fnatic grabbing their meal before their next matches. The DK fanboy in me is really pleased to see DK marching in and grabbing their lunch as well. Their entire team is sitting near the front, and at least they do not seem that depressed following their opening loss.
The food is really good, and most people have lost concentration on the matches in favour of the buffet line that is presented to all the players and attendees. The second round in concluding soon, with Vici about to take the entire base, and there is polite applause in the crowd.
The hall is all waiting for the Titan - Empire match to be over, with the exception of Cloud9 versus Arrow having already started. This match looks to be the longest of the tournament so far, but the next round of matches will still take a while since I can see some of the teams scheduled to play next still hanging out in the hall.
Round 1: Fnatic pulls an upset on DK
The day opened with breakfast being served before the four big opening matches today, with IG vs Alliance, DK vs Fnatic, C9 vs EG and NewBee vs LGD and NewBee vs LGD.
Over here in the main room of the group stage, I'm surrounded by people all carrying different passes: Red for Staff, Orange for Player, White for VIP tickets, and Blue for Press. Over on the screens, there is a main screen that is displaying the TI MultiCast, while the other four screens are displaying the concurrent matches being played. Most people have gathered around the main screen to watch the Alliance – IG match , as well as the DK – Fnatic match on its left.
The crowd is made mostly of VIPs, with the occasional Valve staff and production crew sitting in the rows. Given the relatively small crowd, the cheers are concentrated around the VIP ticket holders, many of whom seem to be fans of Alliance and Fnatic, at least. Cheers follow the Fnatic match as Fnatic dominate DK, but yet are muted when iG takes fights against Alliance.
As the matches end, we see the teams playing in the next round moving in and out of the hall, as well as the winners and losers of the first round walking into the hall, with corresponding smiles and glum faces. I just saw Penny '71' Tang, coach of DK walk out of the hall. He was not happy, and seemed resigned instead.
I managed to talk to Kalle 'Trixi' Saarinen following their win against DK –
What do you think contributed to your win over DK?
I think it was a draft victory, we knew that what they were going to ban Wisp and probably Tinker, and so we played in an unconventional style. I don't think anyone expected our lanes, where we had a solo mid Enigma, a Clockwerk-Mirana offlane and a Skywrath-Chaos Knight safe either.
So what about your Mirana? You hit so many heroes that match!
That's the strength of Mirana, the random factor where you can miss arrows the entire game, but change the game when you hit a single arrow that turns the fight in your favour. It really is a random factor that teams have to be aware of when they play.
Moving forward, are you pumped up after beating DK again in the opening match?
I think it is good for us, but it is also probably because it's the first game and the teams are not very stable now, anything can happen. I think we will see DK getting into their game later.