This is the second day of D2CL playoffs is over and the first casualty is known. Sneaky Nyx Assassins were eliminated by Team Empire after putting up a fight. Afterwards, Na´Vi beat Team Tinker 2-1 as a result of an intense series.
The LAN finals of D2CL Season 4 continued today, with the first team eliminated as Empire successfully took out Sneaky Nyx Assassins in the first round of the lower bracket. The Upper Bracket final will took place later in the evening, at 16:30 CET, with Natus Vincere and Team Tinker locking horns in an intense series in which the Ukrainian squad of Na`Vi eventually secured the victory and will await the winner of Tinker vs Empire in the grand finals tomorrow.
Sneaky Nyx Assassins opted for an early dominance lineup with Necrolyte, Viper and Spirit Breaker as their cores. Empire selected a two-core strategy with Razor and Faceless Void, along with Batrider for yoky. As expected by the nature of the lineups, the Americans secured an early advantage using their long-range nukes and initiation by ixmike88's Spirit Breaker. Their continuous pressure trapped Empire inside the Dire jungle, forcing Silent's Faceless Void to get exposed in order to farm.
While SNA seemed to be in full-control of the game, several questionable item selections such as USH's 25-minute Blink Dagger allowed Empire to maintain their teamfight strength. When the Black King Bars arrived for the Russians, a different game started. The Dire was able to force fights on demand and dominate the map once again. From that point, it was just a matter of time until the ticking time bomb called Faceless Void explodes on SNA, with Empire finishing the game in around 45 minutes.
After their unsuccessful early-game strategy, SNA decided to go for heroes with early and late game potential. They deployed the Io-Wisp combo, along with Mirana and Batrider for extra pick-off potential. Empire responded with the elusive cores Weaver, Puck and Nature's Prophet. Knowing that a farmed Tiny is something they need to avoid, the Russians were rather active during the earlier stages of the map, forcing teamfights even before the 10th minute mark. Their actions provided a temporary gold and experience advantage, which was not meant to last for long.
The comeback for SNA came with the 17th minute, when a sloppy engagement by Empire resulted in a 3-1 teamfight victory for the Americans. The massive gold influx allowed USH's Tiny to purchase his Aghanim's Scepter before its time, and the item was the beginning of the end for the Russian squad. Every fight that followed had a similar outcome : Empire could not kill Mirana and Tiny. Resolut1on attempted to split-push with his Nature's Prophet and buy his team some time, but the presence of Io in SNA's ranks made it very difficult. Sneaky Nyx Assassins destroyed the first set of barracks (top) by minute 36, while the inevitable conclusion came a few minutes later after a 3-0 teamfight near the Dire Secret Shop.
Empire decided to follow on their opponent's footsteps and snatched the Io for themselves, along with Phantom Assassin, Doom and offlane Ogre Magi. SNA went for Tiny once again (this time without Io) along with Lifestealer for TC and Batrider for ixmike88. The third game was the least-one sided of the series, with both teams going toe-to-toe for the first 20 minutes of the game. Due to the presence of the item-independent Chen and Vengeful Spirit on their lineup, the Americans seemed to have the upper hand in terms of pickoffs.
The rhythm of the game changed completely after the 24th minute, when a bad teamfight for SNA inside their own jungle resulted in a 4-2 victory for the Russians. Another teamfight six minutes later saw three American heroes going down without any kills for their team. The mistakes continued for FLUFF's boys, and Resolut1on's Phantom Assassin started snowballing out-of-control. Knowing they had lost their teamfight edge, the Radiant decided to wait for Tiny's Assault Cuirass in order to fight their opponents on equal ground.
Nevertheless, Tiny's Assault Cuirass did little to change the situation for SNA. The last big engagement of the game took place by minute 46, with Empire completely teamwiping their opponent with minimal casualties. Resolut1on quickly rushed and destroyed the middle barracks, and the top set soon followed. It was then that the Americans knew they could do nothing but call the 'GG'.
Both teams selected similar strategies, with two solo carries and one utility core. Tinker selected Viper, Slark and Puck while Na'Vi chose Razor, the uncommon Slardar and Clockwerk. Team Tinker was the first to turn up the aggression, with two successful early ganks against Dendi's Razor. However, Funn1k's rotations did not allow Team Tinker to build the advantage they wanted.
The anti-melee lineup of Na'Vi seemed to work wonders against qojqva's well farmed Slark. In almost every teamfight of the game, it seemed that Team Tinker lacked the required damage to take down Na'Vi's cores. While both VANSKOR and Fng did go down several times, both Dendi and XBOCT seemed impossible to kill. Since Dendi only died once in almost 40 minutes after the laning phase, his networth skyrocketed when the towers started to fall. With a Refresher Orb and Aghanim's Scepter in his possession, the destruction of the first set of barracks by minute 36 seemed an easy job. The end of the game came six minutes later, with Na'Vi winning a 3-1 fight inside the Dire base to seal the deal.
Na'Vi continued with their utility offlane strategy, selecting Nyx Assassin for Funn1k along with Outworld Devourer and Faceless Void. Team Tinker decided to switch their roles, with BuLba playing his signature offlane Clockwerk, while Pajkatt and qojqva received the farm priority on Viper/Necrolyte respectively.
The Ukrainians put their focus on the middle lane, in a desperate attempt to give Dendi some farming space against the annoying Viper-Io combo. However, this allowed qojqva to farm for free, and he was able to pick up Hand of Midas, Blink Dagger and Dagon a little over the 15th minute mark. The quick burst allowed Team Tinker to annihilate Dendi in the first teamfight of the game by minute 16, earning a significant gold and experience advantage.
Nothing seemed to work for Natus Vincere's lineup, as Team Tinker's cores were dealing impressive damage while being tanky at the same time. The Outworld Devourer selection was nullified by the Dire's burst damage, and XBOCT was only able to take down the supports inside the Chronosphere. After a series of continuous lost teamfights, the Ukrainians were forced to surrender their bottom barracks by minute 33.
With an obscene advantage at their possession, Team Tinker knew they had the game in their pocket, and they only had to secure the victory by demolishing one more set of barracks. Pajkatt picked up the 36th minute Aegis of the Immortal, and they entered the Radiant base through the top lane. XBOCT's initiation was decent, and both Team Tinker's supports went down to his autoattacks. However, as soon as the Chronosphere went down, Tinker turned the tides of the fight and teamwiped Na'Vi inside their base. The GG was called a few seconds later.
In the third game, Na`Vi mixed up the lanes a bit, putting Funn1k's Doom in the mid lane while going an offensive trilane around Sven to shut down Tinker's Lone Druid played by qojqva. They secured the first blood by taking down qojqva who then rotated to the midlane.
Some intense trading of heroes went down back and forth, mainly on the bottom lane where teams rotatoed from and to on a regular basis. Tinker seemingly got more out of the laning phase but overall the game was very even and both teams got matching farm on their core heroes. The clashes became a matter of silence usage, such as if Na´Vi managed to doom up SingSing's Tidehunter first or if Tinker successfuly ancient sealed Dendi's Puck. After a failed relocate mid lane, where both XBOCT and Vanskor died, Tinker went on to take to attempt first Roshan of the game, however Na`Vi arrived in time to chase them off. Tinker went back to secure Roshan a few minutes after.
Funn1k's Doom was getting incredibly beefy at this point, having 3k networth above the second most farmed hero. With his wealth he opted for an Aghanim Scepter to ultimately disable one of Tinker's hero for the full duration of fights, his target of priority was Tidehunter to avoid the ravage. And without the big team fight ultimate of ravage, it was hard for Tinker to win fights. Fun fact is also that at this point with 1200 hp, Tidehunter died from full hp at the hands of the doom ability alone which happened in one of the fights at Na´Vi's secret shop.
Around this stage of the game, XBOCT's Sven was getting a bit out of hand as well and Na´Vi was winning the fights with more and more ease, Tinker's game plan seemed to have crashed down and they couldn't play around the heavy doom disable as well as the overall team fight control and damage of Na`Vi's heroes. After repelling Na´Vi's push toplane, EGM and SingSing were caught out of position outside their midlane, resulting in Tinker losing two sets of barracks.
In the final fight, Tinker threw everything they had on Funn1k, and managed to kill them off before using a single doom. But meanwhile, Io relocated in with Sven who just destroyed the heroes of Tinker in the matter of seconds. With the help of Dendi, they picked off the final survivors and Tinker decided the game was over and forfeited it at this point. Na`Vi moves on to the grand final.