Guess who’s back ? Alliance takes the WCA title
It’s been more than a year since Alliance won their last tournament. After their disastrous performance at TI4 they’ve went through many attempts at rebuilding their roster. Some looked decent, others were outright wrong but apparently there’s only one incarnation of Alliance that is capable of winning tournaments and that is their TI3 champions lineup.
Game One - Alliance too strong
For the first game LGD Gaming targeted some of the most impactful heroes for Alliance and open the bans with Io and Nature’s Prophet and continued with Batrider while [A] preferred to focus their bans on Fan "rOtK" Bai and Yao "Maybe" Lu. What LGD didn’t see coming was an extremely tanky line-up form Alliance with s4 on Dragon Knight and Loda playing Naga Siren which turned into a rather calm laning phase for the Europeans apart from a few charge attempts from rOtK’s Spirit Breaker on s4.
The first aggressive move came from Alliance who decided it’s time to go on the offense and grouped as five pushed LGD’s tier one tower mid lane. Things escalated quickly from there on as the big items came online for both teams. Sylar finished his Battle Fury while Loda got the Radiance ready and a Gem to remove LGD’s map vision.
Despite having Sylar’s Anti Mage on top of the networth 25 minutes into the game, LGD could not stop Naga’s split push power and in fact, five minutes later they were forced to defend the high ground. But Alliance had way more teamfight power and with great positioning they managed to secure the first lane of barracks forcing the Chinese to tap out with their next base siege.
Game Two - s4 Puck action is back
Focused on denying the split push and global map presence for Alliance, LGD allowed the Swedish team to bring back Gustav "s4" Magnusson’s Puck along with the a heavy systain duo Bristleback - Keeper of the Light which pretty much ended up costing them the game.
s4 crushed Maybe in the mid-lane and had perfect timed rotations to ensure all other lanes dominance. Only 12 minutes into the game Alliance was leading on the scoreboard with a 12-5 kill advantage which triggered a questionable item prioritization on the Shadow Fiend who went with Shadow Blade into Alliance’s Necrobook built by Henrik "AdmiralBulldog" Ahnberg’s Beastmaster.
Alliance maintained the advantage through the entire game and continuously pushed LGD to try the first high ground attack only 19 minutes into the game. What really allowed them to go full force into LGD’s base was the Roshan fight at the 38 minute mark when LGD had a failed attempt of contesting a Roshan kill and in the process Maybe killed his own courier to a creep wave with the Butterfly on it. A few minutes after they got wiped out by the Alliance and lost the second game of the series.
Game Three - Volvo please nerf Aether Lens
Facing a disastrous 0-3 loss in front of their home audience, LGD came up with a much better draft and game plan. And their trump card was Zeng Rong "MMY" Lei’s Lion.
The laning phase was approached with extreme caution by both teams, the first blood happening seven minutes after the game started. It was Maybe’s Dragon Knight rotation into the top lane who took out EGM’s Naga. Five minutes later LGD adventures in a tier one dive and wipes out Alliance which sets the kill scoreboard to 8-1 in LGD’s favor.
With a perfect laning phase and three kills under his name, MMY found the necessary farm to pair his Blink Dagger with Aether Lens, an item that looks simply broken in Lion’s hands.
He was able to find kills with Finger of Death from one screen distance, meaning he could Hex-finger to death s4’s puck without even breaking the smoke. Finding pickoffs after pickoffs LGD build a tremendous gold and experience lead and that enabled them to roll over Alliance who admitted their defeat after 30 minutes of struggles.
Game Four - the Chinese dominance
Starting game four with momentum on their side, LGD went with a classic rOtK Clockwerk who messed up with Alliance in his own fashion.
A very fast Blade Mail from him prevented Alliance to win any early team fights. Jonathan "Loda" Berg was unable to deliver the damage with his Gyrocopter in the early fights and before he got his BkB ready the game was already decided. It was a 22 minutes bloodbath at the end of which LGD pushed the finals to a decisive game five.
Game Five - Victory at last
For the fifth time in a row LGD Gaming decided to open the bans with Io - Furion while Alliance went back to their first game draft with a twist. S4 prepared a full pushing line-up with Naga Siren, Jakiro, Chen, Tiny and Dazzle to ensure the sustain necessary for any siege.
Although LGD had their strongest heroes as well, namely Lion for MMY, Sylar on Shadow Fiend and Maybe - Ember Spirit, the entire game was predicated on patience and very well thought tactical moves.
Despite big ultimates and a fast Radiance for Loda’s Naga Siren, nobody was willing to take the chance of a failed team fight that could decide the WCA title and 30 minutes into the game the teams were equal in kills, 8-8.
Actually this was the course of the whole game, LGD and Alliance going neck and neck in kills, every encounter ending with a trade.
As the game progressed and the big items were slowly but surely coming online for every hero on the map, the tension was growing exponentially. LGD got an uncontested Roshan kill 31 minutes into the game and Alliance played the perfect patience game. They chose to safely farm in the close perimeter of their base and wait for LGD to make the aggressive move. Which they did. With Aegis on Shadow Fiend, Battle Fury on Ember to chop down the tons of Naga illusions and Chen creeps, LGD were confident enough for a first high ground push and lost not only the Aegis but Ember Spirit as well which was a costly price for a tier three tower.
With no buyback on Maybe and a fast kill on Sylar’s SF Alliance managed to get two lane of racks in just one push without casualties and retreated immediately after.
The successful counter push allowed Alliance to buy a few more items to increase their sustainability in team fights. Assault Cuirass on Tiny, Octarine Core and Heart of Tarrasque on Naga plus a few Force Staffs for disengage purpose put Alliance in a very good team fight position.
Hoping to go for the final push with Aegis and Cheese, Alliance waited for the third Roshan spawn but rOtK had a last moment of brilliance on his Clockwerk and snatched the Aegis from the Swedes.
Unfortunately for the Chinese that did not deter Alliance from forcing mega creeps. With Naga Siren illusions all over LGD’s base and a lucky Double damage rune on Tiny, Alliance put their opponents to sleep and crushed the last set of barracks and with it any hope of recovery for LGD.