Evil Geniuses are your Manila Masters Champions
The Manila Masters grand finals witnessed everything we love in Dota 2: intense team fights, huge comebacks, one sided games, and even Radiance vs Radiance rat tactics.
The Manila Masters grand finals began with Evil Geniuses executing a Draw Ranger- push strategy close to perfection. Despite not having the best laning stage, EG played around Newbee’s big cooldowns, waited for the Tidehunter to use his first Ravage, which luckily for EG had no impact, and only after the spell was committed went in to punish Newbee.
The first big team fight between the two happened only 12 minutes into the game when EG forced a reaction from Newbee with a five man push for the top lane tier one tower. This is where Newbee missed their first Ravage and allowed EG from there on to have the entire game control. The boys in blue kept on pushing and made no mistakes to close the first game of the series in under 30 minutes.
In spite of the strong statement made by EG in the opening game, the second one was a long, split push against split push game. EG showed their intentions with their third pick, a Nature’s Prophet for Saahil 'UNiVeRsE' Arora, and Newbee went with a Damien 'kpii' Chok specialty, Naga Siren. EG committed to their rat doto tactic and closed the draft with a Lone Druid for Artour 'Arteezy' Babaev. With such great heroes waiting to shine at a very late stage, the game was still a back and forth battle for claiming the early advantage.
The laning stage was fully packed with action, both teams having their own mission of shutting down one of the enemy cores. EG tried to focus and delay the Radiance as much as possible from Naga while Newbee focused their ganks on Syed Sumail 'SumaiL' Hassan’s Puck. At the same time EG had one more mission, namely to prevent Xu 'Moogy' Han on Ursa from doing any funky Roshan maneuvers too early into the game. EG stopped him once at the eight minute mark but weren’t ready to fully commit into a five man fight around the pit as Arteezy was still very focused on getting his bear Radiance before the Naga had hers. At the nine minute mark Moogy claimed the first Aegis of the game which gave his team more options to force fights on their own terms.
Arteezy managed to finish the Radiance first, and despite going for an Aghanim's Scepter for himself, to actually hit buildings with the bear, he ended up feeding his bear to Newbee way too many times. Full control over Roshan and multiple kills on Lone Druid’s bear forced EG to fight for most of the times at a disadvantage. It was a slow high ground push coming from Newbee, but their discipline brought them in the end the victory and the Manila Masters grand finals were reduced to a bo3 series.
EG went back to a fast push tactic with the third game of the series, this time with a Razor for Arteezy and a support Enchantress for Ludwig 'zai' Wåhlberg. Despite getting Artour ganked and killed twice in the first minutes of the game, EG still managed to execute their game plan and took down Newbee’s tier two towers before Hu 'Kaka' Liangzhi could finish his Blink Dagger on Sand king. Without any good initiation option, Newbee seemed to be already defeated around the 20 minute mark. However, they decided to go for a ballsy move and smoked for a Roshan attempt.
EG scouted them out and contested the kill, but a tad too late and Newbee were able to place the Aegis on the Lifestealer to fully turn around the pace of the game. For the next 40 to 50 minutes they slowly took all the advantage from EG’s hands with excellent teamfights. They always focused Arteezy’s Razor first, forcing EG to fight without their main damage dealer, and in fact Arteezy fell so behind in farm and levels that his support Warlock was reaching level 25 before him. Nonetheless, breaking EG’s base was not an easy task as the Warlock ultimate plus the Upheaval were really painful for Newbee.
A successful high ground defense at the 48 minute mark, when four of Newbee heroes died, gave EG a little bit of space to go outside their base and farm some key items. But while they were doing so, Newbee smoked as five to catch the Enchantress farming the two neutral camps close to the Radiant Secret Shop area. They jumped on her with Lasso infest bomb, however the entire EG squad was just behind and saved her with a Lotus Orb and a Force Staff, counter-initiated and wiped down Newbee. Luckily Roshan was up as well, so EG went immediately to claim the Aegis and Cheese, and a very good call of going all in on Warlock, with a Refresher Orb allowed them to claim the victory in one high ground push.
One game away from the grand finals victory, EG opted for a big Dark Seer Vacuum-Wall into Kunkka’s boat and Crystal Maiden’s Freezing Field wombo combo while Newbee had their fair amount of team fight potential as well on the back of a Tidehunter and Outworld Devourer. However, after four days in which SumaiL has been the clear MVP for EG, in this last game of the series it was Zai who took the spotlight. His supper aggressive Kunka, with well timed X marks the spot to counter any Glimpses coming from Disruptor, put EG in the lead from the early stages. EG made the best use of their mobile line-up and had the better overall team fight control as well as initiation power.
In case you missed the grand finals, or the lower bracket finals of Manila Masters, we guarantee you it’s worth checking out the replays for both series as the finals results barley reflect the amazing Dota we’ve been graced with in the final day of the tournament.
Manila Masters final standings and prize pool distribution:
1st place: Evil Geniuses - $125,000
2nd place: Newbee - $50,000
3rd place: NP - $25,000
4th place: Faceless - $20,000
5th/6th place: OG - $10,000
5th/6th place: Invictus Gaming - $10,000
7th/8th place: Clutch Gamers - $5,000
7th/8th place: Team Secret - $5,000