China Supermajor: Liquid and PSG.LGD move onto upper bracket finals
photo courtesy of Perfect World
The upper bracket semifinals was a story of twos and zeroes, as Team Liquid and PSG.LGD sent both Virtus.pro and Team Secret to the lower bracket in convincing fashion.
Team Liquid 2:0 Team Secret
In the first of two upper bracket series, Team Liquid liquefied Team Secret, and sent them to the lower bracket in a quick 2-0 series that lasted less than an hour in total. In game one, Liquid was in firm control, as Ivan 'MinD_ContRoL' Borislavov Ivanov’s Mirana went absolutely out of control. While Team Secret had some early aggression, especially with Yazied ‘YapzOr’ Jaradat’s rotations on his Monkey King proving somewhat deadly throughout. The game seemed especially tough for Amer 'Miracle-' Barqawi, whose Lina got bullied in the midlane. However, YapzOr’s rotations while flashly, ultimately proved ineffectual as Liquid capitalized more off of the laning and early game, closing out the game in just 30 minutes.
Game Two was a similar story. Team Secret had an aggressive start in their top and bottom lanes, which led to a much better start compared to game one. With good pressure on all the lanes, Team Secret seemed to be in prime position for the midgame, as Liquid simply could not find a fight that favored them. Sensing the potential for disaster, Liquid decided to group up and simply take objectives with their insane amount of push. This worked to their favor, as despite Secret’s early lead, Liquid caught up in quick fashion, mostly on the back of Miracle- and Lasse 'Matumbaman' Urpalainen’s Visage. Liquid ended Secret’s Upper Bracket run in just over 30 minutes and sent them to the loser’s bracket, where they await the winners of Vici Gaming and Newbee.
Virtus.pro 0:2 PSG.LGD
In game one against the Chinese powerhouse, Virtus.pro showed their characteristic dominance in the laning phase, especially taking advantage of Wang ‘Ame-‘ Chunyu’s Gyrocopter’s characteristically weak lane presence. However, despite VP’s aggression and control in the early game with almost all their lanes won, the storied squad stayed calm and continued to find return kills against the CIS giants during fights, stalling out the game while their cores got farm. The turning point happened at the 22-minute mark for PSG.LGD, as VP with the first aegis in hand misplayed and were caught in horrible positioning, losing them three heroes and the aegis. Two more fights around ten minutes after at around the 29 and 33-minute marks truly swung the odds in favour of LGD, as Ame-‘s Gyrocopter was simply unstoppable, especially with the help of the f-god himself, Xu ‘fy’ Linsen's Io, who proved to be the lynchpin that brought LGD back from the brink. LGD grabbed the first win in just under an hour.
For game two, it was clear the fy’s Io was a huge problem for VP. Seemingly unperturbed, however—especially given their more than secure status at TI8—VP let Io slide past the ban phase, spending one of their bans on a crucial Techies; VP was looking for a rematch against fy’s Io, and decided to draft some more control this time around to help counter the mobility that the Wisp gave to LGD, grabbing both Disruptor and Lion. With an almost identical lineup for LGD as well, VP was given the rematch. As the contest began, it was LGD to aggress VP, as Ame- took great advantage of the low HP heroes with his Bloodseeker. Despite the relatively rougher laning phase for VP, the game was relatively even at the ten-minute mark, save for Vladimir ‘Noone-‘ Minenko’s Outworld Devourer, who absolutely dominated the midlane against Lu ‘Maybe’ Yao’s Ember Spirit.
As the game moved into mid and final phases, both teams continually traded blows, ebbing and flowing between occasional fights and periods of farm. While VP held a sizable networth advantage for most of the game, another poor aegis fight truly turned the tide in favor for LGD, as at around 32 minutes, VP lost three heroes, the aegis, and the networth lead—a swing of almost 5k gold. Again, weathering VP’s storm, LGD brought out the win after a prolonged Roshan engagement that started at 43 minutes, which lasted until the eventual ‘gg’ at 47 from the CIS squad. VP move to the lower bracket where they face the winner of OpTic Gaming and the Filipinos, TNC Pro Team, while LGD move on to the upper bracket final, where they face TI7 Champions, Team Liquid.