Virtus.Pro's dream gets destroyed by zNation

Posted by Christoph "malnor" Helbig at 08 June 2012 18:09

The match Virtus.Pro against zNation was the all-Russian match in the lower bracket. zNation defeated Keita Gaming the day before while Virtus.Pro had a long night losing against mousesports just barely in the end. A second loss in the tournament would have been crucial for both teams, ending their fight for the Seattle flight.

Game 1: Virtus.Pro going into steamrolling mode

Leshrac Shadow Demon lane for Virtus.Pro, which works out very well in the beginning, catching some easy kills against the Crystal Maiden and Slardar lane of zNation.

Neither Kuroky nor Scandal play the big farming Anti Mage, but blowyourbrain. Because of VP's aggressive middle lane, blowyourbrain can farm on top lane against Windrunner easily. The uncommon heroes in this game are Warlock on the side of Virtus.Pro and Slardar as a reaction to the Anti-Mage pick for zNation.

The very early Battle Fury for Anti-Mage makes this game look to go into VP's direction, but they have to care not to overextend the aggression with only four heroes, as zNation has good fighting capabilities with Slardar and Queen of Pain.

However, with Warlock, Shadow Demon and Dark Seer, Virtus.Pro has great team fighting skills, supporting the Anti Mage in big team fights best. This way, the last outer tower of zNation falls after just 25 minutes with no tower destroyed on VP's Dire side. Virtus.Pro continue the push, zNation has no chance to kill Anti Mage and good game is called after 27 minutes.

TI'12 West Qualifiers
Russia zNationRussia Virtus.Pro
lycanthrope invoker natures prophet
broodmother lone druid brewmaster
enchantress sandking
tidehunter morphling
windrunner enigma queen of pain
dark seer leshrac shadow demon
slardar crystal maiden
anti mage warlock

Game 2: Morphling undefeated

This second game brings back Dark Seer to VP's enemy team. The day before, in the match against mousesports, the Russians have thrown away their advantage with a failed Roshan attempt against Dark Seer. Even more troublesome could be the high damage output of Rikimaru against the double replicate of Morphling and Dark Seer.

zNation managed to get a very good early game because of the aggressive combination of Crystal Maiden and Morphling. In one of the few counter-aggression moments, Storm Spirit and Riki already take too long to take down Dark Seer, resulting in counter-frags because of a well placed AA-ultimate.

With the shotgun build complete on Morphling and none of the Virtus.Pro heroes being really tanky, the lead of zNation keeps increasing. After 21 minutes, Stalianer got Ethereal Blade and Black King Bar completed, making him basically unkillable for the Radiant side.

Basically the only thing keeping Virtus.Pro in the game is Kuroky's Shadow Demon constantly disrupting Morphling, whose illusions turn against zNation and help killing Morphling's teammates a lot. As the shotgun of Morphling kills Shadow Demon instantly, this cannot hold off the good game for a long time, though. This Russian matchup gets decided in a third map. For VP, this is the third time in three matches that they have to play a third map.

TI'12 West Qualifiers
Russia Virtus.ProRussia zNation
lycanthrope natures prophet broodmother
leshrac invoker windrunner
vengeful spirit queen of pain
lich lone druid
enigma shadow demon riki
dark seer sandking morphling
venomancer storm spirit
crystal maiden ancient apparition

Game 3:

Kuroky has been playing Shadow Demon in the two first games, this time SD gets banned and Kuroky is back to the carry role in Virtus.Pro. The initial laning of Virtus.Pro with Venomancer and Enchantress being aggressive in the enemy jungle does not work out. The Windrunner powershot and Earthshaker's fissure demolish VP's ganking attempts.

Middle lane is Kuroky on Morphling against Brewmaster, but after some lane switches, this is the only more or less consistent lane. The early game is dominated by a lot of tower pushing by both teams. Radiant and Dire lose the outer tier 1 towers before the 10-minute mark.

After the mid tier 1 towers fall as well, this game transitions even more into a farming battle. Both teams want to get their main carries Anti-Mage and Morphling as fat as possible. Within this pursue of farm, Anti-Mage dies two times against Morphling, shifting the advantage slowly from zNation to Virtus.Pro.

Minute 25 marks a major drop in VP's performance. They lose three heroes one after the other at the bottom lane, giving Roshan to zNation because of it. Afterwards zNation pressures the midlane, kill Morphling with no compensation from Virtus.Pro. Kuroky doesn't have buyback allowing the Anti-Mage to slice down the middle tier 3 tower. Barracks can be hold, nevertheless, but it's not looking good for Virtus.Pro at that moment.

zNation massively overextends at the first attempt to take town the middle raxes and a very well defend by VP seems to open up the game for Virtus.Pro again. But just as the day before against mousesports, VP take the wrong decision. They want to destroy both remaining tier 2 towers of the Radiant, but end up losing multiple heroes. Kuroky can't keep up with Anti-Mages's damage output. Game three goes to zNation.

TI'12 West Qualifiers
Russia zNationRussia Virtus.Pro
leshrac lycanthrope invoker
broodmother lone druid dark seer
lich shadow demon
crystal maiden enigma
windrunner brewmaster anti mage
natures prophet sandking enchantress
earthshaker ancient apparition
venomancer morphling

Virtus.Pro's dream is over. The team will not fly to The International. They didn't get the invite they were hoping for, and now they failed to defeat mousesports and zNation, leaving them in the fifth place of the tournament with only one Seattle ticket to be given. zNation proceeds into the lower bracket final.

Get more information about the games in the match details.