The International Daily Diary: Part 2

Pip is currently in Seattle to cover The International 2015 – Valve’s six day Dota 2 [official site] tournament. There’s over $18m on the line and a rich tapestry of professional gaming to enjoy (or unpick) – we did a cheat sheet to explain the basics. There are also bags to be clambered into and DDoS attacks to withstand. Here is what happened on Day Two…

ONE

Evil Geniuses were taking on compLexity in the first match of the day. You could tell because just outside the venue several dudes were handing out free EG wristbands and flags as well as glow sticks. It was all very subtle stuff.

During the first game, compLexity seemed to be putting up a decent fight and at eight minutes had the lead in terms of levels. The thing about the current meta, though, is that you can look like you’re dominating the early game, but if the enemy’s carry player isn’t shut down effectively and you can’t end the game in time that guy (hi Anti-Mage) will show up and just shred everything you were trying to protect and your team too.

Real-world issues were also impinging and, after a spate of pauses due to lag, players vacated their booths while the event organisers dealt with what turned out to be a DDoS attack. As a result the match technically went on for several hours.

When the teams returned compLexity’s window for taking the game had all but closed and Fear (a player whose emotional search for a new desk in the Dota 2 movie Free To Play endeared him to viewers) spent the rest of the time beefing up his Anti-Mage (a late-game murderer who hates magic and fun) and shredding everything compLexity was trying to protect. And also compLexity. That’s not to say his EG teammates weren’t also doing work – particularly Universe on Sand King – but Fear has this lovely calm flow to his Anti-Mage play and is just incredibly effective.

TWO

Where the first game was more about Fear, the second was entirely about young star Sumail. Sumail gave a virtuoso performance on Ember Spirit ably supported by Universe’s characteristically on-point Tusk. The effect was marred a little as the sixteen-year-old appeared to do that thing where you’re balling so hard you get a little careless towards the end but Fear was on hand to mop up remaining kills or cover for deaths with Razor. I wish I were as chill as Fear seems in these matches.

THREE

I only managed to see a smidge of the first Secret v EHOME game as I was experimenting with watching on the big screen just outside the arena while I joined the queue for the Secret Shop. The Secret Shop is Valve’s on-site merchandise stand. I’m always curious to see what they’re selling and there are little rituals around the plushies. They come in these blind pick boxes so you don’t know what you’re getting and you’ll see all these people dotted around trying to trade with other people for a full set or maybe multiples of a favoured hero. I figured I’d pick up one plushie and if it wasn’t the one I wanted I’d swap around and chat to attendees until I got it, maybe making some new TI friends. Unfortunately it meant I missed most of the match, heading away from the screen as Secret were in the lead and coming back just as EHOME took the victory with what looked like an obscenely fat Storm Spirit. (Storm Spirit is a lightning dude who zips about the place being a jerk)

FOUR

I should probably not have bothered with the AirBnB given this was the bag they gave me my Secret Shop shopping in:

FOUR AND A HALF

Matt is a gentleman who bought about a dozen blind plush boxes and ended up with five Juggernauts. He has been swapping with other people ever since and nearly has the full set, he just needs a Jakiro.

I have a Jakiro.

“Do you have a Jakiro?” he asked me. I had just clambered back out of the Dota bag.

“Yes,” I say. “But I love it and want to keep it.”

I am posting his picture in case you have a spare Jakiro and you see him wandering KeyArena because I feel a tiny bit guilty.

FIVE

For their second game against Secret EHOME picked up a Nightstalker. Nightstalker isn’t one of the usual suspects in the current metagame but LaNm used his silence effectively to control Arteezy’s Anti-Mage and punish greedy moments like the latter’s attempt to destroy an opposition stack of ancient creeps. S4’s Shadow Fiend was also a frequent kill as he strayed too far from the safety of the base. I’d thought Secret might still be in with a shot but EHOME’s YJ had been steadily bulking up his Gyrocopter. I (and perhaps Secret) realised this when he showed up to a fight in mid just after half an hour into the game and a full Witch Doctor ultimate couldn’t finish him off and the glowing golden helicopter went a-hunting. Tournament favourites, Secret, descended to the lower bracket as a chant of EHOME! EHOME! echoed through KeyArena.

SIX

That Leshrac prediction I made from the TI cheat sheet is still holding up nicely as the disco goat is still confined to his stable – a first round ban every single time.

SEVEN

Next up was MVP Phoenix against Team Empire. I’ve been rooting for Phoenix since just before the Wildcard matches. It’s because they’re slightly rough round the edges but able to spar with the big names – add in their Wildcard status and they meet all the criteria for “underdog” and that’s a narrative which plays incredibly well at an eSports tournament.

At first it felt like Empire might dominate with their co-ordination and skill but Phoenix managed to get kills on some key heroes and QO’s Templar Assassin grew monstrous. There’s a moment when she gets killed just outside Empire’s base having scored a triple kill but has an aegis, meaning she comes back to life. Empire have no detection so she’s able to use one of her abilities to go invisible and then use a short-range teleport item to escape. Except she doesn’t escape. She gets off a cheeky hit on one of Empire (their Queen of Pain), at which point the Empire Storm Spirit uses up all his mana chasing after her and is promptly obliterated in two hits. It was a classic “I did not think this one through” moment. QO also takes down Silent’s Razor because why not. At this point I had drawn a big heart in my notebook.

For game 2 Empire attempted to keep QO at bay, even picking up the Templar Assassin for themselves, but he picked up an aggressive Lina and applied constant pressure. The Templar Assassin, meanwhile, even managed to get bullied by Febby on Bounty Hunter early in the game, being chased through the Radiant jungle with no boots on (thus moving relatively slowly) as Febby threw out damage. Actually, although QO had the obvious star turn in those matches, Febby played brilliantly. It wasn’t a one-sided match by any means but Phoenix were the superior team and Empire exited the contest.

EIGHT

Cloud9. Oh, Cloud9.

Cloud9 are a rollercoaster ride of a team, as prone to leaving their fans heartbroken as elated. The first game of their match against Vici ended in a loss but one which took more than an hour of back and forth. But the second? Watching in the arena there were ripples of confused murmuring as the C9 draft unfolded. I assume there was a theory behind it because these are pro players but it ended up looking like one of those lopsided pub drafts where you head onto the map and realise you don’t have a support and someone’s picked up Undying simply because he wasn’t banned out. Vici took them apart easily, drafting a super-effective [pun intended] Sniper into their lineup and with Fenrir getting some amazing fissures for Earthshaker which pinned members of C9 in and assured further swift demises.

Cloud9 now join Empire in the spectator seats while Vici advance.

16 Comments

  1. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    Oh pip, how I love you, one of RPS’ finest. That bag photo is the photo to end all photos.

  2. jellydonut says:

    This is a really good summary, I’m stuck having to ‘watch’ the matches on trackdota and can’t even catch half of them due to the awful time zone.

    • Vandelay says:

      It is great to have this kind of write up, but I would also like to see the inclusion of a game of the day. I enjoy watching the odd Dota match, but I am not going to be able to watch every single match, or even more than a couple in a day. I could obviously read this and select ones that sound good, but I already know the outcome.

      It would be good if we could have something like that in the regular weekly Dota/MOBA article Pip does here, even if it was only a game of the month, instead of game of the week. I only ever watch at TI time, so the teams are pretty much unknown.

      • Lacero says:

        Game of the day, day 3, Ig Vs Secret game 1

        • Lacero says:

          ( I say when the day isn’t even half done, there might be better ones by tomorrow :)

    • Runty McTall says:

      As someone who has never played this game (or any MOBAs), has zero interest in ever doing so and generally does not understand what on earth is going on (either in the matches or articles about them) can I just say that I am hugely enjoying these articles.

      MOBAs are obviously massive in computer games right now and moreover appear to make excellent spectator sports if you understand what is going on so I am keen to follow the bigger tournaments and these articles have been superb. Thanks Pip – keep them coming.

      • MykulJaxin says:

        This goes for me as well. There are an overwhelming amount of characters and rules and stuff and currently I don’t have the time to sit down and learn it all, but these articles are fun. Thanks for the write up.

      • jellydonut says:

        I never play Dota but I really enjoy watching it.

  3. Tiax says:

    Thanks a lot for this article, I enjoy following TI5 but as it’s the only time in the year where I watch competitive gaming, it’s good to be able to read this kind of information.

  4. Synesthesia says:

    The bag photo wins TI5.

  5. iMad says:

    Better luck next year Clown9.

  6. AngoraFish says:

    What’s the best game to watch so far if I only have time for one?

    • notenome says:

      The best match to watch is Vici vs Cloud 9, game 1

      link to vod:

      link to gosugamers.net

      What this match contains:
      -The best support duo in the world (fenrir and fy)
      -One of the biggest comebacks in Dota 2 history
      -An out of control Fy rubick
      -Iceiceice returning to his usual form as a homicidal offlane.

      For those of you who don’t know, Rubick is a hero who can steal other heroes’ abilities. Fy is probably the best support player in the world. He is playing Rubick. The result is incredible, and hilarious, as he uses the other team’s abilities better than they can. This is a game where a shadow fiend (normally one of the strongest heroes in the game) runs away from a Rubick .

  7. Henson says:

    Those two MVP games were really great to watch. Aggressive as hell, and it actually paid off. Though I think that aggression will get them into trouble in the future, it makes for lovely viewing.

    Also, as a spectator, it would be nice to see some more unusual heroes in the mix. There have been an awful lot of Antimage, QoP, Lina, BH, Winter Wyvern, etc. And no one wants to play with/against that damn Leshrac.

  8. HotCakes says:

    Pip, did you go straight here from GenCon? Good lord, have a nap, you’re putting the rest of us to shame.