The International 2016: Day Of The Underdogs/Underlord

Day four of The International 2016 main event was all about underdogs (and one Underlord, but we’ll get to that in a bit) – the incredible rise of one, the heart-wrenching fall of another. And, as fate and lower bracket scheduling would have it, these two young Dota 2 [official site] teams would have to face each other in the very first series of the day.


Yes, it was Digital Chaos – a ragtag band of multinational players, duct-taped together at the eleventh hour before Valve’s roster lock deadline closed earlier in the year – versus TNC, a little-known Filipino squad who had unexpectedly reached the final eight of sixteen teams, carving through titans like OG and Vici Gaming Reborn along the way. Sadly, only one of these teams could advance to the next round, and that team was DC.

Despite a phenomenal Batrider performance from TNC offlaner Sam H handing them game one, DC struck back with ultra-high damage lineups in games two and three, and as they wore on, TNC’s usually-excellent teamfight co-ordination seemed to fail them in both. A sad ending for Demon and his crew, for sure, but they’ll still take home over $500,000 and a placement about eight spots above what anyone expected them to get. Full highlights are here:

DC, on the other hand, were far from done. They’d soon be confronting EHOME, a tournament favourite even after being knocked to the lower bracket by Evil Geniuses – and yet, DC managed to take them out as well. DC’s fast-moving draft in game one, including Moo on Timbersaw and Resolut1on on the seldom-seen carry Vengeful Spirit, never gave EHOME’s iceiceice the time he needed to farm, resulting in a relatively quick win. For game two, it was Moo’s Timber again that stole the show, shredding EHOME to ribbons despite their numerous massive teamfight ultimates.

EHOME thus finish 5/6th, while DC will look to continue their miracle run later tonight. They’ll play against whoever wins in the first series of the day, MVP Phoenix versus Fnatic, a much-anticipated showdown between two of the Southeast Asia region’s best teams.

This has been an exceptional TI for SEA in general, with three of the top eight teams hailing from this oft-maligned part of the globe. The same can’t be said for Europe; Team Liquid, the region’s last hope, were also eliminated last night in a brutal 2-0 at Fnatic’s hands.

Liquid almost rallied in the second game after a sound thrashing in game one, which they lost with 12 kills to Fnatic’s 37, after all three cores had comfortably reached the top of the net worth table. Unfortunately, Fnatic found a turnaround of their own, pulling out some devastating teamfights to regain control. With one last high ground push, Liquid’s base – and their once-high hopes of a TI win – was in pieces.

There were no upper bracket matches on day four, but the one later today is the big one: the UB final between Evil Geniuses and Wings, with the winner earning a spot in the grand finals on Saturday night. In one corner, a TI5 championship-winning team that’s endured multiple drama-tinged roster shuffles; in the other, a youthful and utterly unpredictable squad that frequently and successfully laughs in the meta’s illusion-obsessed face. They’ll meet in a best-of-three after MVP versus Fnatic.

While it was a tough day for many, with a relatively high bodycount of three KO’d teams, it was cheerfully capped off with the annual TI All-Star Match – SirActionSlacks versus Kaci Aitchison. A little levity goes a long way in the hyper-competitive environment of The International, and like last year, fans in attendance got in on the silliness; in fact, Valve ditched the popular vote system for choosing the ten competing pros in favour of allowing the attendees to pick their full-timer teammates right there on the stage – five pros and five randoms to a team, with Valve’s custom 10v10 mode as the setting.

[Ignore the lack of an image – the video works just fine!]

The usual suspects like Dendi, Loda, Arteezy and n0tail still made the cut, naturally, and it was mere seconds into the game before they were joined by a brand new hero. Underlord, the hero formerly known as Pit Lord, is a gigantic quadrupedal demon-lizard who can root foes to the ground in an AOE, gain bonus attack damage from nearby hero deaths and teleport himself and any allies around him to another spot on a map, a spell that will surely never be used to the violent detriment of Underlord’s own team. He’ll be added to the game proper on August 23rd, along with the fancy new post-game stats screen you can see in the video below:

As ever, you can watch the final two days of TI6 on Twitch or within Dota 2 itself. Schedule and bracket info is up on Valve’s TI site – tune in at 6pm BST for the pre-show.

If you need to catch up you can also find the rest of our TI6 coverage here at The International 2016 tag page.

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