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Dota 2 Boston Major: Highlights and must-see matches

Major drama

Another multimillion-dollar Dota 2 Major tournament has come to a close this weekend as top teams from all over the world battled for the Boston Major's Eaglesong trophy and a share of the $3m prize pool. Would OG be able to defend their title with a remixed lineup or would some feisty newcomers be able to snaffle it away? In case you're still avoiding spoilers all of this will be revealed after the jump, as well as the must-watch matches so you can condense your viewing into a single action-packed evening!

First and foremost, Saturday night saw last year's Eaglesong recipients, OG, successfully defending their trophy against an emergent Ad Finem in Boston’s Wang Theatre.

That makes OG’s third Major title out of a possible four (albeit the first with the current roster), following 2015’s Frankfurt contest, where they first claimed the Eaglesong, and Manila earlier this year. That’s an incredible achievement considering no other team has won more than a single Valve-sponsored event.

That said, the real Boston fairy tale has to be that of Ad Finem; an all-Greek squad of chums who’ve played together in various rosters for well over a year. Ad Finem not only qualifyied for their first Major but stormed through more internationally successful teams, like Newbee and Digital Chaos, all the way to the grand finals.

And hoo boy, what a grand finals it was! Games one and two were dominated by OG’s cores, stalwart carry Johan 'n0tail' Sundstein and rookie midlaner Anathan 'ana' Pham, before Ad Finem struck back in what has to be one of the most exhilarating professional Dota matches in recent memory.

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It’s worth watching that 25-minute highlight video all the way though, as game three had it all – back-and-forth momentum swings, a lost and reclaimed Divine Rapier, multiple OG ultimates stolen by Giorgos 'SsaSpartan' Giannakopoulos's Rubick, a Cloud9-esque forgotten teleport scroll disaster, mega creeps, and one final, game-ending play of such audacity that it outright broke caster ODPixel.

The fourth and final game, won by a string of superior teamfight performances from OG, was almost serene in comparison.

While it’s tempting to just relive that third game over and over, until the Dota 2 spectator HUD is permanently seared into one’s retinas, the Boston Major did have its share of brilliant matches and moments from earlier in the tournament too – a possible positive externality of the high-stakes single elimination format. Here are some of the best.

Team NP vs EHOME: Star wiped

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Meme-rich North American squad NP managed to squeak through the initial round-of-sixteen against a higher-seeded EHOME, thanks in part to this demolishing combo attack in game three. NP’s Theeban 'Rose' Siva (aka '1437') hits four of five EHOME heroes with Warlock's Fatal Bonds, forcing them to take additional shared damage, before Jacky 'EternaLEnVy' Mao's Mirana simply leaps in to deal a double nuke spell that instantly deletes three. With NP's supports mopping up the survivors, there’s nothing to stop them irreversibly tightening their grip on the last game of the match. vs Evil Geniuses: VP wake the bear

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After rallying from a mediocre group stage, Evil Geniuses knocked out tournament favourites in the quarter finals, only falling to champs OG in the semis. VP went out swinging in a close game 2 – save for Noone’s Rapier-wielding Sniper hilariously murdering himself on Suma1L’s Blade Mail – but game one was EG at their deadliest, with a clinically-played Suma1L Ursa ripping VP’s cores apart in seemingly every engagement. At least Lil could take solace in his mango collection.

OG vs WarriorsGaming.Unity: Grand Theft Omnislash

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Following a shock 2-0 victory over compLexity, WG.U’s own hopes of an underdog story were dashed by OG – though not before claiming the first of their three games. In fact, the SEA team’s win was a great showcase of both sides, with flashy plays coming in droves. Just take Jesse 'JerAx' Vainikka's cheeky pickoff with a stolen Juggernaut ult, Ana’s beautiful escape from four angry heroes, or this huge battle that ends in a triple kill for Jian Wei 'xNova-' Yap, WG.U’s five-position support (12:37 on the video above).

Ad Finem vs Digital Chaos: A fight for ‘Saw dives

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TI6 runners-up Digital Chaos were the final victims of Ad Finem’s run, dropping out of the semi finals in a decisive 2-0. In both games, the Greeks capitalised on the high damage, mobility and tankiness of Timbersaw, first running him in mid by ThuG before giving him to carry Madara in game two. This is a hero who hasn’t fallen out of the meta in months, but looked particularly effective here as a vehicle for AF’s zealous, almost MVP Phoenix-style tower-diving chases and energetic initiations.

It’s quite poetic that it would be these guys to face OG in the grand finals. Fly and n0tail’s team walked a similar path back in Frankfurt last year, being the European underdogs who clawed their way through a series of all-or-nothing elimination matches, slaying a few giants on the way. It’s also a suitable statement of how strong OG’s foundations are; a year is such a long time in professional Dota, and in that time they haven’t avoided the internal issues and roster switch-ups that can affect anyone else, yet here they are again, champions of the winter Major. Impressive stuff.

What next, then, for the game as a whole?

Most pressingly, there’s the New Journey update – Dota 2 7.00 – which looks like the biggest overhaul yet, introducing Heroes of the Storm-style talent trees at certain level intervals, a completely redesigned map, a new HUD and pre-game planning screen, a backpack for holding extra items, an API for programming your own custom bots, remodels for Viper (yes!), Slardar (YES!) and Enigma (Y…buh?) and a brand new hero, Monkey King.

In the competitive scene specifically, they’ll be the usual post-Major reshuffle, a transfer window where teams can drop, swap and enlist new players, all with an eye on competing in the just-announced Kiev Major in April 2017. The CIS region’s first Valve tournament, there’s going to be even more on the line than at Boston, with strong performances likely to curry favour with whoever at Valve decides the direct invites for The International 2017 in August.

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A good chance, in other words, for another game along the lines of OG vs Ad Finem game three. And that would be just super.

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