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Dota 2 Manila Major: Highlights And Must-See Matches!

The best bits from Manila!

The winner of Dota 2’s Manila Major [official site] has been crowned and multinational squad, OG, are now the first team to win two of the Valve-sponsored mega-tournaments. The team's latest win comes seven months after OG claimed the inaugural Frankfurt Major and prompted a stage invasion by fans.

OG - consisting of Fly, Cr1t-, N0tail, Miracle- and MoonMeander - bested Team Liquid in the grand finals with an unusual Elder Titan/Wraith King draft to win $1,100,000 and score a historic Major double.

Read on to see what you might have missed - who excelled, who crashed and burned, and which games offered up the best competitive Dota 2!

A remarkably smooth-running tournament -- especially after the embarrassingly mismanaged Shanghai Major -- Manila was arguably the closest-fought Dota contest for some time, with a meta that catered for a fairly diverse mix of playstyles. On top of that, we saw better-than-expected performances from the likes of Fnatic and Na’Vi, and freshly reshuffled squads like LGD Gaming and Digital Chaos established themselves as forces to be reckoned with.

Conversely, this Major will also be remembered as the event where titans Evil Geniuses and Team Secret crashed and burned. Secret’s poaching of EG’s Arteezy and UNiVeRsE ended up as a murder-suicide; both rosters failed to adapt, finishing joint last. UNiVeRsE quickly called it quits, and is confirmed via a Frozen-themed announcement (click on the Universe/Else at the bottom for the full effect). to be returning to EG. Both Evil Geniuses and Team Secret - TI5 and Shanghai Major champions, respectively - will be forced into potentially gruelling open qualifier runs for TI6, due to violating Valve’s roster lock conditions. Incredible stuff.

Fortunately, there was time in between that drama-mongering for a few games of Dota, and what games they were. Here are the best matches that the Manila Major had to offer.

Na’Vi vs Digital Chaos, Group B Winner’s Match

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After Na’Vi decisively took the first game with a clever Nyx Assassin pick, DC struck back in game 2, forcing an eighty-minute stalemate where neither team could muster a game-ending push. Na’Vi did claim mega creeps after a brutal extended teamfight at 87 minutes, but paid with multiple lives, allowing DC to counterattack - Na’Vi, however, unexpectedly abandoned their defence, instead using their new AI buddies to teleport straight to DC’s ancient and demolish it.

MVP Phoenix vs LGD Gaming, Group D Match 2

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Another bonkers 2-0, MVP appeared on the cusp of a easy win in the second game, having quadrupled LGD’s kill score and started threatening barracks with less than half an hour passed. A single overextension, however, led to a downright heroic defence by LGD, who continued to not just hold, but take fight after fight outside their base. Nearly forty minutes later, it was MVP under siege -- and subsequently pummeled into defeat by a string of LGD buybacks.

MVP Phoenix vs Mineski, Group D Loser’s Round 1

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Really, this was all about the deciding game 3, a wonderfully entertaining back-and-forth between two of Dota’s less conventional teams. Special mention goes to MVP’s giggle-inducing solution to Mineksi’s mega creep advantage: using massed Helm of the Dominators to take control of said creeps, using any surviving defectors to form a barrier around their exposed ancient. Head to 50:40 on the in-game timer or 1:00:00 on the video timer for the start of that [Ed: <3 this match so much]!

Fnatic vs LGD Gaming, Upper Bracket Round 1

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It was a Battle of The Big Teamfight Ultimates in the absurdly close third game of this series, as Fnatic.DJ’s Enigma went up against the Tidehunter of LGD captain xiao8. It was DJ’s Black Holes that won out, though, almost single-handedly winning clashes here, here and, after a bit of a misfire, here.

Na’Vi vs Alliance, Lower Bracket Round 3

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El Clásico. Great things happen when these teams meet, and this elimination series was no different; in game 1, Alliance put the brakes on a Na’Vi high ground push so hard it turn the entire game in their favour, then Na’Vi’s Huskar/Oracle combo outfought Loda’s farmed Naga Siren to make things even. Then, in the final game, it all came together for Natus Vincere -- multiple Boots of Travel purchases allowed them to launch deadly surprise attacks, never affording Alliance the time or gold needed to answer them.

OG vs MVP Phoenix, Upper Bracket Round 2

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OG twenty-four, MVP Phoenix nil. No words. Next!

OG vs Newbee, Upper Bracket Finals

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After Newbee took game 1, killing Miracle- for the first time on the main stage, OG equalised in game 2 on the back of a brilliantly high-impact performance by Cr1t’s Earth Spirit. Game 3 was tougher for both; forty minutes in, OG controlled much more of the map but just couldn’t break Newbee’s scary Alchemist/Spectre combo. Then, in a battle for the next Roshan, OG’s Fly unleashed a beautiful Crystal Maiden Freezing Field that disintegrated Newbee’s big cores, enabled an uncontested Rosh kill and gave OG the momentum they needed to close out the game [watch from about 43:15ish on the in-game timer, 49:30ish on the video timer]. Commend your supports, guys.

OG’s ultimate 3-1 victory over Team Liquid was less dramatic, but still capped off a truly excellent tournament in terms of both production quality and the caliber of games being played. It’s also likely to have a huge impact on how The International 2016 takes shape; with open qualifiers starting on June 21st, and regionals on the 25th, the direct invites list is surely being drawn up (if it hasn’t been locked in already). In a scene where it feels like anyone can beat anyone, the coming weeks should be incredibly exciting.

But now, however, let us simply enjoy some light rap.

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James Archer avatar

James Archer

Hardware Editor

James had previously hung around beneath the RPS treehouse as a freelancer, before being told to drop the pine cones and climb up to become hardware editor. He has over a decade’s experience in testing/writing about tech and games, something you can probably tell from his hairline.