Professional Dota 2 [official site] players descended on Los Angeles this past weekend to take part in The Summit 4 – the latest instalment of professional Dota 2’s most casual competition. Ahead lie spoilers for the event along with our picks of the best matches the tournament had to offer. Let's get cracking!
The Summit 4 came to a close as US Dota 2 squad Evil Geniuses (EG) claimed first place over Russian-based team Virtus Pro (VP).
For the uninitiated, The Summit is a biannual tournament that takes place entirely within the shared house of production studio Beyond the Summit. It’s an informal event where eight teams share the same fridge of Capri Suns, the analyst desk is a sofa and shoes are left in presumably a very large, very smelly rack near the door.
The prize pool is small by pro Dota standards – EG took home $48,079 – but still very much worth fighting for, as evidenced by the efforts of EG and VP, who both made laudable runs through the entirety of the upper and lower brackets respectively.
The grand final stretched to the maximum five games as VP and EG took turns dominating. VP were stronger in the first two rounds, ending game 2 of the set with a spectacular combo attack that locked down four-fifths of EG before allowing midlaner Sergey 'G' Bregin to blow them all up with a single well-placed ultimate (you can find that here at the 36:00 timestamp). Support player Ilya 'Lil' Ilyuk also pulled off the cleverest move of the tournament in Game 1, aiming his Spirit Breaker’s charge attack at an AI creep. It was perfectly timed to strike and stun EG’s Sumail 'Suma1L' Hassan as the latter’s invulnerability [that cyclone effect that takes him up in the air] wore off leaving him unable to blink to safety before the Dark Seer showed up.
EG then took control in games 3 and 4, relying on hit-and-run attacks and high-scaling damage dealers like Gyrocopter and Templar Assassin to club VP into submission. It culminated in carry Artour 'Arteezy' Babaev scoring a full five-man wipe. The Russian side appeared to lose their focus in Game 5, dropping multiple fights to a virtuoso ping-ponging Timbersaw performance by SumaiL before their ancient was finally overrun completely.
But SumaiL’s showing as a grapple-hooking paranoid lumberjack was just one of many highlights from an entertaining, frequently funny tournament; here are a few of the others:
Evil Geniuses vs Digital Chaos, upper bracket quarterfinals (game 1)
This was a series packed with rivalries – Digital Chaos includes such players as Kurtis 'Aui_2000' Ling (who was kicked from EG one week after they won TI5 together), Yawar 'YawaR' Hassan, the brother of his EG midlander counterpart SumaiL, and offlaner Kanishka 'BuLba' Sosale, who until recently was the coach for – wouldn’t you know it? – EG.
EG did eventually win 2-1, but only after being pushed to their limits by the younger team. Game 1 was a particularly impressive victory for DC, who combined carry player Tyler 'TC' Cook’s enormous area-of-effect damage on Gyrocopter with BuLba’s disabling prowess to outfight and finish a wounded EG – albeit after a hilariously confused moment where both teams, invisible from popping a Smoke of Deceit each, unexpectedly bumped into each other.
EHOME vs OG, lower bracket round 2 (game 1)
EHOME are still looking for their first big LAN win since reforming earlier this year, having been knocked out of The Summit 4 by Frankfurt Major winners OG. Still, the efforts of Ren 'eLeVeN' Yangwei on his signature half-walrus, half-boxer hero Tusk meant that EHOME didn’t go down without a fight.
Case in point from Game 1 of the series: just as OG were finishing off Roshan (the closest thing Dota 2 has to a raid boss) eLeVeN simply waltzed in, punched star OG midlaner Amer 'Miracle-' Barqawi in the face, and stole Roshan’s loot (the Aegis of the Immortal, which immediately brings the carrier back to life if they die). OG quickly punished eLeVeN’s insolence, but EHOME carry Chen 'Cty' Tianyu wasted no time rushing on his Huskar and, in a flurry of flaming spears and terrifying attack speed buffs, sent the entirety of OG to the grave – mere seconds after eLeVeN returned from it.
Vici Gaming vs Virtus Pro, upper bracket quarterfinals (game 3)
Divine Rapier purchases are as exciting as they are rare, with only the bravest/most foolhardy willing to risk losing its titanic +330 damage boost to the enemy upon death.
One such candidate is Xu 'BurNIng' Zhilei, carry player of Chinese powerhouse Vici Gaming, who picked up a Rapier late into a match-deciding game 3 against Virtus Pro. Catastrophe struck when VP’s Silent and DkPhobos successfully sprang an ambush, the former pocketing the Rapier, but a failed push into VG’s base meant it was soon once again tearing through both Virtus Pro’s base and Virtus Pro, allowing VG to take the series.
Evil Geniuses vs Team Liquid, upper bracket semifinals (the whole thing)
This flashy and furious series was the first clash between EG’s Arteezy and Liquid’s Kuro 'KuroKy' Salehi Takhasomi since their old squad, Team Secret, self-destructed after TI5. As Twitch chat erupted with memes, their new teams erupted with some staggeringly brutal engagements.
The series was rammed with highlights, from a disconcertingly unified mass of Liquid enveloping EG in Game 1 to a cacophonous symphony of ultimates in game 2, but it’s hard not to be most impressed by the sheer speed and force with which EG, on the back of UNiVeRsE’s perfect crowd control as Earthshaker, descend upon and destroy Liquid to win game 3.
It was a fierce and dramatic conclusion, typical of a tournament that’s served as a suitable send-off for the teamfight-centric 6.85 patch era.
May 6.86 bring many more like it.