OG 2, VGJ.Storm 0
The International 8 resumed Tuesday with a surprising 2-0 victory for OG over VGJ.Storm at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
After an impressive 12-4 group stage finish, VGJ.S came into this match as the considerable favorite. OG was barely able to sneak into the upper bracket and ended up as the opponent chosen by VGJ.S. Game 1 began looking like it would be another quick and convincing win for the up and coming VGJ.S squad, but a few OG players had a different plan in mind. OG was able to hang on despite trailing by 15,000 gold at one point, eventually winning a long scrappy fight outside the VGJ.S base and pushing to end the game. Offlaner Sebastien "7Mad" Debs' Winter Wyvern set up OG's fights with some amazing Winter's Curses. He was usually able to take out one hero with it in the late game, making things easy for carry Anathan "Ana" Pham on Phantom Lancer. Ana was able to farm up a huge net worth lead on the competition and use it to overwhelm VGJ.S. As long as he avoided Echo Slam from VGJ.S' support, Arif "MSS" Anwar on Earthshaker, Ana was unstoppable in late-game fights.
With a quick trip to a guaranteed top-six just one win away, OG came out of the gate swinging in Game 2. Once again, OG relied heavily on the strong control Winter Wyvern brings to the game with Winter's Curse. This time the hero was piloted by support player Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka, a longtime specialist on the hero. JerAx's experience and skills allowed OG to win decisive fights in a relatively even game, blowing the VGJ.S defenses wide open. By the 33-minute mark, OG had demolished all three lanes of VGJ.S' barracks, securing an all but guaranteed victory with mega creeps. With its upper bracket future on the line, VGJ.S refused to surrender and held out as long as possible but OG and the mega creeps quickly finished things off.
VGJ.S remains in contention but will be dropped to the lower bracket where every best-of-three risks elimination. It will play next vs Winstrike Team at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday. OG moves forward in the upper bracket, securing at least a top six finish for itself. OG will play at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday against the winner of Team Secret vs Evil Geniuses.
Evil Geniuses 2, Team Secret 0
The second match of Tuesday's competition at The International 8 ended in a thrilling 2-0 win for Evil Geniuses over Team Secret at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
EG kicked off the series with Tuesday's first dominant victory. The two EG carries, Artour "Arteezy" Babaev and Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan, both played excellent Dota on Ursa and Alchemist respectively. It was a slow and methodical victory from EG under the leadership of new captain Tal "Fly" Aizik, amassing a gigantic lead of 42,000 gold before finally forcing Secret to call GG. EG was able to win both side lanes while making sure SumaiL's Alchemist still did well, setting itself up for a very strong mid and late-game. Secret did its best to turn the tides, especially carry player Yeik Nai "MidOne" Zheng on Morphling, as well as team captain and support Clement "Puppey" Ivanov on Winter Wyvern who did a great job stalling EG with Winter's Curse and saving his teammates. MidOne's Morphling was practically the only one of Secret finding kills, but he couldn't do enough damage on his own.
In Game 2, Secret staked its upper bracket spot on a MidOne Tinker in order to stop the advance from EG's ranged hero pushing lineup. The combined damage from Arteezy's Drow Ranger Precision Aura and support Andreas "Cr1t" Nielsen's Vengeful Spirit gave a huge boost to everyone on EG. Secret's response was to try and find quick solo kills on key EG heroes. The on-demand burst damage from MidOne made these kills possible and kept the game extremely even. When it came to a five-on-five teamfight, the damage from EG was simply overwhelming as SumaiL did 68,000 damage just by himself on Gyrocopter. After a grueling 57 minutes, EG finally secured mega creeps along with a kill on MidOne's Tinker to force the win.
Team Secret drop to the lower bracket to play in an elimination best-of-three against Vici Gaming on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. Evil Geniuses will advance in the upper bracket to face off against OG on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.
OpTic Gaming 2, Team Serenity 0
OpTic Gaming kept its International 2018 hopes alive Tuesday with a swift 2-0 victory over Team Serenity at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
Simply put, Serenity was out drafted in both games, intent on playing its own game instead of trying to work around OpTic's draft. Ironically, once the draft was over, Serenity did the exact opposite, merely reacting to OpTic's plays rather than enacting a game plan of its own. Carry Jin "zhizhizhi" Zhiyi played far too aggressively in Game 2, causing more harm than good despite the team's considerable deficit throughout the majority of the contest. These actions caused a chain reaction with support player Xiong "Pyw" Jiahan who became more and more aggressive as the game went on, trying to compensate for the misplays by zhizhizhi. While nobody can question the will to win shown from Team Serenity, one might question the team's collective decision making process.
OpTic Gaming has now secured top-eight at The International 2018 with its win over Team Serenity and with it captain Peter "PPD" Dager has also claimed at least a top-eight finish during every International he has attended. PPD was a big part of OpTic's win, outdrafting his opponents every game to give his team the edge from the start of each match. In Game 1, Peter also helped OpTic outside of the draft as Jakiro, landing a plethora of Ice Path stuns, locking down multiple members of Team Serenity for multi-kills throughout the game. In Game 2, it was Ludwig "zai" Wahlberg who was the star of the show, as Nyx Assassin. He provided OpTic with tons of information through the use of his ultimate, Vendetta, scouting out the enemy team and setting up ganks. Zai turned Serenity's initiations on their heads by using Spiked Carapace to stun the initiators, stunning them again as the rest of his team rushed in for an easy kill.
Team Serenity is eliminated from The International 2018 and will return home with $374,642. OpTic Gaming will advance further into the lower bracket and will await the winner of Virtus.Pro versus Mineski on Thursday at 1 p.m. EST.
Virtus.pro 2, Mineski 0
Virtus.pro survived its first match in the lower bracket Wednesday by eliminating Mineski with a 2-0 victory during The International 2018 main event at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Mineski, despite losing, played one of the better matchups against Virtus.pro so far at The International 2018. Playing an aggressive style that put even Virtus.pro on its heels to start, Mineski looked like it had a chance at an upset. However, losing sight of the forest for the trees, Mineski became recklessly agressive as the game went on, getting picked off out of position and committing too many resources to fights that, in hindsight, weren't worth such a heavy investment. The chief catalyst of the careless aggression was Mineski's young mid laner, Kam "Moonn" Boon Seng. Despite the follies of youth, Mineski's veterans Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang and Chai "Mushi" Yee Fung should have been able to reign in their teammate or planned to be a more reliable fallback when the fate of the game fell at their feet.
Initially, Virtus.pro was taken aback by the early aggression from Mineski in Game 1, but was able to minimize its early losses and come back even stronger. Virtus.pro drafted a strong lineup for fighting and pushing in both games. When starting off behind, the team would split up, push and farm before coming together to take one objective, finding strength in their numbers. While all the members of Virtus.pro had strong showings, off laner Pavel " 9pasha" Khvastunov was far and away the most valuable player for his team in the series. 9pasha led his team's resurgence in Game 1 as Weaver, pushing down towers, grabbing pickoffs and overall keeping Mineski preoccupied without dying while his teammates cut into Mineski's lead. In Game 2, it was 9pasha as Enigma using Blackhole to lockdown Mineski's mobile heroes and turn the tables in Virtus.pro's favor mid fight and later occupying the attention of Mineki's cores, leaving the rest of his team to tear them apart.
Mineski is eliminated from The International 2018 and goes home with $374,642. Virtus.pro will continue its quest for the Aegis of Champions and will move on to face OpTic Gaming at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday.