?An Underdog story for the Ages

Vignesh Raghuram

6th, May, 2018
Image Credits: Epicenter

FlyToMoon’s EPICENTER XL story is already one of the bigger underdog runs of the season. The CIS squad formed in February didn’t even qualify through their regional qualifier but instead through the Madness Qualifier and have been dominating since day one. Beating both Mineski and complexity Gaming in the first 2 days before getting revenge for the CIS regional qualifiers and taking down Team Empire, they have surprised many.

Even though they’ve started the main event from the Lower Bracket the CIS team looked strong – defeating paiN Gaming, in a stomp, yesterday and now taking down two of the stronger Dota2 teams in VP and OG.
OG vs FlyToMoon

They opened the day with a bloodbath of a match against OG with over 80 kills in 60 minutes. The game was constantly back and forth but when FTM took a lead, they pulled very far ahead before OG would make a comeback, in part due to the signature Alchemist pick up from Sebastien “7mad” Debs. But soon, in the lategame Bogdan ‘Iceberg’ Vasilenko’s Death Prophet and Gaziev ‘Silent’ Airat’s Phantom Lancer were able to run rampant.

From their picks and bans down to their actual playstyle, the CIS squad just seemed miles ahead of OG today and would move out of the dreaded best-of-ones into the next round of the lower bracket.
VP vs Mineski

2 of the biggest teams of the DPC, top 4 in the rankings, would find themselves going head-to-head in the lower bracket of EPICENTER XL and with elimination on the cards for one of the teams, the game was assured to be amazing.

The home team would be looking to make the same showing as FTM earlier today, but right off the bat, it was the SEA squad who took control of the game. Drafting a CC-heavy lineup, Minseki racked up a solid lead before the half-hour mark and did not take their foot off the gas. But Alexi ‘Solo’ Berezin turned it around for VP with a stunning Oracle performance.

After claiming an aegis Virtus.pro moved up to the high ground and Mineski had no way to defend their base anymore and the last/only SEA hopefuls bowed out of the event
VP vs FlyToMoon

This was the biggest test of the tournament for FlyToMoon as they had the chance to prove that they’re not a one-trick pony in their first BO3 of the tournament.

An amazing first game from the underdogs came out as FTM continued their brilliance and claimed victory. Silent’s Gyrocopter alongside Iceberg’s Leshrac was just far too much for VP to deal with as FTM took an early lead and never let it slip throughout the 42-minute game.

The second match Virtus.pro came out of the gate swinging with their tournament lives on the line. FlyToMoon were quick to seize control from them shortly after. Applying pressure to VP, FlyToMoon continued to try to close the game out. As the pressure intensified, Virtus.pro were not ones to crumble under it and once again proved that staying calm could bring a losing game back to a level playing field. About 45 minutes in, a disastrous team fight for VP that resulted in a team wipe was enough for them to wave the white surrender flag and give FlyToMoon the game and series win. 

Winner Bracket Finals: Team Liquid vs PSG.LGD

The first game of the series was extremely intense with PSG.LGD taking the advantage at around 20 minutes which is just before they claimed the first barracks of the game in the top lane. However, even though their opponents were way ahead Liquid begun their fight back – finding great kills when LGD pushed. But LGD were able to make some amazing moves of their own, outplaying Liquid to claim mega creeps and stealing an aegis from the TI champions. This took the wind out of Team Liquid’s momentum and they ended up tapping out after a short hold.

Game two was more of the same really, except this time Liquid were absolutely dominated by Ame’s Slark. Throughout the game whether Liquid tried to engage or they were initiated on, PSG.LGD came out ahead and there seemed to be no answer to this from last year’s TI champions. There were moments when Liquid found crucial kills which pushed the Chinese team back for a few brief moments. But LGD was just too damn good near the Roshan Pit which proved to be the crucial factor in this game as well.

LGD secured the victory after a terrific performance and will be in their 2nd grand final at a Major in a row. Meanwhile Team Liquid will face a resurging FlyToMon squad, in the BO3 lower-bracket finals.


Here's how the brackets played out heading into the final day of Epicenter XL major.



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