What a Day!! What a great set of matches and perhaps most importantly What a win for China. PSG.LGD have brought home China their first ever major championship with a scintillating victory in the Grand Finals thanks to some incredible plays coming out of every single one of their players.
All three teams left on the final day of the major showed us that they got here through no fluke and that the next 3 Majors+1 Minor are gonna be some of the most contested and hyped events of the season.
Let’s recap what materialized on championship Sunday at the Epicenter XL Major.
Game 1 of the BO3 saw FlyToMoon start off strong and keep on making aggressive plays right from the get go. Liquid just did not seem to get a grip on the game as Lasse ‘Matumbaman’ Urpalainen fell constantly in the early game leaving, Amer ‘Miracle-‘ Al-Barkawi the burden of carrying his team to victory on his Anti-Mage. But, FlyToMoon made some perfect plays to shut down the European Giants as they killed off Miracle repeatedly to keep his networth in check. As a result, they were able to always find the better fights, either completely wiping the entire Liquid team or at least 4 of them forcing the TI Champs to tap out in 40 minutes.
Game 2 was a lot closer with only four kills and a 10k difference between the two sides, but with orchestrated team wipes and solid teamwork, Liquid leveled things up. The 3rd and final game of the series was just as great as the previous 2. FlyToMoon’s nerves definitely got the better of them, while Liquid showed why they were TI champions. Maroun ‘GH’ Merhej and Kuro ‘KuroKy’ Salehi Takhasomi ensured the victory for their team as they kept their cool and ripped through their CIS opponents. And marched toward the Grand Finals.
The opening game of the series begun with both teams finding kills constantly and LGD took a rather small lead by picking on Amer ‘Miracle-‘ Al-Barkawi’s Gyrocopter. But it was Liquid who found control of the game first, killing off the cores of their opponents and taking down the mid lane barracks. But on the retreat, Wang ‘Ame’ Chunyu literally 1v4’d the Liquid lineup. Taking on 4 from the Liquid lineup as they battered down his team’s structures, Ame’s fantastic mechanical skill with Morphling turned the game around completely and that was the turning point. It didn’t take long for LGD to go for the GG-push and they had no problem ending it after an extremely entertaining game one.
Liquid picked up the notorious Drow Ranger and Miracle-’s signature Invoker combo. They might have caught PSG.LGD by surprise. But it resulted in a disaster of a laning phase for the Drow, who is notorious for being very susceptible to ganks. However, Miracle- was left unchecked in the middle lane, and once he had an Aghanim's Scepter in hand, he demolished PSG.LGD in teamfights, after which they easily took Game 2.
The third game was perhaps the best of the lot on championship Sunday. Liquid went for a last-pick Invoker once again, confident in the Miracle-‘s prowess on the hero. It seemed to work out as they took a lead in the early game and managed to get a great amount of farm on both their main cores.
Liquid looked assured victory and a 2-1 series lead as they expended buybacks to secure a huge fight victory at the Roshan pit. After they claimed an aegis the team went high ground, knowing that they had just caused a die-back on Ame’s Phantom Lancer. But the team got too greedy as LGD defended with 4, picked off multiple Liquid heroes without buybacks and secured the win. The series was now 2-1 to LGD.
The fourth game would also slip through their fingers as Slark was left unchecked, and no matter how well Miracle-'s Kunkka had done early on, no matter how great calls Mind_Control made on Axe, Liquid could not stop Slark, and as the game dragged on their hopes of victory grew slimmer and slimmer. Liquid struggled to keep up in what was clearly an uphill battle for them. With a final showdown in the Dire base, Liquid fought to the bitter end before calling out the "GG" and finished in 2nd place in a major, yet again.
With that PSG.LGD take their first Major victory and the first Major victory for a China team and perhaps most importantly 500 Thousand Million in prize money.
This win pushes them up into 4th place in the DPC rankings with 1 Minor and 3 Majors left. LGD played some of the most breathtakingly beautiful Dota 2 at times throughout the entirety of EPICENTER XL and deserved the title, with Fy getting the honors of being the MVP of the tournament and being presented with an infinity gauntlet.
The next road stop in the DPC Calendar is the final Minor of the season, GESC: Thailand Dota 2 Minor which kicks off in a couple of days, 9th of May to be exact.