I did not expect a fantastic three game series today after yesterday made me doubt if this would happen again. Newbee took game one, then Invictus tool game two. I was ecstatic to see another game three and this did not disappoint. Lets break down the series;
These teams both came from Group B and they split their series together. Newbee only finished with one more win than Invictus Gaming. Newbee swept Evil Geniuses (who would be swept again the next day) and Invictus Gaming had a real test against Team Liquid in their 2-1 series win. This was easily the most even match since Team Liquid faced Invictus Gaming. I was very excited to have that feeling back, the Upper Bracket was not entertaining for me yesterday.
Game One; kpii is a Very Good Puck
This draft was a little strange. Venomancer and Monkey King saw play during the Group Stage and Lich has been a relatively popular pick. First Newbee picked Nightstalker and Puck in tandem, that was not surprising. They wisely banned Lycan and Puck has been a very good pick for a number of teams throughout the Group Stages and the Main Event. Crystal Maiden & Ursa was a little strange to watch. Crystal Maiden has a 50% winrate so its not necessarily a bad pick and Ursa is still a great pick for control of Roshan. Sniper was a surprise for me, this was only the fourth game to feature a Sniper. Invictus had a solid idea of how to disrupt Newbee and get in top of Sniper, and for a large portion of game one it worked. Sniper was kept down for a majority of the game and in the end Sccc posted a 3/6/24 KDA on Sniper. kpii had a fantastic game, Puck was the hard carry here. I must give Invictus credit for their Legion Commander pick. Legion Commander leapt on Newbee virtually whenever Duel was up and as a result Xxs amassed considerable gold and extra damage as a result. The length of the game proved to be Invictus undoing, there was not enough farm on the map to get Legion Commander, Venomancer and Phantom Lancer going. Legion Commander even died a few times going for a Duel engage later in the game as that had worked for about the first 20 minutes of the game. Newbee got a great win on the back of kpii’s Puck and a solid Ursa pick.
Game Two; No One Puts Bloodseeker in a Corner
First off, I like Invictus Gaming’s draft. Lich and Dark Seer are great for supporting melee carries. Newbee’s draft is baffling to me. I’m not a fan of Visage, there were still plenty of support picks that offer more utility than Visage. Before the Visage pick Newbee selected Drow Ranger and dislike that more than the Visage pick. Centering their draft around Drow Ranger after Invictus picked Lich just seems shortsighted. Having said all that I also have to give Newbee an abundance of credit for keeping Bloodseeker out of this game. Granted they couldn’t keep Bloodseeker down forever and Newbee probably should have done more when Blookseeker was neutered. When Newbee lost control of this game they never got it back, Invictus weathered the storm and picked up the win. Invictus could have probably picked up the win faster if Newbee hadn’t kept fighting them but Newbee should be commended for this (no matter how small an accomplishment that is). Seriously this game is worth watching just to see Bloodseeker go from zero to hero.
Game Three; Tinker Against the World
Every draft in this series was eventful, but it was fun to watch each team adapt to the first two games in this draft. I really like the Nightstalker & Lycan tandem pick but Newbee had a better adaptation with the early Bloodseeker pick. Lycan’s movespeed during Shapeshift makes him a huge target for Rupture. Kaka continues to have great games on Earth Sprit and I think Earth Spirit should definitely be at least a consideration for an early ban against Newbee. Game three was a fairly competitive game for about 20 minutes. After that it was clear Lycan was not having a good game and Nightstalker was never going to carry. Op really did everything he could do on Tinker. He dealt more damage than the rest of his team put together. Having two carries is clearly superior to having only one, and Invictus never got close to winning this game. Newbee had a good showing today and they need to harness some momentum into their next series against the winner of Virtus.Pro vs LGD.Forever Young.
Invictus Gaming (1) vs Newbee (2); Now What?
Invictus Gaming have a little time to adjust their draft, their plan for game three was flawed at best. I was impressed with the way OG dispatched TNC Pro and I expect them to defeat LGD-Gaming in the same manner. No matter who wins Invictus Gaming are in for a difficult match and they have to move on from tonight. If Invictus Gaming have an ambition to win TI7 their next series is where they’ll start to show it. Newbee should take a moment to celebrate, they made top for at TI7. That is a huge achievement for any team, even an organization that already won at TI4. Newbee face the winner of LGD.Forever Young vs Virtus.Pro . Newbee should watch the that series but really only adjust their ban strategy for game one. Newbee did a good job of adjusting to Invictus Gaming in this series and doing the same is a solid plan. Newbee also showed a willingness to be unconventional in this series, that’s a fantastic quality to have before such an important series. Hopefully picking Sniper and Storm Spirit (and winning with both) will give their next opponents a moment of pause. At least one team has already run out of time while drafting so any way to make that harder for potential opponents is a good thing.