Team Spirit tried their best but fell apart at the final hurdle, with PSG.LGD taking victory at OGA Dota PIT 

After four stellar days of competition, the OGA Dota PIT Invitational is at a close. Wrapping things up are two teams who’ve performed incredibly, one surprisingly and one expected. 

PSG.LGD, for some the favorites to win The International 10, proved their worth this tournament. Blazing through the upper bracket, the team swept into the finals having lost just two games this tournament. What’s more they did it without their star solo mid, Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang. Instead, the team played with Zhang "xiao8" Ning and saw similar success… but nowhere near the dominance fans expect from the team when they have NTS.

Team Spirit, on the other hand, have defied the odds to reach the Grand Finals at the OGA Dota PIT Invitational. A Lower Bracket run saw them survive the gauntlet. A team that seemed to get better with every match they played, their lower bracket finals victory over Tundra was their statement game.Tundra, a team many call “the best team not attending TI10,” seemed like no match for a determined Team Spirit.

With this being perhaps the last chance to hone their Dota skills in tournament conditions before TI10, both teams were primed for action. And as a result we were gifted a fantastic series.

Turning It With Team Fights

Kicking off the series PSG.LGD put their faith in Wang “Ame” Chunyu and his Slark, leaving xiao8 on a more utility-focused Batrider Mid. Meanwhile, Team Spirit’s draft focused on the Queen of Pain and Sven combination of carries, giving them incredible catch, but also late game potential.

Team Spirit started off using their characteristic early-game aggression to punish LGD. But, thanks to the inherent safety of the IO/Slark combo, Team Spirit were unable to gain more of a significant lead. And beyond this, xiao8 was quickly able to bully his lane opponent out of the middle. This meant he was able to roam top, relieve his fellow carry and cause havoc for Spirit.

This momentum shifting gank created a large lead for LGD, who took advantage by pushing lanes, taking towers and attempting to widen the gap. But just as things seemed to be looking dire for Team Spirit, the team struck back, taking advantage of their draft’s catch to secure a teamfight win. 

This turn elimited a 7k gold lead and swung the momentum of the game entirely. An attempt by LGD at Roshan to engage on Team Spirit ended in LGD spending buybacks just to kill supports. In return Team Spirit pushed up into LGD’s high ground threatening to end. Which is just what they did, with the CIS team taking the first victory after a fairly short and impressive performance. 

Stack to Win

LGD broke out the Monkey King, Pangolier and Beastmaster for game two, clearly unimpressed with their team fighting. Spirit, to counter, turned to the Batrider. and continuing with the Vengeful Spirit, they reached deep into their hero pool to bring out Hoodwink, a surprising pick. 

Stalemate early as LGD committed to making themselves as annoying as possible. They did this by having the four-position Monkey King snipe couriers, build Orb of Venom and harass his opponent’s. This annoyance continued as Pangolier bullied mid, with the Beastmaster hawk and Monkey providing extra vision. These distractions allowed Ame’s Sven to farm huge stacks of jungle creeps and create a monster carry hero.

Not content with their own huge stacks in the Radiant jungle, LGD chose the perfect moment to invade and take the Dire jungle. Catching Luna while she was clearing a stack, LGD scored two kills and stole at least 3k of farm.

Team Spirit’s sole hope for victory seemed to be Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov on Nightstalker. If the three-position could pop off at nighttime, he’d be able to take away Sven’s support. 

Picking up Roshan and starting a push into Spirit’s high ground, LGD looked to end. Spirit on the other hand, attempted valiantly to hold off their opponents and after some incredible clutch plays by Collapse at the 33-minute mark, everyone except Ame was dead. With the first opening almost 10 minutes, Spirit desperately attempted to grab some farm, but LGD were almost immediately back in Spirit’s base. But this time there would be hell to pay, as Ame was dragged into the fountain and killed.

But even this admirable attempt was too little too late. LGD tied things up 1-1 sending us to a minimum of four games.

Avoid The Void

Coming off a loss, Team Spirit immediately chose violence. Picking up a Tidehunter, returning to the Shadow Demon that had had success in the first game and choosing Storm Spirit for carry. They definitely wanted to win fights in the third game. LGD, meanwhile, went back to the Pango, picked up a Bane and stole away Spirit’s Vengeful Spirit. Their draft looked slightly scatterbrained on paper, but seemed to offer lots of long range catch and poke. 

In-game, the draft started to make a lot more sense. Capping things off with a Faceless Void finally gave the draft focus. And in lanes, the team quickly began to bully Team Spirit. Spirit had quickly found that, once again, all their hopes lay on Collapse, who needed to hit the perfect Ravage on Tidehunter to win a teamfight.

Unfortunately for Spirit, even the perfect fight wasn’t able to secure the lead. A massive Ravage didn’t kill off Ame, who turned around and hit a five-man chrono to secure a stalemate team fight. Spirit just couldn’t catch a break.

With the easy wins not dropping into their lap, Spirit opted to grind out LGD the hard way: Picking them off one-by-one in side lanes. With the confidence from these quick catches, the team started to pick more substantial fights, slowly whittling down LGD’s lead. 

Ultimately, Spirit were just unable to kill Ame. And that was the breaking point for Spirit. LGD shoved lanes, bullied their opponents and finally ended the game. Ame’s Faceless Void scored a ridiculous 15/1/6, carrying his team,and willing them to victory. With LGD going up 2-1 it was make or break time for Team Spirit

Can’t Stop The Inevitable Sven

With everything on the line, Spirit went back to Tidehunter and grabbed Winter Wyvern. Early lane dominance and preventing the Sven and Pango snowball was the only win-condition for them. That and the Templar Assassin popping off.

But even with this push towards the lane bully heroes, Spirit struggled against the talent of PSG.LGD. With this, the game devolved into a full blow brawl, with both teams constantly forcing fights.

However, the issue with these constant fights is that it slowly got Sven more and more fed. As a result, even in the fights Spirit chose, the one constant was Ame bopping heroes. And with every win in a team fight, Spirit lost more and more of their towers. Eventually it was too much to handle and after a valiant effort from Team Spirit, LGD finished their opponents to claim a 3-1 victory.

Final Thoughts on PSG.LGD Victory

LGD are victorious after a confident but perhaps not up-to-par result. The absence of NTS has finally shown that LGD aren’t perfect, especially without one of their star players. There’s a lot of weight on Ame’s shoulders, but he can deliver, especially if he has Sven it seems. 

Team Spirit should be proud of their performance. They struck it out with some of the best in the world and went toe to toe with LGD. Their hopes at TI have drastically increased thanks to their showing here. Perhaps the entire face of the event has been upturned by a single online event.