They say its the year of Chinese Dota 2. And it’s not entirely wrong. After Invictus Gaming secured the Singapore Major, PSG.LGD has now 3-0’ed Evil Geniuses at the WePlay Animajor. A commanding performance by the Xiao8-led team.
11 days of Dota action would all culminate in a single Bo5 series, as the Animajor Grand Finals began for the WePlay AniMajor. 18 Teams entered into the tournament & now only 2 teams remained.
PSG.LGD came into the Animajor Grand Finals as the final Boss off the tournament, having won the Group Stages and gone on to dominant the Playoff Bracket en route to this points.
Evil Geniuses, however, had come the longer route. Having started the Playoffs in the Lower Bracket, they needed to win 5 series in a row to get here, eliminating 3 teams who would find themselves now playing regional qualifiers due to this.
Given this setup, we would have two opponents who had thus far not lost a single series in the Playoffs. With questions of TI qualification settled for both teams, the only stakes for the game would be the pride that comes with winning a major tournament for the first time with roster.
In short, outside of TI, this would be the most important game of these player’s lives.
Game 1: PSG.LGD brush off EG
To start off proceedings would be a draft from PSG.LGD that would epitomize early aggression with an Axe and Phoenix opener, whilst EG would put their continued trust in the Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang Timbersaw, picking it in the opening 2. Backing it up with Lion and Clockwork in the laning phase, to allow the Abed Lina to deal maximum damage from afar. LGD threw a curveball by picking Razor and Hoodwink, heroes not necessarily signature for Cheng “NothingToSay” Jin Xiang or XinQ.
With the stage set for a true hard carry matchup between Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and Wang “Ame” Chunyu, EG would turn things around and double down on the early aggression by picking up a Nature’s Prophet for Arteezy. Under pressure, PSG.LGD would rely on Ame playing Axe, instead grabbing the Sand King last pick for Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida to facilitate further fighting.
It finally begins
A slow considered start for the early game was to be expected in a game with stakes these high. With nobody making any aggressive moves, PSG.LGD found themselves happily soaking up early farm in game on their core heroes. EG, realizing this, attempted to make a play onto the Razor, however his tankiness allowed PSG.LGD to turn the play and instead find first blood for themselves.
Still feeling under pressure to dictate the tempo in this game given that their lineup, EG would attempt to take a fight middle to secure the Tier 1 tower. Although their push did a lot of damage on the building, the fight itself went very badly as they lost 4 heroes for very little in return.
Feeling each other out
The game would stay somewhat slow, as off the back of these kills EG could not really fight into PSG.LGD. Deciding to bide their time until their got bigger items, the NA squad would play defensively and slowly. However, PSG.LGD were also farming.
EG Attempted to reveal their Lina’s Eul’s Scepter on Razor, who sadly had been given the time to farm a BKB so quickly countered the move and turned the engagement.
After this it really felt like EG had begun falling apart. With the team unable to make moves as a team, Arteezy attempted to buy space and time by pushing out the sidelanes. However PSG.LGD were clearly ready for this. Having laid out pre-emptive vision, and catching him before he even knew what was happening.
After this, EG attempted desperate move after desperate move, and at every moment were rebuffed into an even bigger advantage for PSG.LGD.
Time to switch gears
After this, EG tried to play a style of maximum splitpush to buy as much time as possible. However because of the huge PSG.LGD advantage, in farm and map mobility, this was never going to succeed as they had the ability to catch players simultaneously rather than be drawn solely on one side of the map.
From this position, PSG.LGD would go on to take 2 lanes of barracks, and attempt to secure the Roshan which would make it impossible for EG to fight into them. The first game of the Animajor Grand Finals was in grasp but PSG.LGD continued to play it cautious and methodical.
EG, realizing that they had no options left, would try force a fight in the pit as a final hail mary.
Despite the Abed Azel L. Yusop Lina stealing away the Aegis from PSG.LGD, it simply would not matter as EG were too far behind to do anything effective in the fight and would be immediately shut out in the fight.
With GG called, PSG.LGD would claim game 1 in the WePlay AniMajor Grand Finals.
With a win in hand, and giving themselves a crucial one game advantage, PSG.LGD would be going into the rest of the games in the Animajor Grand finals heavily favored to continue to dominate.
Game 2 saw EG falling back on the Abed Storm Spirit, keeping the Nature’s Prophet and having IceIceIce on Viper. Bringing in the Cr1t Earth Spirit and Fly Ancient Apparition, EG had the makings of an early draft to constantly skirmish with.
PSG.LGD, went for a deathball with Death Prophet and Terrorblade, giving themselves the Brewmaster for Faith_Bian to give them teamfight from the offlane position.
PSG.LGD started Game 2 already playing very aggresively, securing an early advantage by forcing a fight on the radiant triangle before the horn even sounded. Finding an early first blood and bonus gold for the signature Ame Terrorblade, this allowed them to start the game already decently ahead of what the early matchups would suggest.
You think that affects us?
Recovering from this though, EG were not knocked off kilter and managed to bounce back very quickly to get a grab middle onto NothingToSay to start off his lane. Giving Abed a kill on his most comfortable hero, EG could bounce back from the impact of the early first blood which had led to 3 bounty runes being taken at the beginning of the game.
This snowballed into a very strong midlane for Abed, which led to EG killing NothingToSay over and over again. Delaying the emergence of the DP into the game, this also allowed EG to continue to isolate him as a target. Depressing him to the point where he spent a full minute respawning in the early game, which allowed EG to continue to slowly take over the map, shutting out all except Ame from farming.
Being so strong as to be able to take fights anywhere on the map, it seems that the strength of EG would also apply in terms of defending themselves. As PSG.LGD went for their first major fight on the map, which despite them using all their spells, resulted in them being demolished by Evil Geniuses, losing the key Ame Terrrorblade in the process.
From here Evil Geniuses were really feeling invincible on the map, especially with Abed able to make jumps that were never punished despite what PSG.LGD attempted.
As is customary for every dominant Storm Spirit, he did make one jump which would bring him far too close to the limits of his abilities. Being isolated far from his team and surrounded by PSG.LGD heroes, they chained their disables perfectly to ensure he could not escape and secured a massive amount of gold for the Death Prophet, allowing the heroes’ recovery.
Will that mistake cost us?
Dota though is a game where initiative is everything at the highest tiers. Despite finding themselves in such a backfoot position, PSG.LGD were able to keep pressure on map by smoking into their jungle. Knowing EG had set up shop in the jungle in their quest to control the map, PSG.LGD were able to find IceIceIce in the jungle and gain some much needed gold for their Terrorblade. Unfortunately, to survive, Ame needed to sunder NothingToSay which therefore made the Death Prophet a prime target for the hyper-mobile EG draft.
Despite losing Death Prophet, the crucial Terrorblade received even more time to farm. Since this hero would ultimately become the strongest hero on the map, every moment given was a less a chance for a victory from EG.
EG were Attempting to get a jump on supports to open up space for a potential push, EG instead found themselves deep into a fight that they were not fully prepared for. Unable to retreat in time, they were forced into a bad position on their Nature’s Prophet, which killed him and bought even more time for PSG.LGD.
Now my time has come
Considering that Arteezy needed to play more defensively for the rest of the game, given that this stage of the game represented his peak of power on this hero, the entire balance of power of the game had shifted.
Rather than being about PSG.LGD buying time, it was now about whether or not EG could win the game past the strength of the Ame Terrorblade.
Still feeling confident in their pushing power, EG tried to force the bottom lane of barracks when they thought PSG.LGD were not in position to properly defend. Unfortunately, Terrorblade was ready.
Ame literally stood his ground against EG and felt like a true final boss standing before the barracks. As Arteezy and Abed tried to start the aggression on Ame, NothingToSay single handedly moved into 3 heroes to disrupt any ability to follow up onto the Terrorblade.
Realizing that their Nature’s Prophet was going to die and that retreat would not be possible in their position, EG made the decision to try kill the Terrorblade to try recoup some kind of decent takeaway from the fight.
Putting in literally every iota of possible effort, EG succeeded but at the cost of their entire team. To compound their misery, Terrorblade was one of the last heroes to die, getting an insurmountable gold lead in the processs.
Now with the game state back in the Game 1 position where PSG.LGD were so far ahead that them finding a final Roshan would spell disaster for EG.
Knowing that the PSG.LGD would definitely be making their way into the pit, EG made their way to the area. Knowing that they were en route, PSG.LGD initiated all their ultimates to protect the Roshan. It seemed to be working as Ame had enough time to hit the Roshan uncontested.
Abed though, for the 2nd game in the row found himself able to steal the Aegis away from PSG.LGD, this time also grabbing the Aghanim’s Shard and Cheese. And for the 2nd game in a row his team immediately lost the ensuing fight.
His team overcommitted to potentially protect him, which placed them into a very bad position despite the multiple Aeon Disks purchased on the team.
We tried our best
Losing 4 heroes, one of them being the Storm Spirit, EG also bought back on 3 of them to attempt to keep Abed alive. Though they succeeded in this endeavour, the resources committed to this fight meant that they were now heavily unfavoured, and in a position where they could no longer win without a mistake from PSG.LGD, or a Rapier.
Purchasing this Rapier in the time PSG.LGD were preparing for the final push, Arteezy was now the final hope for his team to provide any kind of threat against Ame.
Unfortunately, not only was the damage not sufficient from the Nature’s Prophet, Arteezy was unfortunately overwhelmed with the expectations of the game and teleported to a very dangerous place near the bottom lane of barracks.
Once he was caught and killed, PSG.LGD demonstrated their strength by ignoring the dropped Divine Rapier, tunnel visioning onto the Tier 4 towers and starting to melt down the towers.
Despite an impressively quick Ame kill, it proved insufficient ultimately as he quickly bought back and returned to the radiant base. Restoring his team’s strength and forcing out the GG from EG shortly afterwards.
A Clean 3-0 Sweep to secure the second Major
The game 3 draft of the series saw EG with their backs against the wall. Both teams in this position decided to bust out some of their bread-and-butter heroes. EG first 2 a Lion and Templar Assassin combination, two heroes that have been very popular in this tournament. LGD decided to take their patented Axe, which they have been flexing both as a carry and in the offlane. Arteezy’s Terrorblade came out as the last pick for EG, and the Naga Siren was overall last picked for Ame on PSG.LGD.
The early game started off relatively even with both teams trading kills. Abed won his lane as is common to see and managed to get some key kills. As has been true across this series however, PSG.LGD continually response dot the aggression from EG with flying colors. XinQ on his signature Mirana continually set up kills including an important one on the Terrorblade. At the same time , Abed popped to kill the Naga Siren and to turn it into a Rosh play.
PSG.LGD demolish Evil Geniuses to regain momentum
Soon after however, PSG.LGD swooped in to demolish fours members of EG and put the momentum of the game into their favor. As the game went on, PSG>LGD continued to find great pickoffs with great calls from Faith_bian and silences from Nothingtosay catching out Arteezy several times.
Getting into the late game, the fights began to close in around the Roshan pit. Although EG put up a fight, the incredible teamfight coordination from PSG. LGD was able to continuously force EG out of the Rosh pit. Y’ in particular had many Cold embrace saves that prevented every member of the team from dying teamfights. Ame continuously grew his lead and there was nothing that EG could do. With one last teamfight, PSG.LGD were able to three game sweep EG to claim victory at the Animajor Grand Finals!
PSG.LGD win WePlay Animajor
The Chinese team, PSG.LGD, won the WePlay Animajor, a significant feather in its cap. The team flies home with $200,000 and 500 DPC points. The next Valve-sponsored Dota 2 event is The International that takes place in Stockholm, Sweden. But before that Dota 2 fans can look forward to more action via the ESL One Summer 2021 that kicks off on June 16.