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xNova walks alone on the stage as Entity take on RNG in longest TI mainstage game in history cover image

xNova walks alone on the stage as Entity take on RNG in longest TI mainstage game in history

#News

Support players with multiple Divine Rapiers, eight Roshans and a 131K networth lead – It all came down to this best of one elimination series at TI11.

Update: On November 25, 2022, xNova joined BOOM esports for DPC 2023. After several years playing for Chinese teams, xNova has returned to SEA.
2GD finished previewing the final elimination match between Royal Never Give Up and Entity. The team intros cued - players started walking on to the stage. There was only one RNG player - xNova walking on to the stage. He sat down, adjusting his gear as the camera zoomed out. He had no teammates around him - instead, he had four teddy bears replacing his teammates. And he was ready to take on Entity as the only RNG player on stage.
Royal Never Give Up started their TI journey strong. They were dominating everyone in the initial group stage matches, clearly a level above most of the other teams. Then disaster struck. One by one the RNG players tested COVID positive ahead of the biggest tournament in their lives. There was a hospital visit, players were clearly unwell and despite all of that, they struggled on. They qualified for the TI11 playoffs, albeit in the lower bracket. 

RNG they are such an amazing team. They are struck by COVID, but they are still playing such a disciplined game - doing little mistakes, little pickoffs, looking at every inch of the map to get a pickoff. They played so freaking well - so shoutout to them. I think it’s a tough situation they are in - they basically have four COVID players, they have to play from the hotel room. Big big Shoutout. It was really an amazing series.

Stormstormer, Entity on the Entity vs RNG match. xNova was the only player competing on stage for RNG. The rest were COVID positive and in isolation.

Strong start for xNova and teddies

RNG started strong with a very decisive early game where they pressured the three lanes and constantly secured their advantage. With heroes such as Lich and Earthshaker, they had the dominant laning phase as well as a strong start to the mid-game. 
However, after a strong start, Entity hit their timing around the 24 minute mark. Excellent positioning on the high ground allowed Entity to initiate on Somnus’ Leshrac. Forcing the Leshrac’s BKB, RNG were always at a disadvantage. However, even as they were trying to disengage, the Visage birds’ damage was more than enough to kill Leshrac. 
This teamfight basically turned the tide of the entire game. Entity took a lead and with it sizeable control of the Dota 2 map. Entity were constantly pressing their advantage, looking to squeeze RNG into a particular area of the map.


Entity and RNG fight for survival

Around the 34 minute mark, Entity took another great initiation with the Avalanche Toss. Entity’s players fell like flies, one by one. However, just as the entire situation looked dire, RNG players bought back on multiple heroes (four to be exact) to salvage some face.
RNG secured the Aegis soon after, but with four buybacks on cooldown, they could not risk pushing the high ground. Not in a best of one.

The Aegis didn’t really provide much of an advantage for RNG, however, it did allow the players the safety to farm a bit more.
And farm they did.
Throughout the next 10 minutes, RNG and Entity went back and forth on the map, trading kills, trading control.

But RNG’s lineup does not scale well into the late game, and that was a problem.

Get Aegis, take control and fall back - And repeat

A good initiation by RNG allowed them to take an excellent comeback to win a teamfight late in the Entity vs RNG match. With Terrorblade able to get perfect positioning and excellent usage of BKB, he was able to deal immense damage to the Entity heroes.
Through much of the late game, Kaka’s Earthshaker and his Fissures were pivotal to separating the Entity roster from taking picture-perfect teamfights. 
When RNG found a DD rune, it was cue to go high ground. With an aegis and DD rune available, it should’ve been easy racks. But with excellent coordination that was initiated after a toss-back, Entity were able to kill Terrorblade before he could refresh and use his BKB. 
The game shifted again and this time Entity seized control of the game, taking map control and vision. As the game progressed however, Entity’s support Tiny started building damage items and his Tree Volley dealt immense amounts of damage. 
At 69:30 minutes in, Entity’s support Tiny bought the Divine Rapier. It was time to go all in. As the game progressed, ladislav "Kataomi`" Semenov started building items worthy of a core hero. Over time he became the biggest reason for RNG's inability to win teamfights.
There was no clear winner in the game. Yes, it was late, yes Entity at one point had more than 131k Gold lead, but there was no clear favorite to wni the game.

90 minutes ? No problem - SEA position 5 players rise!!

The game reached 90 minutes, almost everyone was level 30. Everyone had their Aghanim’s Upgrade, their shards. And this is when SEA Support players shine. With Fishman, Entity’s Position 5 player also going core (with double Divine Rapier), this game was becoming a match of ten core players.

We looked at Fishman’s inventory - he had two Divine Rapiers. Three people were offering to buy Moonshards for him

Stormstormer on the triple digit networth lead for Entity vs RNG
Both teams tried their best to secure objectives. Entity tried to rat through the racks, attacking multiple lanes at the same time. RNG teleported to the enemy throne and ratted through the Tier 4 towers, exposing the throne. 
The threat of a backdoor was always there, players on both teams had to keep this threat in check.
Over on RNG's side, xNova also had a commendable performance, however, he was falling behind his opponent supports in terms of levels. With Somnus taking most of the Tome of Knowledge in the early game, xNova's Lich fell behind slightly. However, he still had a massive impact with crucial positioning and defensive items to aid his Terrorblade.

Entity Stormtrooper: “We played a 128 minute game against one player on stage”

xNova was the only RNG player on the TI mainstage. The rest of the roster was in isolation after testing positive for COVID. Image Credit: <a href="https://twitter.com/EntityEurope/status/1583039763312824320">Entity esports.</a>
xNova was the only RNG player on the TI mainstage. The rest of the roster was in isolation after testing positive for COVID. Image Credit: Entity esports.
Yeah, over the course of 102 minutes, many Roshans came and went. And many Rohshans probably wondered why the game is still going on. It was a Best-of-one game after all.

But teams took Roshan, continued to deny the Aghanim’s Blessings in the late game and tried once again. But the Entity vs RNG game continued, with no clear favorites.

Despite getting a good start to the fight, RNG still lost two members and that proved to be their undoing. Entity pressed ahead with their advantage, and ultimately they secured the win after some extremely close fights.
This was the longest main stage match at TI. At one point Entity had a 131k gold lead over RNG, but at no point did it feel like they were the clear favorites. When a position 5 player has two rapiers and is offered moonshards, you know this is peak Dota. 
Image Credit: <a href="https://twitter.com/TheEveileb/status/1583073332630474753">Eveileb</a>.
Image Credit: Eveileb.
Ultimately, Entity won the elimination match and will advance to the next stage at The International 2022. But in the post-match interview, Stormstormer had only kind words for the RNG players, four of whom are playing in isolation due to COVID. Despite their hardships, RNG continued to put up a stellar fight and earned the respect of their peers.
Rohan
Rohan
Editor | Twitter @rohan_esports
Started esports with Dota, moved to CS, then OW, back to Dota 2, and now a bit of Valorant. I love city-building games, and have spent hours in Cities: Skylines only to have the traffic defeat me. Currently on a reading spree - the aim is to read 150 books in 2023. Can I do it? Would you?