T1 started the series with a win, but Vici Gaming identified the problem and bounced back.
The last hope for the SEA region taken down by a resurgent Vici Gaming!
T1 who have been a strong contender for the tournament Dark Horses; taking on Vici Gaming who have been building momentum in the lower bracket after a win over Evil Geniuses
With SEA pride also on the line for T1, they were holding the dreams of the region; whilst Vici Gaming were trying to reach the heights of their potential they had failed to reach all season.
It would all come down to this.
Game 1 begins!
T1 would start the series with a draft that had become staple for them at this point. Securing the Magnus for Kuku and the Karl Lina, this would be the duo which had brought them much success in the tournament thus far.
Vici Gaming was heavily regarded as a team which would need a very strong draft to contend with T1. To do so, they picked a surprise Omniknight early in the draft to bring a different style than they've presented so far. The rest of their draft though would be geared towards greater fighting with Mars and Leshrac to round off their draft.
Unfortunately for Vici Gaming, T1 were already prepared for this change in drafting style. Coach March for T1, remarking to Frankie about the draft, was not surprised.
"It's something that we were thinking about as well"
Coach March on the Vici Gaming Omniknight pick.
All according to plan?
To underscore this point, T1 would proceed to play a very dominant laning phase, anticipating every early move from Vici Gaming. This allowed them to get off to an incredible gold lead early on, having one of the highest at the 15 minute marke.
Vici Gaming would still be able to use their Ursa to secure an early Roshan, which would help delay the game somewhat. However T1 would be content to avoid fighting in this time, and just continue to farm with very little pressure. When Vici Gaming would attempt to fight with this Aegis, they would be quickly beaten down by T1.
Although T1 were very far ahead, Vici Gaming would not allow themselves to completely fall apart and would still continue to attempt fights. They would still try find ways to catch T1 in a mistake and earn themselves a way back into the game.
This moment would eventually come, as T1 were finally caught in a position where they couldn't execute their full teamfight.
However , this one solitary fight would not be enough to give them the key back into the game that they needed. T1 would very quickly tidy up their play, recognizing they lost the fight due to overextension.
Slowing down the game on their own terms, they would continue to keep up their map control, until they felt strong enough to take Roshan. Realizing that they simply would not be able to keep up with an Aegis on T1, Vici Gaming would try to yet again steal away a good fight.
Sadly for them, T1 was ready!
At this point, Vici Gaming would realize that they had rolled all the dice they possibly could, and would call GG soon thereafter; giving the victory to T1!
Vici Gaming's final chance.
For the next game, Vici Gaming would punch back with a much more comfortable draft for themselves. Having incredible teamfight prowess with Elder Titan and Lina, they would also grab the Poyoyo Faceless Void.
T1 would now be the ones to mix it up by presenting a support Dawnbreaker for themselves, last picked to backup their Dragon Knight and carry Monkey King.
When asked about his thoughts on the draft, Vici Gaming coach Fenrir would be very positive about their chances. Especially noting why they lost game 1 in the first place.
"We lost because of the lanes"
Fenrir discussing the draft and the precious game.
Game 2: Much Better Start for Vici
The game would get off on much better footing than game 1 for Vici Gaming. Not only would their lanes be much improved, they would be the ones to win most of their matchups and find the early kills.
Unfortunately, this advantage would not last as T1 would begin to move in tandem together across the map. Not only being able to find key kills, they also were able to overturn the earlier gold deficit . At this point, they were also able to completely negate the farm progression of the Ori Lina.
The game would then follow a pattern of Vici Gaming attempting a move, and T1 quickly countering it. They would find themselves paying heavily for every move they attempted, whilst T1 calmly was farming up their Monkey King.
Vici Gaming would find themselves falling further and further behind, and have many difficulties dishing out the damage necessary to win out their fights.
From here though, Vici Gaming would find themselves slowing down; as they had the late game game advantage so were content to try farm up and get themselves ready to fight later.
This strategy would start paying dividends, as their farm accrual allowed them to be much stronger in fights. Over time, their items and levels would make it much more difficult to play for T1.
Eventually, Vici Gaming was simply too far ahead with their primary cores. Although T1 would still attempt to fight, the earlier dynamic of lacking damage would now apply to their team instead.
Unable to truly threaten Vici Gaming, T1 would be forced to simply watch as Vici slowly choked them into their base; and forced the game defining fight!
Soon after T1, would call GG and Vici Gaming would keep their top 6 dreams alive in Game 3!
Who's going home ?
For the 3rd draft, T1 would double down on the Teamfight strategy. Not only having Magnus and Tidehunter on their team, but also the Karl Batrider in mid. 23Savage would find himself playing his Wraith King which he buried Alliance with.
Vici Gaming would put their faith instead on the Poyoyo Tiny, and the signature Shadow Fiend for Ori. They would also make sure that these heroes would be covered and kept safe by the Old Eleven Vengeful Spirit; which would counter the prowess of Batrider.
This game would be one which Vici Gaming would decide to level up to an incredible degree. Using the momentum gained from game 2, they would get off to an incredible start to this game.
Vici Gaming powers up!
Not needing to play from behind, Vici Gaming would be able to build up a solid base of farm on their core heroes. Rushing Aghanim's scepter on the Vengeful Spirit, Shadow Blade on Tiny and the BKB on Shadow Fiend; Vici Gaming would start playing as a unit on the map.
This teamplay would prove very problematic for T1 to deal with. Though showing up to every fight, they would prove unable to put in the critical damage onto Poyoyo or Ori.
Eventually, their heroes would become strong enough that Vici Gaming felt confident to secure an Aegis, and work on taking their first lane of barracks at 26 Minutes.
Although T1 would use every spell available to stop Vici Gaming in this attempt, they would struggle with the item disadvantage and end up losing their buildings.
Vici Gaming, smelling blood in the water, would not retreat wholly, and would simply wait out their cooldowns. Once this was achieved, they were back again knocking on the door of the High Ground.
Lacking the strength to fully stop them, T1 would yet again throw out all their spells to no avail. Vici Gaming at this point were strong enough to simply ignore the T1 heroes and rather focus on taking down buildings.
Ultimately, the reality of the situation would set in, and T1 would throw in the towel; calling GG and being eliminated from TI10!
Veni, Vidi, Vici Gaming!
Taking the victory, Vici Gaming would now find themselves matching their result at TI9 by progressing to 5-6th at TI10!
Not just being able to get the win, the team would prove many naysayers wrong about them in the process.
However, with this milestone reached, they would immediately pivot towards focusing on the next game against Invictus Gaming, a regional rival.
When asked about his emotional state after the win, star carry Poyoyo would not find that he didn't feel too many emotions about the victory.
Though he wasn't feeling too strongly about this particular game, Poyoyo would show a lot of gratitude towards his teammates. With him being the newer player versus the team veterans, he was humble about how they have enabled him to shine on the team.
"Old Eleven would watch replays with me, he taught me a lot,"
Poyoyo on what Vici Gaming has taught him.
Vici Gaming would still hope to continue in the tournament and attain the heights of their 2014 squad who only fell in the Grand Finals!
SEA Pride never dies, T1 go out with Heads Held High
Sadly for T1, this would be their last showing at TI10. Although a sad result for the team, the 7th-8th finish would also represent the best showing any of the players have attained at TI (With only Kuku matching this result in 2016).
There is much to be proud of for the young squad, a sentiment shared by Captain Kuku. He shared how he was still very positive about his team's prospects and performance.
With a lot to build from after this result, T1 would walk home with their heads held high, having represented the SEA region as well as the best teams of years' past. Clearly being inspired by carrying the dreams of region, one can only hope that the team stays together until TI11.
"I think we need to come back next year again!"
Kuku on T1 being eliminated
With still 2 more days of Main Stage action to go, the Aegis could still land in anyone's hand. And the level of Dota2 still has many heights to reach before it's all over!