Team Spirit survive the Chinese gauntlet by beating the world’s finest with a shocking Hoodwink pick. How did they do it?
Day 2 of the WePlay Animajor Group Stages took place with Team Spirit having an incredible difficult road ahead of them. Although they had managed a surprise draw vs Evil Geniuses on Day 1, a later loss to Nigma had put them on the backfoot, ending the day tied at bottom place in the group.
With the next day presenting an incredible challenge from the Chinese squads of Vici Gaming and the dominant PSG.LGD, Team Spirit came into the day heavy underdogs. However, they left with their heads held high.
Team Spirit survive the Chinese gauntlet
A first game loss against Vici Gaming seemed to solidify the notion of an underdog Team Spirit. That said, the game itself showed that the team had reserves of grit that should not be taken lightly.
The steady growth they showed in the game translated into a far better draft in Game 2. Spearheaded by “Collapse” on his Kunkka, they managed to grind out a victory securing a draw in the matchup.
As the day progressed and they found themselves against the “Ame” Faceless Void in Game 1 of their series against PSG.LGD, it seemed their Day 1 fate of a draw followed by a loss would repeat here. Sure enough, a quick loss from this game had their chances seeming extremely dire for recovering any result here.
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In game 2, PSG.LGD drafted a scary Treant Protector paired with Leshrac to play aggressively whilst keeping their own buildings healthy, with last pick Ursa to mop up in fights.
Team Spirit relied on a dual core of Lina and Terrorblade, with a surprise “Miposhka” Hoodwink in the mix.
It seemed that the challenge for Team Spirit would be finding a way to avoid early aggression.
Instead the aggression would come, but from the Eastern European squad. Continually forcing fights with PSG.LGD, despite often losing them.
Rock, Paper, Scissors…Hoodwink eats Trees
Hoodwink surprisingly ruined the early game for PSG.LGD.
By hunting the Treant and disrupting his early game movements, this granted him granted a huge experience boost.
He used this advantage to combo together with Phoenix and create a lot of chaos through which PSG.LGD found it difficult to fight.
Despite this, PSG.LGD prevailed at this stage of the game and were destined for claiming the Roshan as an upcoming reward.
“Miposhka”, intent on being a perpetual thorn in the sides of their opponents, managed to somehow take out Roshan on his Hoodwink.
His team rewarded his grand play by taking a fight which allowed them to isolate the Ursa from his team with a wonderful Supernova spell combo from Phoenix provided the needed damage to take away the Aegis from the Ursa.
As time went on, it seemed that Hoodwink was the true master of the trees and Phoenix master of every fight.
Exemplified in this play, “Miposhka” lays out pre-emptive vision to grant full vision of both of PSG.LGD’s supports whilst his team plays aggressively in the lane. This tactical advantage allowed Team Spirit to jump these heroes and take them down within short order.
PSG.LGD thought they could potentially assist with their Axe and Ursa, but by the time these heroes arrived however, a retreat was clearly needed. As Axe ran to safety, he realized that the Ursa of “Ame” had been caught by the “Collapse” Mars.
The bear was taken down and the first true advantage gained for Team Spirit. An advantage which soon translated into a dead Roshan and an Aegis on the “Torontotokyo” Lina at the same time as an early Assault Cuirass.
PSG.LGD Fight Back
Showing that they are not a team to be taken lightly, PSG.LGD regrouped for a smoke gank shortly after the fall of Roshan.
Since the Aegis rested with the Lina rather than the Terroblade, they bet big on the idea that he would be momentarily vulnerable in the aftermath of this objective.
Their gamble paid off, as their first target was indeed “Yatoro” on the core hero, caught straggling behind his team on the retreat from the pit.
In their haste to try and save their carry, Team Spirit found themselves rushing headlong into a position extremely favourable for PSG.LGD.
Realizing their mistake, they tried to beat a hasty exit, yet the dice had been rolled. PSG.LGD cleaned up the fight, killing everyone except “TorontoTokyo”.
If this was a normal game or normal team, things might have continued to look good for the Chinese juggernauts. However, the name Team Spirit tells us everything we need to know.
They instantly smoked onto the other side of the map upon respawning, and the Hoodwink somehow finding an initiation on the Grimstroke and Ursa, leading to kills which by all accounts signaled the end of the game.
Although, thanks to some heads up play from “NothingToSay”, the creep wave could not advance beyond the Leshrac.
Granting PSG.LGD some much need backdoor protection and denying Team Spirit the ability to destroy buildings on the high ground. Buying some much-needed time for respawns.
We’re in the endgame now
In a bid to prevent Team Spirit from just doing the same play as soon as their spells were ready, Axe and Leshrac began pushing back the midlane.
An observer ward scouted out the apparently low health Phoenix, whom they could kill and retreat from with relatively low cost.
Unknown to them, however, was the newly bought Aeon Disk that arrived less than 10s before they decided to make their jump.
Due to this, instead of an easy kill, “Mira” had the chance to activate Supernova which not only forces the Leshrac back but leads to a kill on the Axe. A disastrous consequence and one which led to an even bigger decline.
With their desperation and frustration palpable, PSG.LGD fall apart at a critical juncture by not only losing their Axe and Treant, but also by “NothingToSay” launching a last ditch attempt to claim the Terrorblade’s life.
Unfortunately, Sunder at the cusp of his death kept him standing, setting up a turnaround instead.
To compound their misery, Ursa blinked in and found himself isolated and killed, with both himself and “NothingToSay” lacking buyback.
Off the back of this fight, Team Spirit cruised into the base. Terrorblade well equipped to do some serious damage and showing this off by eviscerating 2 lanes of racks in moments.
Outer towers in the bottom lane saved PSG.LGD from Mega Creeps, however this wouldn’t matter as the GG call came a few minutes later.
What does it all mean for Team Spirit?
With this surprise performance, Team Spirit find themselves spoiling a dominant team going 4-0 for the second day running, and earn themselves a restful night of sleep having secured 6th place in the group and thus safety from elimination…for now.
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