Six days of competition, two teams remain. The 2015 International Dota 2 Championships have been the most unpredictable and exciting tournament of all time. Favorites fell by the wayside, those cast aside have surged to the highest levels — and now we’re left with Evil Geniuses from USA and CDEC Gaming of China. $6.5 million is on the line for the winner, and more importantly, the title and recognition as the best team in the world.
Evil Geniuses is the first team from USA to ever make it to the Grand Finals of The International. Their road to this point has been far from easy. On Friday they lost to CDEC Gaming in the upper bracket finals, but that is a distant memory. It was clear EG didn’t show their best strategy, particularly in the second game when it felt like they tried a pocket strat and immediately called “GG” when it didn’t work — careful not to show any of their tricks.
Here’s how it went down:
CDEC Gaming: Leshrac, Phantom Lancer, Winter Wyvern, Spirit Breaker, Queen of Pain
Evil Geniuses: Gyrocopter, Clockwerk, Crystal Maiden, Storm Spirit, Skywrath Mage
Evil Geniuses played everything perfectly until Suma1L got a little too greedy in the midlane and gave away first blood when Leshrac rotated and helped Queen of Pain. This was followed with more quick aggression courtesy of a Spirit Breaker charge to secure the second kill.
EG had the perfect team to force early fights, but played the early game a little too passively. Suma1L was picked off three times by the six-minute mark, with CDEC clearly intimidated by the prospect of a farmed Storm Spirit.
The catalyst for EG came from a failed smoke gank on top lane by CDEC. It was turned thanks to a Calldown and excellent Hookshot from UNiVeRsE that picked up three kills without an answer. This advantage was built upon with more successful team fights that punished every push CDEC tried to make.
Evil Geniuses jumped to such a large gold lead from these fights that CDEC simply couldn’t get an upper hand. Suma1L got a head of steam and completely took over the game. He jumped into fights with seemingly reckless abandon, and with the support of Clockwerk the EG team fight was unbeatable.
Evil Geniuses win Game 1
CDEC Gaming: Leshrac, Tusk, Visage, Queen of Pain, Broodmother
Evil Geniuses: Gyrocopter, Clockwork, Crystal Maiden, Winter Wyvern, Windranger
There was some trickery from CDEC in Game 2 that put Evil Geniuses on tilt from the get-go. What seemed like a solid lane matchup for EG was turned on its head when Queen of Pain went to the offlane and Broodmother took mid vs. Suma1L’s Windranger. It was a shakeup that helped CDEC decide the tempo and completely dominate the early phases of the match.
It allowed them to rotate between the lanes successfully, getting several quick kills. However, Suma1L was still able to farm, and despite being killed early he was able to reach equilibrium. This game was a true back-and-forth. Neither was able to get the upper hand, and while CDEC had a lineup that could move deal with EG’s heroes, it was unclear how CDEC could finish outside of a Broodmother split push and map control. Those aren’t small factors, but EG had the better pushing lineup and team fights — they just couldn’t find them.
The pixel-perfect Hookshots UNiVeRsE used in Game 1 abandoned him in the second, missing several big plays that could have turned the tide. When it felt like CDEC was on the verge of wrapping up the second game EG came roaring back. A few big team fights went to EG and the swing was on.
Before the comeback could be completed there was a huge team fight near the Rosh pit that saw Evil Geniuses get wiped and CDEC took Rosh. This was the change the team needed, and things began to snowball and the gulf was insurmountable.