The DOTA2 StarLadder i-League Invitational in Kiev

eSports 21.04.2016

Before the DOTA world turns its entire attention to Manila and the next Major, an exceptionally important stopover took place in Ukraine last weekend. Among other things, a good performance there could mean an invitation to the tournament in the Philippines. But much more than that, it was an event of comebacks. Would the changes made to the Chinese DOTA teams help them catch up? How would Natus Vincere do in its own backyard? After all, the last title Na'Vi won was a whole 18 months ago. All this was to be decided in the absence of the two major squads Evil Geniuses and Team Secret.

Two dream teams from China

After a disappointing performance in Shanghai, many fans were excitedly awaiting the two new rosters from the Far East. With the new additions Agressif and the sublime Phoenix player September, LGD Gaming is the new dream team. But Vici Reborn would also supply a few surprises.

Hopes were in no way set too high, as it quickly became apparent. After some impressive victories against the major European teams, such as OG Gaming, Alliance and Virtus.Pro, both teams found themselves in the Lower Bracket final, clearly demonstrating that Chinese DOTA 2 is not so easy to dismiss. Up until then, only the favourites of the home crowd had been able to stand up against the new skills of the Far East. To frenetic cheers, Na’Vi played as if it were 2012 again.

The final: Vici Reborn vs. Natus Vincere

Vici was only just able to beat LGD Gaming in the LB final, but one Chinese team had to leave at this point. Even the first game of this last best of five was worthy of a TI final. The breathtaking comeback of Na’Vi was probably among the best DOTA 2 games to have ever aired. As the Reborn pros broke through the Mid Lane, an incredible team fight just about managed to prevent defeat. Nature's Prophet use of the Gyrocopter’s low range right up to the moment when the Aegis ran out can only be described as genius. This was shortly followed by a no less brilliant Chronosphere from GeneRal, which decided the game and the crowd celebrated the team under Dendi.

In the following two games, however, Vici was able to score with the draft. In both games, Na’Vi again left the Chinese newcomers the Gyrocopter and with a few excellent plays from fy, this was enough to turn the score back to 2-1 for Vici.

However, the real gems were to come in game 4. After an explosive start with the Nightstalker, the Ukrainian team clawed its way back into the game bit by bit. At one point it seemed as if the damage of the Juggernaut would simply not be enough to eliminate the Na’Vi Gyrocopter with Satanic and Manta. Dendi, on the Queen of Pain, won more and more fights for Natus Vincere with the Sonic Wave. The entire series created the impression of a single massive hero brawl, occasionally with two kills a minute.

Then it happened. The crowd went wild. What had happened? The Gyrocopter suddenly had a very special item in its inventory. A Divine Rapier would decide matters. After a surprising victory and speedy Rosham, Na’Vi confidently set its sights on the high ground. They had even planned on the next play. The Venge started the battle with a max range swap and the Aegis was quickly taken from the Copter. It should, however, go splendidly for Natus Vincere from that point on. Unfortunately, a critical error destroyed the dreams of the veterans from Ukraine. The Satanic was activated before the Aegis death. This meant that the Gyrocopter with Black King Bar and Rapier could no longer heal fast enough. Dendi almost managed to turn everything around again and perform the perfect comeback. But after his Sonic Wave, 3 heroes survived with only millimetres of health. The Divine Rapier lay on the ground. This allowed Vici’s Juggernaut to take the entire Radiant base apart in moments. And so a DOTA 2 title once again went to China.