by Sören ‘Fantasy’ Vendsahm
After ESL One Frankfurt and the announcement of just six invites for The International 6, the regional qualifiers were as hotly contested as they’ve ever been. In America it wasn’t just the rising stars of compLexity Gaming and Digital Chaos fighting for a spot at the biggest event of the Dota 2 year, but also the reigning and defending champions Evil Geniuses tossing their hat into the ring.
With three of the world’s best teams, the tightly contested North American qualifier kicked off and Day 1 went according to plan. The three top teams got off to a great start, with only the coL.Dota boys slipping up against British carry Beesa and his FDL squad. The full effect of that blemish came to the forefront on Day 2, as Swindle rallied the troops and coL performed three near-perfect games against Void Boys, Digital Chaos and Evil Geniuses to get to a 5-1 record after the group stage. That record was enough to make it into the tiebreaker for a direct spot at the TI main event, once more facing off against long-time rival PPD and Evil Geniuses.
Contrary to the match only hours before, this time it was EG that got the upper hand seeing Fear cleaving through the lines of compLexity Gaming. So it was the bracket stage for coL and DC, while EG grabbed a direct spot for TI – the bracket stage that started with a rematch against FDL. This time the rejuvenated coL.Dota team was merciless in the approach of the game, making up for the sloppy performance in the Best-of-One stages of the qualifier. Whether it was the slicin’ and dicin’ of Chessie on Juggernaut or Spirits of Death Prophet by Limmp going to town on structures, compLexity showed up and left little to no doubt about their contender status out of the American region.
On Day 4, the most important of it all, the squad got off to a slow start against rival DC in the Winner’s Bracket finals – but redeemed themselves with yet another 2-0 stomp over FDL. A ticket for Seattle was achieved, now the question was whether it would be through the Wildcard or directly into the Main event. What followed in the Bo5 series against DC was nothing short of spectacular – a true testiment to what it means for every individual team to get a spot at the prestigious International.
Both teams were trading blows with Digital Chaos having coL against the ropes early with a 2-0 lead. The night was still young though, as coL.Dota wasn’t giving up easily and went back to their comfort zone. Game 3 saw a Timbersaw by Limmp and a trademark Chessie-Invoker going to work, with support star Handsken on his Disruptor having his moment in the spotlight on the last engagement and a perfect Static Storm on both DC carries to render them useless – serving them on a silver platter to be chopped down by Timbersaw.
Game 4 was a sign of things to come, as the back-and-forth nature of the series was already on display. More than twice the casters Blitz and Capitalist were ready to call it one way or the other, only to see a miraculous hold coming from either side. In the end it was a massive Terrorblade getting off Sunder and eliminating Resolution from the equation on the “Hail Mary” push by DC facing down mega creeps.
Many of people in the community thought the two teams couldn’t possibly top the excitement of Game 4, but the decider for the TI6 main event ticket had another heartbreaker in store for everyone involved. Busting out the Winter Wyvern/Axe jungle coupled with the Io/Tiny combination, compLexity Gaming was totally within their comfort zone coming out of the draft. With DC prepared for it though, the jungle strat didn’t quite go as smooth as it went back in Moscow at Epicenter, as DC contested the early Ancient clear. What followed next was just two juggernauts of the NA scene, two of the best teams in the world trading blows back-and-forth. For DC it was playing around team fight combinations like Chronosphere, Exorcism and the Phoenix Egg, while coL tried to use their superior mobility and burst with Io, Tiny and Axe to get pick-offs and create space for Chessie on Invoker.
After an hour of intense team fights, close encounters and great holds by either team it was w33 and Resolution porting to the exposed Shrine in coL’s base to finish the deal and punch their ticket straight into the main event of TI6. For compLexity it will be a trip to Seattle, but only for the Wildcard.
In that wildcard they will face off against the third place teams of the other regions with Execration coming out of SEA, Escape Gaming making it through the EU bracket and EHOME being the Chinese representative. A month of practice before the big showdown in Seattle, we will be ready!