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Long Form

Wings Gaming ascend past Digital Chaos to bag TI6 championship

Wings Gaming fly past the insurgent Digital Chaos to win the grandest e-Sports tournament, The International 2016.


All Random favors Digital Chaos in Game 1

01-P and B

No meta is the new meta” seems to be the mindset for both games as both teams picking the meta outliers to open the Grand Final. For the uninitiated, this might be a game of all random. But there’s a whole lot of pick and counter-pick upon why DC and Wings Gaming ended with this draft: fourth picked Silencer (Global Silence ult) and fifth picked Pudge (Meat Hook) can save heroes inside the Chronosphere. Skywrath Mage core for Digital Chaos is then highly unexpected by Wings Gaming, which actually worked very well against a Storm Spirit mid.

Then again, the Position 1 Silencer, Pos 2 Storm Spirit, and support Pudge was too much of a cheese for Wings Gaming to pull off. The DC draft that had the easier (also the faster) win condition was Digital Chaos’s, and it came as early as the first bounty rune spawned – DC’s draft was also very good in Level 1 engagements between Illuminate, Arcane Bolt, Whirling Death and Ignite which netted a kill for Skywrath Mage.

01-Net Worth

This kill, along with a natural counter to the Storm Spirit, allowed Aliwi “w33” Omar’s Skywrath Mage to absolutely crush the  Zhou “bLink” Yang’s Storm. w33 played a monstrous Skywrath Mage game, from kiting opponents masterfully, to securing kills with well-timed Rod of Atos usage and Ancient Seal silences. bLink, on the converse, had an awful time with the Storm Spirit, even dropping to 7 deaths before the 25 minute mark. The significant difference between both team’s Position 2 players was key to DC’s decisive win, with w33 having more than 24,000 damage dealt to enemy heroes. w33‘s damage is almost twice more than how much any other hero did.

DC walk away with a 1-0 lead as the first Grand Final game ended.


Game 2: The “Oracle+Void” Wings Vintage

02-P and B

This time, Digital Chaos first picked the w33 signature Mirana. Wings Gaming answered quickly with an Oralce + Void combo, something that this team has been famous for. DC, however, got themselves a nice Naga Siren pickup to counter the Faceless Void initiations (through Song of the Siren), but opted to finish with Doom and Razor – two heroes that have a time limit in terms of power pick.

02-Net Worth

This time, bLink had the better 1v1 match-up against Mirana because of simply the natural attributes of both heroes. DC’s support duo had to spend more time at the side lanes and also keeping the Iron Talon Slardar and Sand King in check that Mirana wasn’t able to get enough help to propel himself off the lane-phase. As such, bLink definitively won the mid-lane and snowballed so hard as the game progressed.

Both support duos from either teams played well for themselves, and kept the game really close until the 20 minute mark. Zhang “Innocence” Liping’s and Li “iceice” Peng’s rotations were on point, but Martin “Saksa” Sazdov’s and Rasmus “MiSeRy” Filipsen’s rebuttal counter-initiations were also paying dividends for DC. However, when both teams entered the late-game, it was DC that peaked faster whilst Wings Gaming made the better map control and allowed for the better scaling cores to overwhelm DC with their power. In the long 12-minute period when teams sought each other across the map, it was Wings that came up on top with the better movements across Ward placements and Boots of Travel split pushes.

Their better grasp of the game gave them enough late-game control, and consequently Wings Gaming evens out the series 1-1.


Singularity amidst Chaos: Wings’ crisp teamwork wins them Game 3

03-P and B

Wings opened with Oracle and Faceless Void again, and Digital Chaos resorted to a different approach to deal with the power combo by using Winter Wyvern and Sand King and also banning the Invoker that killed them last game. However, the Kunkka was left unchecked and Wings Gaming wasted no time picking the Chinese special playmaking hero. This created many problems for Digital Chaos, because the Oracle + Kunkka and the last picked Nyx Assassin is too fast and too much for DC to deal with.

03-Net Worth

In the only definitive one-sided match of the series, Wings Gaming came up on top ever since the Nyx Assassin got access to Vendetta. Kunkka hardly countered w33‘s Mirana. Chu “Shadow” Zeyu’s also signature Position 1 Faceless Void had a very good sync around Oracle and Kunkka when it comes to hero kills, while also having bLink‘s Death Prophet to provide the objective taking mechanic for Wings to work around.

The one-sided victory took Wings Gaming on match point, only one win away from taking the biggest tournament in the history of e-Sports.


Wings Gaming orchestrated a comeback to win TI6 through 4 games

04-P and B

w33 and the gang won’t go out without fighting. DC made Wings Gaming work in the last game of the series.

Digital Chaos finally decided to ban the Faceless Void first pick and having the best chance to grab their comfort Mirana and Timbersaw pick. Wings Gaming seemed to be prepared for the situation, however, quickly getting their hands on an Elder Titan that iceice was notoriously good at. Wings Gaming closed their draft with an Anti-mage and Axe (which was actually the best heroes to deal with Mirana, Timbersaw and Slark), while Digital Chaos decided to mitigate their opponent’s gank potential by last picking the Nature’s Prophet.

04-Networth

It is also interesting how Wings read the situation well: they put Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida on the mid-lane as axe, while giving a supported dual lane for both bLink and shadow. This gave Wings the better match-ups for their cores, while also allowing Faith_bian‘s Axe to have a launch pad for the mid-game. Wings actually had the earlier advantage after the lane-phase.

However, it was Digital Chaos that won the mid-game despite Wings leading the networth. As soon as the first night came – and the following night-times thereafter – MiSeRy‘s Night Stalker created good rotations that netted DC hero kills that included even the core Batrider, Axe and Anti-mage. These wins gave DC a lot of momentum to push through the mid-game, in which case they were able to etch a good 8000 networth lead  and map control.

Then again, the brilliance of Wings showed that their greater understanding of DotA allows them to have a win condition even when their backs are against the wall. Come the 28th minute, Wings knew what they needed to do in order to get back on the game where they were down 22-11 in kill score.

They warded the Dire river ramp near the Roshan so that they can see the the incoming Radiant heroes while also protecting that observer ward from the Gem of True Sighted Night Stalker. Then they went to initiate on Roshan. When half of the DC members actually took the beeline from their base into the Roshan, they sprang the trap that Wings laid down which gave Wings three kills that included the w33 Slark and a consequent Roshan. This kill was a volatile turnaround for Wings Gaming, as big chunk of gold plus an Aegis advantage was enough of a launchpad for Wings to take over the game.

Wings rode the momentum they were in, and punished Digital Chaos underestimating their networth lead:

This clash in fact gave Wings enough impetus to overwhelm Digital Chaos in the succeeding clash. Wings actually rammed into DC’s base and were able to take hero kills and two sets of barracks to come with it. Then, desperation kicked into w33: while it was an admirable act to go for a solo kill elsewhere in the map so DC can come back, w33 solo attempt to kill Faith_bian completely backfired as the Wings Gaming was too quick with the TP supports:

By then, there was no hope for Digital Chaos anymore. shadow‘s Anti-mage is too huge to deal with, not to mention the rest of Wings’ squad. As such, the Chinese young guns took The International 2016 championships for their own and Digital Chaos ends the tournament as the second placers.

Long Form

Star Series Season 3 Tier List

StarLadder i-League Star Series Season 3 (Star Series Season 3) will kick off in a few hours, with a notable headline as TNC and OG will draw first blood in the tournament. Can TNC, the team that eliminated OG, keep true to their promise or will the revitalized OG bounce back? This tournament will be the last premier LAN tournament before the Kiev Major invites are released, and the stakes are indeed high. Here is GG Network’s tier list for the upcoming tournament.

RELATED NEWS: Star Series Preview: TNC vs OG to headline Day 1


Tier 1: Happy to be Here

Vici Gaming. J (VG.J)

Sun “Agressif” Zheng
Liu “Freeze” Chang
Bai “rOtk” Fan
Xu “fy” Linsen
Lu “Fenrir” Chao

VG.J definitely didn’t gain enough success during its first conception last Fall season, but there could be high hopes in the eventual reunion of China’s finest support duo, the fy-Fenrir power combo. It’s also notable to still see the veteran rOtk still playing the offlane for this Chinese franchise. Then again, the team chemistry is what’s most questionable with this team, as they have only finalized this new roster late last December.

Invictus Gaming Vitality (iG.Vitality)

Zhang “Paparazi灬” Chengjun
Xu “Sakata” Zichen
Yang “InJuly” Xiaodong
Su “super” Peng
Gao “dogf1ghts” Tianpeng

IG.Vitaliy suffered a huge blow last Boston Major, qualifying but ending up not participating with their intact roster, as most of their members didn’t get their US VISAs approved. Then again, with the return of pub star Paparazi灬 (getting up to 9000 Matchmaking Rating points last year), IG.V had a notable January: they topped their Chinese opponents to boost up to a 73% win rate (according to Gosu Gamers) in their past matches. Then again, the team hasn’t participated in many international events, and could potentially be worrisome for the team.

Tier 2: Long Shot

 

Team Secret

Pyo “MP” No-a
Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng
Maurice “KheZu” Gutmann
Clement “Puppey” Ivanov
Johan “pieliedie” Astrom

MidOne, originally from the realm of SEA Dota 2 and gained international respect through Fnatic, joined Team Secret last Fall Season and just this month reached 9000 MMR in Europe. Team Secret may not have qualified for the Boston Major, but they sure still pack up a punch in most of the tournaments that they participate in, particularly after the addition of KheZu. Still, they can be edged out of the European qualifiers by teams such as the newly formed B)ears and the revamped Natus Vincere.

TNC Pro Team

Marc Polo “Raven” Luis  Fausto
Carlo “Kuku” Palad
Samson Solomon “Sam_H” Enojosa Hidalgo
Timothy “Tims” Randrup
Ryo “ryOyr” Hasegawa

The Pinoy pride TNC really showed a lot of promise during the start of January, notching the World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) championship and took home the biggest grand prize for a Filipino team (USD 800,000) and secured the throne of Southeast Asia’s best. However, in their recent outings against their SEA rivals — particularly Faceless, and even against Warriors Gaming Unity and Clutch Gamers — they fall short of victories. They still can put up a fight, for sure, but they would need to go back to their roots of being the Philippines’ most disciplined team if they want to get to the top of Star Series Season 3.

Tier 3: Dark Horses 

Team Liquid

Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen
Amer “Miracle-“ Al-Barkawi
Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov
Maroun “GH” Merhej
Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi

The Spring Season might just be the time that the heavily-talented team Team Liquid find their stride: along with MATUMBAMAN and Miracle-, another 9000 MMR player joins their lineup as GH just recently joined the team. With so much talent even from the support role, Team Liquid slowly found success with their lineup and eventually qualified for big Chinese tournaments such as the Dota 2 Asia Championship and the Star Series Season 3. While the chemistry is still questionable, it is easy to hedge bets on Team Liquid as the face value coming out of their talent pool is really immense.

Digital Chaos

Roman “Resolu1tion” Fominok
Aliwi “w33” Omar
David “MoonMeander” Tan
Rasmus “MiSeRy” Filipsen
Martin “Saksa” Sazdov

Digital Chaos opened up 2017 by being the first world champions through ESL One Genting, but faltered heavily during the volatile BO1 elimination bracket of Dota Pit Season 5. Still, there’s no question that Digital Chaos can easily beat the likes of OG and even Wings Gaming, and they even more easily take down any other team in the tournament. Their talent and good chemistry among members make their arsenal really scary for anyone in Star Series Season 3.

Tier 4: Championship Contenders

Wings Gaming

Chu “shadow” Zeyu
Zhou “bLink” Yang
Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida
Zhang “y`” Yiping
Lee “iceice” Peng

Their calculated, high-risk-high-reward type of playstyle have taken them to top for sure; however, it could easily be a source of their misfortune in Star Series Season 3 — just like what happened during the Boston Major and ESL One Genting. The reigning champions of The International 2016 can take Star Series easily, but most of the international talents have said that their unpredictability has become more and more predictable. Still, there’s no doubting that Wings Gaming are top-cut heading into this tournament, and Patch 7.02 might just bring the surprise that the team can work around with.

OG

Johan “N0tail” Sundstein
Anathan “ana” Pham
Gustav “s4” Magnusson
Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka
Tal “Fly” Aizik

The reigning Major Champions will be returning to center stage with so much potential still on them. They have reached Dota Pit Season 5 Grand Finals, but faltered from Evil Geniuses 3-2. Then again, they powered through many teams and beat them many times. The playmaking prowess of s4 from the offlane position and JerAx from the support role, backed up by the ingenuity of both Fly and N0tail, to go with the flashy plays of ana is surely a treat to watch. If you’re a betting man, you can be safe with OG taking this tournament home as champions.

 

Long Form

Mushi departs from Fnatic

After almost two years with the franchise, Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung decided to leave one of the world’s largest esports organizations, FnaticMushi officially joined the said organization last June 2015 — where Fnatic acquired his former team Team Malaysia — and has since been the core player of the squad.

“I would like to start off by saying thank you to Fnatic for supporting me all the way from when we had just started off, and all my teammates along the way for your support. I would also like to thank my fans for supporting me through thick and thin,” said Mushi through a Press Release by Fnatic.

Fnatic described the situation as an “End of an Era”, as Mushi was very iconic in the organizations successes from 2015. Under his leadership, Fnatic was able to join every Valve-sponsored event from the Frankfurt Major of 2015 up until their fourth place finish during The International 2016. They were constantly at the top of many LAN tournaments.

However, the team have suffered heavily after The International 2016, eventually not being able to qualify for the Boston Major — a time where the team had to revamp around Mushi after losing three of their players in the Post-TI6 shuffle. “It’s hard to shy away from the fact that the team has been suffering recently. In the months following The International 2016 the roster was never really able to settle and unfortunately this reflected in our results. It is with regret that now we come to this impasse where one of our founding players and most iconic figures has found the best solution is to relinquish his position in order for Fnatic find a new way forward,” Fnatic mentioned.

“We are so incredibly grateful to Mushi for all that he’s given us: for each fan that he has drawn to Fnatic, for all he has done to grow the organisation in South East Asia, for the professional example that he sets every day for aspiring gamers around the world. For all of this, a simple ‘thank-you’ does not do justice,” Fnatic added. “We of course hope to stay close, and who knows, maybe our journeys will come together once more. It goes without saying that we wish Mushi all the best going forward.”

Mushi leaving Fnatic will also be a hard breakup of two of the most iconic power duos of Southeast Asia, as Mushi will have to leave his long-time teammate Chong Xin “Ohaiyo” Khoo. They have been teammates since the conception of the Malaysia-based Fnatic Dota squad, and where long-time teammates even before.

Fnatic will be looking to rebuild around Ohaiyo and South Korean star player Yong-min “Febby” Kim. So far, there are only two listed players for Fnatic. “Now we must press on. We’re thrilled that Ohaiyo will be continuing the team’s endeavour, joined at his side by our newest player, Febby. Together with Reinnnn, they will now look to a brighter future as they contemplate a new roster,” the organization concluded their press release.

Finally, Mushi ended his public statement, expressing his gratitude towards his fans. “At the moment I’m leaving Fnatic as a player. I’m not sure about my future plans ahead yet, but I’m looking forward to explore into a new environment.”


Follow this writer through @caisamyvez

Long Form

Valve releases Patch 7.02 for Dota 2; nerf hammer brought on Helm of Dominator

In the middle of the Dota 2 Asia Championshp Cup Qualifiers, Valve announced a relatively huge update to the game play. Patch 7.02 deals with hard nerfs on the item Helm of Dominator, medium nerfs on meta heroes Lone Druid and Ember Spirit, and a lot of buffs on non-meta famous heroes such as Bristleback, Windranger and Bounty Hunter.

“Today’s patch unveils the 7.02 Gameplay Update, focusing on numerous small balance adjustments. Including adjustments to hero talents, shrines, terrain, and the addition of Lycan to Captains Mode, this update features multiple balance changes in the wake of launching The New Journey,” Valve’s Dota team mentioned.

Helm of Dominator has been really famous of an item pickup, with almost all heroes on all positions getting access to the item. With the recent changes, its viability in the metagame might be shaken:

* Helm of the Dominator All Stats from 6 to 4
* Helm of the Dominator creeps now give a constant 125 gold bounty
* Towers no longer attack neutral team units

Also, the highly picked Lone Druid, Ember Spirit, and Underlord heroes were also affected:

Ember Spirit:
* Root now disables Activate Fire Remnant
* Level 10 Talent from 15% Spell Amplification to 12%

Lone Druid:
* Level 10 Talent from +200 Attack Range to +175
* Level 15 Talent from +65 Damage to +55
* Level 20 Talent from +7 Spirit Bear Armor to +12
* Level 20 Talent from -50s Respawn Time to -40s

Underlord:
* Movement speed reduced from 305 to 290
* Atrophy Aura Damage Reduction from 10/20/30/40% to 4/16/28/40%
* Level 15 Talent from +200 Health to +35 Movement Speed
* Level 20 Talent from +100 Cast Range to +125
* Level 20 Talent from +50 Attack Speed to +60

Some general gameplay changes were also added, including the strategic updates on Shrines, and the improvement for the quality of life for supports:

* Shrines are now vulnerable after a T3 tower dies (same as the Shrines inside the base), rather than after all T2 towers die
* Sentry Wards now come in packs of 1 for 100 gold (instead of 2 for 200)

More so, Lycan has been added to Captain’s Mode with some changes to go his way:

Lycan:
* Added to CM
* Agility gain from 1.5 to 1.0
* Howl manacost from 30 to 40
* Level 15 Talent from -20s Respawn Time to -25s

Here are also some of the Medium-grade to Major-grade buffs to certain heroes, particularly with their new talent changes:

Bounty Hunter:
* Scepter now also increases Shuriken Toss ministun duration from 0.1 to 0.75
* Level 10 Talent from +15% XP Gain to +20%
* Level 20 Talent from +100 Damage to +120 Damage
* Level 20 Talent from 8% Spell Amplification to +75 Shuriken Toss Damage
* Level 25 Talent from +20% Evasion to +25%

Brewmaster:
* Fire Spirit now has phasing movement
* Level 10 Talent from +25 Attack Speed to +30
* Level 15 Talent from +20 Movement Speed to +75 Thunder Clap Damage
* Level 20 Talent from -25s Respawn Time to -35s
* Level 25 Talent from 14 Primal Split Unit Armor to +20

Bristleback:
* Quill Spray Max damage from 450 to 550
* Viscous Nasal Goo Scepter range from 700 to 750
* Level 15 Talent from +20 Movement Speed to +4 Max Goo Stacks
* Level 20 Talent from -30s Respawn Time to -35s
* Level 25 Talent from +4 Max Goo Stacks to +20 Quill Stack Damage

Dark Seer:
* Movement speed reduced from 300 to 295
* Ion Shell manacost from 70/90/110/130 to 100/110/120/130
* Level 15 Talent from +90 Damage to +120
* Level 20 Talent from +25 Intelligence to +75 Vacuum AoE
* Level 20 Talent from +12 Strength to +10% Cooldown Reduction
* Level 25 Talent from +12% Cooldown Reduction to +25 Strength
* Level 25 Talent from +70 Ion Shell Damage to +80
Windranger:
* Powershot damage from 120/220/320/420 to 180/260/340/420
* Powershot cooldown from 9 to 12/11/10/9
* Windrun slow AoE from 300 to 325
* Windrun manacost from 100 to 75
* Level 10 Talent from +15 Damage to +25% Windrun Slow
* Level 15 Talent from +16 Intelligence to +20 Intelligence
* Level 15 Talent from +200 Health to +40 Movement Speed
* Level 20 Talent from +12% Magic Resistance to +20%
* Level 20 Talent from +12% Spell Amplification to +15%
* Level 25 Talent from -5s Powershot Cooldown to -6s

More Gameplay changes can be found in this link.