Whilst ESL finished up its third DOTA tournament this past weekend, epic.LAN held its 18th official LAN in Kettering, with tournaments for CSGO, Hearthstone, Rocket League, Overwatch, Dota 2 and even the elusive Starcraft 2.
The victors of Epic Eighteen’s Dota 2 cup show strength in stacks, with an amalgamation of players from Team XENEX primarily playing under the name of Those Songs You Hate to Love, taking first place ahead of more established UK organisations such as Choke Gaming, Team Senses and Devine eSports.
Those Songs You Hate to Love (abbreviated as TSYHL for the sake of your sanity) held a dominant position throughout the tournament, dropping only one game to Devine in the upper bracket semi-final.
Devine had a similar narrative, however they ran ran into trouble against Choke Gaming earlier in the tournament, before beating them 2-1 in the lower bracket final and securing their spot against TSYHL in the grand final.
The grand final was a best of five, with a one match weighting on the side of TSYHL. The winners took home £750 plus free tickets to epic.NINETEEN in October later this year, with second place grabbing £250 and discounted tickets to epic.NINETEEN.
If you didn’t have the chance to catch the games live, have a read of our write-up of the grand final below. You can also watch the VoDs on epic.LAN’s Twitch channel.
Grand final: Play-by-play report
Dire (TSYHL): Faceless Void (Jaloobi), Phoenix (Mute242), Vengeful Spirit (BartyG), Tinker (M E E P), Axe (t’Soodle)
Radiant (Devine): Disruptor (Dai), Dark Seer (SweetNothing), Sven (PTSD), Night Stalker (Tragic crêpe), Windranger (Rothwell)
Game one: A rubber band to the face for Devine eSports
The first game of the best of five saw Devine attempt to surprise TSYHL with a five-man rotation into Dire’s safelane, but they were caught by surprise themselves as TSYHL revealed their aggressive duo lane of Axe and Phoenix.
Despite a cheeky outplay by Dark Seer securing first blood against Dire’s support, Devine’s carry suffered heavily by the constant pressure in their own safe lane.
Even with a strong NS rotation securing much needed kills against both Axe and Phoenix, Devine’s carry continued to suffer with as little as 2 cs per minute in the early stages of the game.
With Dark Seer doing so well for Devine, TSYHL opt for a kill at the five minute mark, but the space created top provides the much needed room for Radiant’s Nightstalker and Windranger to take down Tinker, with the added benefit of securing Sven’s farm.
A miscalculated dive by Devine saw the early game take a shift into TSYHL’s favour with a 3-1 trade, with an unfortunate, almost comical mid-dive daytime shift sending Nightstalker back to the fountain. A blessed invisibility rune from RNGesus allows Disruptor to snipe Dire’s Tinker, but the kill came accompanied with an exhausting mental defeat.
Signs of life for Devine eSports
Devine managed to work themselves back into the game with a 3-0 trade, however they continued to fall victim to TSYHL’s pick-off potential around the map. An overcommitment to Dire’s mid T3 tower at the 27-minute mark saw its destruction, but the uncoordinated retreat saw key heroes fall and Roshan go to the Dire.
An impressive 4-1 turnaround by Radiant assisted by the precision shackles of Windranger saw the game swing 3.5k in Devine’s favour, propelling Windranger and Sven into the networth lead. A Roshan at the 40 minute mark allowed Devine to push into TSYHL’s base, but constant distraction by the Dire side kept Radiant from taking the barracks, and the harass damage poked them low enough for TSYHL to take a 4-0 victory on top of aegis.
A counterpush by Dire saw them claim a mid T3 tower alongside multiple buybacks, resulting in an overall 8k shift in networth – from 14k to 6k. A 4-2 trade shortly thereafter demonstrated this networth lead, as Sven struggled to deal with the constant bashing bombardment from Dire’s Void.
A crucial pick-off on to Windranger at the 58 minute mark allows TSYHL to push the issue and secure further kills, resulting in multiple forced buybacks as they push Radiant’s base.
Bottom barracks is secured by TSYHL at the 63 minute mark. Despite Devine’s strong initiation and pick-offs on to key targets in a last ditch top lane defence attempt, they immediately fell victim to Dire’s buyback advantage as their demise quickly became a speedy re-arrival, with the subsequent clean-up resulting in GG being called.
MVP: Rothwell on Windranger.
Game two: No hiding from Timbersaw
Dire (TSYHL): Phoenix (BartyG), Elder Titan (Mute242), Timbersaw (t’Soodle), Invoker (M E E P), Lone Druid (Jaloobi)
Radiant (Devine): Faceless Void (SweetNothing), Lich (Dai), Witch Doctor (Tragic crêpe), Juggernaut (PTSD), Leshrac (Rothwell)
Taking a leaf out of TSYHL’s book, Devine opted for a duo offlane with Lich and Void to pressure Dire’s Timbersaw in game two. Despite numerous near death experiences across the map, first blood was delayed until four minutes in, with an unexpected Invoker gank cleaning up Radiant’s duo offlane. Whilst Leshrac was successful in keeping Invoker down in the middle lane, both of Devine’s side lanes fell victim to constant pick-offs and pressure.
The game took a favourable shift for Devine at the 12-minute mark, as Leshrac secured a successful pick-off on Timbersaw, with further kills on to Lone Druid and Invoker elsewhere.
An exhausting teamfight at the 16-minute mark showcased both sides’ survivability, but TSYHL still managed to secure two hugely important kills on to Leshrac, nullifying the effectiveness of his newly picked up Bloodstone and boosting Timbersaw into the lead.
TSYHL seize control and don’t let go
Dire’s 4k networth lead at the 20-minute mark was snowballed further with a triple kill on Timbersaw and the obliteration of Radiant’s final T1 tower.
Numerous pick-offs afterwards strengthened this lead, resulting in a 10k networth advantage by 25 minutes in. Acknowledging the strength of Timbersaw, Devine opted to play a slower paced game and manage to secure Roshan at the 27 minute mark, and force Timbersaw’s Bloodstone suicide minutes after.
With time and space created for Lone Druid to farm his Radiance and other key items, TSYHL chose to push the issue at the 36 minute mark, with a 4-2 trade securing aegis for Invoker. A follow-up mid lane push moments after saw Radiant’s Void caught by surprise, and death on multiple key heroes after with no buyback saw GG called.
MVP: Jaloobi on Timbersaw.
Full details of all the tournament winners at epic.EIGHTEEN can be found on the epic.LAN website. You can also follow epic.LAN on Twitter.