The International 11 is finally here, and we've already had the chance to watch tons of amazing series throughout the groups.
Day 1 saw EG finish without losing a single map, Day 2 saw some thrilling series for Team Liquid. And the competition only got hotter as Day 3 rolled around, with EG showing up again for an undefeated run. Finally, Day 4 saw the moment of truth for our teams, with Soniqs, BetBoom, Talon and TSM all saying goodbye to Singapore and a chance at competing in the Playoffs.
If you missed any of the excitement from the first four days of The International, we've recapped our favorite series for you here. Plus, for more analysis check out 4 things we learned from TI 2022's Group Stage.
Day 1 was the start of our round robin Best of 2 series, fans finally got the chance to see our 20 teams clash in the first matches of TI 11 2022. We recap some of the highlights.
Team Liquid vs Soniqs
One of Day 1's most grueling series. The Bo2 saw Liquid and Soniqs go head to head, with map two stretching out into a mammoth hour long game.
Soniqs had the upper hand in our first match, with Quinn "Quinn" Callahan proving to be a menace on his Leshrac. Yawar "YawaR" Hassan took Monkey King, while Adrian "Fata" Trinks brought plenty of support on Snapfire.
Team Liquid were looking sluggish by comparison, Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen lost top lane on his Lycan, and Michael "miCKe" Vu didn't fare much better on Morph in the mid.
A burst of kills just past the 15-minute mark gave Soniqs a comfortable lead after their strong laning phase, which they played into well. In comparison, Liquid had a lot of problems with YawaR once his MK came online. They only managed to bring him down twice in the game's early stages.
By 33 minutes in, it was clear that the game belonged to NA and their 15k lead in the net worth was only going to balloon.
After putting on a dominant showing, Soniqs closed the first map out with a 23 kill lead and a 31k in the net worth.
The first game surely hadn't gone according to Liquid's plans, and it didn't look as if they were faring so well during the lanes this time either. But they weren't about to roll over and hand the second map to Soniqs too.
Game 2 saw Ludwig "Zai" Wåhlberg take a much more active role on Primal Beast. While MATUMBAMAN also saw more success on his Naga pick this time around, managing a draw against YawaR's Morph in the safe lane.
But Soniqs still had the map control, and the gold lead, for the majority of the game. Liquid were showing up, but they weren't making ground.
Until the 50th minute that is, when a critical engagement on the Radiant's side of the river gave them the opening they had been waiting for. Rodrigo "LESLÃO" Santos and Arif "MSS" Anwar fell, and Soniqs were forced on to the back foot. A situation Liquid capitalized on to turn the tables.
From almost 20k down in the net worth, to 15k up, Liquid spent the next ten minutes on the map reminding us why Dota is such a thrilling game, and how the best players in the world can turn a simple mistake of overreach, into a crushing defeat for their opponents.
Team Secret vs Beastcoast
After getting to Singapore by the skin of their teeth in the Last Chance Qualifier, it's fair to say Secret's commanding performance against direct invitees beastcoast on Day 1 of the groups was a surprise.
Our first map saw beastcoast team captain Steven "StingeR" Mamani snatch Enchantress as a support for Héctor "K1" Rodríguez in the top lane on Bloodseeker. The pair took the lane over Slardar (Remco "Crystallis" Arets) and Team Secret's own captain, Clement "Puppey" Ivanov on his Chen.
As things moved into the mid-game, it looked as if things were going beastcoast's way. But as the game passed 20 minutes, beastcoast started to look shaky. First, a skirmish on the Radiant side went awry for Adrián "Wisper" Dobles, then Michał "Nisha" Jankowski shut down K1's kill streak before it could really get started. By 25 minutes, Crystallis and his Slardar started coming online. Secret headed to Dire's top lane and started taking control.
By 30 minutes, beastcoast had lost the net worth lead and Secret evened up the kill count before closing out the game at 34-minutes.
After Secret's comeback at the end of the first map, beastcoast seemed to have lost their spark. The second map was a swift, 19-minute stomp which Secret dominated throughout. Leading in gold, experience and kills from the lanes right up until the Radiant ancient fell.
From the LCQ to a clean 2-0 victory, this series was certainly one to give Secret fans hope for the days ahead.
Day 2 was full of stomps and it's share of upsets too. We recap some of our favorite series.
Evil Geniuses vs Team Liquid
Following their performance on Day 1, Evil Geniuses was the big favorite against its WEU counterpart. However, Team Liquid is one of the best in the world for a reason, which is why the team defeated its opponents.
The North American team tried using some of the heroes that helped them win yesterday’s matches, one of which is Broodmother. To make sure that no one would counter her, the team even picked Sven. Although Liquid did not have a clear counter, the SF and Pudge draft was too strong for the NA team.
The early and mid-game were fairly even because both teams farmed a lot. However, the big on-bot line 32 minutes after the start greatly impacted the match. Team Liquid won this crucial fight and allowed them to take control of the match.
That said, EG bounced back several minutes later and even secured the Aegis and Cheese. We thought that the NA team would win, but a 5-man smoke 43 minutes after the start in Liquid’s T3 did not go as planned. Liquid secured three important kills and pushed their opponent’s base. The game continued for a total of 65 minutes because EG defended their base against Mega Creeps, but in the end, Liquid won.
After epic game one, where we saw a 65+ min game with rapiers, the second map was not that interesting. Similar to the situation in game 1, Liquid and EG exchanged a couple of kills and had a good start. However, once Liquid’s Lone Druid got a few items he became too strong for the NA squad.
With more than an 11k net worth lead just 23 minutes after the start, Team Liquid had no problems against Evil Geniuses. The latter did everything in their power to allow Lina and Void to bounce back, but Liquid did not make any mistakes. The WEU squad won this very important game and became the group's first team to defeat Evil Geniuses during the Groups.
PSG.LGD vs OG
The young OG squad had a pretty good day 1 after securing important victories. However, the team was yet to face one of its biggest challenges in the face of PSG.LGD. Even though most people thought the WEU team would win, the Chinese were better and secured a crucial victory.
Usually, OG is good during the laning stage and scales well in the mid-game. However, the Chinese were better in this match and did not allow their opponents to take advantage of their aggressive lineup.
PSG.LGD won the laning stage and continued to dominate in the mid-game. The team had around 10k net worth after just 10 minutes of play, and their Shadow Fiend and Pangolier had almost 2x the net worth of OG’s cores. Unsurprisingly, OG couldn’t do much to bounce back and lost the first map.
OG had a slightly better start to game 2, but evenBozhidar "bzm" Bogdanov’s Invoker couldn’t carry his team. The Chinese outmaneuvered their opponents and won several big fights. Suddenly, the Chinese had a 10k lead after 17 minutes, which meant this was a replay of game 1.
OG ended the game with just 4 kills as PSG.LGD had a 20k+ net worth lead 27 minutes after the start. Sadly, the young squad was unable to show its prowess and lost this match against the best in China.
Competition was fierce as the Group Stage neared it's conclusions. With every team doing their best to avoid elimination. We breakdown some of the biggest highlights.
Fnatic vs Aster
Fnatic were showing up for SEA on the first two days of the Groups. Ending with a total of 3 wins, 3 draws and 3 losses and landing them squarely in the middle of the ladder.
Day 3 saw them go up against China for the first time in the form of Team Aster. The result was a two-hour series with both teams pulling out all the stops to try and take the win for themselves.
Aster went with a fairly unorthodox Brewmaster pick for Ye "Borax" Zhibiao during the draft. While Brew's win rate is fairly high currently, it didn't seem like the right fit for Aster's mid laner. Least of all played in to a Tiny in the hands of Armel "Armel" Tabios.
Strange picks aside, Aster just didn't seem to have their groove for this map and Fnatic held the lead for the vast majority.
Aster did put up a fight though, stretching the time out to almost an hour. But in the end, Fnatic had the superior draft and execution. They took the map just before the timer hit 60-minutes with a 23 kill lead, 36-13.
After their sluggish performance in the kills during the first game, Aster came in to Game 2 looking for blood. And they got it. As soon as the game left the lanes the kills were flying thick and fast.
Aster had a better line up this time too, Du "Monet" Peng had plenty of chances for pick offs on his Drow Ranger, although Borax still looked shaky, although his Primal Beast was much more effective.
But, Fnatic were still on fire and it was their carries who were leading in both gold and experience for the entire map. Armel especially was dealing out the pain on Sniper, racking up 19 kills and 14 assists over the course of nearly 66 minutes.
Although Aster gave it their all, they couldn't equalize the series, and Fnatic took this victory 2-0.
Team Spirit vs Tundra
People weren't expecting much from Tundra at TI. But Wu "Sneyking" Jingjun's team did more than just show up for the groups — they took them over.
Their Day 3 series against Team Spirit showed us exactly why it's worth keeping an eye on them after all.
The draft saw Spirit take Marci, Axe and a double Shadow smorgasboard with both Demon and Fiend. They also snagged an Invover pick for Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek, but he was hard pressed trying to take down Tundra's Leon "Nine" Kirilin and his Tusk in their mid match up.
Besides the Tusk, Tundra were running with Lifestealer, Doom, Mirana and a CM for Sneyking. A slightly less greedy draft than Spirit's line up.
While Spirit took first blood, Dire's safe lane saw plenty of exchanges within the first 10 minutes, but both sides ended up breaking even across the laning phase. Things slowed down a bit through the early mid-game, but as the time passed 20 minutes, Tundra started to make moves.
Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov's Shadow Demon fell 7 times over the game's next ten minutes, and Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk couldn't manage to land his kills with Shadow Fiend.
On the other hand Oliver "skiter" Lepko was unstoppable on Naix, responsible for 13 of Tundra's 34 kills.
Tundra wrapped things up at 34 minutes with a 23k lead in the net worth.
Spirit once again snatched first blood with a kill on Sneyking. But Tundra had shown up to the second map to win. Things started to tip in their favor toward the end of the lanes. An attempt by TORONTOTOKYO and Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov to push mid tower went pear shaped. With Miposhka's Undying falling to a l to a well timed Walrus Punch from Nine, who was again running Tusk in the mid.
From here on out, Tundra held the net worth control. And although Spirit did put up some fight, they simply didn't have the power to pull things back from Tundra's vice like grip.
After 40 minutes, Tundra took yet another win, landing them in the top 3 of group B.
The final day of the Group Stage, a day of relief for some and reckoning for others. We take a look at two of the biggest series from Day 4 of the groups at TI 11.
PSG.LGD vs BetBoom
One of the first DPC teams to receive a direct invitation, PSG.LGD came in to the groups as one of the favorites to take them by storm. BetBoom on the other hand, were always going to be one of the underdogs. Their vicious fight to equalize this series against one of the world's best was one of the highlights of Day 4.
Game 1 saw LGD take a strong draft with Wang "Ame" Chunyu on Naix, backed up by Zhang "y`" Yiping's Lich in top lane. But BB's Denis "Larl" Sigitov looked mean on Sniper in mid, shutting down Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang on his Lina before 3 minutes and leaving LGD's midlaner on the back foot.
But LGD have done the dance at TI many times, and although BetBoom were putting up a fight, but thanks to the discipline from the Chinese team, the CIS squad wasn't able to capitalize on any mistakes.
By the time the game reached it's mid phase, LGD looked comfortably in control and after 43 minutes, they closed the game with a net worth lead of almost 44k.
After the first map, we certainly didn't expect BetBoom to come in strong. But they did, taking the lion's share of the kills and gold from an early skirmish, just past the 5 minute mark.
Although they didn't dominate their lanes, they did manage to take something out of them; with Nikita "Daxak" Kuzmin getting some value out of roaming on his Nature's Prophet, and Vladimir "RodJER" Nikogosian moving in to mid on his Marci to give Larl's Sniper more support against Shadow Fiend.
Still, even when their behind, LGD are no slouch, at several points it looked like the Chinese team were staging their comeback and BetBoom had to pull out all the stops in this epic 58 minute series to snatch the win.
But snatch it they did, securing the second map with a 29 kill lead and 22k up in the net worth. The victory wasn't enough to keep them from elimination, but it was nothing short of a top tier performance against one of the world's best.
Evil Geniuses vs BOOM ID
After a dominant run through Group A, Evil Geniuses saw an upset on Day 4, with SEA team BOOM ID bringing everything they had to the table to avoid elimination.
Game 1 gave us a surprising Pudge pick for EG, with Artour "Arteezy" Babaev running the hero in top lane with back up from Tal "Fly" Aizik on Chen. Although the pair met with only with marked success, with the lane ending in a draw against Saieful "Fbz" Ilham's Enigma and Timothy "Tims" Randrup's Marci pick.
In fact, it was a difficult laning phase for EG, who didn't manage to establish dominance in the early game at all. Meanwhile BOOM were managing to keep a humble gold lead right up until the mid game.
There were a few moments where it looked like Evil Geniuses were ready to make a move, but nothing ever came of them and eventually all their options seemed to fizzle out.
Erin "Yopaj" Ferrer was practically untouchable by them on his Leshrac, going 12/2/10 over the course of the 38 minute map. Abed "Abed" Yusop only managed 6/3/5 in comparison. BOOM took the first series, giving EG one of their few tastes of defeat at TI 11 so far.
Our second game was not so cut and dry however. EG came in hard, taking the first three kills, and then BOOM retaliated in kind. The kills evened out to roughly 1 a minute, with the count 7 for BOOM and 4 for EG by 11 minutes in.
The atmosphere was tense for EG, they initiated a few early engagements but backed down quickly, leaving BOOM to pick off their supports. They also managed to catch the NA team out more than a few times. Including a beautiful jump on to Abed mid farm in the jungle at 21-minutes.
Still EG did manage to pull the advantage back their way by 30 minutes in, a well timed song of the siren from Arteezy's Naga Siren ensured that BOOM didn't get too much out of the skirmish, but they were also well ahead in kills by that stage.
The lead see-sawed between the two teams as the map played out, but inevitably, BOOM had EG's number. At 55 minutes, they pushed the Dire high ground and made mince meat out of Evil Geniuses' defenses. Taking their series against the NA team 2-0.
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