I would like to start with thanking you all who have been cheering for us in the qualifier. It means a lot to us to see that we have such nice and dedicated fans and we always do our best to perform as good as possible to make you guys proud!
So, back to the qualifier where we started off with a wonderful score of 0-2! :D When you are playing this kind of qualifier it’s definitely not a score you want to start out with since it puts pressure on you in multiple ways. It’s never good to have the feeling that you “need” to win the next game because it could result in you trying to do too much in the game to win it or just be scared to make a mistake. I’m very happy we managed to leave those feelings behind and turn it around by winning the next 3 games finishing the day with 3-2. We did lose a couple of games that definitely was winnable for us but we tried to not think too much about it and just focus on the next games and try to not make the same mistakes twice.
The first game in the grand finals vs. Escape gaming was the most crazy one. I made the decision to go for an Aghs on Venge which I’ve actually never done before but it turned out to be a very good choice. Since they had Void together with all their damage from Invoker and Timber I knew that I would have to sacrifice myself every fight to save someone from the Chrono, so by getting the aghs I made sure I could still stay in the fights even after I died. The game looked quite grim for us since they got more and more of our base so when we managed to kill Qojqva without a buyback we saw an opportunity to go for the push and end the game!
After the first game I decided to reboot my computer because my computer froze for a second during one of the team fights. It turned out to be a big mistake though because there was some updates queued so in the end it took like 30 minutes for the computer to fully restart. Since we didn’t know how long it was gonna take, we just waited for it to restart and the admins didn’t say much about it. We constantly gave updates of what happened but then out of the blue the admins wrote “Penalty level 3 given to Alliance”. We were quite surprised because they didn’t give us any heads up at all so when we saw that we got a penalty we instantly switched to an old computer we had at the bootcamp. I understand they can’t wait forever but I think it was very poorly handled by the admins. If they would have written “Alliance you will receive a level 1 penalty in 5 minutes” or something like that we would have switched straight away because you never want to get a draft penalty (a level 3 penalty means that you only have 20 seconds bonus time instead of 130 so it’s quite a big difference) and on top of that we got the level 3 penalty out of the blue after not even receiving a level 1 or 2 penalty. I guess it might be in the rules about how long break you could have but a heads up by the admins would have been nice as well ^^.
In the second game, Escape Gaming went for a crazy push strat that we weren’t able to fend off so they got a rax very early. Khezu went for a shadow blade to be able to pick off s4’s Ember so he couldn’t really split push and delay the game in that way either and fighting them head on with all their heals was impossible so the game was pretty hard. We lost the game quite fast.
Third game was a battle against the clock for us. Compared to the second game where Escape Gaming wanted to push us, it was now the other way around. The problem for us was that they had a Tinker to defend their base with and also a Medusa for the late game. I can really see their lineup work – if they manage to defend the base and get strong enough on the Medusa it would be really hard for us to finish the game but even though we didn’t get any rax until quite late we stayed somewhat equal in farm. EGM even managed to get a aghs + refresher up on Shadow Shaman which made it a bit easier for us to break the base. I think the game was very even though – if they would be able to kill one of us with the Tinker’s aghs (which they almost did a couple of fights) they would probably be able to chase us down with the Night Stalker and take control of the map but we managed to survive their burst and heal up with Jugger’s healing ward and the heals from Dazzle.
Last game was also quite even but for me the one I felt we had the most control over. The one thing I was concerned about was if the game would come to the point where Necrophos would have aghs and be able to kill someone without the ability to buy back. Since they had Lone Druid they could easily go and take our whole base if they would get a pick off like that but luckily for us the game never reached that point! :) We were able to shut down Khezu on Slardar in the early game because of Lich so even though Qojqva farmed a lot on Lone Druid we farmed a lot on all of our 3 cores as well. Loda played somewhat of a play maker this game on Void so Bulldog and S4 both had more farm than him but at the same time he got enough farm to be a threat in the fights.
After we won the series and qualified for TI I was both happy and relieved. It’s so stressful to play these qualifiers so I was happy that it was over and that we can continue and focus on TI instead! We are playing in an online tournament called “Global Grand Master” the upcoming two weeks. It’s a double elimination bracket and I think it’s nice for us to play some officials to stay in shape.