Chinese juggernauts PSG.LGD are the first grand finalists of the Dota 2 PGL Arlington Major after they soundly swept their rivals, The International 10 (TI10) champions Team Spirit, 2-0, in the tournament's upper bracket finals on Sunday (14 August).
In the first game of the series, PSG.LGD opened the draft with Tiny, a hero that could go in almost any role. It’s hard to tell if Tiny was intended to go mid from the start but in the end, it was Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang who played the hero.
Zhang "y`" Yiping took Crystal Maiden, a fragile but strong laning support with good teamfight.
Team Spirit went for the strongest support in Dota 2 right now, Chen, for team captain Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov. Chen has a 70% win rate in the Major with 43 picks. The hero’s ability to win the lane, bring down enemy structures, and provide multiple useful auras to the team is invaluable. Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov compounded the fast pace for Spirit with Marci.
In the second pick phase, Zhao "XinQ" Zixing picked Phoenix, giving the Chinese team two powerful teamfight ultimates on their supports. Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida provided the team with another strong front-line core with Timbersaw.
Team Spirit knew that their teamfight was significantly weaker than their opponents and attempted to rectify that in the second pick phase. Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk picked Monkey King while Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov got Mars, giving the TI10 winners a fighting chance against the Phoenix and Crystal Maiden combo.
PSG.LGD needed a carry to round up their draft and realized that Phantom Assassin’s high mobility made her perfect for escaping all of Team Spirit’s offense and picked the hero for Wang "Ame" Chunyu.
Team Spirit doubled down on big teamfight ultimates for their cores and took Snapfire for Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek.
The early game went well for the TI10 champions, as they secured the lead thanks to their aggressive early game lineup. Team Spirit needed to win the laning stage and then use their advantage to group up and control the map.
This is where PSG.LGD’s brilliant drafting revealed itself, knowing that Spirit wanted to group up, the Chinese team took multiple teamfight ultimates to punish their opponents for attempting to control the map. When the two teams clashed 15 minutes in, it was an even trade, which was a bad sign for Team Spirit’s midgame-oriented lineup.
Team Spirit’s game plan to control the mid-game failed and due to PSG.LGD’s stronger scaling lineup, the TI10 winners ran out of steam after the mid-game. While Spirit won a couple of engagements, all PSG.LGD needed to win big team-fights was to land one of their support ultimates.
When all three cores of Team Spirit tried to kill NothingToSay and he still lived due to the Sun Ray from XinQ, it signaled the beginning of the end for the Dire team.
With inferior teamfight and a networth disadvantage, Team Spirit tapped out and game one went to PSG.LGD.
The Chinese squad went for a more aggressive lineup in game two, thanks to the global presence of Faith_bian’s Dawnbreaker and NothingToSay’s Storm Spirit. Both heroes also synergize well with Ame’s Faceless Void, giving PSG.LGD an aggressive core lineup that can take teamfights.
Team Spirit went a different route, focusing on trying to pick off the members of PSG.LGD. Clockwerk for Miposhka, and Void Spirit for TORONTOTOKYO would have to make space for Yatoro to get online with Templar Assassin.
The aggressive lineup by PSG.LGD worked in the early game, as they got 10 kills in the first 10 minutes of the game. Four of those kills were on Collapse’s Razor, a hero that desperately needs to win the laning stage in order to remain impactful in the mid-game.
Despite being behind against a stronger teamfight lineup, Team Spirit reminded everyone how they became the TI10 champions by quickly dispatching Ame before a teamfight began 18 minutes in. XinQ scored an incredible Echo Slam on Team Spirit but couldn’t catch Yatoro, allowing him to continue dishing out the damage and winning the fight for his team.
While Yatoro continued to be the biggest threat in the game, the other two cores on the team were having a much tougher time in game two. Meanwhile PSG.LGD’s tri-core lineup continued to scale and that proved to be a major factor in the game.
When the two teams clashed at the 34-minute mark, it wasn’t Ame or NothingToSay who won the fight for PSG.LGD, but Faith_Bian, who brought down six members of Team Spirit in an incredible display of prowess.
PSG.LGD tripled their advantage after that teamfight and Team Spirit found themselves in the same situation they were in game one, with a weaker teamfight lineup against an enemy who had a networth advantage.
Despite another valiant hold, in the end, PSG.LGD took game two and became the first team to head to the grand finals of the Arlington Major.
With their victory, PSG.LGD have guaranteed themselves at least a Top 2 finish as well as US$100,000 and 740 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points. Of course, they have their sights set at the Arlington Major championship and now have it within reach.
Meanwhile, Team Spirit drop down to the lower bracket finals, where they will face the winner of lower bracket semifinals for the right to challenge PSG.LGD in the grand finals.
The final day of the Arlington Major will begin with the best-of-three lower bracket finals. The winner will advance to the grand finals while the loser will bow out of the tournament in third place and with US$75,000 and 670 DPC points in consolation.
The Arlington Major grand finals will be a best-of-five series, with the victors claiming the Arlington Major championship as well as the grand prize of US$200,000 and 820 DPC points. The loser will have to settle for second place as well as US$100,000 and 740 DPC points in winnings.
The Arlington Major is the second and final Dota 2 Major of the 2021-2022 DPC season.
The tournament features 17 of the best Dota 2 teams in the world fighting for their slice of the US$500,000 prize pool and 4,570 DPC point pool.
More importantly, the Arlington Major is the last chance for teams to secure a coveted direct invite to TI11, Dota 2's marquee million-dollar world championship tournament.
For everything you need to know about the Arlington Major, check here.
PSG.LGD Dota 2 roster:
Wang "Ame" Chunyu
Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang
Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida
Zhao "XinQ" Zixing
Zhang "y`" Yiping
Team Spirit Dota 2 roster:
Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk
Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek
Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov
Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov
Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov
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