And so, the final match of the 2021 Dota 2 Singapore Major has come down to this: the two top teams of their respective regions in a best-of-five showdown for the title of best team in the world (at this point in time). Evil Geniuses had a relatively smooth path, being seeded directly into the playoffs and defeating Fnatic, Invictus Gaming, and PSG.LGD to get here. On the other hand, Invictus Gaming was also seeded directly into the playoffs, but after defeating Vici Gaming, they were knocked down to the lower bracket by Evil Geniuses, and had to beat Thunder Predator, Team Secret, and PSG.LGD to reach the grand final. Will IG get their revenge against EG to claim their first major win? Or will EG secure North America’s first major trophy?
An extremely greedy draft with two heavy farming cores (flyfly on Naga and Emo on Morphling), while EG unveiled a pick we haven’t seen in a while – position 1 Leshrac for Arteezy. EG secured an early kill lead, but IG continued farming on their cores unhindered while the gank squad of Mars, Phoenix and Disruptor roamed the map. This led to IG giving up map control (4 towers) and an outpost against EG’s faster lineup before the 20-minute mark. At 18 minutes, IG took an unfavourable team fight which led to them losing 4 heroes and giving EG the first Aegis of the game.
Towards the midgame, IG seemed discombobulated, losing fight after fight. With a 9k lead, EG felt comfortable marching down mid against the shaken Chinese squad, won a skirmish on the high ground and forced out the GGs. Evil Geniuses lead the series 1-0.
Invictus Gaming had another greedy draft, while Evil Geniuses kept the pedal to the metal with another high-tempo lineup, with a nice Ancient Apparition pick to counter Alchemist, Faceless Void and Abaddon. As expected, the early game was heavily in favour of EG – 3k lead and 15-5 score at 15 minutes. Things looked extremely bleak for the Chinese squad going into the midgame.
At 22 minutes, Alchemist farmed the first Aghanim’s Scepter Synth of the game, giving it to the Faceless Void – unfortunately, it didn’t make a difference to their team fighting capabilities. Four minutes later, EG claimed the first lane of barracks after winning a team fight. A couple of minutes and a failed Chronosphere later, out came the GGs. Evil Geniuses lead the series 2-0.
“If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” seems to be the motto for Evil Geniuses as they opened the draft with Earth and Storm Spirit again, seeing how they were let through during the banning phase. Invictus Gaming picked heroes to counter their line up, including a rare Sven pick. Both teams could come online at similar times, but IG’s Sven would tip the scales in their favour if it ever went to the late game.
The early game was pretty even, with both teams trying and failing ganks on their opponent’s cores due to support rotations. However, at the ten-minute mark, IG broke ahead with an advantageous team fight in the mid lane. Things were looking good for the Chinese squad until the 16th minute, where EG struck back with a decisive team fight and turned things around, bringing IG’s gold lead down to under 1k. Another team fight around the Roshan pit spelt disaster for IG and Underlord had to bail most of the team out. Cr1t-‘s Earth Spirit continued to find pickoffs for his squad, and IG had to finally concede the first Aegis.
The game eventually swayed into EG’s favour as they won fight after fight, and claiming towers on IG’s side of the map, and taking the gold lead. There was a glimmer of hope at 28 minutes when IG won a team fight, but EG struck back hard, wiping their opponents and forcing 2 buybacks before retreating from a high ground push. Another Aegis for EG gave them what they needed to claim the first lane of barracks.
IG persevered and continued holding the fort for Sven to come online and boy he did – IG started winning team fights off the back of massive crits from the hero and slowly took control of the game. After a few misplays from EG, IG regained the lead, two lanes of barracks, and eventually won the game. Well played to the squad for not giving up and giving us a real series. EG lead the series over IG 2-1.
First Troll Warlord and Bloodseeker for Invictus Gaming this series, and Storm Spirit for Evil Geniuses once again – high-tempo lineups seems to be the name of the game for this one. Late game will be a toss up between PA crits or Troll bashes. The early game started well enough for the NA boys, but it didn’t take long for IG to catch up in the midgame. Despite losing a Rosh pit fight and the first Aegis, IG were unfazed and took multiple successful skirmishes which opened up the first two lane of barracks for them. IG’s lead continued growing, giving them even more items and tools to counter EG’s lineup, who had no way of dealing with the Troll Warlord. Arteezy’s rapier couldn’t even save the day – IG equalize the series with EG at 2-2.
A best-of-five that goes all the way – something every Dota 2 fan wishes for, and we get it this Grand Final. While IG got their Lion and Phoenix picks again, we get to see EG with Storm yet again. All the carry bans led to an interesting matchup for that role – LIfestealer vs Spectre. Both teams drafted solid team fighting comps worthy of a final showdown, it’s going to boil down to execution.
EG started off with a good lead thanks to superb rotations from Cr1t- on his Tusk, but during the midgame when IG hit their power spikes, they struck back hard and heavy, fight after fight, regaining the lead – iceiceice on his Enigma whiffing his Blackhole casts didn’t help. It seemed like textbook Dota for IG after that, the Chinese team never let down the pressure and eventually closed out the game thanks to a superb bait from Kaka’s Lion who blinked up high ground to tank EG’s spells. Invictus Gaming win the series over Evil Geniuses 3-2.
Invictus Gaming Victory
It wasn’t an easy road for the Chinese team to take, but they pulled it out of the bag. Congratulations to flyfly, Emo, JT-, Kaka, and Oli~ for winning the first Dota 2 Major of the year. It will be a grand final to remember. Hats off to Evil Geniuses who tried their best but fell short today. We look forward to seeing these teams face off again in the future DPC Season.
IG walk away with $200,000 and 500 DPC points, while EG will win $100,000 and 450 DPC points. Full details.
Thanks to all the players, casters, and organizer, ONE Esports for the amazing tournament, the lack of Dota in the coming days will be missed! On the bright side, we have a new patch and hero to look forward to. Stay tuned to eGG Network for all the latest news and updates on Dota 2!