SL i-League S3: A first try
Natus Vincere.G2A Team Liquid [0:1]
The first game
With Na`Vi's all new lineup, we opened the draft with picking Underlord for rmN- and Dazzle for Biver. Underlord has been picked fairly consistently since the new patch, either playing offlane or a position four support. Dendi chose to go with Ember Spirit, a particular strong hero in this new patch. Pajkatt picked Juggernaut and GeneRaL chose to play Dark Seer. Liquid drafted Rubick, a strong hero against almost all of Na`Vi's heroes, with lots of potential to steal our powerful spells.
Dendi was able to stay slightly ahead of Miracle's Alchemist until gh on Slardar was able to pick up an invisibility rune and gank Dendi, giving the first blood in the game to Alchemist at around four minutes into the game. Liquid spent a lot of their time focusing on setting Dendi back after this pick off, rotating Slardar and Rubick into the mid lane to kill him again. This started to set Miracle's Alchemist ahead, leading in about six last hits over Dendi's Ember Spirit.
Team Liquid's Slardar and Rubick duo continued to rotate around the map, unsuccessfully trying to ganking Pajkatt's Juggernaut. Liquid also used these rotations to consistently stack ancients, in order to ensure that their Alchemist and Axe could secure a massive gold boost and get their critical items early. While Liquid seemed to be ahead in this game, Juggernaut had been almost uncontested.
At eight minutes into the game, we smoked with Ember Spirit, Underlord, and Dark Seer and successfully killed Miracle’s Alchemist in their jungle. Our Juggernaut and Dazzle also successfully killed Rubick in the top lane, allowing us to secure some space to get back into the game.
By ten minutes, Liquid held a gold and experience lead, with about a 3,000 gold advantage. While Liquid did have Miracle on an Alchemist, they were still able to win the laning stage with some of that early pressure on Dendi and successful ganks. Na`Vi took the first tower at about twelve minutes, taking out the Liquid's bottom tower. Liquid very shortly after took Na`Vi's top tower. There was a small fight in the mid lane at 13 minutes, resulting in Liquid's Rubick and Axe dying.
Fight recap for team fight at around fifteen minutes
There was another mid fight at around fifteen minutes. This fight featured a lot of action and with a lot of damage coming out from Alchemist's Radiance, Dendi's Veil of Discord on Ember Spirit proved to be too much and it resulted in a four of Liquid's heroes dying while three of ours died. After the fight, Na`Vi quickly rotated into Roshan’s pit and were able to grab the Aegis on Juggernaut.
However, Liquid managed to stay on top of the net worth, with Mutumbaman’s Timbersaw and Alchemist keeping up the farm. Still, we were close behind the Timbersaw in net worth, with Pajkatt’s Juggernaut staying neck and neck with the Timbersaw.
Fight recap for fight at 24 minutes
At around 24 minutes, there was another team fight in the Radiant’s jungle. Unfortunately, Liquid was able to come out on top for that fight and that fight allowed them to secure a very large net worth and experience advantage. Despite this, Liquid has been struggling with being able to fight against Na`Vi’s heroes throughout the mid game thanks to Ember Spirit and Juggernaut.
At 28 minutes, Liquid took Na`Vi’s final tier two and they tried to move into taking out a shrine, but another team fight broke out. Unfortunately, Liquid was able to kill both Juggernaut and Ember Spirit. After those pickoffs, Liquid rotated into Roshan and secured the Aegis for Mind Control’s Axe. Axe quickly lost the Aegis, but that opened up the fight for Liquid, which resulted in a comfortable team fight for them, killing both Dazzle and Juggernaut. Liquid used this to take out the first set of racks in the mid lane.
Quickly after, Kuroky’s Rubick stole Dark Seer’s Vacuum and set up for a team wipe on us, resulting in calling the game. While Na`Vi had some strong plays and effective rotations, we weren’t able to overpower Liquid’s net worth and experience advantage for this game. The final score of the game was 21:13 with Liquid taking the game.
Items and stats from the end of game one
Natus Vincere.G2A Team Liquid [0:2]
The second game
Na`Vi went with a similar draft, having the exact same opening picking Underlord and Dazzle. We chose to ban Axe this game, who caused too many problems for Dazzle in the last game. Na`Vi then picked up Batrider and Shadow Fiend, a hero that Dendi is known for being quite strong on.
Team Liquid also went with a very similar draft, picking Slardar, Timbersaw, and Rubick for their first three picks. However, with Liquid being on the Dire side this game and Na`Vi being on the Radiant, the Slardar and Rubick rotations in mid would be more difficult to pull off against Dendi’s Shadow Fiend compared to the last game. Liquid decided to pick Weaver for their fourth pick and also claimed Ember Spirit Chaos Knight for themselves, a change from the last game. Na`Vi chose Choas Knight, a relatively unseen hero in this new patch, for our final pick.
Liquid was able to take first blood fairly quickly into the match, catching GeneRaL on Batrider out of position. They tried rotating Slardar and Rubick into the mid lane against Dendi’s Shadow Fiend very early in the game, but rmN-’s Underlord was there for some extra protection. Shortly after on the top lane, Slardar came in to try and kill Dazzle, but he dove under our tower and missed his Slithereen Crush, resulting in us being able to kill not only Slardar, but also Mind Control’s Weaver.
With Liquid’s aggressive rotations on the Radiant side, they were able to consistently take Na`Vi’s bounty runes that spawn every two minutes, setting us slightly back while getting consistent gold on their supports.
While the opponents were slightly ahead in the laning phase, we were able to show our strength and successfully killed the Weaver and Slardar again, setting them both back and keeping them from snowballing in the game. Dendi also won the lane against Miracle by a very significant amount, with Shadow Fiend having 72 last hits compared to Ember Spirit's 30. However, Liquid was able to take a huge fight on bottom, killing three of Na`Vi’s heroes and then getting two more kills after we tried to re-engage. At this point the score was Na`Vi 5 and Liquid 9.
At twelve minutes there was a beautiful display of support from Biver’s Dazzle as he healed a nearly dead GenerRaL on Batrider and was also able to use Shallow Grave to give him time to teleport back to safety, resulting in no one dying. Liquid was able to take the first tower, the top tower. There was a small scrimmage on the top lane after this, where Pajkatt’s Chaos Knight Batridernd GeneRaL’s Batrider Timbersaw tried to kill Weaver. In the midst of all of this, Mutumbaman on Timbersaw was able to take Na`Vi’s bottom tier one and two.
Fight recap at around sixteen minutes
At around sixteen minutes, there was another long fight, where Liquid was able to kill three of Na`Vi’s heroes, but lost two of their own. Even though Liquid was winning the fights at this point, we were able to consistently take something away, not completely losing the fights.
After Dendi’s strong start on Shadow Fiend, Liquid started targeting him heavily, using a lot of their heroes to consistently gank him and bring back to number four in net worth after being number one or two earlier in the game. At twenty minutes the score was Na`Vi 8 and Liquid 14, with Liquid having a ten thousand gold lead.
At around twenty-five minutes, Na`Vi and Liquid had a big fight around the Rosh pit and while the fight was close, with a lot of Liquid’s heroes being low on health, Na`Vi weren’t able to secure any kills and Liquid killed all of our heroes and was able to get the Aegis. After another fight that went Liquid’s way around the bottom racks, Na`Vi called good game, giving Liquid the second game with a final score of 8:25.